A Winter Wonderland Wedding

It's been a long time coming, but I finally have time to sit down and write about my Wedding! I'll start off first by saying I did not want a Winter Wedding.  Not that I was one of those girls who had spent time dreaming of her big day, but the few times I had wandered on Pinterest left me imagining my wedding taking place on a sunny day. Due to my husband's career as a professional soccer player in the MLS, we had to choose a date out of season so that our friends from other teams could attend. 

On the morning of my wedding, the girls and I got ready in a gorgeous suite at the JW Marriott; our venue for both the Ceremony and Reception. The Bridesmaids and I had breakfast with mimosas and just took our time getting ready. 

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From the moment I saw my engagement ring, I knew I wanted to give Sal (my husband to be) something just as special. I decided that my wedding gift to him was going to be something he'd always talked about. I had promised him there would be no surprises, but had a feeling he was going to overlook that rule once he opened the box.

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Sal was getting ready at a house nearby with the Groomsmen. He was told to head outside to take photos when he was presented with the box. "I told her no surprises" he said to his groomsmen who all laughed knowing I hadn't listened. I had gotten him the Panerai watch he had talked about in the past and he happily swapped it for the one he had been wearing.

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After a series of photos, Sal surprised the rest of the Groomsmen with a Party Bus that was headed to Red Rock Casino. Since it takes guys no time to get ready, we figured "why not hit up the craps table" to loosen everyone up. I think their colorful socks brought them luck! Every single person ended up winning.

Back at the hotel it was time for the final touches before getting in my gown. My photographer (Leanne Miller) did a beautiful job of capturing so many details. Hanging from my bouquet (which was made by my amazing Aunt Linda and Cousin Olivia) were 3 little gems close to my heart. The first was a photo of my Grandpa who had passed away when I was a little girl, the second of my Great Grandma from Hawaii who had lived to be 97, and the third of my Great Aunt who was like another Grandmother to me. It was nice knowing I'd be walking down the aisle and they'd be right there with me.

My wedding gown was made by a talented designer from Israel named Elihav Sasson. I had found his designs on Pinterest, but it was nearly impossible to find out where they were sold. Ytai, a friend of mine from Israel helped me track down Elihav and ask him if he would be willing to make me a dress. For nearly 8 months Ytai translated Hebrew between the designer and I and the finished product was more than I could have hoped for! The detailing in the handmade lace and beading blew me away! 

Before I knew it, it was time for the Ceremony. If it hadn't been for my Mom, and army of friends and family, I don't know how I could have pulled off all the DIY decorations I wanted to have; including the floral beaded arbor she created.

Another one of my favorite decorations was a vintage frame saying "Today 2 families become 1, choose a seat not a side." Sal and I both have big families and share a large group of friends. We wanted to do something different with our Ceremony so we decided to do circle seating

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Our Ceremony was held in the Valencia Ballroom of the JW Marriott in Las Vegas. The Ballroom had this breathtaking architecture on the ceiling that I was in love with. The mix of brick and wood was the perfect look and feel for what I was going for. It also had a ton of natural light coming in from a wall of windows which gave the sunny glow I had hoped for.

Instead of a traditional entrance, we asked our wedding party to Dance into the Ceremony. It was hilarious and everyone had a good laugh. I think the circle seating worked out perfect for it.

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After the short and sweet Ceremony, the bridal party and family headed outside to a gorgeous sunny day. We released balloons, made wishes, and took tons of photos.

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After a series of photos, Sal and I danced into the sunset...

As we entered the foyer to our Cocktail Hour we were greeted by hundreds of friends and family. At this point we were both on this incredible high as we hugged and kissed everyone. Seeing all of our favorite people from around the world was a feeling better than anything we had experienced. 

One of the most memorable decoration pieces was the Photo-Wall my Mom and Brother-in-law Landon created. The top of the wall had a sign stating "All because two people fell in Love." It had framed wedding pictures of our two families going back several generations. I had to do tons of work getting copies of all the photos, but it was worth seeing everyone's faces when they realized they were up on the wall.

Another favorite part of the Cocktail Hour were the table girls I had created. (Again, props to my bro Landon, Mom, and Aunt Julie). The girls were dressed in all white and stood in the middle of tables that held little chalk board easels with each guest's name and table assignment. It was a fun little way for our guests to find where they were going to be sitting and the girls did a great job of interacting with everyone.

After the Cocktail Hour, we made our way into the Grand Ballroom for the Reception. Again, we were taken back by how gorgeous it looked. When I first told my Mom that I wanted to do everything DIY, including the centerpieces, she was a little apprehensive. We made over 40 centerpieces that included light up trees, bedazzled vases, and kissing balls covered in handmade material roses. My sister Stormy and made the cutest little chalkboard signs with our wedding hashtag #ZizzoMonizWedding. The decor and everything turned out beautiful and I couldn't have been happier.

Upon entering the Ballroom, guests were greeted by a stilt walker dressed as an ice princess. SHE WAS FABULOUS! At first, Sal tried taming all my crazy wedding ideas, but the stilt walker turned out to be a huge success with the kids AND adults. 

Behind the stilt walker was the longest candy buffet I'd ever seen. My Mom is the candy buffet queen and has done several weddings and parties. Apparently, she thought each of the 400 guests needed 5 pounds to take home with them because there was so much candy! Sal's Aunt Anna from Italy also made tons and tons of delicious italian cookies that added to the buffet of sweets.

As the Reception started, Sal and I were told there was a surprise video to watch. (Our two families are known for creative wedding videos. Since I was usually involved in helping shoot and edit those videos, I assumed there wouldn't be one for mine since no one mentioned it. The video was HILARIOUS! Somehow our two families got together made the cutest collaboration. At the end of the video we joined our bridal party in a traditional Backstreet Boys dance. (Video to follow soon)

Next, we had a few performances by friends and family. We wanted to incorporate everyone into our big day so Landon (my handy brother-in-law) who just so happens to be a Magician did a little magic for us. (Watch his videos on America's Got Talent!)

After Landon, my sister Harmony and friend Raquel performed a little duet to "Broken Hearted" by Karmin.

Eventually, our band Ashley Red took over and got the party started. Sal and I had gone back and forth on a band versus a DJ. He wanted a band and I wanted current music. Ashley Red was the perfect mix! They did cover songs of just about everything along with mixing in some DJing in-between sets. The singer Cass  was a great host to the evening and I'd totally recommend them to any and everyone looking for a great band! 

Overall the Winter Wedding I had dreaded ended up being a blast!  If you like anything you see and think it could help with another Bride please Pin the photos!

Wedding video and surprise family videos to follow. Feel free to leave questions or comments. If you like anything you see and think it could help with another Bride please Pin the photos!