(May want to read “Going to the Chapel” first, but not necessary.)
Following dinner with family at an Italian restaurant just off the strip in Las Vegas, four friends and I went out into the night to celebrate my last night as a single woman. My fiancee headed out with our male friends to tear up the town.
My girls and I went to a couple of clubs. We drank, we danced, we did the bachelorette thing. Everyone else had flown in, so I was driving. At one point, we were stopped at a railroad track by dropdown guard rails and lights. The hold up continued, although there was no train coming from either direction. The traffic piled up as we sat there for maybe ten minutes, still with nothing heading down the track. Finally, I jumped out of my car and one of my friends took the driver’s seat. I ran up and lifted the rail, which caused both of them to rise. It was remarkably light. The cars started pouring across, people waving and honking. Just after my car made it through, a train approached; and I let down the guard rail. That’s the craziest thing I did the night before getting married. And I strongly recommend no one else do that – it wasn’t safe.
My maid of honor and I were back at the hotel and in bed by midnight.
All I know about the guys’ night is they went to a topless bar and casinos. One of our friends climbed the volcano in the middle of water in front of the Mirage on a dare. The plan was for my intended to sleep in his best man’s room.
In the morning, I was awakened at 6:30 a.m. by knocking on the hotel door. I was confused. My next thought, I kid you not, was, “How sweet! He’s so excited about our wedding day, he woke up early and he wants to see me.” I was so wrong. I open the door and there stands my fiancee, swaying and holding a plastic bucket full of coins.
“Have you been up all night!?!”
“But I was winning.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
I let him in and shut the door. My best friend was awake by now and asked what was happening. What followed was an angry, curse-word-laden explanation that the guy I was planning to marry at 2:30 that afternoon had stayed up drinking all night and was just now calling it a night.
I put cushions from the chairs on the floor and told my husband-to-be to sleep there. My maid of honor suggested we let him sleep in the bed but I insisted the set up of cushions was exactly where he belonged.
I climbed back in bed and tried to go back to sleep, but no luck. Neither could my friend. We ended up sitting on the bathroom floor, with the door closed so as not to wake the snoring groom, smoking cigarettes. One of our good friends who had flown in from our hometown called and offered to take us to breakfast. We showered, kind of got ready, and met him downstairs.
This friend had been out with the guys the night before, so I asked him what the hell happened. He explained they’d had a great time, including volcano climbing, and confessed that he had been the one to steer my fiancee back to the room, knock, and run away before I opened the door. I asked what happened to the plan to spend the night with the best man. Apparently the best man and his girlfriend had other plans. Sheesh. Try as I might, I could only get a few bites down of my scrambled eggs.
When we returned to the hotel room, there were no efforts to keep the noise level down; quite the opposite, I gathered what I needed as loudly as possible. He didn’t stir. I called the best man’s room and told him, in no uncertain terms, it was his job to ensure my intended arrived at the chapel on time.
Off to my parents’ room at another hotel with everything I required to prepare for my day. My sisters, mom, and friends were there. One of my good friends from home was a hairdresser, so she got to work on me. My oldest sister said, “If you’re going to cry, do it now, before you do your makeup.” I shed a few nervous tears and finished readying.
We arrived at the wedding location 15-20 minutes before our scheduled time of 2:30. Surprise, surprise, no groom present. As I fumed about that, my dad was at the lobby counter settling the tab. He had made the arrangements for the reception, and paid for them, via phone. Now, he was paying for the ceremony, including flowers. The woman at the counter was trying to charge him for the wedding and the reception, and he was repeatedly, and ever louder, trying to explain he’d already taken care of the reception charges. By this time, our guests began arriving.
In an effort to distract me from the dispute over the bill, my middle sister suggested we get the flowers. We walked over to the small counter in front of a cooler of flowers. My sister explained we needed the flowers for our wedding party. The gal looked at her paperwork and told us there were no flowers for our ceremony. I almost lost it. My sister insisted we had arranged and paid for bouquets and corsages. I looked in the cooler, pointed out the dusty pink flowers, and said, “There they are! Those are my flowers.” The employee assured me those were for another wedding, not mine. “I ordered dusty pink roses. Those are dusty pink roses. We’re having those flowers for my ceremony. If you’ve made a mistake, you’ll have to worry about that later. Those are my flowers.” And they were.
Just at that moment, five minutes before our scheduled time, my fiancee worked his way the through the lobby crowded with our guests, approached me, and said, “You look beautiful!” My response, “Nice you could make it!”
The bill and flowers settled, suddenly the staff started herding the guests into the chapel. “We have to hurry. It’s time. We have to get in there because there’s a wedding scheduled right after yours.” I was so pissed. We had been there on time and, if there was any hold up, it was on the establishment for screwing up on the financial charges and flowers.
And then my dad walked me down the aisle of the packed chapel, standing room only. When I arrived at the altar, I let everything else go.
As we exchanged vows, when the officiant asked my man to repeat, “forsaking all others,” he looked at her in a questioning way. She repeated, “Forsaking all others.” He echoed her and the guests giggled. He told me later he hadn’t heard the word “forsaking” before and wasn’t hesitating based on the meaning of the word. 😊
With rings on our fingers, as husband and wife, we led our family and friends to the reception hall for cake and champagne. It was a sweet celebration until it came time for cutting the cake. We had never discussed feeding each other wedding cake. It never occurred to me that we needed to visit that topic.
As soon as the cake was cut and my new husband picked up a piece to feed me, our young, male friends began loudly encouraging him to smear it on my face. I was sure he would refrain, until he looked around the room at his friends and smiled. He did it. I couldn’t believe it! And neither could his German mother. She called his name across the room, scolding him. My turn. The drunken landing at our room in the morning, arriving at the venue just in the nick of time, and now going against my wishes with the cake; a lot of emotion went into the insertion of frosting up my groom’s nose.
Toasts were made, pictures were taken, and we visited with all the people who had traveled to celebrate our union with us. As we pulled away in a limo, our loved ones cheered. We did it!
We wore our wedding finery all day. Being Leap Day, men were frequently congratulating my husband on only having to remember our anniversary every four years. I would tell them, “Nah, it just means it’ll take 28 years to get the seven year itch!”