Google+ Our Editor-in-Chief’s Wedding :: Happy Anniversary, Lara + Ari! - Southern Weddings

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No, folks, it isn’t April Fool’s.  These really are the images from Lara Casey’s 2006 nuptials to doctor-husband, Ari.  And, yes: Lara, the blushing bride in today’s special feature, is the Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings.  No one (and I mean no one) has seen Lara’s personal albums from the big day, so why the sudden unveiling?  Today marks Lara + Ari’s four-year wedding anniversary, and after some not-so-gentle prodding from her staff, Lara has finally agreed to share a few shots from the big day.  Where were the lovebirds married, you ask?  Sunny Las Vegas.  Yup.  The Editor of a nationally-distributed wedding magazine and a wedding planner herself ditched the big party and bucked tradition by eloping to Vegas.  (But don’t worry. Lara + Ari shelled out for the Deluxe Package at the Special Memory Chapel.)  The bride shimmered in a classic Diamond Bride gown designed by His Weddingness, Randy Fenoli, while the groom (a former Navy flight surgeon) donned his crisp dress whites.  The newly-minted husband + wife duo celebrated their “I dos” with an intimate dinner at Daniel Boulud’s Brasserie at the Wynn.

P.S. The very high quality photos here were shot on a Nikon CoolPics camera by a friend of Ari’s.  Yes, this was before Lara had a million photographer friends.

As a special treat, Ari + Lara have taken the time to fill out our standard real wedding interview together, with Lara’s thoughts in italics.

First of all, I cannot beleive I am sharing these pictures!  Y’all know I love you since I’m doing this, OK?  OK.  This was us getting our marriage license at the famous Clark County Courthouse.  I’m pretty sure everyone in line with us had just met the night before.  Classy.

The right page is me getting ready at the Bellagio.  A friend was there to take pics for me.  I was really nervous.  Even though I knew I wanted to get married, I kept thinking, “What am I doing!?  VEGAS!?”  I’m pretty type-A, as is Ari, so this was very out of the norm for us.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.  Lara was working as a trainer at the gym that I went to while stationed in Pensacola, FL for flight surgeon training. I had watched the movie An Officer and a Gentleman several times before coming to Pensacola and thought it would be really neat to try and pick up one of the local girls while in town.  Insert Ari’s dry humor.  I don’t know, though… maybe he’s not kidding. I noticed Lara at the gym because I have a thing for redheads. False. He’s never dated a redhead. We made eye contact several times while I was lifting and she was training, and a few times I winked at her. False again. I knew by the way she blushed that she was really into me and my biceps.  Again, false. The blushing part.  I did like his biceps, though.

I approached her one day in between skull crusher sets and asked her out to dinner. He came up to me during a cable crossover set and asked me for workout advice. She told me if I kept my elbows in during my next set she might consider it. I barely was able to finish the set using correct form, but I really wanted a date with this girl. She was hot! Oh my. Please don’t post this.

Sure enough, a few days later, we were sipping Irish Wakes and reciting dirty limericks at McGuire’s. We walked into McGuires and walked right out because it was Ladies Night and it was packed.

Why Vegas? It was on the way to California.  Seriously.

Describe the proposal: Lara had decided to join me in California after I was transferred there. One day while plotting the route for our cross-country drive, I turned to Lara and said, “We’re going to be passing through Vegas on the way to California. You wanna get married? If we did, you would be able to shop at the Navy Exchange and they have discounted Coach bags.”  Naturally, he omitted the part about him staring at a computer screen while “proposing.”  I told him he needed to re-do that.  He did.  The re-do was amazing.  Valentine’s Day, surprise dinner. Surprise real proposal. It was magical.

She thought about it for a second and said “Sure.” And then I asked her if we could have an Elvis at the ceremony and she said no. True.

Three adjectives that describe the day are: Warm, fancy and Vegas. I’m gonna go with intimate, fun and perfect.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Sweet Memories.  We got married at the Special Memory Wedding Chapel.  He always forgets and says “Sweet Memories.”
Favorite design element of your big day:
The Gazebo. It doesn’t get much better than twinkle lights and red bows.  Come on.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Jean Pierre.  The best part of the wedding was the guy who married us.  He had a beautiful French accent.  It was lovely.  His name was Jean-Claude.  It reminded me of my mom who speaks fluent French.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Randy Fenoli designed my dress for Diamond Bride.  I loved it.
Describe your wedding flowers: $25  False. There were no wedding flowers.
Describe your wedding cake: Tiramisu at the Wynn.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Finding cash to give to the limo driver so that she could get several bottles of cheap champagne while the ceremony was going on. True story.

