Day 19: Post Wedding Day

We booked a morning slot to return to Chapel of the Flowers for wedding photos.

We are led to this media room, a separate office that take cares of all your photography viewing. Couples will sit in front of the tv and watch a video compilation of all the photos taken the day before. Yes, it is a VIDEO compilation.

Photo Gallery at Chapel of Flowers

When you have only that few minutes to recap your wedding day, the ‘sales’ person will pop the question, “Would you like to purchase the video, digital copies (colored, sepia, black & white) and printed copies?” I hesitated initially because this is another US$500. (-_-) And sepia, black & white are color treatments that I can do with a push of button in Photoshop.

But we really really love them! If that US$500 preserve our sweet memories, I guess there is no harm. After all, this is Vegas. Money makes the world goes around. Haha~

Kaching Kaching~
In Total We Have: ROM DVD, Photos in Digital & Print Outs, Video Compilation DVD

We are also given admission tickets to Stratosphere Tower. It is the highest observation tower in US and the tallest building in Las Vegas. You can also challenge yourself to some thrill rides at the tower.

Stratosphere Tower Admission Tickets
Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower
Stratosphere Tower
Sky Jump
Big Shot

We would also like to extend our gratitude to family and friends who wake up to catch us live at 5am, and send us gifts. Heartfelt thank you. Loves~~~

 Thank You for All Your Loves

Day 18: Our Big Day

4th January 2012 is our big day! We decided to tie a knot  after 7 years, moving on our relationship to the next phase.

We have been quite secretive about this. In fact, only our family and a few of our closeset friends are being told about this plan.

We prebooked our wedding date on our previous Vegas trip. Then, we liaise a time slot for the ceremony via email. We choose Vegas time 1pm but it is 5am back in Singapore. We are very happy and grateful that our family and friends are able to watch us through webcam.

We woke up as early as 7am in the morning, preparing ourselves. I took 3 hours plus to get my hair and makeup done while Lester just lazily watch tv and relax.

IMG_7631Washing Up
IMG_7632Rest and Relax

Breakfast is sushi bought last night. We have more butterflies in stomach than anything else. Eating is no longer our priority.

IMG_7633 Breakfast

You have to provide the chapel the hotel and room number you are staying, in order to arrange for limousine pickup. And tata~ We are ready to go!

IMG_7635 Ready to Go

Our limousine driver dresses up in suit, arrives promptly at hotel lobby. The air inside the limousine is filled with excitement and butterflies. It’s a little lonely, wish we have family or friends with us. Can’t remember what exactly happens. I only know the 15 to 20 minutes car ride seems exceptionally short and smooth.

IMG_7636Inside Limousine
IMG_7639 Lester

Our ceremony package includes candid shots and 1-to-1 photo session with the photographer. The moment we steps out of the limo, the photographer starts to snap the whole walk-in, some administrative stuff we did at the counter and the actual ceremony to document the process.

We have a brief moment in a room talking to the Justice of Peace (JP). He trys to understand our background and duration we have been together. Guess this helps him to piece his speech later.

Before we realise, the music has started and we are already walking into the chapel. If you missed the whole ceremony, you still can watch it here.

We took a series of posed photos with our photographer Joe. He guided us through the poses professionally and asks if we wanted anything else before he calls for a wrap. I remembered our JP also shares some insights about the phototaking: to request poses you want and make sure you leave the chapel without regrets. 🙂 Indeed, very useful advice.

The whole process from arrival in the chapel to photo taking takes about 1 hour.

We are beat tired after returning from the chapel. Slept through the whole afternoon.

We caught Blue Man Group in the night. Since there is no photography allowed, (and I’m surprised everyone obeys diligently), these are what I can provide.

IMG_7657 Blue Man Group
IMG_7658Blue Man Group
IMG_7665Poncho Area In Front
IMG_7666Enjoy the Show

Now, I’m officially Mrs Chan, a married woman who will consider using Ms as her designation from now on. :O Love you~

Day 17: Las Vegas

Returning to Vegas to prepare for our wedding next day.

This time we choose a domestic flight JetBlue Airways. The flight takes about 1 hour to reach.

Boarding Information
Our Air Tickets
Walk A Short Distance To Plane

You are allowed  1 check-in luggage for free and carry-on 1 bag. Tickets include a snacks and drinks. Each passenger has their own in-flight entertainment and the seats have more leg space.

Inside The Plane
In-Flight Entertainment
More Leg Space

We checked-in to a luxurious hotel, Caesars Palace which is yet affordable through some online promotion. The room and furnishing is definitely better than Monte Carlo. Walking to any other hotels and shopping areas are nearer too!

We are given a room in their new tower. Security is pretty tight. At some point in the lobby, you’ll need to show your room card to the security before proceeding in.

Our room has a luxurious sofa area overseeing the swimming pool. A bathroom that is big enough to accomodate 2 sinks, 1 bathtub, separating the toilet and the shower area. Most importantly, there is a small TV inside. I can watch tv while putting on my make up tomorrow. Yeah!

Sofa Area
2 Sinks
Toilet & Bath Area

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.

Day 07 & 08: Los Angeles

Our 8th day in USA is Christmas day. We had a heart warming gathering at Lester’s uncle house with his friends. But preparation starts on the eve of Christmas as businesses are closed on Christmas day itself.

Leaving Ventura Beach, we take an hour drive to Los Angeles. Immediately after we parked our car, we headed out for grocery shopping. To save the food preparation hassle, most people tend to “ta-bao” signature dishes from their favorite restaurants. We did the same.

Went to Porto’s Bakery & Cafe which is famous for their pies and cakes. Queuing alone to collect your reserved order take us 1 hour.

Queue Starts from Porto’s Bakery & Cafe Backdoor
Customers Queuing to Collect Orders

Dinner at Din Tai Fung. Gosh~ They taste even better here than any of their Asia branches. They have fish and chicken xiao long bao! There are more dish variety, I am so spoilt with choices here. My revisit to Din Tai Feng in the last few days of my trip, I ate 10 chicken xiao long bao by myself. Blurp~

Ding Tai Feng Dumpling Mascot
Dumplings Feast
Fish Dumplings
Chicken Dumplings Taste Better

We had an early rest on the eve. Christmas decoration is all done up in the house already. I only assist to heat up food and do the dish washing.

Christmas Decoration in the House
Busy in the Kitchen
Crackers to Munch Before Meal
Christmas Dinner
Log Cake
Pumpkin Pie

We sit around the tv, eat, talk, drink to pass our family time. 🙂

Going to spend the next 4 days 3 nights at Las Vegas, the Wonderland!