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Goin' to the chapel and we're…gonna sign a contract Day 1

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by skinny malinky, Apr 20, 2006.

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  1. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Goin' to the chapel and we're…gonna sign a contract Day 1

    We rolled out of LA around 9 am, and boy was the weather crappy. We left the rain behind us by the time we got on the 15, but it caught up with us when we stopped at the outlets just over the boarder. What can I say, my wardrobe is getting raggedy and I'm cheap. By the time we ate lunch and finished shopping, we had to sprint to the car. It was one of those cold, stinging rains, too. Good times.

    We got into Vegas around 3:30 and decided to go to the MGM first. This trip was 90% to find a place to get hitched in October, and 10% for my birthday. Thanks to Ken2V's book and our own research we'd narrowed the options down to five, and the MGM was first up to bat. It only took us 30 minutes to find the chapel (I kind of hate the MGM because it's so ridiculously large. It's just too big to be a hotel. They should call themselves the MGM Territory, or the Republic of MGM. Grand isn't specific enough to convey the unwieldiness of the place.)

    We made our way through a flock of overdressed people and went into the very tasteful chapel area. We casually strolled up to the desk and said we wanted information about weddings. The woman behind the desk unkindly informed us that, basically, she was very busy and maybe they could draw up a dummy contract if we were serious about this. Whoa. What the hell? We've never done this before; you're supposed to ask us guiding questions to figure out how much we already know. Surely we're not the only people who have come to Vegas to shop around for the best chapel. And it's not like we'd met the day before and were just screwing around; we knew the approximate number of guests, the date, what we wanted for a reception, etc. They were busy (I think in the time we were there they had three weddings), but we couldn't predict that on a Wednesday afternoon there would be a sudden rush on wedded bliss. We were treated like a couple of teenagers, and almost walked out. As my fiancé said, they'd better not all be like this.

    The rude woman (she was even from Canada. Canadians are never rude!) handed us their brochure and had us sit and wait for one of the wedding coordinators. The brides shuffled in and out. The whole chapel area, from the entrance to the lobby to the chapels themselves, is very nice. The chapels looked a little like conference rooms, but I'd rather have a conference room than a room where Cinderella exploded. My fiancé was a little overcome when we walked into the actual chapel & had to sit down. Coming to grips with the fact that you're waking up next to me for the rest of your life can be a lot to take. After a few minutes the weddings were over; the wedding coordinator came over and was very nice and helpful. The packages were reasonable, and despite the rude service at the beginning, my fiancé wanted to just go ahead and book it, mostly because she didn't want have to look anywhere else.

    We decided to go to the Venetian next. On our way to the chapel we passed a river of be-suited business people fresh out of some conference. So that's the reason hotel rooms were so expensive this time.
    The Venetian was at the very top of our price range, and unless you want to do the whole gondola wedding, it is not worth it. The chapel is nice, but remarkable only for the odd shape of the room. We would have needed the whole room, which would have meant that for at least a few of the guests, they would have had a wall literally two feet in front of their faces. We wouldn't have gotten anything above and beyond any other chapel except a larger bill. So that was a waste of time.

    Next came TI, which is now too cool for Robert Louis Stevenson. We got there at 5:58, which apparently means 6 o'clock in Vegas time, since the chapel was closed. By now we're beat; driving and wedding shopping all day is exhausting. We decide to eat at Isla, in Treasure Island. Isla is a tres hip Mexican restaurant that is very proud of its tequila selection. They even have "tequila goddess" wandering around who is something like a giant blonde tequila sommelier, only with less clothes and more silicone. Not that I'm complaining.

    Anyway, we're not exactly discerning tequila drinkers, so it was house margaritas for us. They were quite good, which they should have been for $9 a pop. They give you this ornate salsa stand thingy that puts 3 kinds of salsa a foot above the table, so you can really stare your salsa down if it's too spicy. I don't know. Why give you something that makes it difficult to look across the table? The salsas were good (a chipotle, a verde, and pico de gallo) We got queso fundido & split an order of flautas. The food was good; not exceptional, but then again we didn't order anything exceptional. There's only so much you can do with a bowl of melted cheese and deep-fried, tortilla wrapped chicken.

