Last year for our wedding anniversary, I convinced my husband to plan a trip to Las Vegas so we could renew our vows in the Elvis Chapel. It was easy to get him to go along with the idea. I suspect had I suggested renewing our vows in a quiet backyard ceremony, he would have nixed the idea, but anytime you put Las Vegas into the picture, he’s ready to go!
I had never been to Las Vegas, so I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. Another extra bonus for this trip was that our daughter could come along, too. She was on winter break and turned twenty-one the day after Christmas, so what better way to ring in her legal age than by going to Vegas? That’s right—we took our newly legalized daughter to Sin City and introduced her to the world of twenty-four-hour gambling and partying. You have probably surmised by now that we are not the strictest parents, but hey, she turned out okay, so we couldn’t have made too many mistakes. Plus, I thought it would be great if she could be my maid of honor at this ceremony.
When I made the reservations for the wedding chapel, the very nice woman on the phone asked if I wanted the skinny Elvis or portly Elvis to perform the ceremony. I opted for the skinny one because I like the movies with the younger Elvis. He is handsome and not so sweaty looking. She booked the skinny Elvis and told me that they would take care of everything else. I did not have to plan a thing, and they were true to their word.
With the ceremony planned, I set out to find a dress. I got a great dress—a navy blue dress. When I described my dress to my friends, they gave me a disapproving look and asked, “You didn’t get a white one?”
“Come on,” I responded. “It was a stretch wearing a white dress the first time around, but I was younger and could pull it off. This time I went with a more honest color.”
What I didn’t tell my friends was that when I was shopping, I saw a red dress I liked a lot, but the saleswoman told me that a red dress, even for a renewal ceremony shouted, “Tart.” Yep, “tart” was the exact word she used. Not wanting my Elvis ceremony to reflect a “tart” theme, I went with the navy blue.
They sent a limo for us an hour before the ceremony, and we marched through the hotel in our wedding finery. We took pictures by the huge “Just Married” sign on the back of the car. People going in and out of the hotel entrance kept shouting “Good luck!” In fun, I gave my best Queen Elizabeth wave back to the well-wishers. Well, I forgot I was in heels. If there is one person in this world who should not attempt any physical movement while wearing heels, it is me. I lost my balance and literally fell into the back of the limo. Luckily, I was wearing underwear.
When we got to the chapel, the hostess escorted my husband to the front of the aisle, and my daughter and I to a backroom. Then our Elvis minister came into the backroom to go over the ceremony with us. He had on the white jumpsuit opened to the navel, a colorful lei around his neck and, and he appeared to be about sixty. I didn’t expect him to be so old, but I guess this is what Elvis would have looked like if he got off the drugs and lived another twenty years. Then Reverend Elvis burst into song and serenaded us with “Fools Rush In.”
He had a very nice voice, but my daughter lost it, and then I lost it. We share this giggle trait. When we are nervous, we giggle, and for some reason, we were both nervous. Skinny Elvis didn’t seem to mind though, and he sent my shaking-with-laughter daughter down the aisle. Then he took my arm and as he crooned “Love Me Tender,” he escorted me to the front of the chapel. I could not control myself. I laughed so hard, I cried.
The chapel also did a live feed so our relatives and friends back on the east coast could tune in. I think knowing this live feed was going to happen is what made me nervous throughout the whole thing. I do not video or photograph well. I am not being overly critical. Ask my mother. She will tell you flat out that I do not take good pictures. My original wedding album contains about five pictures because we could not find any photos of me where my eyes stayed open. On video, my hair takes on a life of its own, and my voice makes Minnie Mouse sound like a baritone.
I have to say, Skinny Elvis did a nice job on the ceremony and my daughter and I began to calm down. I forgot about the camera as he spoke about the commitment between me and my husband and how wonderful it was that the magic lasted. Then my daughter and I started to cry because it was so romantic. My husband was smiling from ear to ear. Was he also taken up in the sentiment of the moment? I don’t think so. I suspect he was thinking about the Blackjack tables waiting for him back at our hotel.
When it was all over, we took a lot of pictures with Elvis, and they gave us a DVD to have as a remembrance of this special day. We watched the DVD that night in the hotel, and it showed me two things: Skinny Elvis really did look old, and I needed to order a month supply of the Nutrisystem diet plan as soon as I got home.
Now, that I thinned down again, I want to go back to Vegas and redo the ceremony in front of the camera. I am determined to look good. This time I won’t go the Elvis route. I saw a place that does a vampire theme. It might take a lot of convincing to get my husband to participate in a blood-letting-themed renewal ceremony, but he might give in if I let him spend a day at Sportsbook. After all, marriage is about compromise and nothing says romance like a chomp on the neck!