Susie And The Las Vegas, Irish, Cowboy Bash

I’ve been waiting to share this wedding with you guys for a million years, so it seemed just right that I got to share APW’s first Las Vegas wedding the same week that I got to share our first New Orleans wedding. Because really, I can’t think of two cities who better sum up the ‘f*ck it, grab some champagne and party’ aspect of APW. So today I am wiggly excited to bring you Susie, wedding graduate extrodinare and her Irish-Las-Vegas-Cowboy-Vintage throwdown. Because f*ck pretty, THIS is the kind of wedding that makes you wish you were there partying. And I don’t know… this wedding is somehow every single reason I still write about weddings rolled into one. Vibrant. Unexpected. Full of joy. Makes you feel open to possiblities. And with a very very smart lady at it’s helm. So, take it Susie:
I’m an American living in Dublin and I got hitched in October to my Irish cowboy in Las Vegas. Neil and I got engaged in 2008 in the local pub. We knew instantly, after enjoying a rollicking good time on a previous road trip, that Las Vegas was where we should be wed. Not by Elvis. Not in a little white chapel. Nor in some sad attempt to show how oh-so-rock-n-roll/wacky/tacky we are. We just love Vegas! And we wanted a lovely, happy ceremony at a beautiful hotel, something sweet and simple under the open sky, with as many loved ones as could afford to come. Happily, we had 45 friends and family from Ireland, my home state of Massachusetts, New York and California. (I guess once people heard Vegas, they sent Travelocity’s stats through the roof.)In terms of our wedding personality, we didn’t fall into the completely homemade, all-my-friends-crafted-the-tablecloths school of weddings nor the let’s-remortgage-the-house-for-ice-sculptures camp either. But really, why fret over what’s traditional, normal, acceptable or hip? In Las Vegas – what does normal even mean? We like to think of ourselves as adventurous, fun-lovin’ people, but deep down we’re a little romantic, so a traditional event in a bizarre ol’ town suited us perfectly.We used our bargaining skills (thank you, recession) to secure an incredibly beautiful 5 star hotel, with a stunning terrace for the ceremony and an intimate function room with a balcony for the party. Our theme you could say, looking back, was something like Vintage Hollywood meets Mexican Cowboy. We splashed out on the food & bar, let our laptop play our favorite old tunes (we like old stuff) and provided Mexican wrestling masks and an instant camera for guest amusement. Those proved to create some of my favorite photographs of the day. I love the fact that I got my family and friends to get all dressed up, come to the swanky Four Seasons and then act stupid in wrestling masks. That kinda sums up the vibe to me.All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing about that crazy Las Vegas party we threw. It’s surreal to be thinking about it all again and trying to be helpful to two best friends who are now in the place I was in a year ago. Can I be helpful to them? Do I have sage wisdom to impart? Would I change anything about how we planned our wedding? Probably not (to all three of those things). We changed our plans a lot – one idea being a ceremony in the desert, followed by a party on the strip. Which sounds awesome but I am SO glad we didn’t do that! Imagine the added hassle? It wouldn’t be worth it to get those amazing photos. So I think it has to happen; you have to go through different ideas and change your mind a few times, maybe a million times, before you really know what’s meant for you.It’s funny writing this in light of the recent posts on the blog that touch on the taboo possibility of not loving your own wedding. I didn’t think that subject applied to me on first glance because I absolutely loved my wedding experience, even those stressful, crazy months leading up to it. And I can stare for hours at our wedding photos and sigh contentedly at my sparkling memories.

And then I remember how much I wanted to throw up for the few days before the wedding, how people told me, jokingly, I must have cold feet… as they were out having a ball on the Vegas Strip. I wouldn’t call it cold feet (jetlag + anxiety buildup, perhaps). So is anxiety a pre-requisite? No, but I do think it’s a high likelihood. And the only thing I CAN say is to not beat yourself up over it. If you feel depressed on the morning of your wedding, feel like vomiting or throwing a pity party for yourself, that’s cool. And can I add a “been there”? I think it’s totally normal. Just let it ride. I believe your emotions are riding a rollercoaster when you’re getting married, whether you’re conscious of it or not, no matter how cool a cucumber you think you might be. I felt like such an a-hole for feeling crappy on my wedding morning. But you know what? With my first step down the palm-lined path, as I walked with my dad and saw my cowboy for the first time, my stomach ache (and all its causes) magically disappeared. Funny how that happens. (Even when I learned, moments before, that the best man had “misplaced” our wedding rings, nothing bothered me anymore. We loaned some rings from family members, no biggie.)

