Our Wedding - February 19, 2012
For those of you who know, Daniel and I have been together for about 8 years. We both were previously married and we have children from those marriages. We have lived together for just about all of those 8 years, so in our eyes, we were married. Daniel proposed to me many years back, and I was just too chicken to commit to an "official" marriage again.
On Friday, February 17th at 3:00 PM, I decided I was finally ready to get married to my love, my life, Daniel. So, in true Jenn fashion, I blurted this out to Daniel, who had just gotten home from work. We immediately started trying to figure out how we were going to make it work. With Monday being a holiday, all three of the kids would be out of school and Dan and I could take the day off. His parents happen to be in AZ for awhile (from CO) so we contacted them to see if they would be able to get away with us and then I called my mom. Everyone was excited and felt I was a little crazy because in an instant, I had become Bridezilla.
I would like to say our wedding was like the picture above, which would have been my ideal wedding. But, when you have 3 kids, in-laws, family, dogs, a limited budget, travel and only 24 hours to plan, things are not so picture perfect - lol.
Between 3PM to approximately 12AM, I was in a race to find 3 hotel rooms in Vegas, a wedding chapel, someone to feed our dogs while we were away, find a dress, rings, kids clothes, etc. I was feeling the stress!
After a few hours of sleep, Daniel and I rushed to Khol's Department Store during their hour of savings promotion and looked for rings and clothes. After much consideration, we finally found the rings for our wedding. I must interject in Daniel's defense, we found HIS ring immediately, all the rest of the time, I was being particular about mine - of course, I am the bride *wink*. My fingers were completely swollen from trying on rings (and the Redbull I woke up to) so I was glad to have made a decision. Next, we were onto finding shirts for the boys and Daniel. This was a pretty simple process so out the door we went.
We ran a few quick errands and home to get packed and get everyone ready.
We set out for Vegas at 10:00 am, right on time (surprising, I know). We had a stop along the way to get some ice cream, which made the kids very happy. With two 11 year-old boys and a 15 year-old daughter crammed into the backseat of my Corolla, I must say that the kids did really well.
By now, we had 3 rooms booked at Arizona Charlie's Decatur, a chapel booked at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel, his sister and her daughter getting on a plane to fly out from CO, his parents and my mom getting ready to head to NV. Everything seemed to be coming together, all that was left was getting our marriage license and to find a dress for me.
Daniel's son has been to Vegas several times, but my kids had not ever been there, so when we arrived during the day, they were not impressed. They had expected it to look as it does in the movies, with lights and glitter, etc. Instead, it just looked like Phoenix. We explained that they would change their minds at night, and sure enough, they did.
We ran some errands while the rooms were being upgraded for us (no charge I might add) and ate a little snack. One of our errands was to get our license. As we walked up the steps to the court house, we were bombarded by, what felt like, the paparazzi. Instead of flash bulbs and cameras, we were rushed by photographers, dress rental companies, chapel personnel, limo drivers galore. Everyone wanted our business and it was REALLY irritating. We finally got inside the building and quickly got our certificate. Upon leaving, we had to endure the "crowd" one more time.
Back at the hotel, in our rooms, finally! Daniel had to go to the airport to pick up his family and by then, our parents had arrived. A little later, the 10 of us hit the strip in search of, what you might ask? I wish I could tell you, but I did not know. There were no agendas that evening other than those of each individual. Some were the same as others, some were different. The once Bridezilla that I was had been replaced with the follower of the crowd instead of the leader of the crowd. In retrospect, Daniel and I should have handled the plans of the weekend a little different, insisting that everyone do their own thing (except our kids) and that we would meet up with everyone at the chapel. Since there were only two cars in our group of 10, this made that difficult.
We started out at the MGM and ended up at New York, NY. The group wanted to ride the roller coaster, which they did. A few of us stayed in the arcade while the boys played games. My stomach was too nervous to attempt the coaster, but to my surprise, my mom road it. After that adventure, we had to find a place for the 10 of us to eat.
Finding a dress was the only thing on my mind at this time. I didn't want to outshine Daniel, who would be wearing black slacks and a blue, button up dress shirt. But I wanted to be beautiful and elegant. Being 40 pounds overweight, I knew this would be difficult. The longer I put off finding a dress, the more stressed I became.
