May 5 - 7

Viva Las Vegas: Laurie & Brent’s Wedding

We spend a weekend in Las Vegas to attend Laurie and Brent's "Elvis" wedding at the Graceland Chapel on the Strip. While in Vegas we also visit the new bridge by Hoover Dam and hike Red Rock Canyon. We stay two nights at the Palazzo. Most of the wedding party arrived on Friday and departed on Sunday, we shifted our visit arriving early Saturday through late Monday.

Day 1 - Saturday, May 5 - Callaghan-Tillman Bridge, Palazzo, Wedding!

Gretchen takes us to SFO early for our 8:45am Virgin flight to Las Vegas. Our flight leaves on time and in a little over an hour we land in Vegas. We pick out a grey Jeep Liberty and we were off on the highway heading south toward Hoover Dam. We wanted to check out the completed bridge which we saw under construction years ago when we drove to the Grand Canyon from Vegas. We first stop for lunch at McDonald's on our drive down. After we exit the freeway we quickly go through security before parking. Luckily the weather was in the upper 70's and not hot. We walk toward the bridge and almost all the way across. The bridge is over 880' over the Colorado River. After our walk on the bridge we head toward the Strip to check into the Palazzo. We were able to check in early, we got room 36-900 which was convieniently right off the elevator. We unpacked, changed our clothes and checked out the hotel. We met up with co-worker Jamie and his friend at First Bar for a couple of drinks.

It was time to get ready for the wedding so we change clothes and head to the Graceland Chapel north of our hotel along the strip. There we meet up with everyone while we see the white limo approach with the bride and groom and friends. We wait for our 6:30pm wedding time slot for the Elvis wedding. During the ceremony Elvis walked Laurie down the aisle. Brent and Laurie exchanged vows with Elvis in the background ready to belt out his infamous tunes. The nuptials were short but fun. The photographer took numerous well choreographed photos before we had to exit the chapel. The next wedding party was ready and waiting. We took photos outside the chapel before it was time to head to the reception. We drove Carolyn, Anthony, Mary and Joy to the Burger Bar down at Mandalay Place between the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. At the Burger Bar we sat at a long table at the rear of the restaurant. Brent and Laurie handed out heart shaped boxes with delicious chocolate candies and wedding favors. I had a custom salmon burger and numerous glasses of margaritas. After the Burger Bar we head to the Bellagio where we ended the evening sipping drinks at the Baccarat Bar. Congratulations Laurie and Brent! Thanks you for inviting us to your wedding. VIVA LAS VEGAS!

  • The parking area for the bridge

  • Finally we're walking on the completed bridge

  • Toby on the bridge overlooking Hoover Dam

  • Alan on the bridge overlooking Hoover Dam

  • Toby on the bridge overlooking Hoover Dam

  • Toby and Alan on the bridge overlooking Hoover Dam

View of Hoover Dam from the Hoover Dam Bypass Project or the Mike Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Bridge opened in October 2010.

  • Hoover Dam

  • Hoover Dam visitor center

  • We cross the Nevada Arizona state line at mid span

  • I had to jump on the bridge, just not OFF the bridge

  • Most people didn't walk toward to the other end of the bridge

  • The bridge sign

  • Our luxury suite 36-900 at the Palazzo

  • The sunken living room area

  • The bedroom area as seen from the living room

  • The bathroom

  • The view from our window and the Venetian pool area

  • The view of the Las Vegas airport from our room

  • The Palazzo atrium area with waterfall

  • Alan and Jaime at the First Bar

  • Bartender making special tequila/orange juice drinks for Cinco de Mayo

  • View of the Venetian entrance. Feels like we're in Italy again

  • We remember going up the real tower in Venice

  • The Rialto Bridge in Las Vegas

  • The Doge Palace entrance to the Venetian

  • The front of the Palazzo

  • Inside the atrium of the Palazzo

  • The waterfall inside the Palazzo

  • The crowded Cinco de Mayo crowd at the Palazzo main pool

  • All changed and ready for the wedding

  • We ready to leave our room and head to the chapel

  • Graceland Chapel on the Vegas strip

  • No we're not getting married

  • Mary, Joy, Anthony, and Carolyn arrive

  • Group photo on the bridge

  • Michelle, Carolyn, Mary and Joy

  • The bride and groom arrive in their white stretch limo

  • The soon to be married couple, Laurie and Brent

  • Carolyn, Alan, and Joy

  • Taking photos in front of the chapel

  • Laurie and Brent

  • There is an Elvis siting!!!

