Stephanie and Ming are from Sonoma County, California and are huge national park enthusiasts. Their love for the outdoors is so strong they decided to have their wedding at their favorite park, Death Valley National Park. Located within the park is a single resort, The Oasis at Death Valley which literally is what it's name portrays, an oasis. This venue is one that many of us in the Las Vegas wedding scene have heard about, but only a few have been to. With three weddings already on my books for that weekend I was determined to made it work so that I could be there for Stephanie and Ming. They were in desperate need of help after their onsite planner unexpectedly left her position within the resort. I also happen to be personal friends with the chef and trust him immensely to put on a successful event.
The day started with Stephanie and Ming conducting a Japanese tea ceremony with their elders, wearing the most beautiful red and gold traditional Japanese wedding attire. Following the tea ceremony, they parted ways to change into their western wedding attire and met again for their first look in what I called the Palm Tree Forest. From there they scurried away to Zabriskie Point for an out of this world photo shoot. When you think of Death Valley, you think of Zabriskie Point. It’s not only iconic, but breathtakingly beautiful!
The ceremony itself took place in Mission Gardens where dozens of monarch butterflies were fluttering about, but as with most outdoor desert weddings we were unfortunately hit with a windstorm. And when I say windstorm I mean a windstorm that blew my ceremony chairs all over the garden. As I was chasing chairs with the butterflies, Stephanie and Ming found a quiet spot on the resort to exchange private letters before arriving for the ceremony.
The reception was to also take place in Mission Garden, but due to the weather we quickly pivoted plans of dancing under the stars and moved the reception down the road to the indoor saloon. It wasn’t ideal, but we made it work.
Keeping with their national park theme (and love for wine), each guest table was named after a park they visited as a couple, the water goblets were made from cut wine bottles, and guest favors were customized wine bottle stoppers. The massive solid wood bar was where their 3-tiered semi-naked rustic cake sat which was flanked by a glorious selection of sweet treats.
Fun fact: Their cake stand was a slice of wood that the baker cut from a fallen tree on the resort property.
Stephanie and Ming’s day was one for the books. I couldn’t have asked for a better couple nor a better wedding to have as my first Death Valley wedding. It’s a location full of history with the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever experienced. A big thank you to Liz of Elizabeth Le Photographer for referring them to me!
Sunrise image by yours truly. Taken on my way back to Vegas the morning following Stephanie & Ming's wedding.
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