My story continues from here: (http://forums.theknot.com/discussion/1051843/faith4keeps-wedding-review-reflecting-on-engagement-planning#latest
OK, so here's our very generic wedding weekend agenda:
Thursday: Arrive, Marriage License, Errands, Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties (I stay at Tropicana, he stays at Planet Hollywood)
Friday: Informal Breakfast at Tropicana, followed by spa day for me and a guys day for him, Rehearsal, Rehearsal Drinks, Rehearsal Dinner w/ Parents, Photo Strip Tour w/ just bride & groom
Saturday: Ceremony at 11am followed by a brunch reception; Strip Tour for Guests (we both check out of hotels and into our single room at Cosmopolitan)
Sunday: SLEEP, followed by secret newlywed dinner
Monday: SLEEP, return home
We woke up early on Thursday morning and realized we never made a plan on how to get to and from the airport. I travel by air very frequently for work so the only thing that was stressing me out was how much STUFF we had. I was glad I had a duffle bag that allowed for me to stuff things into vs. needing to be square or another perfect shape. We ended up driving to the airport because we could take our time loading the car. Looking back, I wish we had taken a cab. Having to get all the stuff in the car, park, get it out of the car, get it into the shuttle, get it out of the shuttle....was just stressful. Would definitely recommend a curbside dropoff if you can.
My husband was unfortunately not feeling well so despite our time in SkyClub and upgrade to first class he probably had the worst flight of his life. The flight attendants recognized my dress immediately and had me put it in the captain's closet before even knowing I was in first class. That was very nice. We were given nods and smiles and congratulations throughout our journeys at the airport.
We did end up renting a car (Budget) which was fine, but it was still a lot of lugging stuff from airplane, baggage claim, to shuttle bus, etc.... looking back, a taxi would have been preferable again. We dropped of my husband's friend at their hotel, with his bags, and continued on to my hotel: Tropicana.
Now; if any of you have been to Vegas you might have heard of the "sandwich trick". This is where you put cash between your ID and credit card when you hand over the items when you check in, which is a universal Vegas sign for "upgrade me and earn this tip". I've used the trick many times w/ a $20 bill at Cosmo, Vdara, Caesar's Palace, maybe a few others. Every time it is treated almost like a table bet. The person checking you in kind of spreads the cash on the table for the cameras to see. I've always ended up in some version of an upgraded room, or if they couldn't upgrade me, they gave me my money back.
I decided to try it with a $100 bill in the hopes of getting a Penthouse at Tropicana, as we'd be entertaining in the room quite a bit. An hour an a half later (!!!!!!) I was able to upgrade from a Club Suite to a Deluxe Spa Suite, but had to pay and additional $150/night on top of what I had already paid, about $100/night. They tried to make me pay $300/night extra but I told them they'd need to lower the price. In the end I felt it was worth it. Our room was huge with a dining area, living room area, large bar area, and the master suite included a whirpool jacuzzi, a SAUNA, and our shower doubled as a steam room! It was huge and wonderful and perfect for our needs. Very special for wedding weekend. No word yet on how my credit from the wedding dept for a 1 night stay in a club suite affected my bill. But, the lady at check in did not earn my tip because it took 90 minutes to check in. I gave her a much smaller gratuity but I thought it was pretty unbelievable it took so long. A bad way to start things off. I'd give the check in staff at Tropicana a C. We arrived there around 12:30pm and didn't leave for errands until about 2pm.
After checking in we headed straight to the marriage license place downtown. No where clear to park but eventually found a garage. We filled out our paperwork in advance (although there was no line either way) so we were in and out of there in about 10 minutes. A for organization!
