On June 6, 2009 at 3:30pm Pacific/6:30pm Eastern, yours truly went where so many have gone before her: down the aisle in a Vegas Chapel. Now, I realize that the Thing to Do is get married unusually but for me, getting married in Vegas IS unusual. So what if over 100,000 weddings take place there a year (the second largest destination after Istanbul, Turkey)? For a gal raised in a Southern Baptist church where they don’t believe in drinking OR dancing at weddings (or any other time for that matter), doing Vegas is wild and crazy for me.
Another thing that made this wedding unusual was that while we had 25 friends and family with us for the ceremony in Vegas, friends and family back home in North Carolina (and elsewhere along the East Coast) were able to view the wedding via webcam. When I returned, I realized Richard Horne, the author of the list, had posted the ceremony video link on his blog as well, sharing my “unusual” wedding with all of his contacts as well. He joined the club a week later, getting married unusually himself! http://design-monkey.blogspot.com/2009/06/1011-ttd-no-88-get-married-unusually.html
So how did everything go?
It started on the plane on the way out there. We left Raleigh at 9:00am and although it was WAY before any time I have ever started drinking, most of our friends were buzzed by the time we landed. The drinking continued as we made our way to the hotel, Bud Light being available in the limo ride to Mandalay Bay. We stopped off quickly to have a group shot in front of the Vegas Welcome sign.
Alex and I had to run “errands” upon arriving in Vegas – getting the Marriage License and picking up his tux. Just in case you were wondering, the Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau is open from 8:00am-Midnight. I think it would be fun to go by at 11:30pm and see who have decided in their drunken haze to get married to the guy/girl they just met a couple of hours ago. By the time we completed our errands, it was time to freshen up and meet the group to go see the Cirque de Soleil show Ka. It should be noted now that while Alex and I were running around, the group continued to drink and some were having difficulty standing.
After the show, we moved on to Old Vegas and I got to gamble a little bit. I like Roulette. I quicky doubled my money and should have walked away, but I was still in the mood to play. When I returned to the amount I started with, I cashed out. So they let me play for free for an hour and half.
Although having gone to bed well past midnight Vegas time, Alex and I both woke up the next morning at 6:30am (9:30am EST). He went to the gym and I started preparing for the Pool Day. We had a Cabana reserved by the pool and I wanted to get there early. It was actually quite windy, which I had not prepared for, and apparently Vegas was having a “cold snap” while we were there; the weather was pleasant and in the low-80s.
I set about trying to reserve lounge chairs near the cabana and was successful in throwing towels on 14 chairs, but soon found this was more trouble than it was worth. Although we had the cabana as early as 9am, most people were sleeping in, getting breakfast, and doing their own thing. In the meantime, I was having to increasingly fight for the chairs as the pool got more and more crowded. After having a slight run in with some very unpleasant BEE-OTCHES, I gave up trying to reserve the chairs. Eventually most of our friends showed up around 1pm; by that time there being only 5 of the original 14 left.
That night it was the plan to have bachelor/bachelorette parties. The girls were going to N9Ne Steakhouse at the Palms, to be followed by drinks and dancing at the clubs of the Palms. Not only did friends attend, but also Alex’s mother, two aunts, and two sisters joined in – 12 of us in all. Dinner was fabulous and afterwards, we made our way to the Ghostbar. The Ghostbaris high atop one of the two towers of the Palms hotel and the view was spectacular. I could have stayed here all night but the girls were in the mood to dance and the Ghostbar wasn’t really a dancing kind of club. We moved the festivities to Moon which was interesting, but soon became so crowded, dancing consisted of bobbing your head.
My feet were tired, I was getting crushed by people, and I was getting married the next day. I called it a night around 12:30am. Alex came in around 4:00am and proceeded to tell me all about his night (seemingly unaware that I had been in the middle of doing something else – sleeping).
We both awoke again the next morning at 6:30am, although I managed to roll over and sleep a bit longer. I had a hair appointment at 12 noon and Lydia, my maid of honor, met me there. I had had my hairdresser here in North Carolina write down exactly what we had done in our “dry run” and even took photos. I showed the Vegas hairdressers and they did a good job. One thing I had not counted on, though, was the fact that I was in the land of dry air where curls stay intact. Here in North Carolina’s humidity, I can put all the product in my hair that I want to; the curls fall out in 30 minutes. So my hair stayed in little ringlets, all the way through till the next day.
I returned to the room to find Alex back in bed. Alex is 7 years my senior and in his “old age,” he seems to have lost his ability to bounce back after a hard night of drinking. I had underlined to both him and his friends that I truly did not care what he did during his bachelor party, only that he not drink too much to warrant the guaranteed hangover the next day. Alas, here he was, 2 hours before his wedding, and he was trying to sleep off a hangover.
