Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Vegas Wedding

My husband and I will be celebrating our 2nd anniversary a week from today, so I thought I'd share the story of our wedding with you.

We got married in Las Vegas. Now, I know some of you may be thinking, ooh, that's classy...

Just hear me out, OK? (BTW, this gets a bit lengthy, but there are a lot of pretty pictures and some pretty good advice if you're thinking about going this route!)

When we first got engaged, we started looking for venues in San Antonio.When we couldn't find what we wanted for a price we were willing to pay, we started thinking outside the box.

We thought about getting married on a cruise. You have a ceremony followed by a short reception on board before you launch, then your guests leave and you set sail on your fabulous honeymoon cruise. The only problem was we couldn't find a cruise with the destination we wanted over the dates we needed. (We had a very specific set of dates to work with if I wanted my best friend and maid of honor to be there, as she was getting her masters in London at the time).

This is my BFF and me in Vegas during my wedding week

Then, we thought about a destination wedding. Somewhere gorgeous and beachy with the waves crashing in the background at sunset.... Problem there: cost. And logistics. Again.

When someone jokingly threw out the idea of Vegas, I laughed at first, but then I did a little research. Turns out, Vegas weddings aren't as cheesy as they seem on TV or in the movies. Don't get me wrong--there are some chapels with drive through lanes where you can choose to be married by Elvis in gold lame'. But there are some that are beautiful. And tasteful. And dare I say classy?

After some pretty extensive research, we settled on The Chapel of the Flowers. Their website is great, easy to work with, and not at all misleading. You can never be too sure how real website pictures are, but in this case, they were spot on!

We ended up going with the "Ceremony and Strip Tour with LV Sign". Now, if you've seen my 50 States Bucket List, you know I had to choose this package. It provided limo service between the our hotel and the chapel as well as an hour long limo tour of the strip, which ended at the famous sign, where we had some great photo ops.

Once we decided on the chapel and dates, we started looking for hotels. We used my go-to website, www.kayak.com to find the best flight and hotel combo. We scored a deal on a suite at The Venetian with a fourth night free if you paid for 3. Since we were already planning on being there that long, it was perfect! It came with some dining and casino credits as well :). 

The day after we arrived, we had some business to take care of. We had to:
1. Get my dress steamed and ready to wear
2. Get our marriage license and
3. Meet with the folks at the chapel

1. I had to cram pack my wedding gown into a carry-on sized bag. There was no way on God's green earth that I was going to risk checking it. For about 17 1/2 reasons. This scared the crap out of me. Would I be able to find someone who could steam the wrinkles out and get it photo ready on short notice? Of course. I just called the front desk at The Venetian and they took care of it in house in a matter of hours. It was fabulous! I also didn't wear a veil, so I didn't have to worry about that. (I wore a headpiece instead)

2. One thing movies and TV shows don't tell you is that you actually do have to have a marriage license to be legally married in Vegas, It's not quite so easy to find yourself in an (I Don't Even Know My) Last Name by Carrie Underwood situation. The Marriage License Bureau does stay open until midnight though, so you have well into the night to decide to take the plunge.

3. Once we got that taken care of, we went to visit the chapel where we were pleasantly greeted by one of the coordinators. We were walked through the game plan for the wedding and ran down a punch list of details. At this point we opted for an additional 45 minute photo session with a professional photographer to help remember the day.

One downside to our package is that we had to get ready in our hotel, not on site at the chapel (there are packages that include a dressing area, but we didn't pick any of those). Our group had 3 different rooms at our hotel, so we split up and got ready in each suite. I HIGHLY recommend having at least 2 rooms in the same hotel to do this.

(Yep, i did my own hair and makeup)

Once we were all ready, we met in the lobby of our hotel. From there, we walked to a couple of different photo op locations that we had decided on the day before. The strip is a phenomenal place to take pictures. I mean, it was designed to be a paradise for everyone. There are gorgeous, fantastical places recreating the most romantic parts of the world. What could be better?

If you're wondering what we did about our family, we did what worked for us. Our train of though was this: your family will love you and be happy for you no matter what you decide. If they can and want to be there, they will. If not, they're still gonna love you when you come back home.

We ended up only having the 2 of us, our maid of honor/best man, our parents, his sister and her boyfriend and another couple who are like a second set of parents to me. That's 12 people total. And we were perfectly fine with that.

This is most of us (the limo only held 8). It's amazing this picture was even taken...it was right after we almost got into a knock down drag out territory fight. With Elvis. In his pink Cadillac. Over a parking space. Awesome.
For the rest of our families and friends, the chapel offered a web broadcast our our wedding ceremony.

That's us waving to everyone watching after the ceremony.
They also gave us a DVD copy of the ceremony, which we copied and gave out to our grandparents and showed at the party/reception we had after we got home.

All in all, a Vegas wedding was the perfect fit for us. Everything worked out perfectly, like it was meant to be, and my husband and I are living our happily ever after...

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