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The Best Weekend Ever: An Epic in Five Parts

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by skinny malinky, Oct 30, 2006.

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  1. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    This was the big one, the one we’d all been waiting for. Five days in Vegas and about 45 other people coming to join us for our wedding. Stress? Oh yeah, there was stress. Expensive? Don’t make me laugh. We’d already been repeatedly violating the checking account in the month leading up to this trip, and that was just the preamble.

    The plan: arrive in town on 10/17, stay one night at the Barbary Coast. We needed a low key day to ourselves to run errands, meet with the chapel & reception people, and ease into this a bit. We had originally planned on coming in on Thursday, but with a lot of family coming in on that day, we got a cheap night at the BC, then would move to the Luxor for the rest of the trip. The Fiancé’s birthday is the 20th, so we booked the Salt Lick at the Red Rock for a birthday party/wedding rehearsal/welcome to Vegas dinner. Than Saturday afternoon we’d have the ceremony & reception. It’s go time.

    Wednesday, 10/18

    We woke up at 7 am and took care of the final touches; cleaning up before the house sitter got there (it’s really no fair she gets to enjoy a cleaner house than I ever get to), a couple of errands. We hit the road by 10:45 and call the bank on the way to up the check card limit.

    Traffic was light most of the way and even with a stop for lunch we were in sight of the Strip in four hours. That’s when the highway came to a crawl. So close I could almost taste the stale casino air. Delicious. I knew Las Vegas was scared of me and the fantastic winning streak I was about to go on, and they had obviously planned this traffic to disrupt my mood and delay the inevitable. Well played, Las Vegas. Well played.

    We pull into the Barbary Coast, our home for the first night’s stay. At check-in I turn on my charm and fail to get an upgrade, although we do get a view. And it’s a very nice view of the fountains, so I’ll take it. We drop our bags in the room and immediately do what every young couple does when they first get into town: we turn on Dr. Phil. In fairness the last two weeks had been two of the most exhausting and stressful weeks ever, so we were tired. We dozed for a while, but I couldn’t keep my eyes closed for long. I left the almost-wife in the room and hit the craps table, quickly turning $100 into $266. The table was so hot I couldn’t even check out Big Elvis. Your traffic was futile, Las Vegas.

    We were getting married and the Mandalay Bay, and as part of the package we got a limo to the courthouse. So we wait outside the BC for the limo. A completely ridiculous, completely gold limo pulls up, and we just know it’s for us. We hop in and take the quick drive down to the courthouse. We fill out the forms (and I have to call my Dad to find out which state he was married in. New York, it turns out. Why the state of Nevada had to know that, I couldn’t begin to guess), gave them the money, and marveled at the efficiency of it all. If they had this set up in California it would be a three-day, non-stop process involving stool samples, interviews with the doctor who delivered you, and cashiers checks for large amounts of money. But at least the forms would be available in 18 languages.

    Back in the limo and to the Coast. We decide to go to Isla, at TI (going for the cool factor with just the initials. Soon it will ask to be called Tiddy, just like that one rapper Grandma’s heard of.) We’d been to Isla on our last trip and were looking forward to the margaritas, which are tasty and strong. We got seated right away, next to a large bachelorette party. By which I mean there were a lot of people in the party, and they were all large. Then they decided it was photo time, so the large bachelorette and her sizable cohorts gathered at one end of the table. The end next to our table, of course, which they almost knocked over. We laughed about it with the middle-aged couple sitting on the other side of us. They were nice, from Indiana, in town on business. We told them we were getting married and they congratulated us, the photo was taken, and everyone went back to their meal.

    I got the pulled pork tamale, she got the cheese enchiladas, and we each got margaritas. Everything was quite tasty. When the middle-aged couple left, the woman casually put a twenty on our table and said they were buying a round of drinks for us. What? Awesome, because we were deliberating whether to get more or not. They left before we even got their names. So if you’re reading this, middle-aged couple from Indiana, thank you very much for the cool gesture. It was a good omen for the rest of the weekend.

