Monday, November 14, 2011

Call me Mrs. Ballsy! ;D

Woo! Holy cow!! What an amazing week in Las Vegas!!

In case you missed the big news- my boyfriend of 6 years and dearest friend and fellow Kubert School Alum for 12, Phil 'Ballsy' Balsman and I tied the knot on Dia de los Muertos- Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 at 4:30pm by Elvis at the Viva Las Vegas Chapel in Las Vegas, NV.

Check out the full ceremony!

We were joined by family and friends for an amazing week of merriment and debauchery, including my BFF Fenny (of Little Asian Sweatshop) as Matron of Honor and Phil's BFF Ben Dale (of Ben Dale Done That/Little Knight) as Best Man.

Our wedding was a mixture of everything we love: Rockabilly music, retro lounge culture, Dia de los Muertos imagery, fancy cocktails, Elvis, all under the lights and spectacle of Las Vegas. We had a total of 44 guests, which is a sizable crowd for a destination wedding who all dressed in the theme I had suggested of 'retro spooky cocktail' or 'what you'd wear to Vincent Price's funeral'. The ceremony (as you can see above) was quick, fun, sweet and never took itself too seriously. The Elvis was fantastic and everyone working at the chapel was so excited to see such a turnout. The ceremony was followed by a lovely reception dinner at Nob Hill Tavern at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Everyone had a great time.

Phil's suit was pieced together with basic separates from JC Penneys, but then dressed up with a black skinny tie, black and white creepers from TUK Shoes and a vintage red brocade Palm Beach dinner jacket we borrowed from our friend Stacey of Atomic Cheesecake Studios, who also took our fantastic engagement photos. His boutonnière was made by Little Asian Sweatshop out of Red Dead Redemption playing cards.

My dress was the Ivory Duchess halter silk sundress purchased from Vivienne of Holloway, with a skeleton cameo corset in white by Louise Black, from Project Runway over top of the bodice. I added more black lace to the dress hem and neckline to give the illusion that it was all one unified piece and hand applied over 350 black diamond Swarovski rhinestone crystals to the dress and corset myself to give it extra dazzle. I also rhinestoned my Little Asian Sweatshop hairflower and bouquet, which like Phil's boutonnière was also made from Red Dead Redemption playing cards. I also wore black John Fluevog mini-heeled maryjanes with black fishnets, black lace gloves and a black chiffon petticoat.

Our cake topper was a set of Dia de los Muertos skeleton bride and groom figurines (from I had given to my grandmother after we had gotten engaged. She let me borrow them and my mom painted them to resemble our wedding ensembles. The cake was vanilla ganache with chocolate cake inside. Super yum! Fenny and I had prepared the favors ourselves and my mom meticulously packaged them- for the female guests I had made resin brooches with skeleton artwork that I hand rhinestoned and Fenny had made her infamous poker card hair flowers, but with an added twist of them having skull beads in the middle to be on-theme. They were a definite hit. For the fellas we gave Elvis sunglasses and a Jose Pulido Elvis Calavera sticker.

Phil's big splurge for the wedding was the hiring of videographer Michael Gebben of Gebbs Wedding Films to film the whole day for us and edit it down into a 5-10 minute sweeping, hi-def, widescreen, emotionally manipulative movie. He basically ninja'd around us all day with his fancy camera and got lots of cool shots of us. The movie hasn't been finished yet- but from what little I saw of the shots it looks gorgeous. Here's a quickie behind-the-scenes shot of us after the reception at New York, New York.

Seriously can't wait to see it. 
Our Best Man Ben was saying how after it's done 
we should record a DVD commentary track for it.