Were there any wedding traditions or new ideas you included in the wedding?   Waving at passing traffic as we first walked together as man and wife.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Being mistaken for the Bellagio valet. Even better: when Ari went inside our honeymoon suite at the Bellagio to put his jacket down before coming back to carry me over the threshold, he locked us out!  We had to wait in our wedding clothes for an hour in the hallway before security came.  People kept passing us in the hallway and giving us the funniest looks.  I still laugh about that.  I got him back by locking his keys in his BMW on our “honeymoon” at the Navy Lodge the week after.  But, not on purpose!

Celebrating the day after in the Bellagio Gardens…


Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. “Are you sure you don’t want an Elvis?”

OK, I was in a joking mood when I answered these questions, if you couldn’t tell. But Lara and I are sitting here on the couch on the eve of our fourth anniversary getting a good laugh out of it. Most of it is true: Pensacola, the gym, Elvis, the gazebo and Jean Pierre, I mean Jean-Claude. I love my wife and I’d marry her all over again. That is very true. Me, too. I love you more today than yesterday.  I know that sounds cheesy, but the fact that we still laugh and look back on our wedding day with huge smiles makes me really happy. We’ve been through so much – moving across the country, you deploying to Iraq for an eternity, failure, loss and big changes – but through it all we’ve laughed and loved each other deeply.  And, for the record, I’d never want another wedding.  I’d love to prance around in a Vera one day, but I’m perfectly content with our (little) big day.

What’s your best marriage advice? Very simple: be good to each other every day. After you’ve been married for a while — and especially with our busy schedules — it’s really easy to fall into a routine and forget to do sweet things.  We’ve found that daily positive encouragement and taking time to do nothing but just be thankful to have another day to love and be loved is the key to a happy marriage.  I’m so grateful for that.  I love you, Ari.  I love you, too.

Congratulations, Lara + Ari!  Here’s to four more great years!

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
31 Comments
  1. avatar Ulmer Studios reply

    Thanks for sharing the Love Story of the 2 of you!!! Super Sweet and sounds like its right out of a movie!

  2. avatar jessica @ budgetsavvybride reply

    happy anniversary Lara & Ari! You are a beautiful couple. :)

  3. avatar dognbird reply

    Love reading the story and seeing these fun pictures. Thank you for sharing Lara (and Ari!!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    I found the SW blog a couple of weeks ago and absolutely love it! Just reading this post on Laura and Ari and I live in Pensacola!!! I am now wondering if I know Laura… did she go to high school in Pcola? Is there a contact email for her?Thanks! Emilyetalbert715@yahoo.com

  5. avatar Darci reply

    Happy, happy anniversary! I loved reading this and seeing all of your pictures. Here’s to many more happy years for both of you…

  6. avatar Emily Ley reply

    Ah, this made me choke up a little at the end. Beautiful. Big love and prayers for a lifetime of happiness and adventure to you and Ari. Lots of love, Emily Ley

  7. avatar Tessa, Utah Bride and Groom reply

    Such a sweet story! Thanks so much for sharing! This totally made my day :) Happy anniversary!

  8. avatar Leslie reply

    Awww, made me tear up a little! Thanks for sharing, that was fun! :) Happy anniversary!

  9. avatar Tabitha | Elite Bridal Concierge™ reply

    Happy Anniversary!! I love that you shared your wedding story. May God continue to strenghen the love and bond between the two of you. Cheers to a lifetime together!! :-)

  10. avatar Cathy and David Photographers reply

    Awww. So cute. ^_^

  11. avatar Sofia reply

    Lara (and Ari !!!),I’m a huge fan of swsmag…and by huge I mean I check it twice daily (hopeless romantic and lover of sparkly things that I am). However, even though I check the site more than would probably be recommended, your wedding story was by far the best. Your website indulges my fantasies of my "if I had my dream wedding" wedding and is perfect for the dreamer in me. All that aside, I can’t tell you how touching your fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, Vegas Vegas Vegas!!!, no flowers, no fuss, and yet absolute perfection your wedding collage was. Though I’m not engaged yet (but soon…I hope…arggh why isn’t he getting his act together!), I appreciate posts like these because even though I can get caught up in the itty bitty details of what I would want my wedding to be like, in reality it is only about two people. Two people who love each other and just want to get hitched! I send all the love and happiness to you two on your anniversary! xoxo,SofiaP.S. You looked stunning!

