Day 11: Grand Canyon

We book our Grand Canyon day trip online. Our US $140 package include:

  1. Breakfast: Light snacks + drinks
  2. Lunch at Grand Canyon
  3. Transportation pick up from hotel lobby
  4. Tickets to Grand Canyon Skywalk
  5. Visiting: Grand Canyon West, Eagle Rock, Hoover Dam

We wait for our transportation pick-up at 6:30am. A mini bus goes around different hotels, picking passengers who signed up for this day trip to the assembly area. In the assembly area, we will be assigned to a coach, given 1 drink and 1 light snack for breakfast. Then we embark on a 4 hour coach ride to Grand Canyon.

Pick Up at Hotel Lobby
Breakfast Include Snacks & Drinks
Grand Canyon Tour Stickers
Transfer to Big Coach
Catch Some Sleep

Grand Canyon is in the state of Arizona and it’s time is 1 hour behind Las Vegas. It is managed by Hualapai Tribal Nation. We are dropped at the “interchange”  where 2 other bus services bring us to: (i) Guano Point and Eagle Point and (ii) Hualapai Ranch. From there, you are free to plan your time and meet back again to return to Vegas.

I suggest to go for the Skywalk first. Skywalk usually comes with a queue. It will be a pity if you missed it because you need to rush back to catch your coach.

Collect Skywalk & Lunch Tickets
Wristband for Skywalk
Grand Canyon West
Starting Point
Bus Service to Skywalk

You are not allow to bring in any video recording gadgets like cameras, mobile phones, food and drinks to the Skywalk. Complimentary lockers are provided. Long objects like tripod can be passed to the helper if they do not fit the locker.

Pictures will be taken by the Grand Canyon photographers. If you have the intention to buy these photos in printed and digital copies, you should take as many pictures as possible. The digital package cost around USD $100, if I never remember wrongly.

The queue is break into smaller groups. Legs are wrapped with a nylon shoe wrap to prevent scratches and dirt from shoes on the glass of Skywalk.

No Cameras to the Skywalk. Lockers Provided.
Start of Skywalk Queue
Magnificant View
Strike a Pose

We spend some time taking picture in front of the Canyon. But the cliff is not fenced up, whatever you do is at your own risk.

IMG_4041Sitting by the Rock
The Furtherest Lester Dares to Stand

We headed to Hualapai Ranch for outdoor lunch. There are only 2 meal options: chicken or beef. Drinks are free flow. Pretty decent food. I’m curious how often do they reorder their food supplies and drive all the way to the Canyon? Hmm…

Lunch Area
Lunch – Chicken Option
Lunch – Beef Option

There are Grand Canyon North, South, East, West rim. If you are driving, you might want to do some read up like this.

After lunch, we walk about 10 to 15 minutes to Guano Point. It is a quiet spot where you can see the winding Colorado river.

Grand Canyon West
Colorado River at Guano Point

We are back on the coach by 3:30pm Vegas time. 5 hours at Grand Canyon doesn’t seem adequate.

We pass by Hoover Dam on our way back. It looks magnificient but we can only stay in the coach. 🙁

Night Starts to Fall
Hoover Dam

Day 10: Las Vegas

Today is wedding chapel scouting day! We googled a few chapels and went for an onsite visit to the chapels.

There are kazillion couples who get married in Vegas every year. The chapels already know what to advice, what are the procedures and services they can provide. For the benefits of all, I’m going to share our experience here.

Registering at Marriage Bureau of Nevada
Like in every country, couples will have to register their names with the marriage office before the wedding. This is part of the administrative procedure. Couple will have to fill in the forms, produce your IDs or passports and make a payment of USD $60 at the counter. Make sure you know which is your first or last name, at least this is the naming convention you need to follow.

Marriage Bureau of Nevada
Marriage Bureau of Nevada
Fill in Couples’s Details
Wait in the Line
Office does not provide recommendations to wedding chapels & services

Administrative staff will request you to check all details and authorise with both your signatures. Last but not least, couples will be given a big white envelop. Inside contains 3 documents: 2 to be passed to the wedding chapel and 1 of them is your marriage certificate. This is a souvenir certificate which means that the certificate is for remembrance only, no legal binding.

You will have to order the actual wedding certificate online after your wedding JP (Justice of Peace) filed your marriage with the authority. Each wedding certificate costs USD $15 not including postage.

One more important thing: once you’ve registered with the Nevada’s Marriage Bureau, you have 1 year to hold your ceremony within the State of Nevada.