Our biggest concerns with the wedding were mostly that we had to plan alot of things sight unseen, since we live in NYC and the wedding was in Vegas. Fortunately my brother had been married 3 years prior in Las Vegas at the same chapel by Elvis but on April Fools Day (yeah my family is awesome). I had gone to FIVE WEDDINGS that year and his was by far the most fun, also I cried like a baby. My mother had even pulled Phil and I aside after the ceremony and told us that if we wanted to have a wedding like that she was all about it. So we at least had SOME idea of what we were going to do for the wedding. Also from a logistical standpoint Vegas made the most sense. My family is from Maryland and Phil's family is from Missouri, yet we both live in New York City. Rather than have the organizational and financial nightmare of having family and friends come to NYC, we figured we'd make it fair to everyone and have our wedding in Las Vegas, therefore not giving any preferential treatment to anyone and it being a sort of vacation for everyone. One of the big things about Vegas however, is how much each casino does NOT want you to leave it's enclosed gambling geosphere. Which is crazy considering how frigging GORGEOUS it was out in the desert in early November (especially when NYC had seen the seasons first slush hit the day before we left). Something else that really drove me nuts in Vegas was the sheer lack of any sense of urgency the cab drivers had taking you from point A to point B. You could get a cab pretty easy in front of a hotel, but GOD HELP YOU if you were off-Strip and had to get a car called. You'd stand there waiting for about 30 minutes before one would roll up, which if you're a bride on a tight timetable made for a VERY STRESSFUL time. Especially being a New Yorker- is this what they mean when they say us East Coasters are all hi-strung? I also had an AMAZING itinerary of stuff planned that was also located off-Strip (or just further down Strip towards Fremont Street) which I never got to do, including eating at The Peppermill, drinking at Frankie's Tiki Room and going to the Atomic Testing Mueseum and Pinball Hall of Fame. Herding 40+ people in cabs to places I've never been and not entirely sure everyone would like would probably take 2 hours just to get everyone there, then to get back to the hotel room would probably take another 2 hours. I eventually realized into the 2nd day of being there that there were plenty of bars and gathering places within the confines of the MGM itself, and that truly important thing about the week wasn't where we were going to be (as long as it was comfy with a well-stocked bar) but that everyone was there having a good time and hanging out.

It may be a cop-out but my favorite moment of the wedding day started once the wedding party all got into the limo and headed to the chapel and lasted til the end of the night. It was the first time in a year I no longer had to worry about wedding preparation and finally just went with the moment. It was here and went off without a hitch. I even got genuinely choked up was when we rolled up to the chapel and I saw so many of my friends and family all hanging out front, dressed in their retro spooky cocktail best with giant smiles all waiting for Phil and I.

The funniest moment had to be during the ceremony while Phil and I were having our awkward slowdance. Elvis was singing 'Love Me Tender', Phil and I are remarking on how utterly awkward and queer it was to be slow dancing under hot spotlights (especially since we have never danced together, nor have I ever slow danced with anyone before) and over behind my shoulder in the first row of pews, my giant 6'3" 350 pound dad is visibly sobbing in his Elvis sunglasses. It was just such an amazing scene.

The only thing totally a mystery to us was how the Nob Hill Tavern was going to handle our reception. I knew the restaurant was still going to have other patrons in the dining room and I was so worried it would be a disaster. Which would be further from the truth, Nob Hill really went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. Dinner was delicious, the staff was friendly and the space was much more intimate than I had imagined and there was plenty room for people to walk around and socialize with the other guests.

The most important lesson I learned from our wedding was that even if you have a 'low key' wedding, you'll still have alot of work to do to make it come together. If anything it being a low-key, DIY wedding means I had to take on alot of tasks myself. The way I am, I personally cannot let myself do something half-assed. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I accept that not everyone shares the ridiculously high standards I have for things and this tends to muddle my ability to delegate tasks. I've always felt that in the time it takes to explain how to do something to someone else, I could have just done it myself. I did accept help from my best friend Fenny and my mother, who are two people who know how particular I am with things and share my OCD-riddled worldview. Fortunately my ideas for the wedding were all realistic and not impossible to do, they just required time and creativity.

---Vendor links---
On Paigey:
Wedding dress: Vivienne of Holloway (dress), Louise Black (corset)
Hair: Sam at Shag Me Salon (style), Nicole at David Alexander (color/cut)
Accessories: John Fluevog (shoes), Little Asian Sweatshop (hair flower/bouquet)
On Ballsy:
Suit: JC Penneys (shirt/pants), (tie), Palm Beach Vintage (jacket), TUK (shoes)
Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel
Nob Hill Tavern at The MGM Grand
GEBBS Wedding Films
Glitter Lens Photography at the Neon Boneyard Museum


More Pictures:

More pics to come soon!!

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