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30th Bday Trip Report!!!!!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by raraavis, Jul 11, 2012.

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  1. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    If you’ve read my trip reports before (or my posts in general), you know my style: excessively wordy. Just thought I’d give a little warning. :evillaugh

    A little background for this trip:
    I got engaged in December of 2011. :woohoo: After a month or so of trying to settle on a state (yes, I said state), we decided on Nevada (Las Vegas specifically of course). My family/friends are primarily in Michigan; fiancé’s (we’ll call him J from now on) are in New York City area. We live in NJ. If we had it in either Michigan or NJ, we would have well over 250 guests since we assumed that most people would be willing to make the drive (or short flight if they choose) to either location (p.s. we have many friends in Long Island, and it would be at least a 1.5 hr drive for them to come to our area in NJ). Then J kept saying it wouldn’t be fair to his friends and family if we got married in Michigan (where it is at least half the cost of NJ weddings btw). So I countered with the same argument for my friends and family, haha. :D We were at a stalemate. Well I had mentioned Vegas when we first got engaged and told J it is my number 1 choice. But J was hesitant about having a destination wedding. After thinking of the pros and cons of being married in the mitten (aka, Michigan) or in NJ, J finally agreed that Las Vegas was actually the most practical and fun thing to do. Next on the list was to make sure our very closest family and friends would be ok with flying to Vegas for our wedding because frankly they are the only ones that matter! :blowkiss:

    Next we needed to plan a trip out to Vegas to a) tour venues b) visit with my dad and c) celebrate my 30th birthday! :drunk:

    We found a good deal in March at Bally’s for $220 for 5 nights in June (yes that includes all taxes). Hotel booked! Airfare….hello? Airfare? Are you out there? :confused: We tried to find decent (not even cheap) airfare for our trip since March and didn’t book airfare until 2 weeks from departure date, eek! :eek: I’ve never paid more than $400 for roundtrip from Newark to Vegas, and that was a nonstop flight. Prices were reaching $600 for flights with stops. I was going bonkers thinking I had to pay that much. I just kept watching and finally found a $400 rt through SWA (not nonstop though). I had my handy dandy Southwest cc and was hoping my 50k in points would be put on my Rapid Rewards account, but no such luck. We planned it so J actually only had to pay for a flight from Phoenix to Vegas since he would be on a business trip the week we were heading to Vegas. This means he would be arriving late Friday, while I was scheduled to arrive late Thursday. It also meant we were flying separate on the way home too.

    Since J was heading on his business trip on Monday morning, we dropped our pooch Einstein off at the doggy sitters on Sunday the 10th (that whole situation luckily was worked out). And I am all alone in our apartment for 3.5 days. I missed my puppy….oh and um I missed my fiancé of course. :evillaugh
    isn't he cute????
    [​IMG]

    I will be writing separate posts for all of the wedding venues I visited (11 but was scheduled for 13) to give my opinions on them. I figured they will take up a lot of space in my actual tr, and majority of people probably aren’t too interested in hearing about them. Just follow the links below if you are!

    Are you ready for my adventures? Just kidding, there aren’t any adventures….

    Thursday June 14- Traveling Day
    Since everyone in my office decided to go on a vacation in the same week I was planning on leaving (even though I told everyone in March), I had to go to work today. I got up at 6am and worked until 1:15. I had the option of lugging my luggage to my job and going straight from there to the airport on another bus, but the thought of attempting this on public transportation with rowdy high schoolers made me have homicidal urges (and that was just the thought of it!). :grrr: Since I don’t want to harm any youngin’s, I left my luggage at home and bussed it to work and bussed it back home (so 1 hour to work and 1 hour back). I gave myself one hour at home to do some chores and change into comfortable traveling clothes. Then I hopped on another bus to begin my trip to Vegas! It was 3ish by now, and for some unknown reason, the bus was packed. I mean packed to where I had trouble finding room for my one piece of luggage on the floor. Oh and the bus was 15 minutes late, which meant I would miss my transfer bus. 'Tis the story of my relationship with NJ public transportation *sigh*. I eventually catch my transfer bus, and I’m on my way to the airport for real this time! I pop in my earbuds and start listening to some music…shit, I downloaded the wrong version of a song. It was a really stupid version (something sports related), so I got sad and then spent the next 45 minutes trying to find out if iTunes will exchange the wrong version for the right one at no cost. I never did find out as their customer service sucks. Oh well. Arrive at the airport at 4:30ish for my 5:55 flight. No problems checking my one piece of luggage (it was only 38 lbs, but I swear it weighed about 100 lbs when I was carrying it).

