Goin' To The Chapel... (Southwest Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer)
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
By Matt Blasing
Pin It

Good morning, everyone! Guess what time it is? No, it's not "morphin,'" "Hammer," or the "to-make-the-donuts" time. All good guesses, though. 

Today, we're going to be talking about Jess and Shauni's wedding, which took place in Viva Las Vegas this past weekend! Since I normally arrive a day or two early to check out the venue, Amy thought she'd take me walking around the Las Vegas strip since I've admittedly never been down there as an adult (I'm such a prude, I know). So before we get started, I'd like to pay homage to the first slot machine to shamelessly steal my personal $40 dollars I allowed myself for gambling.

I'll get you next time, Gadget. Next time.

So onto the wedding, which took place in this little guy:

Here's a couple of tidbits about the Little Church of the West. First, this chapel has held not one, but three different locations. That's right, it's literally been picked up and moved twice, and it now sits across and down the street from Mandelay Bay. This is also the chapel where Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret renewed their vows in the movie "Viva Las Vegas." 

The venue wouldn't let me photograph the wedding, so here's this little number after they said "I do."

I'm always so happy to photograph a wedding, but there's a little something more when I've known the couple prior to they day they say their vows. It honestly feels, for me, that a perfect union between two people is so rare, like the stuff romantic comedies are made of.

Try this one on for size: here's the book that Jess painstakingly took the time to put together to contain not only the rings, but their wedding vows they recited to each other.

Jess' side of the book contains the opening sentence, "18 years ago, you and I were brought together." Yes, you read that correctly. EIGHTEEN YEARS. That's half of their lives they've known each other. This is a wedding that has been a long time coming and has been met with various obstacles causing previous delays in the past. When the date was set and I got the call that we were a go for photography, I geeked. Jess and Shauni were finally able to get their butts out to Vegas and, as Jess put it, "get a license...TO GET ILL."

And maybe a license to drink a sink full of ice-cold beverages after the ceremony.

The heat was the most imposing wedding guest. The ceremony and the dinner were both indoors, which was great, because had we been outside, it would have been like that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where the villans were literally melting. Maybe a bit melodramatic, but it sure felt like that at times.

Besides, one cannot maintain coolness with sassy clothing alone.

Yes, ladies. Envy them shoes.

I'm not sure I know anyone else who can make getting ready genuinely look this cool.

The thirty minutes or so before the ceremony are heart-pounding. As Jess is a bit more, how you say, efficient in getting ready for weddings (sorry, Shauni), she was pacing nervously. I totally identify as I was in the same boat myself at my own wedding. I was ready in 20 minutes while I heard the sounds of blow dryers, make-up-artists, and maybe even the ratcheting of a socket wrench coming from Amy's room.

When Shauni finally stepped out in her dress, it was Jess' face that got me. That heave of relief combined with anticipation and excitement. It's an amazing feeling. I don't care how long you've known each other, if you live together, or if you have children together. When you see your spouse-to-be before the ceremony, whether it's in the room or at the altar, they only thing you can think is, "IT'S REALLY HAPPPENING. WE'RE REALLY DOING THIS." This embrace was the perfect embodiment of all of those emotions wrapped into one.

So they said "I do." We picked up and moved to this place...

...yep. House of Blues. Brilliant location for a dinner, and some great spots for some married-people photos.

Yeah. Try not to get the warm fuzzies with that one. The warmness of that embrace is almost dreamy.

"Hey. How YOU doin'?" Har-har-har.

And finally, the obligatory ring shot:

Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce to you Shauni and Jessica McClung!

Since our last encounter in Vegas was over a pint of Guinness and an Irishman on stage with a guitar and a stuffed elf next to the tip jar, I'd like to leave them with this Irish toast that was recited by the guitar player, John Windsor:


"There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be."



Well that's it for this week, ladies and gentlemen. It was great chatting with you, and I'll see you next week!



Leave a comment:
Matt Blasing - Thank you so much, Deb! Jess and Shauni are incredible people, so the writing was almost effortless. Definitely an unforgettable event for us!
Deb Werenko - Congrats Jess and Shauni. You had the most sincere beautiful vows I've ever heard.
BTW this speil was awesome. A wedding photographer who can write!! And that quote was heartwarming. Thanks so much for the time and energy it took to do that Matt. Great job!
Matt Blasing - Thank you so much, Danielle! Get in touch with me anyway. Im not just limited to wedding photography. :)
Stephanie Dakan - Beautiful!!!
Danielle - Congrats Shauni and Jess! I'm so happy for you!!!!! Beautiful pics, and I love the narrative! If I ever get married again (highly doubtful, but who knows) I would definitely want Matt to do the photography! Excellent job!
Matt Blasing - Much love, Shauniqua. We had a blast. Thanks again for the opportunity!
Shauni McClung - Awwwe Matt! The pictures you took were mind blowing! You are true to your craft...we had the most wonderful time with all of our friends there to share our most exciting day!
Thank you for the kind words, the amazing pics and great laughs!
We will never forget how we felt that day and these photos will always remind us how lucky we are to have each other and to have the friends we do.
Much love! Xoxoxo