On November 2, 2013, Dan and I ran away to Vegas and got married in the Fireside Lounge in Aria.
We had been planning our wedding for several months and had it all booked before we headed to the UK and "officially" became engaged at Highclere Castle. We both had big weddings with our first marriages and decided to make this wedding just about us. We wanted a romantic weekend escape.
The initially planning process had us thinking of venues in various states, but we narrowed it down to Nevada, because Vegas just makes it so easy. We first called Bellagio and Wynn. They had nice venues, but we didn't get a good vibe until we spoke with Marissa at Aria.
Marissa was so warm and enthusiastic, that we knew that we had found our venue and coordinator. Aria was not originally built with a wedding chapel and they have just started offering weddings last spring. One of the big selling points with Aria is that they offer various wedding locations outside of their traditional chapel, which is modern and stylish. Want to get married surrounded by hand blown glass sculptures in the Chihuly Gallery? How about in front of a cascading wall of water? Maybe by a giant Buddah statue? The sky's the limit.
We picked the Fireside Lounge, which is located in the Aria day-spa. This area is only available for night weddings, after the spa is closed for the day and cleared. We were sold on the beautiful wall length fireplace and nature theming. It feels like a upscale mountain lodge, perfect for a fall wedding.
Aria offers a variety of wedding packages and we chose the Just the Two of Us. Our package included a night in a Sky Suite, photography, flowers (bouquet and boutonnière), a mini wedding cake, champagne, dinner at Social House and all of the wedding services. The use of the Fireside Lounge was an upgraded fee and we also opted to have a pianist. Live music is always a nice touch!
Upon recommendation, I had an awesome stylist come to our suit to do my hair and make-up. Kristin Koval made me feel gorgeous and I highly recommend hiring her to make you beautiful on your special day.
Here is a picture of my up-do with a flower pin that I bought at Nordstrom. I opted for non-traditional wedding attire and we found everything, including the accessories, at Nordstrom.
We headed down to the Fireside Lounge a little before eight and met with Marissa and the rest of the team. Admittedly, it was a little odd having so many people working on our wedding and no guests! As the spa was just closing, the venue was not quite ready for us.
Marissa took us to one of the private spa suites as a waiting room while they prepared the Fireside Lounge. We learned that the Spa Suite is very exclusive and can't just be booked, as they hold them for high priority clients. It was a fun place to wait for our wedding.
We were given our bottle of champagne, in case we wanted to start celebrating early!
Our wedding couldn't have been nicer. We walked down the aisle together to the pianist playing, Love Me Tender and ended the ceremony with In My Life. Although he just met us and it was a "Quickie Vegas Wedding", our minister conducted a very meaningful ceremony, filled with good advice that I took to heart. It really felt personal, like he knew us.
Here are some of the professional pictures from our ceremony.
We were assigned two photographers and they were awesome. Aria is filled with unique picture spots. We had our photographers for forty-five minutes and they ran us all over the property, snapping pictures. I appreciated that they asked us for our input and they were flexible with what we wanted. We only had one request, a few shots by the water wall and bird chairs in front of the hotel.
After our ceremony, we ate a late dinner at Social House located in Crystals, the high- end mall in the City Center complex. Social House has Asian-fusion cuisine and a seven course dinner was part of our wedding package.
Our dinner at Social House was not a great experience. The evening prior, we had an amazing dinner at Jean George Steak House. We had hoped that our wedding dinner would at least equal our experience the prior night. Nearly everything that we had experienced at Aria, up until that point, was first-class.
We arrived at Social House for our ten o'clock reservation and they let us know that they had been expecting us the previous night. They seemed a bit put-out, but corrected the issue and seated us in a booth in the middle of the restaurant. It was completely dead. Ten o'clock on a Saturday night in Las Vegas and the restaurant had patrons at two other tables.
We were given a special wedding menu that was printed on a flimsy piece of paper and had no mention of "wedding". Our server didn't even know the details of the special menu and was a complete mess during our meal. The seven courses came out in a haphazard manner and our server was often M.I.A..
The courses were hit and miss. I liked the sushi, but neither of us enjoyed the miso cod, which we ditched after one bite. One course was a fancy version of the cheap pork buns sold in Chinatown.
I would have preferred a gift card to use towards a meal at any Aria restaurant of our choosing, rather than having the set menu at Social House. Beyond the lackluster meal, the ambiance during our dinner did not make us feel like hitting the town. It was a downer.
The next morning, we ate our mini-wedding cake from the Jean Philippe Bakery at Aria. When we filled out our paperwork for the wedding package, we were given a page with several cake design choices. They were adorable! We really wanted to go nuts and pay extra to have one of each. When we arrived at Aria, we saw the physical cakes in the bakery and fell in love with them all over again.
They are little works of art!
Excuse the picture, we didn't refrigerate the cake and it started to melt and slumped over by the next morning. It looked perfect when we received it!
We took our own cake cutting photo.
And finally we proceeded to stuff our faces with wedding cake!!!
Overall, we had a great experience with the wedding services at Aria and in particular, our coordinator, Marissa, was a rock star! If you're planning on getting married in Vegas, definitely give them a call.