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!