Viva Las Vegas!

Ian and I just accomplished something we’ve been planning for more than 10 years. We renewed our wedding vows with none other thanThe King during a 3-day anniversary trip to Las Vegas! (I love how this photo has the word “proof” across it…how perfect.)

Being a lifelong Elvis nut, I knew life would not be complete without an official Elvis chapel wedding, so I insisted even before Ian and I got married 10 years ago, that we needed to plan a 10-year vow renewal Viva Las Vegas style.

Little did we know back on April 28, 2001, that by the time our Elvis ceremony rolled around, we would have three children who we’d love with all our life. They are exactly the reason we have to be on the opposite side of the country to really relax! Still, it wasn’t easy. I tried hard not to audibly “awww…” every time we passed a child remotely close to Daisy’s age during the trip. I had never left her for even one night yet, much less three. “Strong marriages make for happy children,” I kept reminding myself, willing the guilt not to gnaw away at this rare occasion.

My parents graciously did the honors of manning the household while we skipped town. Just as I predicted we returned home to find the usually disastrous linen closet neatly rearranged, the laundry all washed and folded, the children calm and happy, and the grass freshly cut. (Can you hear my incredulous gulp of guilt?)

We had the perfect travel companions in our friends, Dean and Adrianna. Dean and Ian were college roommates and marching band buddies, and I think of him as the Mayor of all things music education. “He knows – EVERYBODY,” Adrianna said in the airport under her breath, through the quiet grin that always seems to be on her freckled face. Sure enough, we couldn’t walk 5 feet before he was spotting fellow marching band contacts, or they were spotting him – faces immediately lighting up with the knowledge that you don’t just TALK with Dean. Every conversation is a small party. I have to try hard not to sip my drink when he is speaking because it will inevitably wind up coming through my nose.

“This stinks, let’s go home, ” Dean said as we basked in the desert sun outside our gorgeous hotel pool, with brightly colored drinks in glasses taller than my youngest child. Dean had tried to talk Adrianna into the even larger glass, but as she noted quietly through that signature smile, “That wouldn’t end well.”

Everything about the getaway was fun, but nothing could quite compare to the moment I’d been awaiting for more than a decade. I was standing at the back of the Elvis chapel. With Ian waiting for me at the altar, the King himself stepped into the room. (“Is he on stilts?” my mind raced nonsensically for just a moment, “or platform shoes? He’s so TALL!”) I was knocked completely speechless. The rhinestone-studded suit, aviator shades, and black sideburns were so perfect I couldn’t have hand-picked a better Elvis in my wildest dreams. He shook his pelvis as he led us through solemn vows that involved promising not to step on each other’s blue suede shoes or return each other to sender. Then he sang incredibly polished renditions of “Love Me Tender” and “Viva Las Vegas,” inviting us to join the final chorus while marching down the aisle as Ian’s parents and our friends clapped along.

I even got a silly tear in my eye when the ceremony ended, and the hired gun photographer was having me pose, again and again, with my silly bouquet in the adorably cheesy Graceland Chapel.

“Isn’t she beautiful?” Ian asked him. (“Aren’t I lucky…?” I wondered back.)

When we arrived home to rain-soaked Indiana, I couldn’t stop myself from kissing all three of the little sleeping heads in their beds, then picking up baby Daisy, and rocking her softly.

It was a view much more beautiful than the neon strip, much more spectacular than the Cirque du Soleil acrobats, and even more tender than Elvis’ crooning.

Viva Las Vegas! And Viva Indy!

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