The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I woke up the next morning at 9:00 am, refreshed and ready for some wedding action.

Actually, it was more like 9:00 am Central (7:00 am Vegas time), and pooped. One bad thing about having a room with a view of the Strip, it also has a view of the sunrise. (It was a pretty good room, though, I gotta say.) After puttering around for a couple of hours, I decided to head downstairs for some buffet action, and some more gambling. After turning $40 into over $100 playing Three Card Poker (not a hard game to learn, and one that some good money can be made), I decided to make my way over to the Wynn for the wedding. The bride asked that I be there at 11 to help her out. I met up with her and the groom's brother's girlfriend (let's refer to her as "GBG,"for short), who was doing the bride's hair, since she works at a salon. I actually got to sit in the chair for a bit as GBG did some work on my unibrow. After working on me for a few minutes with some tweezers and a brow brush (which was not a mascara applicator, she convinced me), I had to admire myself in the mirror for a bit. (As much as one with not the highest self-image can do, anyway...)

After admiring the view in my friend's room and getting dressed, the three of us headed down to the chapel. The bride was nervously texting the groom's brother, making sure he was getting ready, as well as making sure the coast was clear so he wouldn't see him. I decided to send a message of my own to help calm her:

"Love ya, babe. You're gonna do great."

She turned around after reading the message on her PDA and smiled, I offered one in return.

Walking down the hall heading toward the hotel's wedding salons (their term, not mine), I started humming the synth riff to Europe's "The Final Countdown." Why not set some mood music, right?

After getting there, we saw everyone but the groom in their Sunday best. We talked for a bit, then the bride was shown to her dressing room. About two minutes later, I heard, "Greg? The bride is calling for you. Says you're the only one that can help calm her nerves." I walked in, figuring that this was going to be the only time I'd ever be inside a room such as this.

Inside, she was a bit nervous, more about the finality of it all more than anything else.

"Do you love him?" I asked.

I've asked this question only twice before. The first time was during college, when trying to figure out whether a friend's relationship with her boyfriend was the real deal (and hopefully to try and get an in myself in the process). She said yes, but it ended up not working out to a variety of factors. The second time was to my ex. She said yes, and we all remember how that turned out.

"Yes," my friend answered. Happy that she gave me the right answer, I kissed her forehead, and she sat in a chair, trying not to cry. I took some pictures with my old Pentax 35mm camera when the photographer knocked on the door, and began taking pictures of the happy bride, as well as shots of her and I. The photographer referred to me as the "man of honor." I'd never heard my role described like that before, and it was a cool title to have. After some pics, and some notes on the logistics from the preacher, a coordinator told us it was showtime.

I walked her to the door, and it opened to reveal a beautiful peach-colored room containing family, friends, and the groom. After walking her halfway down the short aisle, the preacher stopped us.

"Who gives this woman to be married?"

"Her friend, Greg."

I kissed her on the cheek, said "Love you," and handed her off to her man in exchange for her bouquet of purple roses.

The ceremony went quick, the real emotional part coming during the vows. He memorized his, she had hers typed down. When the time came for her to say her words, I reached into my coat pocket, and pulled out a sheet of paper containing the following:

I, the bride, choose you, the groom, as my best friend, my love for life. I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, I promise to be faithful to you. I promise to love you, to commit to you, support you, and to always stand by your side.

You have shown me what love feels like, and for that, I thank you. You are everything I have ever prayed for and everything I have dreamt of.

I thank God for you, for all your love and friendship. I know that our love is heaven sent and I promise to be here for ever and always. From this moment on, you will never be alone. My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home. As I have given you my hand to hold, I give you my life to keep forever.

At that moment, the groom's mother really started tearing up, and so did I. I found myself happy that my friend found someone worthy of those words, as well as wondering who I would say those words to, as well as when I would say them.

After the groom kissed the bride, they headed out the door, followed by myself and the best man. He and I shared a champagne toast, the happy couple opting for sparkling cider. After some more pictures, including some of me that may end up here, we left the chapel for lunch.

(A quick aside: there's nothing like the feeling you get when you're walking through a casino in a suit accompanied by other well-dressed people. People just seem to notice you, like you're important or something. More than a couple of women looked upon our group with smiles on their faces, either having us remind them of their special day, or wondering about their once upon a time.)

Rather than brave the midday Nevada sun, we boarded two cabs for the Venetian to head to one of Emeril's places, Delmonico. This would end up being the nicest meal I had there, as well as the last meal the seven of us would share in Vegas, as everyone else had separate plans for the rest of the weekend. The real downer came about 30-45 minutes into the meal, when I realized I left my camera on the floor of the taxi. (If any Las Vegas cab drivers happen to read this, and you found an old-school camera with a frayed black strap in your cab at around 1:30 this past Saturday, could you please drop a comment?)

After heading back to the couple's room, and admiring the scattered rose petals left behind as a surprise for them, I trudged back to my hotel room in my suit. I passed out for a bit before heading down for more action. I ended up walking the strip, taking in the sights of the people carrying margaritas by the yard, and the sounds of people flicking cards for live models in their hands. I met the happy couple in front of the MGM Grand, and we ended up going back to the Venetian, this time for a romantic gondola ride. Well, as romantic as it can get with a bride, groom and a man of honor, and when the bride complains of swollen feet. 15 minutes and two or three songs later, it was over. They headed back to the Wynn to enjoy their wedding night, I went back for another nap and more gambling. This time, I added craps to my gaming. And after making a good run for a few throws, I ended up just below breakeven status.

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