    Finally we checked in to our hotel, the (Las) Vegas Club, downtown. We got to the room, a north tower, two-queen. We wanted a king bed, and the room was a little beat up. I went down and, using the birthday & wedding-related reasons for the trip, got an upgrade to a "mini-suite." In all honesty I didn't think there were any upgrades available @ the LVC or else I would have asked in the first place. Go back up, collect our stuff from the old room and head down to the new room. And realized I had no recollection of what the new room number was. All I knew was that is was somewhere on the 5th floor. So I had to go back down to the clerk, feeling not so smart since I was there 2 minutes ago, and ask, "What room am I in?" He was kind enough to write it down this time.

    The Vegas Club mini-suites are not well named; don't suites have separate rooms? This is just a bigger room with a love seat, a couple of chairs, a mini-fridge and a coffee maker; a decent-enough room. We lay around for a while, recharging from the long & busy day. After a while I went gambling. I did okay at blackjack at the Golden Gate, then held my own in craps, but the drink service was brutally slow. That's what I like about downtown though; if you don't like something at one casino, there's another 30 seconds away. So I went back to the Vegas Club and hit the craps table.

    I've stayed at the Vegas Club 3 times now, and while I think the rooms are good for the price, the casino is a bit depressing. It's weirdly set up, and it's usually dead. I almost never gamble there. But this time I actually had fun, and I saw someone get cut off from alcohol, a personal first at a casino. I used to bartend and am a big fan of people being cut off if they need to be. This guy wasn't loud or obnoxious, and at first I was surprised, but after a couple of minutes it was obvious this guy's motor skills were out the window. He could barely get his bet down on the table, much less speak intelligibly. And he was evidence that the drink service here was good. I got tipsy, lost money, and went to bed.
     
  2. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    Goin' to the chapel and we're...gonna sign a contract Day 2

    Day 2

    Got up early to make the Paris buffet before it got slammed. Best laid plans; we only had to wait half an hour. After eating, we went to the Paris chapel. Let's just call it over-done for our tastes. There were two chapels; the larger one was white with lots (I mean LOTS) of gold trim and bad flowers. The smaller chapel hurt a little to look at; there was some sort of mural on the front wall that I guess was supposed to evoke the city of Paris. I think it would have evoked a migraine for anyone looking at it for more than thirty seconds. We tried to walk out slowly, but we might have broken into a run.

    Next we went to the Bellagio to see the conservatory. Lots of flowers. And then some more flowers. And then some pictures. And then some flowers. It was nice, and I liked it, but there were a lot of people taking pictures, so you have to keep stopping and waiting for them to get it just right. A half-step to the left, honey. Perfect. Besides, I don't think I can give a proper description, so I'll just stick with lots of flowers.

    Then we walked down to TI, and I remembered that everything in Vegas is farther away than it looks. I needed a beer by the time we made it. In the little casino bar they had some gigantic blonde waitress there, almost the same size as the tequila goddess. I think TI might be involved with some sort of genetic manipulation in which they're creating these freakish women. I applaud their effort.

    We made it up to the chapel. It was nice, but the chapel itself was a little tired. Nothing major, but the flowers were a little grimy, the wall fabric was a little worn. The prices were affordable, and even worn it was better than the Venice or the Paris, but at the same time, it just didn't do it for us.
    Next we had to walk back, making a stop at the Flamingo for Second City tickets. We drove back to the hotel and crashed for a while. All this wedding stuff was good, and we felt very productive, but I wouldn't call it fun. At this point we decided to check out one other place, the Mandalay Bay, and unless it really impressed us, we would go with the MGM.

    We went to Mon Ami Gabi for dinner. I had the steak with caramelized onions & red wine sauce. Yum. We also shared the potatoes dauphine, basically potatoes au gratin laden with cheese. Hard to go wrong there. After dinner we went to the Second City show. This is an all improv show with no pre-written sketches. I used to do improv (hey, at least I wasn't into magic or dungeons or dragons) so I'm always up for a good improv show, and this was first rate. With improv there are always going to be a few dead moments as the performers scramble to figure out where the hell to go with this, but they kept those moments to an absolute minimum, really working well together. They had a good crowd too, although there was a very old couple sitting across the room who didn't so much as smile. He kept falling asleep. We shoulda seen them showgirls, Martha.