I was to report to the Chapel 45 minutes prior to the service; he was supposed to be there at 3:00. Our wedding package included a bottle of champagne, which Lydia and I were able to almost consume in our time waiting in the dressing room. The time leading up to the wedding was filled with wedding people flitting in and out with flowers, papers to sign, tying bows, etc. When they came to get Lydia, that was the first, and only, time I freaked a bit. It had not occurred to me that I would be left alone at any point, so when they said, “Lydia, its time.” I yelled out, “NO! Lydia! Don’t leave!” They let her stay another minute, but then they took her, leaving me in the room with only my thoughts. Tears lept to my eyes and I quickly willed them away (I couldn’t mess up my makeup!) and got myself together.
They came to get me and sure enough, just like in the Wedding Planner with J-Lo, all the wedding people had little bugs in their ears. When they placed me in front of the doors, just-so, they announced to the someone “We have the bride.” It would have been awesome if she had said “The bride has landed.”
The doors open and I almost burst into tears again (this time because of happiness, not because of freaking out) but I again will them away, this time by laughing. Its my coping mechanism-laughing or making jokes. I remembered just in time to wave at the camera since I know people, especially my parents, were watching back home.
The wedding ceremony was up for a couple of months after the wedding. I will add this commentary. When it got to the part in the vows where Alex says “and all my worldly possessions,” the camera is on his face. If you could see my face, you’d see me make a face like “Oh Yeah!”-the people that could see me started laughing, which you can hear in the video. You can also hear Lydia say “Sweet!”
Also, Alex looks super serious the whole time; most people just thought he was nervous. The truth is, he was concentrating on not throwing up on me. He commented afterwards that he was surprised by how jovial I seemed to be-again, just my coping mechanism.
Afterwards, we took a bizillion photos. And then we met the group at RM Moonen’s Seafood at Mandalay Bay. Everyone seemed to be impressed by the food, commenting that the steaks were even better than the ones we had had the night before at N9ne Steakhouse (I wouldn’t know; I had the crab cakes, which were the best I’ve ever had). The server dude was awesome, bringing me champagne (even though it wasn’t “included” in our dinner plan). As we were leaving, he even gave me a glass “to go”-upon seeing it, the bartender took it and poured it out, saying that as it was my special day, I deserved better than that, and proceeded to pour me a better champagne. I was impressed and grateful but there was no reason to pour out the first glass; I had a perfectly good stomach he could have poured it out in.
Alex and I returned briefly to the room so that he could change into more comfortable shoes (I had already changed into flip flops, which garnered some odd looks, but I didn’t care. My feet hurt.) We were tempted to just stay in the room-we were exhausted, but made our way to the MIX lounge. We had a large area all to ourselves and the view from the balcony was awesome (although I may say that the Ghostbar’s view was even better). Even the toilet in the ladies room had a view.
Because everyone had been drinking since early Thursday morning, I think most of our friends had had about enough by Saturday night. However, we had 6 bottles of liquor we had to drink and we were not making much of a dent. So what is the classy thing to do? Pour the liquor into water bottles and smuggle them back home in our luggage. (Two years later we still have the bottle of Bombay Sapphire). Not to worry, we took care of the two bottles of Vodka and the one bottle of Crown.
The next day, Sunday, was my first day I felt free enough to truly enjoy myself and explore Vegas. Most of our friends were leaving that day and so Alex and I walked the strip. We rode the roller coaster at New York, New York (didn’t get a chance to do the one at the Stratosphere), saw the Bellagio fountains and the interior “gardens” of the Bellagio. We also went to this bar at Mandalay Bay called Minus 5 Ice Bar. The gimmick is that everything in the lounge is made entirely from ice; the walls, the seats, the tables, ice sculptures (including ice chandeliers), and best of all, the glasses! We upgraded to the fur coats and had to carefully hold our ice glasses with both hands and place them on coasters, lest they slip off of the ice tables. The drinks were yummy and Alex and I both thought the experience was one of the highlights of the trip (you know, other than the whole getting married thing). Afterwards, we finally got to gamble a bit. I didn’t win on Sunday, and after I lost $100, I quit. We ended up going to bed at 3am, which sucked because we had to get up at 6:30am for our flight.
So. The wedding went smoothly, no SNAFUs or crises. I think all of our friends enjoyed themselves. I had not considered the fact that once I arrived in Vegas I would go into “super special event planner mode” which shouldn’t be a surprise as that’s my nature and MO. So I think I’d like to go back one day, just to enjoy Vegas and see the rest of the city.