Vow renewal accomplished! B is stuck with me for another 10 years, at least.
I could not have had a better time if Real Elvis had been at our vow renewal. I think I probably frightened our Elvis by launching myself at him when I saw he was the 70s Elvis I had hoped for. He recovered.
I may never recover from the amount of swaggering adorability in this photo, though.
Thor worked diligently to maintain that expression throughout the goings on, only breaking character for posed pictures where he was asked to smile. He was certain that if he held himself together like that, people would mistake him for an adult and let him play casino games. He is wiser to the ways of the world now.
We had a fantastic time in Vegas, made better by the company of our friends. Leslieann (who upped her bridesmaid game to Maid of Honor for me!) and Jeff, Andi and Matt, thanks so much for coming out. I don’t think we’d have had nearly as much fun without people to witness the hilarity.
And now, for a run down of the happenings:
1/23: The Arrival
We flew Spirit Airlines because when I bought our package a year ago, they were the least expensive way to travel. By the time we finished paying for luggage and seat reservations (Yes, you must pay to reserve an actual seat) we’d only saved $80. Their staff was terrific, and their service was very good, so I wouldn’t mind traveling with them again if the price and flight pattern matched what I wanted.
It was a little bit of an adventure getting 4 bags, a child, and a wheelchair (Mom still isn’t too steady on her feet) on and off three shuttle buses, through two airports, and into a rental car, but people were accommodating and when I was yelling, “I’m sorry! Excuse me! I can’t steer this thing!” as I rolled through pedestrian traffic with one hand wheeling Mom, and another trying to keep a bag upright.
We drove down the strip to the Stratosphere, where we stayed, and I considered it a good omen that the first song we heard blaring out of a casino was Our Song–Buffalo Soldier*. Thor was impressed with the sights, and very excited to get into our hotel.
Leslieann and Jeff came in a few hours later, and we spent a nice bit of time checking out the observation deck of the Stratosphere tower, the buffet, and whatever else we could find. The buffet was terrible. The observation deck was pretty nifty.
1/24: The Renewal
12 years to the day of our first date, and 10 years to the day of our wedding date, B and I headed down to the Wee Kirk to renew our vows. I wanted to go to the Wee Kirk because I fell in love with it back in 1992, when it was still called Wee Kirk O’ the Heather. Somewhere in the past decade, they dropped the O’ the Heather and pretty much all necessary upkeep.
Now, I could not have had more fun. I could not have had a better time. It was a blast. But in Las Vegas, you know that it has to be either stellar, or totally busted. There isn’t much in between. If I were a different woman, or if I’d had maybe 2 hours less sleep, this whole event would have gone very differently.
Our limo arrived around 1:30, and we were met by a portly driver, wearing a stained tuxedo shirt and dress pants. He ushered us into the limo like we were getting into a clown car. I had to squeeze in on a side where the door didn’t even open all the way because of how he was parked. Now, when you load a limo, you put people on the back facing bench first. You explain that they should get in butt first, swing their legs in, then swing across to the other bench and get settled. When that seat is full, you load the front facing bench.
Our driver loaded us in front facing bench first. It was comical. It was confusing. It was cramped.
As we drove, I noticed that part of the board separating the driver from the passengers was held together by clear packing tape. There were missing bits and bobs all over the back, and I felt like we were one pothole away from being towed to the chapel. I had thought $45 seemed inexpensive. I had thought right! Still, the driver was friendly and kind, and he led us up the stairs into the tiny waiting room of the chapel, where we would meet the wedding coordinator–also friendly and kind.
The chapel itself was badly in need of painting, weeding, and honestly, maybe an unattended unity candle. Mom read aloud from a sign that said, “…since 1940,” and Jeff looked around and nodded. The carpet needed cleaning, the display cases needed dusting, and the furniture needed updating.
We got a peek into the chapel which was so small I squealed a little. It was like seeing miniature furniture in a dollhouse. It was so tiny! And wee! And tiny! And the wee, little, tiny pews wouldn’t seat more than two people! And the little aisle was so skinny, it would barely fit one Elvis and one Bride.
But the flowers were beautiful. The flowers were more beautiful than what I had the first time around.
I was noticing this while the coordinator was stalling for time. Elvis was late. She seemed a little frantic, telling us that Elvis was stuck in traffic, so we were shifting things around and doing posed photography first. Off B, Thor and I went to a back room set up as a photography studio, where we posed and preened for the camera until the photographer (also friendly and kind) seemed to get bored. He called out to ask if Elvis was there yet. He was. The show could go on.
When I saw him, I cried, “It’s 70s Elvis! Yay!” And I threw my arms around his neck because if any Elvis belonged in this chapel, it was 70s Elvis. But after meeting him (also friendly and kind), I started to wonder if “Elvis is stuck in traffic,” was code for something else. I mean, I felt like our Elvis was very committed to the act. Very. Maybe his mojo was off because he was running late, or maybe his mojo was off because brides don’t usually try to put him in their pockets to carry home, but he was slightly confused for the duration.
As impersonators go, he was… Please keep in mind that I loved this. I loved it. It was perfect for me. I am an Elvis fan. I am an Elvis fan from way back. I was loving on Elvis (weirdly, I never had a romantic crush, I just loved him like he might be my awesome uncle) when I was in pre-school, and pretending the vacuum cleaner was my mic stand to do my own impersonations of him. I know Elvis. I can do a mean Elvis for a girl. Our Elvis needed a nap.
Our Elvis slipped in and out of an accent, really only hitting it right on when he said, “Thank you very much,” and “Priscilla.”
This Elvis didn’t do rock ‘n roll songs, so our set list was changed from C’Mon Everybody, The Wonder of You, and All Shook Up, to (I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You, The Wonder of You, and It’s Now or Never. I told the coordinator to just tell Elvis to sing what he loved, since he didn’t do the numbers I wanted. I figured if Elvis sang what he loved, we’d get a better show.
What we got a show of was Elvis’ backside every time he bent down to change the track on his karaoke boom box. No lie. Elvis had a karaoke boom box, which sat off the side of the pulpit, and every time he was going to sing, he had to bend over and find the right track. You know I found that more than amusing.
His singing was–His ceremony was a lot of fun. He seemed to be enjoying himself, and I know I was. When it was over, he posed gamely for pictures, then disappeared like he’d never been there at all.
We took some more photos, I paid, then Jeff taught the limo driver how to load his limousine. And we went back to the hotel for naps.
Matt and Andi joined us for dinner with their son, and it was pretty much the perfect capstone to an already perfect day.
1/25: All Dam Day
The boys took off for the Hoover Dam, leaving me to sleep in, shop with Leslieann, and nap. We took Thor casino hopping down the strip that evening, then headed downtown for dinner and a gander at the shark tank at the Golden Nugget. It was just good, easy fun. Fortunately, Thor did not see the bare-breasted nuns two paces away from us on Fremont, so I did not have to explain those to him. Unlike the poor mother who was telling her children, “Uh, those are just…church ladies.”
1/26: Home Again
I did seriously consider clothes-lining a woman in security at the McCarran airport (and actively hoped she would miss her flight, regardless of the karma), I did get ugly sick on the flight home, and I did have to wait an extra half hour for one bag because the conveyor belt broke, but all in all, I am telling you it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had in my life. My boys were happy. My friends were happy. I was happy. It was all good.
*All of our friends had really romantic, sweet Songs. We had no song. So, somewhere around 6 months into our dating relationship, we said that whatever song came on when we got into the car would be our song. Buffalo Soldier it is. Neither romantic, nor sweet, but I’ll bet you a hundie no one else requests this for a slow dance in honor of their love.