    After that it was back to the Vegas Club. My fiancé was tired, so I went out a-gamblin'. Made it down to El Cortez before I found a place that wasn't too packed and had reasonable limits. I like playing craps at Cortez because the dealers don't know what they're doing and the boxmen get pissed off at them. So then you have the boxmen grousing at the dealers, and the dealers get more flustered, and it's a feedback loop. Makes for a bit of a floor show as you play. The drink service started slow, but once they realized that I tipped it improved enough so I could feel the love. And really, that's all I'm looking for, just a warm buzz as I give my money away. And they were taking it. I actually had a few good rolls, but only when I was the only person at the table. And even then I wasn't hitting my own numbers very much. Apparently the gambling gods have no respect for birthday boys. Bastards.
     
  3. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    Goin' to the chapel and we're…gonna sign a contract Day 3

    Day 3

    We had breakfast at the Upper Deck, the LVC's diner. The food took forever, and wasn't that good. It wasn't bad, but if I have to wait that long for pancakes they better taste like…I don't know. Really good pancakes, I guess. These were basically Bisquick.

    We packed up & checked out, then went to the Mandalay Bay for our last chapel inspection. After finally finding it (it's out past the pool. It took at least 20 minutes to find each of these chapels, and usually at least 2 questions to hotel employees.) We were impressed. It was very nice. We asked to see the actual chapel itself, and they said that would be fine, but since they were opening a new chapel in less than a month it wouldn’t really matter. Well can we see the new chapel? Nope, still under construction. Oh. Apparently the new chapel will be very "contemporary and beautiful," but then again, aren't we all. The best we could get out of them is that it would be like THEhotel. Just the place to walk down THEaisle. But we were confident it would look nice, and it would only be a few months old. Plus the prices were surprisingly good, less then the MGM. So we booked it. Ta da. Wedding at one, lunch reception to follow. Nothing wrong with a lunch reception, right?

    We stopped by the gift shop to get me new sunglasses (I always seem to leave a personal artifact behind in Vegas, and it never makes its way to the lost and found) and to get some postcards for save-the-date cards, which are apparently the most important things in the world, according to my fiancé. Wait, I'm sorry, proper wedding flowers are the most important things in the world. Also pretty invitations. And bridesmaids' dresses. Needless to say we have out priorities straight; world peace is for the unengaged. But alas, Mandalay Bay postcards were a buck a piece. Eek. So we stopped at a Walgreen’s and picked them up 3 for a dollar. Then we hit the road, soon to return one last time as unmarrieds, unless some more work needs to be done this summer. I bet I can make that happen.
     
  4. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Hope you don't mind, I merged your trip report into one thread.

    :haha: Now THAT'S funny. Nice report Skinny :thumbsup:
     
  5. VegasDon

    VegasDon Tourist

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    Great report! Congratulations on finding a chapel rather easily!
     
  6. SweetP

    SweetP Low-Roller

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    Skinny is full of sarcasm! Love it!

    Congrats on the impending nuptials. It gets better though (usually).
     
  7. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    That was a great read. Very nicely done!
     
  8. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Excellent piece of writing, loved it. Think I'll be calling the MGM the (People's) Republic of MGM from here on.
     
  9. sageblue

    sageblue High-Roller

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    Just to pile on: great read. Thanks so much! I may give this to some of my students as an example of providing entertaining and informative detail in their writing.
     
  10. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    Enjoyable read. Gosh, I’ll never forget that daunting task of looking for the “perfect†place to say I do… exciting and terrifying all at the same time. But, the moment we approached the entry for the Chapel by Bay we knew it was “the oneâ€. They really did a good job of handling everything -- all the plans with the chapel were carefree. I had a couple minor troubles the day of, but they were resolved quickly and/or had no ill affect on the day. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with your choice. We had afternoon ceremony and reception, as well. It all worked out wonderfully. Congrats and good luck!

    Will they be closing the Chapel by the Bay or will it remain and another chapel at THEhotel be added?
     
  11. LVLady

    LVLady Tourist

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    Thanks for the TR it was a great read. Good luck on the wedding, it will be wonderful I am sure!! MB sounds like a nice place to do it. You said you were getting married at 1 with lunch to follow, where are you going to do the lunch??
    BTW a Lunch Reception is great, especially since it isn't first thing. We got married at 4:30 at the Little Church of the West and did Dinner afterwards, I think dinner was done by 7 and we were at the Voodoo Lounge by 8:30. How I wish I knew more about Vegas at that point!!!
     
  12. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    Apparently they will be closing the Chapel by the Bay to make room for concerts or some such. There's some fad called rock and roll that's big with the kids these days.
     
  13. dscs007

    dscs007 Tourist

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    I think that I'll be calling them the Republic of MGM also ... lol

    David
     
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