Summerlin residents Lori Nelson-Kraft and Paul Kraft grew up in Michigan four miles from each other but never met. Fast forward to Las Vegas when in 2012 their chance meeting at Red Rock Resort changed the course of their personal histories.
Lori, who at the time was an executive at Station Casinos, was overseeing and hosting an event for her alma mater, Eastern Michigan University, in the stunning Grand Villa Suite at Red Rock. Paul attended the event to visit with his brother who is an executive at the university.
Lori, who says she was having an “off” night, turned down Paul’s offer to join him for a drink that night, but fortunately, he persisted with an email a week later and one drink turned into a budding long-distance relationship that lasted more than eight months before Paul permanently relocated to Las Vegas. Paul, who was living in Southern California, had recently brought Wahoo’s Fish Tacos to Las Vegas as the popular brand’s then Nevada franchisee.
With their Michigan roots as a foundation, a shared passion for fitness and an active lifestyle, and their busy and successful careers, the couple grew their relationship over the next several years. Then, on the evening of July 4, 2017, while soaking in the signature Grucci fireworks show from Red Rock’s backyard pool area, the same fireworks show which Lori had managed over the years for Station Casinos, Paul casually popped the question. “Why don’t we get married on the balcony where we first met overlooking the fireworks show next Fourth of July,” he asked. Lori recalls her initial sarcastic response which quickly melted into sheer joy: “Is that a proposal?” she quipped.
So, on July 4, 2018, in front of their closest friends and family members, Lori and Paul said “I do” in the same suite where they met. On cue, they ushered their guests to the balcony to take in the spectacular Red Rock fireworks show that made their Independence Day wedding one for the books with jaw-dropping, fireworks-infused photos to match.
“As soon as the fireworks started, our guests finally understood why we were getting married on the Fourth of July and on a Wednesday, no less,” said Lori. “It all came full circle at that moment.”
Lori, who first moved to Summerlin in 2001, was drawn to the community for its vision as place where quality of life was second to none. When her then employer, R&R Partners, also made the move to Summerlin, her decision to put down roots in the community was further reinforced. “I became a Summerlin junkie from day one,” she laughs. “And with Downtown Summerlin, the Ballpark, City National Arena and more, my expectations for Summerlin have easily been met and then some. Everything from family to friendship to career is here within reach.”
Paul, who sold his Wahoo’s franchise a few years ago and now manages a small real estate portfolio, shares his wife’s passion for the community and its encouragement of a healthy, outdoor, active lifestyle. The couple is generally out the door each morning at 5 a.m. for a walk with rescue Labrador, Stella, headed for their morning coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts where their order is always ready and waiting. While Lori enjoys fitness memberships at Lifetime and 24-Hour Fitness, the couple can often be seen on runs throughout the Willows, and a perfect Friday night date generally includes dinner out, and typically within walking distance. Paul is an avid golfer whose favorite Summerlin courses include Bear’s Best and Red Rock Country Club. It’s no wonder Lori describes the couple’s lifestyle as “Summerlin fit.”
Lori, who is now Sr. VP of Communications and Government Affairs for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, says “Downtown Summerlin is our jam. We frequently walk there with Stella for meals, drinks, shopping and just hanging out. Outside of work, we are happily and contentedly living in the Summerlin bubble,” she said. “We never intend to leave. We want to ensure we have a front row seat to the fireworks show – year after year.”