I might not have eaten much, nor could I drink more than two margaritas, but that in no way impaired my ability to have a total blast. (Insider note: I danced so much that my little bra inserts ended up halfway down my dress. I literally danced my boobs off!)
So, what did I learn? That it can’t be done wrong. It won’t be perfect. You won’t notice the chairs. Or the frozen margarita machine you paid for but never got. And you won’t regret not doing something else. At least, we don’t. And for anyone getting caught up, mid-engagement, in all the fun and obsession of the wedding blogs and starting to view your upcoming nuptials as a potential blog post or photo shoot? Don’t worry. You’ll get over that. When it comes down to it, none of that matters. You won’t even care if your rings go missing.(And if you do it in Vegas, ALWAYS put your chips on your anniversary date on the roulette table. ALWAYS.)Special Shout outs:
Non-instant, non-gambling photos: by Jill Jennings of Highland Photography in Las Vegas. She’s awesome, so reasonably priced & so much fun.

Dress: (editors note: fabby, fabby dress. Us vintage girls need to stick together) by Whirling Turban. I think the WT dresses are very much in line with what a lot of APW readers might be looking for. There seem to be so many gals searching for both vintage/vintage-inspired as well as affordable. And I have to say they are the nicest people on the planet. That dress was made for me specifically, designed by me & Katherine (the brains behind it all) via email and skype chats, sent from Bali to Dublin (and back again when I needed an alteration made) all under (my rather meager) budget.

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  • Wow. I love this wedding. I LOVE the dress! I love the feeling that exudes from this shindig! Thanks for posting!

  • This post has me totally laughing by myself in my living room – the cat thinks I'm nuts. Also, I'm so glad she said that about needing to change your mind and would-be plans a million times before figuring out what's right. Whenever our wedding finally happens, we will definitely have thrown lots of different ideas out the window. Already have, actually.

  • I feel like I'm running out of ways to say, "AH! AWESOME, LOVE IT!" But seriously, SO many people try their damndest to make sure their wedding is so "US" and make it "A DAY TO REMEMBER". But this wedding looks totally you and is most definitely a day that all involved will remember. Unless they had a few too many margaritas. And there's not a monogrammed pillow, program fan or handmade lace basket filled with imported chocolates in the shape of you and your husband's head in sight. HMMM. Imagine that.

    And anyone who dances their boobs off is officially invited to every single party that I throw. For the rest of my life. You don't have to come, but you're invited. Just so you know.

  • The dress. The cowboy groom. The freaking instant photos. The dress again! I love love love love love love love love love it.

  • K

    so fantastic. i bow to your sanity. i giggled at my desk at "danced my boobs off". and i'm amazed by your calm re. the wedding rings – i consider myself pretty mellow about the whole wedding thing but losings rings might have riled me up a bit. congrats!

  • HOW is every bride on this site so freaking beautiful?? I love this wedding!

  • AMAZING dress, AMAZING hair, and awesome advice. You're amazing, Susie, and I'm so glad you got to dance your boobs off at your wedding! :)

  • Love those photos, what a unique wedding! I especially love her dress, it's stunning.

  • Other Meg

    I love it. Especially the part about sometimes needing to change your mind a million times because that's what gets you to a point where you know you're doing things right and true to you. I did the same thing. Even though everyone was giving me crap about "not sticking with anything", I'm happy I did not settle on things as a result of it.

  • Meg

    @Lauren honestly? Because I think you are the most beutiful when you are fully being yourself, without apology.

  • re: the rings

    honestly, if someone had told me that it was possible, outside of a romantic comedy, to lose your wedding rings moments before the wedding, i would have flipped my lid! but it was sort of like an out of body experience hearing my sister telling me in the hotel room (*cue tunnel voice*) "See if my ring fits you, yours aren't here…" I honestly just DID NOT CARE. i was too jittery/excited/trying not puke to even think about it. (we found them in the end, happily, and exchanged them en route to the casino after the party!)

  • I want to dance my boobs off!! amazing dress, amazing wedding. thanks for the great story and advice – and congrats! :)

  • @Meg- I know. That's why there can't be a formula for looking like a bride.

  • Liz

    i'm always a leeetle jealous of a good vegas wedding.

  • Vee

    "I danced so much that my little bra inserts ended up halfway down my dress. I literally danced my boobs off!"

    Now THAT is a WEDDING! =D

  • Just when I thought I couldn't love Susie anymore she writes this.

    She had me at dance your boobs off = AWESOME!

  • April

    I'm choked on my tea at "danced my boobs off." LOL!! You're definitely rockin' the party if your undergarments fall down. I love it.

    Love the dress, love the cage veil, love the bride's hair! There's just so much awesomeness going on in the photos – just brilliant!

    And now I want to get married again. In Vegas. :D

  • Anonymous

    When I saw this groom, I thought for sure he was an "import" from America (to Ireland). HE'S IRISH? He looks like he stepped off the set of, "Walk The Line". And with an Irish accent? Be still my heart! That's one good lookin' cowboy you got there, Susie.

    And YOU look suitable for the porcelain doll prototype department. I'd like to order my Susie Bridal Doll, please.