    This would be my first time flying with Southwest, and let me preface this by saying it was the worst flying experience I ever had. :( Was it Southwest’s fault? Probably not. My boarding number is A 53, and there really are about 50 people ahead of me. This is the first leg of my journey, and it is a 4 hr flight to Denver. So I’m hoping to get a) an exit row seat b) a window seat or c) a window seat in the exit row! And score, this almost 6 foot lassie got a window seat in the exit row! Sadly, this will be the last victory of the trip to Vegas.
    [​IMG]

    I’m comfortably seated and reading my kindle (current read is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy since I just finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) when a petite woman around my age sits in the middle seat next to me (there is already a guy in the aisle seat). She immediately starts talking (to the guy thankfully). Then about halfway through the flight, she starts talking to me because the guy got up to use the bathroom. I have never in life sat next to such a Chatty Cathy! :rolleyes2:This woman talked almost nonstop for the whole 4 hour flight. :snore: I know everything about her. Needless to say, she is a horrible conversationalist. She won’t let you get a word in edgewise, even when she asks you a question (this rarely happened; I think she may have asked me 2 questions the whole time). I don’t know if she realized that conversations are between two people :poke:…so I got no sleep or relaxing reading done. :nono:

    We finally land around 7:45pm (MDT), and I head to a counter to find out where my connection is. The two Southwest girls (yes, girls and not women since they acted like giggly 14 year olds) couldn’t find my flight anywhere. They had to make a call and found out that there were only two flights to Vegas scheduled for that evening. One of the flights had been diverted to Albuquerque, and the other one was sent back to Baltimore where they were going to decommission the plane. Huh? :confused2: They were giggling the whole time, so I wasn’t sure if they were being serious. I finally got them to be serious for two seconds and in fact tell me that my flight would not be taking off at 9:55pm as schedule (MDT, 11:55 my time) but instead would be departing at 11:45pm (MDT, 1:45am my time). Seriously? I’m not gonna lie, I think a few tears gathered in my eyes. :cry: No one wants to hear that their trip to Vegas will be delayed, especially if they had been up since 6am. I called my dad and J to let them know. I then went to another counter where I had spotted the word Vegas on the board. There was a flight going out at 9:25pm, and I asked to be put on standby. I even asked her if I could catch a flight to Phoenix and then catch a flight from there to Vegas but no luck. So I had about 30 minutes to kill, and I was starving by this point. I hadn’t eating in about 10 hours and only had yogurt and fruit at that time. I try to avoid eating on traveling days because I just get too anxious when I fly (no, I’m not scared of flying, I just have an issue with over-worrying about missing flights and such). So I gave in and got some McDonald’s. I had planned on getting In-N-Out when I landed in Vegas at 10:45pm, but that was looking less likely as the minutes went by. The Southwest clerk announced to everyone that my original flight is actually at gate such and such and will be boarding on time. Huh? Where did this miraculous plane come from? Sounds a little fishy to me, but I am in no mood to argue and just want to get on that plane. So I book it to my gate and still have about 20 minutes until they board. This time my number is A23. I don’t even care what seat I get this time since it’s only a 2 hour flight. I just wanted a seat as close to the front as possible so I could run off that plane. We board, and I get the second row window seat. Works for me, but I was amazed at how much smaller the actual seat was and how little leg room I had compared to the exit row. I was apparently already spoiled to emergency row seats. 9:55 comes and goes. Finally the flight attendant lets everyone know we are waiting for 7 passengers from a flight that had been delayed like 5 hours in Kansas because of weather. I don’t know what happened to these people, but the first one was on the plane within 15 minutes of the announcement. The last of the 7 didn’t get on the plane until about 45 minutes after the announcement. :cuss: Everyone on the plane booed him :Þ (excluding myself because I was just too tired to muster the energy for hate-filled booing). But I was curious to what that guy was doing to be 30 minutes later than the other person (he moved just as easily as the first person, so I don’t detect a physical limitation). Maybe he stopped for a burger?

    We’re finally on our way 55 minutes after I sat my oversized rump in the undersized seat. I honestly don’t even remember when we arrived in Vegas since I was incoherent at this point. :drooling: I have an autoimmune disorder, so I tend to fatigue a bit easier than the average person. I’m one of those people that need 8 hours of sleep a night to function. Yeah, it annoys me too. So my dad calls as I’m walking to baggage to tell me the freeway is closed, so he’ll be about 30 minutes late. My normal reaction would be to whine and bitch about it. But I just laughed and said of course you’ll be late. Why would I expect anything to go on schedule today? So I grab my bag (it’s the second one out), and I think that at least my bag didn’t get lost! I made it to my dad’s and talked with him for about an hour. I know you’re thinking, “but I thought you said you were tired?!?!” Yes, but you have to remember I only see my dad once a year, and the last time I saw him was in September 2011. I finally lumber up the stairs and crash around 3am Vegas time (6am my time). :eek: That’s 24 hours of being awake for those mathematically disinclined. I am aware that there are way worse travel experiences; i'm not debating that. For me though, this was the worst. So I need to be well rested for visiting wedding venues tomorrow. I’ll be getting up in 5 hours! :faint: Weeeeeeeee! :banana:
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  2. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    Awesome!!!

