Less than a year later we had the big, white wedding in Malibu with all our friends and family so it wasn't that big of a shocker, but it was years before we told anyone we eloped nine months before our real wedding.
And still there are some people who don't know. Not because it's some big secret. We just never sent out a mass email or announced it on Facebook or anything.
A couple things I noticed that the movies and books always get wrong is you don't wake up (or get drunk) and decide, hey! let's get married in Vegas, find a chapel and then stumble down the aisle.
You have to go to the court house and get the marriage license first. It doesn't take long but there are forms to fill out and it might sober you up if you had to do that step first. But we knew all this ahead of time and we had to book our time slot in the chapel (the same chapel John Bon Jovi got married at...which must mean we're really cool).
We were slotted in between a couple dressed as Elvis and Marilyn renewing their vows and a goth couple with all their friends getting married for real like us. Both couples were really sweet. And the goth couple were cuddly and nervous...so adorable.
Our 'real' wedding, the big white wedding on the beach, was beautiful, fun, and the next day half or guests had a cocktail flu or came down with the real flu, so it must have been a good party. It was amazing having everyone in town from all over the world and it was the day before New Year's Eve, so we also had a big party on the beach the next night to celebrate that.
But, I loved getting married in Vegas. I pulled out a little cream dress I had in my closet, drank champers while I got ready in our hotel suite (at the Venetian) and when they closed the chapel doors it was just Mick and me and the minister...and Elvis, who serenaded me down the aisle and then sang "Can't Help Falling in Love" after the short ceremony was over.
The minister took her job very seriously and asked all the questions in earnest and it was so intimate and personal in that small chapel with just the two of us (and Elvis).
Then we had a lovely meal at the Venetian under the stars (okay, not real stars, but close enough) and gambled and drank the free alcohol they ply you with and flew back to LA the next day.
Funnily enough, a few months later we were in that same chapel for a friend's wedding and couldn't say a word. We just smiled knowingly at each other and enjoyed our sweet secret.
Next year will be our ten year anniversary and we're heading back to renew our vows in the same chapel. But this time we'll be surrounded by friends and family and it's going to be awesome!
Somewhere there is a DVD of this ceremony and if I dig it out and ever find a computer that still has a CD drive, I may just put a clip up here. There's nothing that says romance like an Elvis impersonator.
Thank you. Thank you very much.