Our date was September 8, 2017.
It was shortly after we met in February of 2016 that we knew that we wanted to marry each other. The when, where, and how were not of any concern until I decided in June of 2017 that I wanted to make it happen that year.
We were never formally engaged. It was barely made facebook official when I was in the middle of a 3 month long trip abroad by myself. You see, we both had already been married once and this was both our second marriages. Brandon had a big wedding his first time around and I had a courthouse wedding. For me, having a huge wedding was never a ideal. I had a sweet 16 and it was super stressful and it felt like I didn’t know half the guests. I wanted a simple dress and a cute destination. I figured planning something last minute for a couple close friends and our parents wouldn’t be a big deal.
The thing is I had no idea what I was talking about. Even though I wasn’t planning for a gazillion people, I was trying to plan a wedding while traveling around Europe and Thailand and coming home in time to get married.
Why did I feel that I needed things to play out like that? I don’t know. I had just made up my mind and that’s the way it was gonna go down.
The Original Plan
I told my mom what I wanted to do. It was only July and I was thinking maybe the beach or a cruise. Something that took care of the wedding and honeymoon all at once. I said it has to be in September preferably when I come back from my summer abroad and Florida was ideal.
Even though Brandon and I lived in Knoxville, I was flying back to the states to Florida where my parents lived. I felt more comfortable leaving my car in their driveway all summer instead of at our apartment parking. Brandon had his plane ticket already booked to drive with me back up to Knoxville from Florida. It would save us money getting to our destination because we would already be there in Florida. There are so many beaches and ports to choose from in Florida! I thought I was asking for something very reasonable.
There was a whole list of things that I never considered though. To book a cruise ship wedding, you have to book 6 months in advance at least. So a cruise was out of the question. Then we started looking at options for the beach. My mom has multiple timeshares and I thought there was no way that wasn’t going to work out. She started making calls right away. To my surprise, everything nice was already booked! From Miami to the Keys to Clear Water, apparently people plan their beach trips far in advance and the only thing really left was Daytona beach and I was not having that. But I wasn’t ready to give up. I kept scoping out places and prices online until the next month.
It was August when a big reality check came storming my way. It happens around this time every year. A hurricane! Even if I was able to plan and book a cruise or a beach wedding, it would have been canceled. I only had one month left to plan this wedding that absolutely had to happen in September and I had no idea what I was going to do.
On top of that, our parents were stressing us out. My parents had to have the wedding on a Sunday or they would not attend. They own a mail contract and that’s their only day off. Brandon’s parents also couldn’t commit to attending something out of Knoxville so last minute. Between them and our siblings not being sure about being able to come, our guest list was falling apart.
That’s when I joked about eloping to Vegas.
”I was going to suggest that but I thought you would have said no.”
We had been fighting back and forth over FaceTime at odd hours of the night. I was in Thailand at this point.
“I’m being serious, Brandon. I’m totally down for Vegas. Allegiant flies there for pretty cheap from Knoxville.”
So we started planning for Vegas. It was so much easier at that point.
Vegas caters to impromtu weddings! I found the perfect place that had a great package deal. Our wedding package came with these things for a little less than $1000:
- Wedding planner and coordinator
- License transportation and consultation
- Limousine transportation for up to 6 guests from the hotel on our wedding day
- Use of a bridal suite
- A venue from their lists of choices (We chose the terrace gazebo.)
- Bridal 12-rose bouquet
- 19 Professional Ceremony Picutres
- Marriage certificate holder including a 5×7 print
- Before and After Ceremony Photoshoot with 11 prints
- Hair and Make-up for the bride (She came to our hotel)
- A wedding cake
Here’s a link to the company if you’re interested.
After we officially booked the wedding part, our flights were booked with Allegiant for about $150 round trip each. We decided it would be best as a quick weekend trip with the dates Allegiant had available. We would land on the 7th and leave on the 10th.
My mom took care of our stay with her timeshare. When she was going to book, she asked me how many rooms so I decided I would let our best friends come. My best friends Alyssa and Laura were excited to be a part of this day from the beginning. Brandon’s best friend Josiah was thrilled about Vegas so we booked two rooms. One room for us and the other for our small wedding party. I also don’t really like even numbers for picutres so I was really happy when the three of them booked their tickets making it even more official.
Brandon had already ordered our rings and I found my wedding dress when I was in Italy over the summer.
All that was left to take care of was planning a little weekend itinerary.
What Actually Happened in Vegas
Brandon and I left for our flight. Josiah wasn’t coming anymore. He had so many things happening that he decided it wouldn’t work out. He gave us a ride to the airport but I still hold his absence against him to this day.