    I am so excited to read this trip report!

    Love that you include lots of pics. And I am even enjoying the back-story as I'm reading this from Jersey City where i get to hear people complain about the commute from Long Island every day.

    Perhaps you and your fiance are my neighbors, I'll start barking loudly if you don't post the updates fast enough!
     
  3. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    Looking forward to reading more of your adventures. :popcorn

    Your puppy is adorable.
     
  4. KellyLovesVegas

    KellyLovesVegas certified personal trainer/retired space nerd

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    I love the cute pic of Einstein. He's totally adorable :)

    Happy Birthday!
     
  5. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    Great start! Travel day is always the worst, hopefully the days improve!
    Lookign forward to the rest of the report!
     
  6. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

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    Happy Birthday

    I will be curious to see which chapel you select. Those resort chapels are pretty cool. But the drive through wedding chapels could be interesting or whatever they are called.

    Googling wedding chapels in las Vegas you can get a complete package for $125.00.
     
  7. Boosty16

    Boosty16 Low-Roller

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    My wife and I toured about 10 different chapels in Vegas back in 2006. Our favorite was at The Mandalay Bay. Best looking chapel in my opinion and the pricing was good. You can see a few of our pics in the Wedding Section of this board. I think the only downfall for you guys is that your expecting about 250 people? The Mandalay Bay chapel I believe only holds 150 which is what we had. It may be a problem fitting that many people into any Vegas chapel on the strip.
     
  8. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    gosh, i hope you're not too excited because i might let you down. :confused2: and i doubt we're your neighbors if you are in jersey city. we're still west of that.

    i'm hoping to post more tonight when i get home from work, but man it is time consuming!
     
  9. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    hey now, i warned you there won't be any "adventures", read the disclaimer. :nono: JK!! :evillaugh

    i always think i am bias for thinking my dog is adorable, but i guess others agree. :thumbsup:

    thanks for reading; i'll be back later once i organize and resize my pictures tonight! :wave:
     
  10. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    thank you!!! :wave:
     
  11. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    where is my transporter from star trek? i could avoid flying altogether! but yes, that really was the only bad day of the trip. the rest of the trip was fun. :thumbsup:
     
  12. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    oh no no no chapels! :nono: we are having a traditional wedding (don't know how else to describe it). i didn't get into it on this trip report because i discuss it on the wedding review threads i'll post soon. but that is not my style at all. no offense to those who have gotten married in chapels, but i can't stand them. we are having the same type of wedding we would have if we married in michigan or new jersey. it will be a non-religious ceremony and then a traditional reception (grand entrance, dinner, dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc).

    as mentioned above, i'm not interested in any way to get married in a chapel. i did check strip hotels at the beginning of my search and quickly nixed them because they were too expensive for what they offered (or what they didn't offer i should say).

    and i said the number of guests would be 250 if we got married in michigan or jersey. sorry i didn't clarify. i was trying to get at that choosing a destination wedding would lessen our guest count. we chose vegas because we assumed many people wouldn't be able to go and therefore wouldn't be offended when they weren't invited. we are still compiling the guest list, but we plan to have at least 65 but no more than 85.

    i didn't get into the details of the wedding stuff in this trip report because i thought it might bore people to death. :yawn: but i'll gladly clarify or give information when asked about my experiences.

    thanks for reading!! :wave:
     
  13. VermonterJohn

    VermonterJohn Low-Roller

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    raraavis:

    Always LOVE your Trip Reports. Can't wait to continue reading more!

    John
     
  14. denluvslv

    denluvslv Low-Roller

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    I've been looking forward to reading your trip report.:thumbsup: Sorry Southwest wasn't what it should have been on your flight out. We've always been lucky with them. Your dog is so cute. Did you get your In 'n Out when you landed in LV?
     
  15. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Einstein is so adorable! When I travel for business I definitely miss my dog more than my husband, so you are not alone.

    Looking forward to the rest of your TR.
     
    Vegas Just Because...
  16. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    That is why you should do it AT work, where you have time to burn!!!!:wink2:
     
  17. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    good point!!! :thumbsup:
     
  18. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    Don't they have wifi on that bus you take, or do you ride the dirty PATH?

    That thing was so crowded last week when I was coming home from drunkenly attempting to put in my application at 3am at the Times Square Red Lobster, anyway it was so crowded that I basically got a free lap dance with full contact from some adjacent even drunker girls. Gotta love New Jersey. :beer:
     
  19. bighead1970

    bighead1970 High-Roller

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    Gotta love Hoboken!!
     
