Engagement season is in full swing, and so is a growing trend called the “Micro-Wedding.” Not to be confused with elopements, micro-weddings require a wedding planner, all the accoutrements and details that accompany a large traditional wedding, and they do have a guest list of typically between 10-30 people. Another detail that sets micro-weddings apart from traditional weddings and elopements – many of them take place in unusual, off-beat locations that can’t accommodate large crowds, and many are outdoors in nature.

Sound interesting?

Meet McKenzi Taylor, a pioneer in micro-weddings, she has been marrying couples in remote, picturesque, outdoor locations with intimate guest counts for more than six years. Since the start of the pandemic, she’s watched her niche within the wedding industry explode!

Originally, a wedding photographer by trade, McKenzi and her husband Matthew wanted something different for their own nuptials years back. Being nature enthusiasts with a shared passion for rock climbing, the adventurous couple opted to take their vows with an intimate ceremony in the Las Vegas desert at Red Rock Canyon (one of their favorite rock climbing spots!). Surrounded by one of the most breathtaking visual wonders of the southwest, McKenzi and Matthew were wed.

“Our non-traditional wedding was so special because it was all about us,and the backdrop of Red Rock Canyon made our wedding pictures spectacular,” shares McKenzi. “I wanted to create similar moments for other couples through my company, Cactusthoughts Collective Weddings.

Now, in 2022, Red Rock Canyon, along with Nevada’s Valley of Fire, are two of McKenzi’s most popular locations to marry couples. McKenzi and her team scour the midwestern and western U.S. looking for outdoor, natural locations that look like something out of a fairytale. With special location permitting, she is able to wed her clients in these amazing locations that range from the Nevada desert to San Diego, California, and midwestern Black Hills, South Dakota. She is also looking to add Colorado to her offerings.

“What started for many couples as a way to circumvent COVID-19 with a smaller guest count and fresh air,” says McKenzi, “has turned into a first choice for so many couples who love the idea of making their big day all about them and a handful of special guests. So many of our clients tell us they never knew that exchanging vows in these tucked away, exotic locations was even possible.”

According to McKenzi, the majority of her couples who chose one of her Las Vegas-area locations are from out of town, with many couples coming from southwestern states including Texas and California. But, McKenzi notes that they also drive or fly in from all over the U.S., as well as Canada and even Europe, for the one of a kind wedding experience her company offers.

As for San Diego, “We get a lot of local southern Californians for our San Diego wedding locations, and a large amount of military couples who are stationed nearby.”

As for Black Hills, Keystone, South Dakota, which is tucked away near Mount Rushmore National Memorial, McKenzi shares, “Black Hills is a very popular and in demand location for Midwesterners to visit, and a lot of our clients in that region and excited that we provide the exclusive access for them to exchange their vows up there.”

What’s interesting, McKenzi’s shares, “We are seeing that couples and their guests are going a bit more black tie lately. They really like the contrast of dressed up, elegant attire against a backdrop of an outdoor and natural setting. I think it stems from people not being able to dress up for a couple years due to the pandemic. Extravagant hair, makeup and black tie are suddenly very popular.”

About the Author

McKenzi Taylor

Founder of Cactus Collective Weddings, McKenzi lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. She loves the business she’s built and is dedicated to getting the best of everything for her couples. When she’s not coordinating weddings, she’s searching for amazing venues to add to our collections or finding beautiful extra touches that complement your service.

Recently, she joined the board of directors for the Las Vegas chapter of the Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA), a group of professionals who are dedicated to bringing new standards to the Las Vegas wedding scene. On the rare occasions she’s not working, McKenzi enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and downtime with her young family.

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