On our wedding day, we woke up early to cloudless sky. The New York-New York hotel has two Starbuckses inside, which is rather convenient; but as Claire noted, they don’t have coffee makers in the hotel room, so it’s probably some big, evil, corporate conspiracy. We lazed around for a while with our sippy cups of coffee, flicking through the TV channels, and eventually roused ourselves to go and find a place to buy a shirt and tie. Took a while, actually. Who’d've thought it’d be so difficult to buy a white shirt, or a tie that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. But find them we did.
Some quesadillas and margaritas for brunch, and back to the hotel room with enough time to sit and watch the Alex Rodriguez news conference, before putting on our fancy clothes and taking a leisurely walk to the Little Chapel of the West. Even at that point – as we commented on the up escalator that it was the last up escalator we’d take as single people, and similarly on the down escalator’s that allowed pedestrians to cross the Strip – even at that point, it still felt quite abstract that we were about to get married. We smoked a couple of cigarettes, got some Tarantula Piss (that’s our new name for Gatorade which I’m very much hoping will catch on) from the gas station, and right on time, at the suggested fifteen minutes early, we arrived at the chapel. Into the office to complete the paperwork and pay the minister’s fee. We told the lady in the office that we didn’t have a witness, so she signed the marriage certificate there and then. We both forgot that everything had to be paid in cash, so to buy a postcard of the chapel, Claire had to root around in her handbag to find a dollar’s worth of coins.
We waited for the minister in the gazebo next to the chapel, did some kissing, took a few photos. Then the minister and some other dude with too much hair gel came along. The minister, Rev. Paul Graham, introduced himself in that warm tone that men of the cloth seem to have; and hair gel dude lead us into the chapel. It was a fairly small, simple place, but pretty nonetheless, especially as there seemed to be no Christian stuff on display, and, well, as an atheist, I would’ve felt a little weird getting married in front of a God I don’t believe exists.
The minister went up to the other end, and hair gel dude attached a radio mic to my jacket and put the transmitter thingy in my inside pocket. This was for the $75 DVD of the ceremony. I was beckoned to the front. The minister told me where to stand, and to turn so I could see Claire as she walked down the aisle. The recorded wedding music began, and that was the moment: for me, that was the moment when it all felt real. Seeing Claire looking beautiful, slightly self-consciously walking down the aisle, ending up stood next to me. I’m a lucky boy.
Rev. Graham started talking. My memory of what he said is very vague. I remember saying “I do” when the pause came. I remember Claire doing the same. The other words, though, I’m not sure if I remember the words we said, or just the words that you hear at most weddings. But what I do remember is looking into Claire’s eyes. I remember us putting rings on each other’s fingers, and I remember near the end, we crossed our eyes and belmed at each other. Then I kissed the bride. Woo hoo!
Hair gel dude came along and took a load of photos, telling us what to do: lean a bit closer, put your hand on her hip, kiss her cheek, close your eyes. All of which felt very unnatural. After we’d done that, Claire and I walked arm-in-arm back down the aisle and the minister rang the bell.
Don’t look at the next photo if you don’t wanna be sick in your mouth.
Some passers-by offered their congratulations, and we went around the corner to the vacant lot, and popped open the champagne. A blur of fun followed as we drank from the bottle, chuckled at how it was a bit wrong to be taking fun photos and spraying champagne while there was a homeless fellow sleeping next to an upturned shopping cart just a hundred feet away.
We went to the nearby Glass Pool motel, which we’d seen the day before, to ask if we could take some photos by the pool. A rather bemused Asian guy who didn’t seem to speak much English said we could, but seemed a bit pissy about, so we kept the pics to a minimum. We trundled along and joked about how white trash it would be for newlyweds to go into the McDonald’s we were passing by. So, we went into McDonald’s, giggled at the counter, taking slugs of champagne as we ordered two cheeseburgers.
