Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Vegas state of mind
To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this year, we have planned to treat ourselves with a US trip sans the kids. The Las Vegas wedding/renewal of vows was just a crazy afterthought we agreed to add in our itinerary. Since we’ve been living and breathing weddings throughout our married life with the establishment of W@W, we wanted to experience how it is to get re-married in the so called “wedding capital of the world.”
We both knew that this wedding will be just a small part of a bigger American adventure in the company of friends. We agreed that we only want a quick ceremony typical of any Vegas weddings, not stiff with traditions and no drama. We want to have fun this time around! We knew we don’t want to hold it inside a Hotel-Casino but in a quaint wedding chapel off the Strip. We also knew we don’t want “Elvis” to officiate it. As we were browsing online, we learned that there are windows in a few wedding chapels that offers drive-up ceremonies. We wanted that! Looking at pictures and videos other weddings, we got an idea which drive-thru venue is to our taste and which just isn’t so.
But before any of our travel/wedding adventures are realized, we needed to apply for US visas. We’ve both been dragging our feet to apply for the longest time because of the ‘horror’ stories we’ve heard of fellow Pinoys queuing outside the embassy early in the morning for a chance to taste the land of milk & honey only to have their American Dream crushed before they hit the exits. Truth be told, it really didn’t appeal to us applying and spending for visas only to get our egos crushed if we got denied. That is never fun.
Fortunately, our visa applications got approved so the wedding was on!
We’re glad our friends (Bong, Jason & Madge) decided to join us in this trip. Aside from being our travel buddies, they perfectly fit the roles in our wedding party (two bestmen & a bridesmaid), witnesses, and wedding suppliers (two videographers and a makeup artist) all rolled into one. But we knew we also want great pictures to document the day. We we’re lucky that destination wedding photographer, Ryan Ortega, was scheduled to have his North American tour at around the same time and he eagerly agreed to stop by Vegas to cover our wedding.
Benz finally got her wish to be a Veluz bride. I was surprised that Veluz even agreed to design her a pair of bridal shorts under a hand-painted white dress. The hand painting is based on Mimma’s back tattoo which she just had added to especially for the trip.
The bridesmaid’s outfit is by Cecilio Abad, while me and the boys were taken cared of by Boy Kastner’s BKS Men. Incidentally, the three designers were all named Supplier of the Year in the past so we knew we were in very good hands. Madge stood as our de facto stylist who took charge of how the colors and patterns of respective outfits would blend to create our very own (daytime & nighttime) Vegas look.
Mimma wanted to have a non-floral bouquet which was ideal given the long haul flight and our 2-day road trip from SanFo to Vegas. Fresh flowers simply just won’t cut it given the logistics. Teddy Manuel designed the Vegas/casino themed bridal bouquet and the bridesmaid’s wrist corsage, while Gids Hermosa did the white bouquet and the personalized boutonnieres for the boys.
Just like any other bride, Mimma wanted to shed some weight off before the big day. As luck would have it, Cristalle Belo Henares and the rest of her team in Sexy Solutions by Belo agreed to take Benz into the program for seven weeks in time for the big day (thanks Sofia for hooking up Benz with Cristalle!).
Two days before we flew to the States, Oly Ruiz did our pre-wedding shoot as a gift to us. It was done at night on and underwater, and lasted until wee hours. Mimma got to wear her dream ‘pokpok red’ gown she had wanted since she started losing a few inches & pounds. Oly made sure Benz got to showcase her new figure. But we never got to see the images until the day of the wedding when he posted it on his blog.
When we got to Vegas, we visited our chapel of choice for inquiry and reservation. It was our concern that they might not allow outside photographers/videographers to cover the wedding, and we’re glad that said rule only applies to weddings inside the chapel, and not drive-ups. We also learned that we didn’t need to reserve a slot for a drive thru ceremony nor any legal document. Since ours was vow renewal, we simply drive up to be served just like in a fastfood joint. And it will only cost us $45.00. Cool!
Incidentally, Paolo Feliciano was also in Vegas that day and came with us during the ocular and took a few posterity shots.
The big day came and we all woke up late (past 10am) since we slept quite late the night before — with the girls doing some hair coloring, while us boys visited a gentleman’s club for some sort of stag party. After breakfast, Bong & I had to go out of our hotel for my haircut and to pickup the car we’re going to use in the rental (we got a Mustang convertible for $100 that’s already good for 24 hours). When we got back to the hotel, my bride was already made-up so I had to take a quick shower to suit up as well.
As a rider, I would’ve wanted us to ride a Vespa for the ceremony. But my bride was firm she wanted a car. Still, I tried to put bits of Vespa-related details in my getup.
After a few more clicks from the camera, we we’re out of our hotel suite and on our way to the chapel. It was already past 1PM.
When we got there, the drive up window was “serving” another coupele so we had to wait.
When it was finally our turn, everything went by so fast that it was over in fifteen minutes or so. No hour-long mass. No exchange of personal vows. We simply repeated what the Minister said while exchanging rings and I dos, and that was it!
We we’re all so hungry after the ceremony. With all the rush and frenzy during the preps, we forgot we haven’t had lunch yet! We went to Wendy’s and ordered the boys the best Baconator we’ve ever tasted in our lives! The girls we’re still on diet mode and ordered a wrap. After which, we head to Nelson (a man-made ghost town in the middle of the desert about 40 minutes drive from Vegas) to take some more wedding photos of our 5-man wedding party.
After we changed to our second look and a few more clicks, it’s already sunset. We decided to head back to the Strip for our “reception” - reserved a table for a party of six at a classic French bistro in Paris Las Vegas Hotel with a view of the Bellagio fountains.
Before all these, we never imagined we can pull off a destination wedding without spending an arm and a leg. But we are indeed lucky to have friends in the wedding industry who are so game to support our crazy idea. Having a “quickie wedding” within a planned vacation to celebrate an anniversary is a great adventure in itself for any couple to experience. We’re glad we did!
Here’s a rundown of our Vegas Dream Team:
bride’s outfit: Veluz
groom & bestmen: BKS Men
bridesmaid: Cecilio Abad
hair & makeup: Madge Lejano
bride/bridesmaid’s earrings: Mickey See of Cru
bridal headpiece: Clayton of CA Design Team
white bouquet & men’s boutonnieres: Gideon Hermosa
Vegas bouquet & bridesmaid’s wrist corsage: Teddy Manuel
photo: Ryan Ortega
video: Jason Magbanua + Bong Sare of Threelogy
Special thanks to our friends and relatives in Vegas (shoutouts to Ate Thess + Kuya Carlo, Freddie + Sheila, and Lous) for helping us out to make sure our stay and going around town would be a lot more comfortable.