We had discussed having a ceremony quite a few times in the years leading up to it, but I was not keen on the idea of spending a bunch of money to have a ceremony that wasn't legal and wouldn't "change" anything. We were obviously committed to each other, so why have a meaningless ceremony? Why not wait until it was legal, if that day would ever come. Shell really wanted to do it, and in the Fall of 2002 I finally gave in. We decided to go to Vegas, that way it would be easier for our families in California to make it. Plus there were many wedding chapels that would perform the ceremony for a price that wouldn't break the bank. We chose the chapel, chose the hotel for the reception, chose a DJ for the reception and planned the food & alcohol for the reception all over the internet. My sister and mom went with me to look for a wedding dress the week after Christmas, and were shocked to find one that we loved. It just needed a little altering, so I paid for it and sent it to the tailor. My sister offered to make my veil, all the flower arrangements and the invitations. My niece chose my tiara.
I had been at my current job for less than a year at this point, and since I didn't officially have vacation time to take we didn't leave until the day before the ceremony so I would only miss one day of work. We got to Vegas in the afternoon on Friday and got checked in to our hotel, then split up. My sister, brother-in-law, and dad were there already so they came to get me. Her family was there by then as well as her best friend (her maid of honor). I was a nervous wreck all night because my best friend (my best man) couldn't leave work early and would be driving overnight to get there by the next morning. Plus I had to drop off the favors and the table place cards with the hotel where the reception would be.
Early the next morning, the day of our ceremony, my sister picked me up from our hotel and we went to breakfast. Eric met us as we were dropping off the reception goodies and then we headed back to my sister's hotel room to start getting ready. Eric and my sister did my hair, helped me with my makeup, and basically got me ready. It was very calming to have them there and know that they were supporting me on my very special day. I felt very loved. Here's what it looked like at Bride Prep Central:
Then we were ready to go. The limo picked us up from the hotel and we were off to the chapel.
Eric, sis & bro-in-law.........Me and my dad
Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel
Next up, the ceremony and reception....