Jenna Nicoll and Michael Hughes: A Las Vegas wedding complete with casinos, tattoos and Elvis

05 Feb 2019

Jenna and Michael’s Las Vegas celebration was followed two weeks later by a party at home in Dundee

How did you meet? 

We met while both on separate Christmas nights out in Perth, Scotland at a karaoke pub. I was at the bar getting a drink and across the bar I could hear a guy saying something bad about my friend’s song choice so I leaned over and started telling him off. Michael was standing right beside me with his back to me and while I was telling off his workmate he just turned around and started talking to me for most of the night. I got his number before he left and didn’t think I would hear from him again but luckily he got in contact and we met for a proper date.

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Tell us about the proposal. 

It was so unromantic. The story starts perfectly – the day before he proposed he took ing my best friend Emma through to Argyll Arcade in Glasgow to pick a ring together. I had always said I wanted my engagement ring from there. They looked at a few but ended up picking the first one they saw from Harold & Son, my favourite shop in the Arcade. The next day he woke me up and told me he was taking me for a drive to The Hermitage in Dunkeld, a beautiful forest filled with bridges, waterfalls and just lovely views all round. We walked around for hours and at points I could tell he was lingering in areas and I actually wondered if he was going to propose. After a while I was hungry and wanted to go home so we drove back and as soon as I got home I went straight to the fridge. We only had fish sticks so I started munching on those and as I walked into the living room he said my name and when I turned around he was on one knee with the ring in his hand. He had been too scared to do it as there had been so many people around but he knew he wanted to do it that day. Of course I said yes while in tears.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

Our theme was just to do Vegas properly: tattoo parlours, Elvis in a wedding chapel, casino signs in the desert and a meal in Hooters. I never had a colour scheme as the bridesmaids dresses were one of the last purchases - I knew I wanted grey or silver and preferably sequins to complement my dress but as there wasn’t a space to decorate we didn’t need a colour scheme.

What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

We knew we wanted to get married in a chapel – there are so many beautiful hotels in Las Vegas but I thought there wasn’t much point when we could just as easily have got married in a beautiful hotel back home. The reason we picked the Graceland Chapel is because Bon Jovi got married there and as a fan I hoped he would randomly turn up on the day. I actually did message him on Instagram about it but no luck.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

I found my dress in Perfect Bridal Rooms in Aberdeen. I only went there because my friends and I were going to a concert in Aberdeen – I had been to some wedding dress shops around Dundee and tried on quite a few dresses. I almost settled for one as time was running out but I messaged Perfect Bridal Rooms and asked to try on dresses by Eliza Jane Howell and Jenny Packham. Betsy by Jenny Packham was the first dress I tried on and I loved it. I wanted sequins and sparkle – it had it all. It came down to two Jenny Packham dresses. I tried Betsy again and didn’t need to try the other one again, Betsy was just what I had been looking for.

What did the bridesmaids wear? 

The bridesmaids wore silver dresses from Dorothy Perkins with a sequin bodice and tulle skirt. I had three bridesmaids in Las Vegas: my maid of honour and best friend of 31 years Emma, my other best friend of countless years Amy and Michael’s sister Karen. For my Dundee ceremony my sister Ashleigh was also a bridesmaid.

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What about the mother of the bride? 

My mum didn’t come to Las Vegas – it would have been very difficult due to her multiple sclerosis. The reason we had the ceremony back home was so my parents could see me walk down the aisle.

Where did you find your suits?

Michael and his best man Neil purchased their tuxedos from Hugo Boss. Michael isn’t really a kilt person and thought a tuxedo and bowtie would be very Vegas.

Tell us about your floral arrangements.

My flowers and the groom’s buttonhole were included in the chapel’s wedding package. We had a choice of red or white roses so I picked white for both of us. The bridesmaids didn’t have flowers – we were going to so many places during the day it would have been awkward to carry them along with bags and cameras.

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Tell us about the unique details of your day.