We landed on schedule Thursday evening and the wedding planner had our ride pick us up from the hotel to take us to the courthouse to sign some legal work. Alyssa arrived shortly after and met us at the hotel. We all got ready for a night on the town. We went to the Old Strip because Alyssa gifted me and Brandon a zip line ride. It was so much fun.
We got a few drinks there before we headed back to the hotel to meet Laura. Brandon, Laura, and I are big potheads so we went straight to a dispensary. We got some green and some edibles. Of course, that led to a really short night after we headed back to the hotel.
The next day was our wedding day. Brandon and I ended up sleeping in much longer that we planned to. We were a little jet lagged and still pretty stoned when we woke up. Laura and Alyssa came to our room and there was a little time left before I would be getting my hair and make up done so we grabbed some bagels from Einstein’s right outside the hotel.
My hair and make up took much longer than we anticipated so we didn’t really have much time left before the limo came to pick us up. We drank a little bit of champagne and smoked and headed to the ceremony hall.
When we got there, Alyssa and Laura were a bit upset to read a sign that said they couldn’t take any pictures but they were a part of the wedding so it didn’t really matter to me. They would be in the pictures anyway. I didn’t want there to be pictures of them holding their phones.
Brandon and I got escorted to the bridal suite where we had some last moments before getting married. Then the coordinater came to get him. I got some pictures taken in the suite before I was left alone to awkwardly wait for my time to shine.
The whole thing couldn’t have finished sooner. My aisle took about 5 steps to walk down and Brandon already saw me in my dress so there really wasn’t a moment. It left me wondering why I even cared so much about having a ceremony. I guess it was nice to have some pictures where I show people that I had a full on American wedding as well. The minister talked and it felt like forever. Brandon and I stood there holding hands and looked into each other’s eyes until they got super big out of impatience. Finally we exchanged rings and kissed. That was the part I was waiting for.
Laura and Alyssa stay for a bit to take a few pictures. We definitely had some fun with it. I was annoyed that Josiah wasn’t there but the picutres turned out really well for it being a group of four. Afterwards, Brandon and I had our own little photo session with some posed shots. The photographer kept putting us in these really corny positions and we weren’t having it. That’s when I realized my hair looked really prom-like when I wanted it more hippie-like.
After the photo session, the coordinator gave us our cake in a box. I had forgotten all about it. We couldn’t eat our cake there so we took it with us to take to dinner when the limo drove us back to the hotel. We drank some more and smoked some more until it was time for our dinner reservations. I had made reservations for us at the Stratophere. The dining floor of Top of the World rotated from a skyline view as we had our dinner. We realized in the car that since I had forgotten all about the cake, there was no cake topper so we stuck a couple of gummy bears on it and called it a day. It gave the restaurant staff a laugh.
We had planned to do some rides at the top of the stratophere after dinner but the weather would not permit it so instead we walked around the gift shop where Laura bought us the most expensive picture frame she’s ever bought and headed down to the lobby where there was a casino.
I ended up having an allergic reaction to the make up because my eye was swollen so we left right away to headed back to the hotel. I went straight to the bathroom and washed my face and smoked.
It was my wedding night but I guess my friends couldn’t get enough of us so instead of having a night alone, Brandon took Laura to the airport to catch her flight and Alyssa fell asleep on our bed with me while I waited for Brandon to come back.
The next day, Brandon and I slept in and when we finally woke up, it was to texts from Laura saying her flight got canceled because of the hurricane and Alyssa had made it to the airport to catch her flight to Conetticut.
We didn’t really worry about Laura because the airline was taking good care of her and why would anyone really be mad about getting to spend extra time in Vegas? Actually she was really upset and she ended up being there until after Brandon and I left back for Knoxville.
Brandon and I took our rental car out to Red Rock Canyon and it was incredible. I never realized how much of an amazing view could be seen from a road. We were incredibly high which made it even more magical. After taking in all the nature we could, we headed back to the city to catch a show I booked for us.
We had tickets to the Cirque du Soleil Love show. I made the unfortunate mistake of getting super high before the show that I passed out in the middle of it but Brandon said it was amazing. From what I remembered it was pretty cool but he’s more of a Beetles fan than I am.
We walked around the strip that night. I’m not much of a gambler so Brandon had fun in the casinos while I had some drinks. We had an early flight the next day so we went back to the hotel after spending as much as we budgeted for the day which did not take long.
Overall, I really enjoyed this trip. My only regret is not actually eloping and because it was such a short time. I wish I didn’t have to cater to anyone or share my first night married with my friends. Oh and I don’t think I would book the hair and makeup with the wedding package if I could back in time.