  12. avatar Raquel_Cloud9 reply

    Wow – thanks so much for sharing your wedding memories with all of us! It’s very evident that the love you two share is something truly special. Happy Anniversary Lara and Ari! Here’s to love, health and happiness!Cheers! Raquel

  13. avatar Joey (aka Belle n Ga) reply

    Happy Anniversary Lara and Ari! Love your wedding pics and you’re both such a handsome couple! Pensacola’s a great place–we’re getting married there in August!Wishing you a special day filled with love and happiness! Thank you for sharing your memories w/us!!!

  14. avatar Sharon reply

    I just happened by … beautiful dress …http://www.ashortguidetoahappymarriage.com

  15. avatar Brettan reply

    Wow, it’s just so crazy that someone so involved in weddings, planning amazing weddings, talking about amazing weddings, whose life is weddings, could have a wedding with so little to-do. I mean, pictures from a friend’s digital camera and no flowers? It’s kind of awesome to me. It just goes to show that weddings are beautiful and incredible but you really don’t need the fanfare, you just need a lot of love. I’ve watched couples get so wrapped up in the wedding part I wondered if they remembered the marriage part. Your wedding is one day, your life together is every single day after that. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for sharing. Hope Lara doesn’t mind me reposting one or two of these photos on our blog because it’s a message brides everywhere should get. Awesome. Thank you!

  16. avatar Dennis reply

    Happy anniversary, Lara and Ari! Way to go with the Vegas wedding, lol. You’ve got some great wedding day stories.

  17. avatar Brit reply

    Too sweet of a story! So glad ya’ll shared this! Happy Anniversary to you, Lara and Ari!

  18. avatar Ashley reply

    Happy Anniversary!! This was a lovely read and such sweet photos! :) Thanks for sharing!

  19. avatar Laura Reaux reply

    A real-life simple, sweet story of a couple getting married… pretty darn cool. :) Congrats, Lara & Ari! My husband and I make 8 years of marriage this year and we truly love and enjoy each other more now than ever (after 12 years as a couple).

  20. avatar Bryan reply

    Happy Anniversary! And there’s nothing wrong with a Nikon Coolpix. The wedding photos are great.

  21. avatar Laura Brooks reply

    I can’t believe you were married in Vegas! Very surprising! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your dress! Congratz on 4 years and hope you have many many more.

  22. avatar Anna Kim Photography reply

    Congratulations!! Too funny about being locked out of the room. Am glad you were able to celebrate in Vegas at the Wynn! Aloha!

  23. avatar Amy Rubins reply

    Lara,Congratulations on 4 years – here’s to many many more. As a side note, my husband and I eloped to Vegas at the Paris Hotel after he proposed in Paris! It couldn’t have been more perfect.Hope to see you in Grand Cayman – Amy

  24. avatar Betty W reply

    Happy Anniversary!!!! You look just as beautiful today!!

  25. avatar It’s A Jaime Thing reply

    Aww, congratulations and a very happy (belated) anniversary!!! What a neat post…I truly enjoyed reading it. ;) A beautiful reminder that "all you need is love". Okay, a gorgeous couple, a beautiful dress and fabulous Las Vegas doesn’t hurt either. ;) Cheers and thanks for sharing your pics, Lara!!!Sincerely,Jaime

  26. avatar Feuza reply

    thank for sharing these, congrats of your 4th anniversary, great advice

  27. avatar Trisha Dean reply

    I have the biggest smile ever on my face! An awesome recap. Thank you both for sharing!!

  28. avatar A-line wedding dresses reply

    Love your wedding pics and you’re both such a handsome couple!

  29. avatar Break out your bowties! Airplanes + Blazers WPPI « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] photographers (about 15,000!) are about to do their yearly invasion of Las Vegas. Las Vegas has a very special place in my heart. Save Facebook it Tweet […]

  30. avatar 2011: LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PLAY SMALL « Lara Casey reply

    […] business in 2011! March 18th of this year marks our five year wedding anniversary.  We actually got married in Vegas. Yes, Vegas. Ari and I still trying to decide what to do to celebrate. At the end of May, I'll be […]

  31. avatar Sit a Spell: Lara Casey « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] by Millie Holloman 1.  My husband, Ari, and I eloped to Vegas after just having met five months before.  It was so not like either of us, but it was perfect. […]

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