Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. Last week, one of my writing friends wrote a story about her wedding day. My experience was much different than hers. I thought I would share eloping to Las Vegas.I had a large wedding for my first marriage, including the church, bridesmaids, wedding gown and reception. When I was asked a second time, I wanted just a small gathering of immediate family. My family had different ideas.My parents were scheduled to rent a place in Florida. My Mother informed us to get married before they returned. John’s Mother didn’t need to travel to Vegas to see us married.Anger boiled in me ,” Does no one want to attend?”John wisely made plans with a website, Weddings are us , where he designed a ceremony just for us.We booked a room at the Excalibur resort. He said that the ceremony location would be a surprise.At the last minute, my brother Brian joined us at the Detroit airport. He was flying out a day early with a stop over in Vegas to see his sister wed.We picked up a rental car and went to dress for the wedding.I had bough a knee length chiffon dress in apricot. John had a peach colored shirt. We drove to city hall where there were cattle fences for the large number of couples getting marriage licenses on Valentines Day. We were the only couple there getting a license and hurried to the chapel. It was a white clapboard little church. It was named Graceland. It had nothing in common with Elvis except bearing the same name as his beloved home.Inside, there were two men watching a college basketball game on television. One of the men arose to see if our papers were in order. He was the manager of the little chapel. The second man was a tall black Pentecostal minister. This the wedding coordinator picked when I said I wanted a religious minister.My brother served as witness, and photographer. We joined the minister in the front of the tiny altar. There we had a long reading from the book of Ruth. I stifled a giggle because I was carrying a little Ruth in my belly.We exchanged rings and after one last attempt to extract some extra funds by offering a faux leather folder to hold our marriage certificate. We went outside to have Brian take some more photos.We all returned to the hotel where Brian asked us to take him back to the airport in the morning.Neither John nor I couldn’t sleep. We got dressed and wandered down to the casino. There was not a soul except cleaning people but the slots were humming and ringing bells as if the ghosts of the evening past were still pulling handles and losing.We walked up and down the strip and found a early breakfast place before the sun rose. Back to the hotel, we checked out and dropped my brother off at the airport for his flight to L.A.We were packed and ready for our honeymoon. What was our destination? Death Valley, “how appropriate,” I thought.
Simple Giftswarming cold feet on a winter’s nightsmelling fresh bread baking in the ovenHolding hands and cuddling on the couchGood conversation and the gift of laughter as we age these are the simple gifts of love and marriag