Las Vegas has always been on the list. Because: The Godfather II and Ocean’s 11. Also because, for the longest time, the only way I could picture myself getting married was with Elvis as the officiant. No matter how cheesy that sounds.
Hubby and I were talking about celebrating our 10th anniversary (we married young, OK). We wanted to go big, but not too much. We wanted our friends and family to attend. We wanted it to be fun and classy. As you can tell, we wanted a lot. So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: Vegas baby! “With Elvis?” he asked. I just grinned and nodded.
This is how we ended up in Vegas at the beginning of September 2015 with about 20 of our friends (including their kids – the youngest, my awesome godson, was only a few months old). Yes, we’ve organized a group trip with that many people! (Here’s how we did it.) We’re forever grateful for the love they showed us that weekend by making room for us in their very busy schedules. And we thank them for the amount of shenanigans that ensued.
Bow down to greatness
Whoever thought about Vegas is a genius. There’s no other way to frame it.
We flew in from Calgary. We could see the ground from the plane. The landscape is absolutely stunning. I had never seen anything like this before. Check out the photos. Pardon me for the quality; I was using my phone and shooting through the window.
So, we’re flying over what can only be described as the desert and then suddenly: Las Vegas. From above, the city looks all glittery. Like a mirage. And it’s in the middle of nowhere. I’d fly to Vegas again if only for that view.
Vegas in your 20s must be something else
I wish I had gone to Vegas in my 20s. Not because I’d have more fun, but because I’d have more energy to keep up with the city. There’s so much to do that I could picture myself staying there for an entire week, but I’d need stamina to keep up.
It’s all about the energy
I went to Vegas and didn’t gamble. Casinos are just not my scene. But the lights, the traffic on the strip, the themed hotels, the light show at the Bellagio, all of that: I liked. You read that right, I enjoyed being in traffic: 1) I wasn’t driving; 2) this allowed me to take photos. Plus, people watching from the car became a group activity.
Everything is over the top. But that’s what makes Vegas, Vegas.
I definitely preferred Vegas at night. The lights give it panache. Besides, the city is way more “awake” at night. In bright day light, the city comes across as artificial, fake even.
Something for everyone
One cannot be bored in Vegas; there’s always something to do.
There are concerts, Cirque du Soleil shows and pool side parties. You can even zip line over Freemont Street (Las Vegas’ historic downtown). Our group’s daredevils even lined up for this. (You know I’m not about that life!) Families in our group really enjoyed the themed hotels. From what I gathered, the toddlers really enjoyed the décor at Circus Circus.
If you sole purpose is to gamble, you can get started at the airport. Then, you can casino hop.
We said yes (again) and dined the Heart Attack Grill
The chapel offered wedding planning services. So I dodged the bullet on that one. They offered me everything but the moon. It wasn't hard for me to limit the "damages", but I can totally see how one can go overboard.
In the end, we didn’t go with Elvis. I figured that not everyone would get the joke. Plus, we decided to go with simple and elegant, not cheesy. In hindsight, I may have been wrong.
The reception, though, was so Vegas. We had lunch at the Heart Attack Grill. And it was hilarious. As the name indicates, we didn't go there to eat healthy. The whole group eagerly put their hospital robes on and ordered the greasiest food we've ever had. And that's saying a lot. The group was comprised of Haitians who've spent a good portion of their lives eating fritay.
Towards the end of the meal, one of us volunteered to get spanked. You read that right: spanked! A "nurse" actually spanks patrons who don't finish their burgers.
Best birthday ever!
Because we didn’t renew our vows on the actual day of our wedding, we scheduled the ceremony around my birthday. On that day, 6 of us headed on a day trip to the Hoover Dam, Route 66 and the Grand Canyon. And, because a picture is worth a thousand words…