Next we had some errands to run. Instead of a guestbook, I decided to have our guests write us marriage advice / notes on Las Vegas postcards! So, we needed to find somewhere that had postcards. We finally stumbled onto a souvenir shop and probably spent ~$30 on that. Next we found a CVS and picked up all the things we forgot: migraine medicine in case of potential hangover, bandaids for blisters, etc. Finally, we had to go drop off our wedding cake topper at Wicked Spoon. Our coordinator there said to bring it by anytime before 5pm. When we did, we were instructed by the manager to have a seat and when our coordinator came out about 5 minutes later we had a full blown meeting about the reception for about ~10 mins. I was grateful for the double-check on details but wasn't expecting that. I wish we had an appointment time instead. At any rate, it was nice.
We were starving by this point, so we had lunch at Holsteins around 3:30pm. We both ordered alcoholic milkshakes that were very expensive, delicious, but didn't taste like they had any alcohol at all. Burgers were OK. Loved the onion rings. Total cost $90 with tip for some burgers & shakes. That's Vegas for you!
From here, we split up and didn't see each other until the rehearsal. I went downstairs to get a reprint of my Identity card and my husband headed back over to Planet Hollywood. I drove back over to Tropicana, arriving there around 5ish. My girlfriends were to begin arriving around 5:45pm for bachelorette fun! My good friend Adrienne planned the whole thing and had our room decorated in red & black streamers & balloons. She did an excellent job!
After everyone arrived, we just had very heavy snacks in the room then headed off to..... Chippendales!!! We had some problems being seated since our entire party was not there all at once. I would definitely recommend that you make sure your entire party is there to be seated (not just there somewhere) when you need to be seated. We got split up even though we had a table reservation. WOW was that both a cheesy and amazing show. Definitely loved it for a bachelorette party and I'm really glad I got to do it. Even though I was the ONLY bachelorette in the theater that night, I somehow didn't get pulled up on stage. I didn't mind that at all, but I did mind that there were 3 girls that got to "participate" in the show more than once because they were the loudest & most excited, even when there were other people trying to get on stage too. I thought that was kind of lame and poorly executed. Some of the dance moves were just awful, but the scenes were great. Would give the show a B+, staff at the venue a C.
After the show we went to Voodoo Lounge, which I had heard a lot about but since I'm not a club person I've never been. We got free entry since we had been to the Chippendale's show. The view here is absolutely incredible and again, so glad I got to experience that. But there was only seating for VIP tables. So that, combined with sky high heels, combined with a 3 hour time difference, combined with my request to "drink but not too much", meant the excitement of the stellar view quickly wore off for most of us and in about 30 minutes we were all clearly in pain (from shoes). So I made the executive decision to head down to the casino, where the drinks are free and there are CHAIRS! Voodoo lounge gets a B+ for music, view, drinks ,etc but no seats on a empty Thursday night?! Boo.
My friend had everyone dress in red or black (I dressed in gold) and when we arrived at the casino she announced that we were going to play roulette and anyone who had worn red should bet on red and anyone who had worn black, bet on black. None of us ended up winning big but it was a really cute idea!
After we lost some money gambling, we decided to keep the party going back at Tropicana. Unfortunately after we all stepped in cabs, we sort of got split up as a group. I wanted to go back to my room to change into flats then head back to the casino. 2 friends came with me and while I changed into shoes they got into some long drawn out conversations since they hadn't seen each other in a while. Although I really wanted to head back to the casino, I didn't want to be a bridezilla, so I just changed into pajamas to get comfy and eventually went to sleep around midnight (which was 3am my time)!
My husband's group did dinner at a steakhouse followed by hopping around the strip at various casinos and bars and had a blast.
We were glad we did the bachelor & bachelorette parties as a part of the wedding weekend. This goes with our theme of short engagement & not trying to draw things out. One of the reasons we had the wedding in Las Vegas was that more than 50% of our guests were going to have to get to our home city, Atlanta, by plane anyway. It felt very selfish to ask everyone to do two trips. Because of that, I think we got a lot more participation and I also think it was a fun experience some of our friends might not have opted to do if it weren't paired with the wedding. But....it definitely was tough with the time change. Still, we talked about how to time things differently, and didn't come up with anything better.