After sitting outside and eating our wedding, err, burgers, we continued the giddiness walking back to the hotel, getting some congratulations from other tourists, and having our photo taken with a bunch of Japanese girls. Not sure why I have this particular expression on my face, but there you go…
Back at the hotel, we dropped off the marriage certificate and our passports, had some rum and Cokes, and got some cash so we could return to the chapel to pay for the CD-R of the photos that hair gel dude took. We took a taxi, and had our comedy and/or racist taxi driver moment. As the talk radio was talking about the death of a Wal-Mart employee during the post-Thanksgiving sales last year, the driver said, “You don’t wanna get between black people and their sales.” We waited until we were out of the cab before we burst out laughing. After picking up the CD-R, we nipped up the road and had our picture taken in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
Then, (and I’m sorry that this and the previous post have featured a lot of “and then”-type sentences, because it’s starting to sound like my teenage diary: and then I went up town and then I bought “New Gold Dream” and a quarter of strawberry bonbons and then I came home and played it three times cos it’s ace!), we got continued getting into our cups back at the Mandalay Bay bar, before heading back to New York-New York and heading towards the roller coaster. Oh yeh, that’s right, we went on the roller coaster on our wedding day. Frankly, I’m impressed with how cool that sounds…
What with its rolling and coastering, I took off my specs just to be safe, left them in one of the lockers, and away we went to get strapped into the yellow and black, New York cab-style cars. And a pretty sweet ride it is, too. There are two big, fast drops, a loop, and a bit where the track twists and you’re going forward upside down. (To get a feeling of what it was like, there’s this. Probably NSFW cos there’s a few swears.)
Ready for some more boozin’, we got one of those a-yard-of-margarita things – a big plastic pipe full of the stuff – and took a nice stroll along the Strip. Passed the bits that look like Paris, the bits that look like Monte Carlo, the bits that look like ancient Rome, the bits that look like Venice… My idea for a Las Vegas hotel/casi
no is one called Viva Las Vegas, where the building(s) looks like a scaled down model of all the other buildings on the Las Vegas Strip. And inside Viva Las Vegas I would do Flip Flop Flying: The Musical which would basically be me reciting blog entries (moaning about supermarkets, talking about how great hot dogs are, etc.) with lots of showgirls and tigers behind me. That would be sweet.
All the while, walking along, and seemingly oblivious to the fact that I was holding the hand of, ahem, my wife, dudes kept thrusting out their hands to try and give me the saucy cards with pictures of ladies and phone numbers on them. Apparently, I can get girls with names like Misty to come to my room for 35 dollars. They’d be “totally nude,” and I’d get a “full service.”
We stopped for a while to watch the corny pirate-themed show at Treasure Island, and wondered what the real Caesar would think of Caesars Palace and why there isn’t an apostrophe in the name. By this time, and after much stomping around, I was growing a nice squishy blister on one of my toes, so it was nice to pause for a while to watch the beautiful choreographed musical fountain thingy at the Bellagio.
All that walking made us hungry and we made ourselves feel ill with gluttony, eating really tasty food at P.F. Chang’s; swiftly followed by rolling into bed. Full, but very very happy to have been one half of a truly excellent wedding day.
Wednesday morning, we took it easy, checked out at the last possible moment, nipped over to the MGM Grand to check out the lions, and up to the Bellagio to have a mooch around their botanical gardens, all the time thinking that this very hotel is the place where George Brett – Hall of Fame third baseman for the Kansas City Royals – pooed his pants (if you’ve not heard the story, you should give it a listen; it’s the funniest thing you will hear today).
Soon enough, about 48 hours after arriving, we were back in the shuttle bus heading to the airport, having not gambled a single cent the whole time we were in Las Vegas. If, amongst the poker, black jack, and baccarat tables, they’d have had a snap table, we’d have been returning to Bellingham in a Learjet, suckers. This time we got seats next to each other, and flew back home, husband and wife.
Anyway, that’s waaaaaaaaay too many photos and words about Claire and I. There are, though, some bigger versions of some of these photos (and others not shown here) on my Flickr, should you want more Vegas-y stuff to look at.
Finally, thanks for all of your lovely comments. The missus and I greatly appreciate them.