  • We had our first look in a tattoo parlour
  • An Elvis impersonator serendaded us with tunes by the Proclaimers and Bay City Rollers
  • Throwing my bouquet in the neon museum
  • Having pictures in my wedding dress with the Hooters Girls 
  • Playing beer pong with the wedding party

How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I felt so happy but I also wanted to burst out laughing as part of our package was that Elvis walked me down the aisle and gave me away. It was so bizarrely brilliant and I could see the rest of my wedding party laughing too.

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What was your most memorable moment?

Without a doubt the first look. Michael went to the tattoo parlour first and got a tattoo first – the number 14 to mark our wedding date. Then he was blindfolded while I got mine done, a love heart. My maid of honour filmed and took pictures of me getting the tattoo. When it was time for the first look, Emma filmed it while our tattooist took pictures. When I took Michael’s blindfold off he just said “Wow!” and we all got very emotional. It was just so perfect and I can honestly say I’ve never felt more in love than I did at that moment. I just love looking back at those pictures. 

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Communication was difficult while trying to arrange the wedding in another country. There wasn’t much to plan but there would be times we wouldn’t hear back for quite a long time and made us doubt that we were doing the right thing. It was also difficult planning two celebrations at the same time and trying to make sure we had everything we needed for both.

What was the most important investment for you?

My most important investment was my dress and finding the right seamstress. I’m not one for being dressed up and I’m not a girly-girl but on that day I wanted to feel beautiful. My seamstress was the best; she tailored my dress perfectly so I could walk around the streets of Las Vegas comfortably. She also packed it beautifully for the plane ride over.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

Our first dance was to Looking for the Magic by MTG. Michael and I once went to the cinema to see a horror film called ‘You’re Next’ and it played throughout the opening scene. When we came out of the cinema we both said how much the song had stuck in our heads and it just kind of became our song.

Tell us about your wedding cake.

I had researched bake shops online before we went to Vegas and came across Cupcake ATMs. I loved the quirkiness and was determined that that would be our wedding cake. As we walked through the Linq Promenade I could see the pink cake ATM in the distance and just had to get one. We picked a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and we used an ice-cream spoon to cut it into 10 pieces for everyone and then I planted the rest in Michael’s face.

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

I would have planned the day better. We ended up booking a limousine while we were in Las Vegas as we had overlooked transport to each venue which was stressful. We didn’t have a plan for the evenings – I had planned the day part carefully but had forgotten about the night. I would also have changed my choice of hairstylist - I picked the cheapest I could find and my hair fell out of its style within an hour. My bridesmaids had to keep fixing it.

Did anything go wrong on the day?

After the meal we were walking through the casino and someone stood on my dress. The silk underskirt ripped away from the beaded top layer making it completely unwearable so I had to go back to the hotel to change. I was beyond gutted as I had looked forward to this for so long and after all the planning it all felt ruined. I managed to pull myself together and thanks to my two best friends I ended up having a great time and I even won $30 betting on our wedding date on roulette.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

How stressful it really is. There are so many elements that need to be covered and the most difficult one was keeping us and everyone else happy too. I wish I had realised earlier that it’s not about everyone else – it was our special day.

Where did you go on honeymoon?

We had two days in Las Vegas and hired a car the day after the wedding to drive to the Grand Canyon and explore. On the last day we went to The Cheesecake Factory and we went on a gondola ride through The Venetian. We explored the hotels and put a dollar on the number 14 on the roulette wheel in every hotel we went in. It was the winner in the last hotel, The Luxor where we’d stayed all week – we won $60!

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Make lists. I can’t stress this enough as there will always be something you’ll forget and the smallest things can sometimes be the most important. Zone everyone else out and plan the wedding you want – no one will thank you on the day for the jazz band that you didn’t really want but Great Aunty Mary who you’ve only met twice really wanted.

Steal their style:

Dress: Perfect Bridal Room 
Venues: Wolfpack Tattoo, Graceland Chapel, The Neon Museum 
Bridesmaid dresses: Dorothy Perkins
Bride’s shoes: Sophia Webster
Suits: Hugo Boss
Engagement ring: Mr. Harold & Son

For more destination wedding inspiration click here.

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