    The drinks came, we toasted to the kindness of strangers, and went back to the Coast. She went up to the room and I gave back what I had won at craps earlier.
     
  2. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Part two

    Thursday, 10/19

    We woke up around 7:30 and went to the breakfast buffet at the Paris. I fill my belly with a variety of starches and pork products. Yum. We checked out of the BC, won on all of our matchplays, and went to Target for supplies. Then we begin the hunt for red ribbon.

    Back story: my dear, dear fiancé is one for the arts and crafts. She makes her own jewelry, designs some of her purses, etc. She’s a 3rd-grade teacher, so this hobby serves her well in the classroom. Of course, for the wedding, she had to do a few things.

    She made the invitations, which were more labor intensive than she thought they would be, but they came out very nicely. Then she decided to do a seating chart for the reception, which was stressful. Then she wanted to make the place cards for said seating arrangement, and these needed a little bit of red ribbon on them. She was working on them on the drive up to Vegas when she realized she didn’t have enough of this particular raw-silk red ribbon. Nine place cards were shamefully naked. My suggestion that maybe not all the place cards was seen as the rantings of a crazy person. Obviously I do not appreciate the finer points of place cards.

    So now we must find a Michael’s, or other such craft store. We get an address for Michael’s and drive by that address two or three times before thinking that maybe it’s not there anymore. Now we’re both frustrated, me because I could give a rat’s ass about ribbon, and her because I keep using the phrase “rat’s ass.†Screw it, we’re going to Wal-Mart. Where she finds ribbon that almost perfectly matches what she’d had before, for less than two bucks. I learn that this is $45 less than what she paid for the first ribbon. Forty-seven freaking dollars for ribbon? And we could have paid $2? I’m too sober to know what to do with this information.

    Okay, hurry hurry hurry to the Luxor, because it’s 12:15 and we have to meet the person coordinating our reception at the NYNY at one. We give the bags to a bellhop at the valet station, and he informs us that counting all the little bags and wedding dress and suitcases, we have a total of 12. Holy crap, 12 bags? I resist the urge to weep and head for registration. I try to charm the pregnant woman at the check-in to get an upgrade, but since we already have a nice suite, there’s not really a way to get an upgrade unless I’m willing to put a kidney on black. Funny thing, pregnant ladies aren’t a big fan of the kidney jokes. But we don’t need an upgrade, people, because we have the room of destiny. When I saw her write the room number on the flimsy little key-holder envelope thing, I thought it was odd. That can’t be our room number, can it? But it was; Room 12345. Fate had given us another omen, and it could only be good. Right?

    We take the long and winding road to the elevator. We’d never stayed at the Luxor before, hadn’t been near it in years. Good god, is it large. If I ever stay there again I’m bringing my own donkey, to ride and help carry the canteens. Our room has a lovely view of dirt and runways. Oh, and someone’s left old sodas and milk in the fridge. Just like they do in Egypt, I guess. And the sinks are slow. But no time to deal with that now. The bellhop brings our bags and we hurry to the NYNY.

    The reception is at Il Fornaio, a nice but casual Italian restaurant. We chose it because the nice but casual Italian restaurant at the Mandalay Bay, the site of the wedding, wanted $55 a head for lunch. Il Fornaio was a more reasonable $29, with a nice looking menu. We’d never set foot in the place, thanks to the Internet, but we liked it.

    We meet Flavia, the coordinator, who could stand switching to decaf but was nice. She said we could either use the large “patio†(basically right on the casino floor) or we could use the private dining room in the back. This was confusing, because the woman who we’d worked with originally had said the patio was the only option. So we decide to take a look at the private room. It was very nice, behind the kitchen, and had four tables for six people each. Remember when I said we were bringing in 50 people? Yeah, neither did Flavia.

    “Um, you know we’re having a lot more people than this, right?â€

    “Oh. How many?â€

    Turns out that she was new to the job, and hadn’t really been given the right info. Little things, like how many people would be there and what they would eat. You know, piddling details. I’m sure glad we came to make sure everything was set. She finds the right info for us, we give her the seating plan & place cards, and head back to the Luxor, walking through the very tasteful shopping area that connects the Excalibur with the Luxor. Nice blinky watches. Bulgari, I’m sure. I’m in desperate need of downtime.