  20. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    Wedding Tours

    Friday June 15
    First day of wedding stuff! Yippee! :rolleyes2: Actually, I was a bit anxious about it since I really jam packed my schedule and didn’t know how realistic it was.:blah: I created a google map for all of the venue visiting and timed everything best I could according to google. I had my dad review it to make sure it was doable. He says “Jess, when did you plan time for eating???” Oops, sorry dad. :evillaugh

    There are quite a few that were very different from their pics and vibe/atmosphere online, which is why I wanted to see them in person. Here are the links to my reviews of the venues:

    10am Rainbow Gardens with Marta http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670031#post670031
    11:30am Springs Preserve with Kim http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670039#post670039
    1pm Canyon Gate Country Club with Shelley http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670138#post670138
    3pm Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort with Ginnie http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670141#post670141

    Btw, my dad was being a very good sport about all this wedding stuff (way better than my fiancé J), especially considering he has a really bad back and is in constant pain. My dad actually got excited about one of the venues in particular (Canyon Gate-which was my fave too). :blowkiss: I even got lots of compliments :shy: from all of the wedding coordinators about how I was the most organized bride they're ever met. :D

    Fast forward a bit....Now that the wedding stuff is done for the day, it’s time for some dinner! :licklips: We meet my dad’s fiancee and her daughter for dinner at Red Rock’s buffet. We chose this buffet because it was cheap and good. I didn’t treat it like a normal buffet and didn't stuff myself crazy. :vomit: I just treated it like a dinner. My dad used his points, so dinner was free (even though I tried desperately throughout the trip to pay for my dad every chance I got). J was supposed to arrive here from Phoenix around 9 tonight. He decided to volunteer his seat and take a later flight. Southwest gave him his flight cost back (about $120) and an extra $100 for volunteering. :thumbsup: He now was coming in around 11pm. So basically, J didn’t have to pay for his flight to Vegas at all, and I had to pay $400! :grrr: He makes four times as much as I do, so I think he should just give me $400 and write it off as charity, hehe :wink2:

    as you can see, nothing exciting happened today since it was mainly a wedding venue day (i'm simultaneously working on my wedding venue reviews and my trip report, which is why the links to my reviews might not be there yet).

    Onward! :biker:

    Saturday June 16
    More wedding venues! :rolleyes2: This time my fiancé is actually going with me and my dad. I tried to save my favorites for Saturday so J could see them too, but the schedule just didn’t work out that way. So he saw some so-so ones. He was grumpy the whole time. :grrr: Maybe it’s a guy thing? I wasn’t giddy about this wedding stuff or anything, but I expected J to at least be neutral and not Mr. Sourpuss. :Þ Totally different vibe on Saturday than on Friday. On Friday, my dad and I were enjoying the process of touring and talking with the coordinators at the venues. On Saturday, J’s mood was infectious, and no one had a good time. :cry:

    Here are the links to my reviews of the venues:
    10am TPC Las Vegas with Keri http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670255#post670255
    11:30am Emerald at Queensridge with Kelsey http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670286#post670286
    1pm Wellington Place with Erica http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?p=670294#post670294

    We were done early with wedding stuff, so we got lunch at In-N-Out (finally!!). :woot::banana::woohoo: I just got some regular fries and a double cheeseburger (shared the fries with my dad), and J got the burger and fries animal style. Of course, it was a gourmet meal, and I can’t wait to have it again next year. Maybe I’ll have them cater my wedding….:evillaugh

    My dad’s fiancee's daughter had a dance recital tonight (she was celebrating her 10th anniversary in her dance studio :cheers:), so we all went to that. It was actually really fun. Watching 4 year olds trying to dance is hilarious and outrageously cute. :ssst: After, we went to my dad’s favorite local Thai place. I got my usual Pad See Ew, hold the spice please. While everyone else at the table is getting their curry at a level 8 or 9 spice (it goes up to 10), I asked for a negative spice value. The waitress was confused and thought I was kidding. No. :nono: I tried my Pad See Ew at a 5 last year, and it was too spicy to even taste its flavors. Why bother?? It’s not that I can’t handle the spice. I just don’t enjoy covering up the original flavors. Pad See Ew just isn’t a dish that is supposed to be spicy (IMO). J’s curry was actually really good and had the right amount of spice at an 8. :licklips:

    I actually get to bed around 11 tonight, which means I might actually get 8 hours of sleep! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:snore:

    sorry there aren't any pictures for this part of the trip (the pics from wedding venues will be in the wedding review posts), but there are plenty for later parts, stay tuned!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012
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