Given 3 documents in a white envelop.
This is the souvenir marriage certificate.

Visit Wedding Chapel & Discuss Packages
You can now find a chapel to hold the ceremony after all these administrative procedure.

We engaged our wedding service from Chapels of the Flowers. During our first visit, we talk to a wedding planner, Michelle Meyer. She shows us the packages and follow through all the arrangements. I like the fact that Michelle is not pushy, believe she has been in this trade for a long time.

The packages here work like a base, you can add on or change some stuff. You’ll have to negotiate and tell your planner what you want. Of course, all you need to pay is $$$. Money can make wonders in Vegas.

Our Wedding Package
We wanted to choose the simplest package, Simplicity Ceremony, but the bride’s bouquet consist of only 1 stalk of rose, photos are not enough to select and no limo transportation before and after ceremony. We then opted for Traditional Ceremony which includes 6 stalks of roses, a wedding DVD of the ceremony, 8 hours of internet viewing and limo to-fro transportation. We also added a posed one-to-one photography session with the photographer. The whole package costs USD 512.71.

The planner printed the quotation for us to think about, as we are leaving Vegas 2 days later. There will be no refund once payment is made.

Our date and package confirmations are communicate via email. This give us sometime to settle our thoughts, email Michelle with more queries, arrange our date, domestic flight and accommodation on our next return. Full payment is then made electronically.

Before we end our consultation with Michelle, she notifies us that the chapel doesn’t pay salaries to the JP, limo drivers and photographers. They worked on a tipping system. She suggests an amount we can contribute: USD $60 to the JP, USD $40 to the driver and USD $30 to photographer. Ahem~ Money again!

Chapel of Flowers

Limousines All Lined Up

Things to Note
I suggest a few things to take note if you want to get hitched in Vegas:-

  1. Research.
    Do your research on the wedding chapels and the packages they provide before coming to Vegas. Most of these chapels have a website.
  2. Email.
    You can email the chapels and check on the venue available dates and time for your ceremony.
  3. Plan Las Vegas trip and visit wedding chapel.
    Plan at least a 4 days to 1 week stay in Vegas for your wedding. You would need to spend 1 day going to the Marriage Bureau of Nevada and visit the chapel venue, talk to the wedding planner. I realise you get to know what you want when you meet the planner in person. Sometime there are stuff in the package they can swop in or out for you. But of course, you might end up being up sell, paying more, because you know the basic package doesn’t satisfy you, speaking of myself. In any case, a good wedding chapel will accept your opinion graciously and will not push you further with services that you won’t need.
  4. Wedding day.
    1 day is set for your wedding. After that, couples can celebrate with either a good dinner or watch a show. We were too shag from the preparation, wedding nervousness, and collapse into dreamland after the wedding.
  5. Return to chapel.
    The consecutive day is usually a return to the chapel. For my case, to view photographs taken on the ceremony and select them. Half a day is gone.
  6. Bring credit card.
    Self explanatory. We *kaching* on our wedding ceremony, then the photos that they try to sell. We wanted the digital copies so much.
  7. Time check.
    Above suggestions will take up 2 1/2 days to complete. You have 1 1/2 days to tour Vegas if you choose a compact 4 days stay. That doesn’t include 1 day to Grand Canyon. Ahem~

I will post more in-depth details on our big day. Watch this space.

Tomorrow we are heading to Grand Canyon.

Day 09: Las Vegas

We drove to Las Vegas on Boxing Day. It should normally take about 4 hours, but it’s holiday season, everyone is going somewhere. The highway gets a little jammed up and I’m not sure how long have we been driving. Stopped by 1 or 2 premium outlets, by the time we reached Vegas, the sun has set.

Vegas is indeed astonishing. Big amazing archietectures, great amount of human traffic, wine & dine, shopping malls and entertainment hub. However, the greatness doesn’t hit me, I guess I’m just too tired travelling on the road. There is one thing for sure: these buildings look extrememly close, but they are deceivingly far away in actual distance.

We shared a room with Lester’s uncle at Monte Carlo in Vegas. It’s on the Strip but towards the end. When you want to walk back after all the shopping, your legs will break. I personally prefer Caesars Palace on our 2nd visit. Room and location are better.

Room at Monte Carlo
TV Console & Luggage Area
Bathroom Facility
Shower Area

We didn’t do much on the day or arrival, except booking our Grand Canyon day trip and planning to scout for wedding chapel for our big day.