    Passing the registration desk, we run into my dad & his wife. The first of the group; hugs all around. But seriously, Malinky needs downtime in a bad way. I tell him to call us later and we finally get up to 12345. Having a suite with two rooms and two TVs is really appreciated right now.

    Soon the phone calls start coming, and we welcome a few friends and relatives into our temporary home. We brought wine & snacks with us and we have a lovely little gathering. Then we need real food, so we go down to the Pyramid Café, Luxor’s coffee shop.

    Everyone liked their food; almost-wife thought her grilled cheese was one of the best (let me just interject here that although she likes grilled cheese, she is of legal age and in fact older than me), my chicken Caesar sandwich was a little dry, but the fries were excellent. By the time we were done with dinner it was 9:30 and everyone was beat. We went back up to the room. Almost-wife went to sleep. I fought it until 10:30, feeling like a wuss, but it was just too much. Calls kept coming from people getting into town, so breakfast plans were made in a half-awake stupor.
     
  3. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Part Three

    Friday, 10/20

    If the past two days had been tiring, today was going to be ten times as bad. We got up at seven, got ready, noticed that the shower drain was slow too. No time. We met my mom and some friends down at the lovely Pyramid Café. It was so great to see our friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years. Good times.

    After breakfast my best man and I played Pai Gow for a while. I hadn’t played much of it before but found it to be a good early morning game, a gentleman’s game of leisure, nice and friendly and slow. I won a little.

    Then it was off with the groomsmen to pick up the tuxes. We cram in the compact car for the short drive to Men’s Wearhouse. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

    We get back and my dad & I leave our tuxes in his room, since I know my room will be off limits to me the next morning. Then we go to the Mandalay Bay to meet with the chapel people and drop off our wedding music. The chapel is new and gorgeous. It’s very nice, contemporary; I think it’s done in the same style as THEhotel, if that helps anyone. It doesn’t help me because I’ve never been to THEhotel, being riff-raff and all.

    Then lunch at the Luxor food court. I eat at Quizno’s; it tastes like Quizno’s. Nothing more to say, really.

    After lunch I gamble for a while (losing), then relax in the room in preparation for the night’s excitement. Dinner plans are for 40 at the Salt Lick. The original Salt Lick was one of our favorite restaurants when we lived in Austin, TX. You can read my rhapsody here. When we saw they were opening one in Vegas we couldn’t have been more excited.

    Robert Rogero, known on the board as LasVegasLimoDriver, had helped arrange bus transportation for the group, and he came through like a champ, getting us a very affordable rate. We’d arranged for the trip out to Red Rock, figuring people could take care of themselves after dinner. The group arrived in drips and drabs, my brother the last to show as usual, but we left on time.

    It’s long drive out the Red Rock from the strip. A loooong drive, even on a traffic-free highway. The group was getting antsy or worse at the thought of taking cabs back, so I talked to the bus driver and he said he could come back for us after dinner. We took up a collection to pay for the return trip, and people couldn’t give me their money fast enough. So that couldn’t have worked out better. In all honesty, I felt bad because even after paying the driver & tipping generously, I had some cash left over. I reminded myself that we had paid for the entire ride out and were paying for everyone’s dinner, so the guilt didn’t linger.

    Now I know Mikey panned the Salt Lick, and I respect another man’s opinion, but he was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I actually pity him, that’s how wrong he was. I tried the onion rings (greasy but good) and had the pork rib plate for dinner, which comes with beans (not bad, not exciting), potato salad (same), and coleslaw (subtle, but good). But the ribs? Excellent. Smoky, tender, a little fat, but they’re pork ribs, after all. The rub was great, and the sauce? Not too thick, a little vinegary to balance the sweetness. Just terrific. The meat was good enough to not need sauce on every bite, but I’d drink the stuff for breakfast. Not quite as good as Texas, but close. Everyone said they loved it. Except for the one girl who couldn’t keep it down. But everyone else gave a thumbs up. Oh, and the staff at the Lick were great, very professional and friendly.

