We woke up around 11:00 a.m. the day of our wedding. Following a scrub in our coffin tub/shower, we regrouped with Miroslav and walked up to The Stratosphere to partake in an ample buffet lunch. Once we had chowed, Miroslav treated us to tickets to tour the top of the Stratosphere Tower, the highest manmade vertical point in Vegas. After being forced to pose for cheap "digital effects" photos by a crack team of attendants, we enjoyed an extraordinary view which proved rather helpful in getting our Vegas bearings.
("Digital Photo-rhea" is an unfortunate and apparently communicable disease that runs rampant throughout Vegas. Those afflicted with the disease limp around snapping poor-quality digital photos of tourists, which they later try to hawk with new skid-row backgrounds added. Another noteworthy, self-descriptive disease that has a stranglehold on Vegas is the dreaded "Pornographic Flyer Pox.")
We moseyed through a funny "Visions of the Future" exhibit ... that dated from the 1960's, then returned to our Dracula room by 3:30 to meet our hair/makeup appointment at 4:00.
Debbie, the roving stylist who came to our room, was very friendly and down-to-earth. I showed her a few glam-glam hairstyles I liked, and she began the arduous task of piling my massive hair neatly atop my head. She applied a thick layer of makeup to my face, which I thought a bit staggering at first because it's more makeup than I'm used to, but Art assured me I looked fine and the makeup looks nice in the photos. Debbie spiffed up Art a bit and breezed out of our joint a little before 6:00.
Then a funny thing happened: Art turned into a nervous wreck. I now understand why brides traditionally don't see their grooms until their ceremony. He was a mess. All we needed to do was hail a cab and drive four minutes to The Hilton, where we planned to change into our fancy wedding garb in Art's sister's hotel room. I had pressed off my (easily wrinkleable) dress while Art was being gussied up, so I didn't anticipate a lengthy outfit change. We had an hour until showtime -- no rush. But Art just fell to pieces -- he hallucinated he lost his dress pants; he lost our travel-steamer/iron. (he left it on the curb when we entered the cab! Miroslav later deemed the act a sacrifice to the Gods of fire and water.) Art nearly forgot the wedding license! Conversely, I fell into my strange ultra-Zen calm mode on the surface; a weird mindset I used to slip into when I did public speaking in college. We arrived at The Hilton at around 6:10; we were dressed by 6:30 and we arrived at the exhibit five minutes later even though we were asked to begin grouping at 6:45. So the timing, while tight, was dead-on.
Miroslav was punctual and greeted us at the base of the Star Trek Experience at 6:45 sharp. He wore a funkarific shiny red shirt, shiny red tie, and leather pants. It was an eye-catching ensemble that Art and I complimented profusely. We met with the Starfleet-uniformed minister, who was very gentle and soothing. The photographers gave us an overview of what to expect. Art, meanwhile, looked shaky and rattled. I was really surprised how nervous he was -- it was very unlike him. I, on the other hand, remained calm and distracted -- I thought Art looked amazing and I was really kinda starstruck by how dashing he looked in his suit.
Together with Art's sister Mary, her husband Murat (both of whom traveled from Iowa to attend) and our friend Miroslav, the minister escorted our party to the bridge of the Enterprise. A white-haired Klingon and a friendly female Starfleet officer greeted us.
The ceremony was very nice, and somewhat fitting. The Starfleet minister spoke poetically of the symbolism of the rings, which seemed beautifully apropos seeing how Art made my engagement ring. Oddly, the actual ceremony felt eternal to Art and I, yet it's pretty short when we view it on video after the fact. No matter -- it was a timewarp to us at the moment. I even got a little misty -- and I never imagined I'd be close to tears at my own wedding!
Once we exchanged our vows the Klingon witness politely interrupted the ceremony to recite the Klingon marriage rites, which we had quietly arranged special with the Trek people. As discussed elsewhere on this site, we dig Star Trek, but we're not devoted enough to be considered true "Trekkies." We received our inspiration for a Trek wedding from an episode of Deep Space Nine that featured a Klingon marriage. The Klingon ceremony was so hilarious we swore that we'd have a Klingon wedding in the event we should marry. When the chips were down, we wanted something both tasteful AND referential to our inspiration, so the combination we received at The Star Trek Experience was a perfect blend. The Klingon did a great job.
And thus, we were pronounced Man and Wife as Art stole a kiss. We posed for photos with our dapperly dressed guests on the bridge, then we were escorted to the base of the museum to tour the sights and ride their "virtual attraction." Art and I probably seemed kinda dazed as we strolled through the museum. We took in the Trek artifacts in a fog of shared other-worldly mushiness, although we did pay attention long enough to admire the Klingon wedding garb displayed in the museum.
We finally entered the "ride" at about quarter to eight. It's a very immersive experience: participants are "beamed" aboard the Enterprise, and after some drama in various authentic Starship locations, onlookers are led to a "shuttlecraft" which segues into an I-Max simulator. It's a great ride; the best "virtual" movie ride I've seen yet. I visited the Star Tours exhibit in Florida when it first opened in 1990, and that was what I based my Trek expectations on. In the end, The Star Trek Experience blew away Star Tours on every possible front. The set-up was better, the ride was fantastic (Star Tours was a bit boring in 1990), and the environment was warm and friendly, whereas Star Tours felt pretty cold. So we were thrilled that our choice of a wedding locale far surpassed our hopes.
There was one minor blemish on the proceedings: two of our invited guests were no-shows. I had invited a couple I knew from the internet that lived in Vegas. When they failed to appear in time for the ceremony, I wrote them off completely, which was the appropriate thing to do since they never even called to let us know they weren't coming. I can't really bemoan their failure to show up; these were two people I'd never met and I've very poor luck when it comes to meeting internet "friends." But I did keep an eye peeled for them throughout the night without letting the incident bug me.