March 12, 2019

Jenny and Dustin’s Hurricane Free Wedding // Mandalay Bay + MGM Grand // Las Vegas

If you have been following us, then you know about Jenny & Dustin. These two had their wedding canceled three times due to Hurricanes in Texas…THREE. TIMES.

We met them and decided to do their wedding as a gift since they had lost so much money and were emotionally drained from the whole experience- can you imagine? I mean, planning one wedding is enough, but to start over three times! Holy hell batman.  

We have a great story about how their wedding came together on another post. . . find it here!

After 4 years of being engaged, 3 canceled weddings and 3 different dates, March 12th, 2018 was the day to go down in history for the Morgan family. Here’s how it went…

This wedding started the day after a very celebratory night out for the couple and their friends as they headed up historic Fremont Street and had THE BEST TIME in our epic upgraded Penthouse Suite at the top of Mandalay Bay. We cried tears of joy.

After arriving in Jenny’s complimentary suite at Mandalay Bay the next morning, it all began to feel very emotional and very real. More emotional than a usual wedding day for Michaela Joy Photography. We have been helping to search, secure and facilitate most aspects of this wedding in Vegas, and it felt almost like having our own wedding all over again.

Special, so special. And very near and dear to our hearts.

Yes, there is 100 percent emotion at the beginning of a wedding day and we love it. The nervous energy the excitement, the chaos, the family, the lack of family … as much as we ask all the questions, we truly never know what we are walking into. This day was one of “I just hope everything goes great today and I know it will because these two deserve to be married.” However, I won’t lie that there was not something in the back of my mind, an ever-readiness to roll with whatever punches and wrenches that were jabbed at us.

First off, it was so great to have our video team from RR Partners (who were doing the video coverage for the Las Vegas Visitors Bureau) in town to help out. Since Tim was with Dustin, I did not have an assistant and they came to my rescue when hanging the dress and figure out figuring out lighting scenarios.

Jenny was totally chill–which makes sense as she is just a really lovely mellow person. Truth be told, she also wasn’t feeling well as they all obviously had a great time the night before she was rallying hard with Pepto and mimosas. Ha! Despite that, she just looked gorgeous and her friend Candy was there to help her get her Vegas-glam on.

Then it was time to meet the boys in Mandalay Bay rotunda near all the water structures right on Las Vegas Blvd. This moment was so sweet, as Dustin just burst into tears–we were all just so happy to be there.

After that we cruised Las Vegas Blvd. and got ready to meet up with the family to go to the infamous Welcome to Vegas sign. Wearing a wedding dress at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign is essentially a front-of-the-line access pass (which was awesome). We had a great time playing around under the sign and then got ready to come back for the Ceremony.

It’s also really entertaining wandering through the casino because in Vegas you can’t get anywhere without going through the casino first. All the hootin’ and hollering that we also received outside on the street was just as energy-charged as inside the casino.

It truly is like being a celebrity on your wedding day and it’s so fun to be a part of it and capture it on camera! There’s a photo we love of them getting snacks in the little store area outside the wedding chapel.

Once everyone had arrived for the Ceremony, a big surprise for the family was Elvis walking Jenni down the aisle. He even sang while walking her down the aisle! It was kind of the coolest thing, most “Vegas” thing ever. He was a really great Elvis impersonator named Adam. (The next time you’re in Vegas and need an Elvis, do yourself a favor and look up Adam.)

The Ceremony was very heartfelt, yet non-traditional and high energy. Jenny and Dustin even danced and sang along with Elvis. A real musical style sort of nuptials.

After the I-Dos, everyone got to take some great photos with Elvis and then we had a little bit of a break to travel to the MGM Grand where the reception was to be held. One thing we learned the hard way was that if you get married in Vegas, having multiple venues is not your friend. Because just like you have to walk through a casino to get everywhere, the MGM Grand is barely a block away from the chapel it still took us about an hour to get there. Lesson learned!

Everyone arrived before the couple at the Forever Chapel and it really looks like they took a beautiful, rustic country wedding in a field and put it inside a high-end hotel chapel reception area. They had very unique artisan collector’s items and all the amazing barbecue food. Plus a great cake! We loved their great dance party and all their friends had an amazing time. There was a GIF creator photo booth provided by MGM Grand, and a great DJ to keep the party going.

During the toast, they surprised us by thanking us and gifting us a book to hold all of our thank you cards that we have and will get in the future. It was really sweet that they assumed that we get so many thank you’s from our clients, which is amazingly very true!

This book sits on our coffee table and reminds us of how important and amazing our job is. Just like a wedding photo album, it was very thoughtful to give us such an amazing gift.

After the reception when everyone had danced their heart out, it was time to go to the after party at Caesars Palace High Roller. If you haven’t been to the High Roller, it’s pretty epic–think of the London Eye on a small scale. You can rent out a single cart with a full bar car, and go around a full turn or two within your 30 minutes to an hour. The wonderful people at High Roller gifted this amazing experience, and the views of the Vegas Strip are unbeatable. (Tim skipped out on this part as he’s so tall and this thing is rather tiny, especially for how many people can fit in it. We had two cars and let me tell you, there were lots of shots).

After we got off the High Roller, Dustin pulled us aside and basically made Tim and I cry on command. We will never forget what he said… he told us, “In my job every day I am surrounded by people who are struggling and sometimes I forget how important my job is and how important it is to be kind to one another. And you two have reminded me to reignite my passion for humans and why it is that I do what I do. So thank you for that reminder and thank you for your kindness, I will definitely be paying it forward.”

Dustin is a nurse in Houston and up until recently was working with primarily cancer patients and those in the ICU unit. I mean, we’re just photographers, who are nice to people. Dustin is very important.

But it just goes to show that regardless of what your daily life is, it’s important to sit back and remember why you do what you do and to be grateful for all of those who you are surrounded by. And be grateful for what you have, because it can all be gone so quickly.

We are eternally grateful for their kindness and for MGM Mandalay Bay. Furthermore, and all of our industry friends who helped make this extraordinary wedding come together. A big thanks to Richard Photo Lab who started the process with us. After they were on board with film processing sponsorship we thought -hey, why don’t we just ask all her friends and see who wants to be involved. Turns out everyone we asked wanted to give, and be a part of something kind and good. The world has been a hate filled place in recent years. So this kindness project worked out… so perfectly in fact, and we could not be more proud and humbled by our community, and new life long pals. 

One year later Jenni and Dustin had a wonderful anniversary in Houston. We keep in contact via FB or random texts of Hi! from Cali! We still have a couple of bottles of the blueberry wine they sent us after their wedding. Yes, Dustin makes blueberry wine in his garage. When asked the recommended dosage he said, “Until you can’t feel your face”…Blueberry wine, people–be careful!

Photography >> Michaela Joy Photography

Scans | Prints >> Richard Photo Lab

Film >> Kodak Alaris

Ceremony >> Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Reception >> MGM Grand Las Vegas

Save the Date >> Good Day Sign & Design

Bridal Shoes >> Bella Belle Shoes

Suit >> The Black Tux

Welcome Sign >> Arrow Art Studio

Bridal | Maid Gowns >> BHLDN

Photographer Hair Stylist >> Crown Salon SF

Film Crew >> RR Partners | Visit Las Vegas

After Party >> High Roller Las Vegas | Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas

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