    We wait a little while for the buses to come back, one taking longer than the other, but it’s a lot better than cabbing it. And wouldn’t you know it, after all this we were too damn tired to do anything. Back to the room.
     
  4. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    Part Four

    Saturday, 10/21

    Up before seven. Vacation my ass.

    Today’s the reason we’re all here. Ceremony at one, reception at two, and a lot to get done before all of it. Hit the shower. Now the shower is making some sort of stinky, black water back up into the tub. Not good at all, but no time to do anything about it now. After the reception. I’m kicked out of the room and find a Pai Gow table to kill time before breakfast. My best man finds me and we battle the dealer. I fight to a standstill, best man loses. I meet the other groomsmen for breakfast at, wait for it, the Pyramid Café. At that point I’d had 7 meals in Vegas, 3 of them at the Pyramid. But before I even sat down I remembered I had an errand. So I hustle to the Mandalay Bay.

    I’d ordered flowers to be delivered while almost-wife was getting ready with her ladies, but I hadn’t signed the card. After wandering around a bit I found the floral department and made sure they would be delivered on time.

    Ran back to the Luxor and ate the best meal I’d have in the ol’ Pyramid. If you’re ever there and want breakfast, the cranberry pecan French toast is awesome. Gave the groomsmen their gifts and headed to my old man’s room to get tuxed up. God, I am one fine looking piece of man meat. Sorry ladies, off the market now.

    Okay, now I’m nervous, pacing, going over the vows. Is it bad to have vows written on Luxor stationary? Finally we take the long walk to the MB. The funniest part of waiting in the small but well-appointed groom’s room was how nervous my almost-father-in-law was. He’s a great guy. The second funniest part was the music they piped in. It was terrible, and then they played a song from a few years ago that has a chorus of, “I’ve seen better days.†Really, that’s what you play before the wedding? Not the best choice there.

    The wedding was great, went off without a hitch. She looked…I don’t know, I have no words. It was really nice, nicer than I thought it would be, even at a nice place like MB. Several people asked me afterwards if we knew the minister, because we seemed so comfortable, as did he. I have no idea what the man’s name is, but he did a good job. There was laughter and tears. But no tears from me, because I have a heart of cold black stone.

    So after the ceremony, of course, come the pictures. So many pictures. First with the bridal party, then with the parents, then with the extended family, then the room service staff, then with the German tourists who happened to be walking by. Not that bad, but it felt like it. And after the family and friends left for the reception, more pictures with me and my bride. Our androgynous photographer is nothing if not thorough. Seriously, it was over 150 pictures all told. Malinky’s getting cranky.

    Finally we’re done with the photos. We get our little gift bag from the chapel, including complimentary champagne (I’ve gotten better compliments from girls I’ve dumped), and head for NYNY. We’re not sure if we want to take a cab or see if a limo’s available. After all, you only get married once. And then I realize I’d left my wallet with my dad’s wife. And my cell phone. And the wife doesn’t have purse, obviously. Looks like it’s going to be a long walk in uncomfortable shoes.

    We get to the tram, get to the Excalibur, and take the walkway over to NYNY. The bride loved it because of all the congrats and compliments on her dress on the way over, but people were getting worried at the reception. But everyone was there, and the party started. The food was good and we had a blast. We had a great paparazzi moment when we cut the cake (from Fried’s bakery and delicious; chocolate layered with butter-cream raspberry filling and an inch of frosting on the outside), with about twenty people taking pictures. One of my aunts got tipsy, which was funny, and everyone had fun.

    We took a cab back to the Luxor Room of Fate, tired but happy. We finally had time to call about the slow drains, and they sent up a maintenance man. Meanwhile, my dad and his wife dropped by to bring stuff I’d left in his room. We chatted about how great the whole weekend had gone while the maintenance man tackled the bathroom drains.

    And that’s when the Room of Fate turned on us. WHOOSH! A blast of the foul water the shower had left in the tub rocketed from the living room sink, literally hitting the ceiling, spraying the mirrors and ruining Mrs. Malinky’s bouquet. The entire suite smelled like sewage. On. Our. Wedding. Night.

