Sidenote: It was only as I delved into my wedding memories, pictures and videos that I realize how much blog fodder was produced during just one long weekend in Vegas. This might not be the last Viva Las Wedding post I ever write. We’ll see.
7 years ago. The distant past. Back in the days before we had any idea how to raise a kid, what a 401k was for, why we should care about health insurance or how to cook a meal that didn’t involve pizza.
Shortly after we got engaged, Bob and I made the rather large decision to have a destination wedding. The location was a no-brainer – we absolutely loved Las Vegas and it was one of our most frequent vacation destinations. We knew that we could have an amazing, beautiful wedding on a (very) low budget. We also knew that it would cut out the crap that comes with making a wedding guest list – we could invite our closest friends and family but we knew that the creepy in-laws who would only be seeking a free prime rib dinner and open bar would not make the journey. Our plan worked and we not only stayed on budget, but with only a few exceptions of people who couldn’t come, ended up with a group of just over 30 of our nearest and dearest family and friends.
When you choose to get married in Vegas, the sky is literally the limit when it comes to what kind of wedding you can have. You can exchange vows in the poshest of beautiful chapels or say, “I Do” with the same efficiency of a McDonald’s by marrying at the drive-thru wedding chapel.
We chose the slightly ritzier option and got married at the beautiful Paris Hotel. Our reception was held in one of the fine dining restaurants in Paris. After our reception we boarded a party bus with our bridal party and immediate family and hit the strip with our photographer for a photo tour.
As you might expect, planning a wedding nearly 2,500 miles from home can get a little hectic. You have to ship or bring on the plane every last little item from favors to programs to oh yeah, the wedding dress, shoes, etc. Of course, planning from so far away does give you the slightest bit of freedom to throw up your hands regarding some of the things that traditionally create bridezillas. You simply have to say, “It will be beautiful. I’ll leave it to the professionals.”
One of the things that I DID make sure that I took care of might sound a little weird. You may not realize it, but Sin City is one of the most popular spots in the world for companies to host annual meetings and conventions. So before we settled on a date for our most special day, I made sure to check the Las Vegas Convention Schedule. Our date of 3/12/06 checked out – we’d miss the National Consumer Electronics Show, NBA All-Star Weekend and a handful of other popular events that draw massive crowds to the desert oasis.
FINALLY it was time to hop on our plane and race each other to the alter! Everything was was off without a hitch. Our guests were trickling into town, our hotel room at Paris was great, we had a couple of days to run last minute errands and spend lots of time with our friends and family.
Look at us! What wee little babies we were!
The weekend started out calmly enough. Well, besides the fact that I had planned for the average high temp for Vegas in March of around 70 degrees and it was around maybe 50 degrees at the WARMEST. (No lie – on the morning of our wedding it SNOWED in VEGAS.)
But before long, we started to notice a pattern.
Everywhere we went (and I mean EVERYWHERE) the people that we encountered seemed to have one question for us. Here’s how every conversation went:
Them: Ya’ll here for the races?
Us: Nope, we’re here to get married.
Them: Married?! Cool. We’re here for the races.
So what we quickly discovered was that on the very same day as our wedding, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was hosting its annual NASCAR race – which also meant roughly 250,000 NASCAR fans would be descending upon the town.
Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against NASCAR, nor anyone who likes NASCAR. This story is simply about the way that spending a weekend amongst a quarter million NASCAR fans ended up infiltrating my WEDDING CEREMONY.
Two days before the blessed event.
Bob and I stopped by the Paris chapel to drop off our music and go over last minute details with our wedding coordinator. As we stepped off the elevator we saw two young guys – 21ish in age – hovering over the receptionist. Each had a large oil can of Foster’s Beer and they were very obviously hitting on the poor girl. Their attention turned to us as we walked up.
Them: How’s it goin’?
Us: Pretty good, you?
Them: Ya’ll here for the races?
Us: Nope, we’re here to getting married.
Them: MARRIED? Like, married married?
Us: Yep, married married.
Them: *hoisting Fosters cans in the air* Well, GIT-R-DONE!
That night. Joint bachelor/bachelorette party on the Vegas Strip… because when your bestest friends are all together in Vegas, you party it up together! The night was a sea of Bellagio Fountain shows, many shots and other beverages and more NASCAR jackets than I have ever seen in my life. No lie, at one point we created a drinking game based solely on NASCAR jackets. Excellent.
So as you can probably tell, this whirlwind weekend was basically NASCAR immersion. It was everywhere we looked and literally the only thing that people all around us were talking about.
Sunday came and with it our wedding ceremony. We made it through our vows (despite Bob weeping like a man baby 😉 ), lit the unity candle, exchanged the rings. The only thing standing in our way before partying with friends, family and a seriously legit Elvis impersonator was THE KISS.
Watch the video below. Turn the volume up. Can you hear what I say to Bob before our first ever kiss as a married couple?
Did you hear it? It’s super quiet, even with the sound turned up. But right around the 25-26 second marker the microphone was kind enough to pick up MY voice saying “GIT-R-DONE” to Bob, just before sealing the deal with a kiss. Oh yes, that really happened.
To this day my husband teases me that out of everything crazy, silly or outlandish that he has ever done or said, I AM THE ONE who chose to interject that gem into one of our most important life moments.
I will never, ever, ever live that one down. I will also never forget (nor will our guests) one amazing long weekend in March spent in chilly Las Vegas among some of NASCAR’s very finest fans. A destination wedding is a big gamble. You toss the dice and hope that years after your wedding you’re still happy with your choice. I can’t look at our wedding pictures without grinning like a schoolgirl. I wouldn’t have done it any other way!
Viva Las Vegas!