After dinner, my mom stayed behind at a casino since walking the strip was not her cup of tea. I wish at that moment I would have made my own decisions about the rest of the night and finding a dress, but instead, I set off walking with the group. As it turned out, there was a giant, 3-story Ross store on the other side of the street so I was happy that I would get to go look for my dress there. As we continued our walk, we found out that the group was heading to the Bellagio to watch the water show. Along the way, while steering our 11 and 15 year-olds through the crowd, we were trampling over gobs of pornography littering the streets and being handed to passers by. The boys were enjoying the scenery I think - lol.
After the show, we crossed to the other side of the street. At 11:00 PM, we got to the front doors of Ross only to find that they had just closed. No dress for me! Back to the car we go.
Sunday morning my mom, my daughter, Sedona and I headed out to find a dress. Daniel, the boys and the others ate and went back to the strip. Our wedding was scheduled for 2:00 PM.
I knew that there was a mall called The Fashion Show not far from where we were staying, but getting gas put into the car was first priority. Using my handy-dandy GPS app on my Iphone was not as reliable as it usually was in Arizona. After trying to find a gas station for nearly 15 minutes, we came upon a AM/PM and filled er' up. We got to the mall (surprisingly) fairly quick and determined that it would not be open until 11:00 AM - this was cutting it close. We got some breakfast and while Sedona and my mom did some of their own shopping, I ran through the mall trying to find any stores that were opening early. I went into Macy's at 11 AM and found their gown section. I gathered many and took them into the dressing room.
What I had in my mind for a dress, what I found and how they looked on me were all different things. My anxiety (and maybe the burrito I had for breakfast) were all taking effect on me. The clock was ticking and I was not happy. I tried using my cell phone to call Sedona and my mom, but there was no service in the stinking mall! Tears were forming, I was panicking and not finding anything that looked good. I left Macy's and found my family. I began to cry and was comforted by my mom. I explained everything I had just been through and that for the price I was going to pay for something that I was not completely happy with, I might as well wear the back-up outfit that I had brought for "just in case". We agreed and headed off to find some hose to go with the black skirt and pretty blue top I had waiting back at the hotel. A vendor along the way stated that I had bags under my eyes (no shit!), no sleep, stress and day-old makeup will do that to you. We passed by a Bare Minerals store and got the brilliant idea to get a quick (40 minute) make-over. All the while I am looking at the clock, panicking and trying to hold back tears (still had to find those hose too!). After my make-over (which was beautiful, I must say), we finally found the hose and headed to the car. The time was now about 12:45 and I wanted to be at the chapel by 1:30 - this was NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
Getting back to the hotel was fairly quick, it did not hurt that I was breaking the land speed record. In route, we received a few calls from our group, informing us that we were going to be late - REALLY? We imagined them all thinking that we were just lolly-gagging around - if they had only known all that we had been through! We parked the car and ran to the hotel (literally) and up to our floor. As we got out of the elevator (at about 1:30), our whole group, was sitting in the lobby with angry and disappointed looks on their faces. This is what "we" saw, but they swear that is not the case.
In the room, I am crying and trying to quickly get into my outfit. Daniel came into the room and tried to calm me down. He stated that he pushed back the wedding (for an additional fee) and that everything would be alright. This man had amazing patience - my husband to be. He assisted me in getting my uncooperative blouse on, which alone was comical.
Where were my shoes???? Oh, no! I had forgotten my shoes! I NEVER forget anything, so I could not believe this and wasted time trying to find them. We determined that the shoes were not there and that we would need to stop at a store to get some. Great! More time wasted. Forget about doing something pretty with my hair - but at least I had make-up on.
We arrived at the chapel, which was lovely. The ceremony was quick but memorable. The pastor quoted 1 Corinthians 13:4 ( Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud) which happens to be one of my favorite verses. After, we took pictures, inside and outside. It was a windy day, so this posed some challenges for the photographer and my hair.
Later, we all went to dinner, gambling and bowling. It was an AWESOME day and I was so relieved that the stress was over.
We have wonderful memories from our experience and although it was stressful, my loving, patient husband and I got through it TOGETHER and we were so glad we were able to share it with some of our loved ones.