    I immediately called the front desk, who said a bellhop was on the way with keys to a new room, and that they’d take $100 off the room rate. So we start packing hurriedly, jamming things in bags, checking to see what got splattered. The bouquet was the only thing of value, but it was expensive. The bellhop comes and we pile everything on the cart haphazardly.

    Everyone else goes to the new room, but I go to the front desk, because $100 off the room isn’t enough. They gave another $100 for the damage to the bouquet & $75 for room service, so Mrs. Malinky got chicken tenders & a baked potato, and I got lobster tail. Her food was much better.

    The new room was a mirror image of the Room of Fate, with a better view. Why couldn’t we have gotten this one in the first place? Plus now I have to learn my way around the Luxor again, being in a new tower and all. Should I even tell you how early we went to bed on this night? Come on, it was a crazy day, we were exhausted.
     
  5. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    Part Five

    Sunday, 10/22

    We get up early to check out & have breakfast. A few people meet us at the MB’s buffet. It’s their fancy-pants champagne brunch buffet, $25 a person, and I thought it was a good bit worse than the Hilton’s cheaper champagne brunch buffet I had a couple of trips ago. The champagne flowed freely, at least.

    We weren’t driving back until the afternoon, and I was ready to gamble by myself for a while, so I decided to try real-life poker. I used to play a lot online, but thanks to the World’s Best Congress™ (and President Bush, of course), my favorite site, Party, won’t take my money anymore. And I was doing well, too. Anyway, I sat down at a 2-4 game and didn’t make an idiot of myself, which was god because I was a little nervous. I even won a little.

    Then I tried a little mini-baccarat, just because it was there, and won $50 on that too. Actually, that game was fun, in a weird way. I felt a bit awkward, since there were only 2 other players, both betting way more than my $10 minimum. One guy said he’d lost $3,900; in other words, he’d lost the equivalent of our wedding and reception. Must be nice. Finally, it was time to leave, and by now I was ready. So we collected our friends and said our goodbyes.

    All in all, even with the exploding sink (read Saturday for those too bored to wade through this mammoth trip report), it was the best weekend ever. Just about everyone important to us made it to Vegas, and we had more fun than we thought we would. And I’m so glad it’s over. The whole wedding thing took over our lives for the month or so leading up to it, and I’m glad I’m only going to do it once. We got our bags, got our car, had a few final pictures take, and drove off into the sunset.
     
  6. dscs007

    dscs007 Tourist

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    Congratulations on being able to get married in Vegas. I think that it is a wonderful place to get married ( unfortunately we didn"t make it to Vegas our first time till we'd been married 16-17 years). Great TR. It was a wonderful read.

    David
     
  7. mrsvjw

    mrsvjw High-Roller

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    Great report!!!!

    And trust me... as someone crazy enough to do a black pearl bead bouquet for the non-Vegas reception after the Vegas wedding.... ya got off light with the ribbon obsession, and you will both be glad to not have to continually find a place to hold her dried bouquet that she can't bare to throw away.....
     
  8. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

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    Great trip report! I find it hard to believe you weren't given a suite after that exploding sink episode.

    Cruiser
     
  9. StickyFingers007

    StickyFingers007 Namer of T2V Gatherings

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    Congratulations on your wedding! All the best to a wonderful life together. Sounds like you had a great time despite the exploding sink.
    If your bridal party was wearing bugrandy and you were cruising through NYNY on Saturday, I think I spotted you... lol

    Sticky
     
  10. sageblue

    sageblue High-Roller

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    Thanks so much for this report: what a great way to get the day started. Congrats on your wedding and a great trip!
     
  11. BrokenAlice

    BrokenAlice Tourist

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    Congratulations on your wedding and a very memorable trip. The report was Aces! :thumbsup:
     
  12. aggie182

    aggie182 Off Key and Out of Tune

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    This is probably one of the best, most cleverly written TR's I've read. Congrats on the wedding man.
     
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