This trip has been in the works since last September when my best friend and her boyfriend became engaged. While there was no grand proposal, it is a sweet story. We went to Vegas August 2007 with 2 other couples and all 8 of us attended a show and then dinner at Margaritaville. After the trip, my best friend ("bf" or "bride") and her then boyfriend realized that they were the only unmarried couple at dinner and were no different than the rest of us, so why not get married? Fast forward 10 months later to our 2008 trip to Vegas, and her wedding at the Venetian. DH and I arrived after an uneventful flight around 10:45 am on Wednesday, 7/30. We met up with another couple and proceeded to the Mirage. Check in was easy and quick, then we headed to lunch at Cravings. The buffet was pretty good. It has been some time since I last had a Vegas buffet. We never made it to one last year. I think the last one I went to was Dishes at TI, so this was pretty good. I liked the potstickers and the latin bar best. Note: we were given the option of sitting at the bar to eat. I really don't recommend that. The chairs were a bit tippy and it is weird for me to have the bartender in my face while I eat buffet. Generally, we eat a large meal mid-morning, then eat around 11 pm or so, so we eat pretty heavily. It was just wierd being right there. Plus, people kept coming up to get drinks from the bar so it was difficult sometimes to get into our seats. We then went to the pool to soak up some rays. I love the Mirage pool. We just like to sit and soak up the sun and keep cool, so we just lounged with some (very) large and (very) expensive drinks for a few hours. After changing, I had to be at the Venetian for the wedding rehearsal. DH and I parted from the other couple to head across the strip. The rehearsal went off w/o a hitch and we had about an hour and a half before going to Blue Man Group. DH and I collect $1 chips from each casino we visit. It isn't really about the chips, just the experience and research we do together. It's our "thing" . Anyway, we decided to go check out Encore (not realizing that it isn't open yet) and walked from Venetian, through the Palazzo (got a chip ) and onto the strip. Of course once we passed Wynn we realized our mistake (1 for 2). We then decided to go through the Fashion Show Mall to the new Trump tower. After having to back track and walk, and walk, and walk we made it to Trump's swank new place, only to find out that they don't have a casino there (duh). We are now 1 for 3 for chips and tired, but it's time to go back to the Venetian for BMG. We stopped at ABC for water, energy drink, toothbrush and some other various things we forgot to pack. Blue Man Group was amazing! I really have never enjoyed a show more. We sat in the row right behind the poncho seats so didn't get wet/gross, but had an awesome view! I will never cheap out on a show again! It was worth every penny to sit that close and have that experience. After BMG, we decided to catch the shuttle to Rio from Harrahs. It takes a bit of time, especially since we had to wait about 20 minutes for the next run. Rio was pretty neat. I wish we had been there when the Show in the Sky was going on, but we do plan on returning - we want to bowl there! We then decided to brave it and walk to Gold Coast and the Palms for more chips. It was a longer walk than we anticipated, but at least it was night and the sun wasn't beating down on us. We made it back to Rio just in time to catch the shuttle to Caesars and walk to Mirage. We originally were going to meet up with the other couple again and go to Kahunaville at TI, but we were up at 4 am that morning and it was already 11:30 pm and we need our beauty sleep! We ended up deciding to get some dinner since it had been so long since we ate. We ate at the Carribe Cafe at the Mirage. I had an appetizer that was tiny and $10 and DH had the philly cheesesteak sandwich with fries, which was huge and only $13. It wasn't too great though. We decided not to eat there again (should have gone to BLT Burger!). Then we were off to bed by 1 am. (Chips: 4) Thursday was the wedding so after enjoying breakfast at Cravings, DH and I split up. He went and played poker with the groom at the Venetian and I went and did the bridesmaid thing with the ladies. The wedding was beautiful and the dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe was EXCELLENT!!!!! It was the most amazing chicken parm I ever had and the cheesecake was to die for! Who needs wedding cake when you can have melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake?!? After the wedding we changed and went to Harrah's to the deuling piano show. It was pretty fun and we managed to embarrass the happy couple by having the performers bring them up on stage to do the chicken dance. Then the bride and groom were "tired" and we all went our separate ways. We arrived back at the Mirage at about 12:30 am and when we got off the elevator, there was an unholy stench permeating the hallway! I saw my friends moving their luggage down the hall to another room. The stench was emanating from their room! Luckily it didn't go all the way to our room so DH and I had a good night's sleep Friday we met many of the other wedding guests at Cravings for breakfast. We weren't able to sit with them, but it was fun seeing the bride and groom and their families again. We made our way over to Hard Rock to check it out. I am surprised at how small it is. I really expected a huge complex, but it isn't so big at all. Hmmm the movie "21" really made it look bigger. We then decided to hit the pool and stayed for several hours. And had some drinks again. I really recommend the rum runner at the Mirage. It is pricey, but tasty and gives a good buzz. We left the pool area to go check out O'Sheas as one of our friends was thinking about getting a tattoo. He didn't end up doing it as WOW they charge a lot of money there, so we just grabbed all of the cheap drinks we could and wound up walking all the way to the coke bottle by Monte Carlo, bouncing in and out of casinos along the way. (Chips: 9) On a whim, we bought tickets to the Tournament of Kings and headed to the Excalibur. The show was pretty good. The dinner was just "eh" but obviously you are there more for the show anyway. We were still buzzing there so had a pretty good time screaming for our king to win. We had to duck out about 10 minutes early to get to NYNY for Zumanity. Zumanity had some wonderfully funny parts (if you like raunchy humor - which we do) and the dancing was great too. Our seats had a railing in the view, so we either had to look between the bars or over them, and we were getting tired so the music began lulling me to sleep. I did enjoy the show and would love to see another Cirque show sometime (DH liked the raunchy humor, but not the Cirque-y stuff). We then went back to Mirage for some more beauty sleep Saturday was check out day We checked out then decided to take the monorail to the Hilton as we had never been there. We also grabbed some souveniers for our kids at the Carnival Court. At the Hilton, we checked out the Star Trek theming, but opted not to do the "experience." We walked around the Hilton then hopped on the monorail to the Sahara and met our friends for lunch at the Nascar Cafe. We hiked over to Circus Circus, Slots of Fun and Riviera as we had never been to any of those. (Chips: 12) Then we went back to the Mirage and made our way to the airport to go home. I have to admit I got a little bit emotional when it was time to go. I wanted more time with my honey. We had an amazingly wonderful trip though and did get a lot of time together and I can't wait for our next trip. I think next year we will try to get 2 trips in - one w/ kids and one w/o kids. (Our kids LOVE vegas and we keep very good track of them so they never bother any adults having fun). Here is a picture of DH and I at the Tournament of Kings show at Excalibur. The other picture is us in the lobby of the Venetian. My camera was on a wonky setting, but I like the way it looks like the world is rushing around us.