Congratulations Laurie and Brent!

  • Laurie and Brent after the ceremony

  • A complete group photo

  • With Carolyn and Anthony

  • With Joy and Mary

  • With Alan and Toby

  • FWEE!

  • At the Burger Bar in Mandalay Place

  • Celebrating Cinco de Mayo: Carolyn and Anthony...

  • ... Joy and Mary ...

  • ... Toby and Alan...

  • ... Laurie and Brent

  • Brent and Laurie with their wedding cake

  • Joy and Mary at the Baccarat Bar in the Bellagio

  • Alan and Toby at the Bellagio

  • The conservatory had a Dutch theme inside the Bellagio

  • These umbrellas in the conservatory were once hanging in the Bellagio shops

  • The Chihuly designed lobby at the Bellagio

Day 2 - Sunday, May 6 - Pool, Stratosphere, LAVO

Sunday came and most of the guests from the wedding had flights back home, including the bride and groom. Today was our relaxing 'pool' day, we first strolled around the hotel visiting the exotic car showroom at the Palazzo before gathering our stuff for the pool. Before noon most of the pool was still in the shadow of the hotel, but we steaked out a nice location by the 'unheated' pool off the main walkway which was nice and quiet. After a few hours we had enough sun and had a late lunch at Solaro which is the restaurant right off the pool.

We then decided to head over to the Stratosphere for some spectacular views of Vegas. I didn't do any of the attractions (which I've done already), nor did I try the new 'jump' attraction (next time, if someone does it with me). Once back at the hotel we hit the pool again just to relax not to tan since the pool was already in the afternoon sun. Most of the crowds have thinned out so it was nice and quiet. That evening for a late dinner we go to the buffet at the Wynn which was just across the street.

Later we get dressed up to hit the hotel's nightclub LAVO. To our surprise there was a line even for a Sunday night! Luckily we had hotel passes which was a separate and short line.

  • The impressive lobby of the Venetian Hotel

  • At the exotic car dealer in the Palazzo. Toby by an Aston Martin

  • At the exotic car dealer in the Palazzo. Alan by an Aston Martin

  • Laying out by the pool

  • View of our hotel from our lounge chairs

  • Working on our tans

  • Cooling off in the unheated pool, which was very refreshing

  • Yes I wore a Speedo

  • About to have lunch at Solaro restaurant which is poolside

  • Inside the enclosed deck of the Stratosphere

  • Inside the enclosed deck of the Stratosphere

  • A jumper! The new Sky Jump attraction

View of the Las Vegas as seen from the Stratosphere.

  • On top on the open deck of the Stratosphere

  • On top on the open deck of the Stratosphere

  • On top on the open deck of the Stratosphere

  • FWEE

  • Looking east out onto Vegas

  • Back at the pool to relax in the warm afternoon shade

  • Back at the pool to relax in the warm afternoon shade

  • Back at the pool to relax in the warm afternoon shade

  • The buffet at the Wynn

  • We had to try the various desserts at the Wynn buffet

  • Hanging out at the LAVO nightclub in the Palazzo

Day 3 - Monday, May 7 - Red Rock Canyon

Our last day in Vegas! After we checkout of the hotel we pack up our Jeep and head out toward Red Rock Canyon just west of Las Vegas. We were surprised how the temperature dropped as we slightly ascended up to the canyon, the temps were in the low 70s but the wind was really brisk at times which made some of the canyon hiking unbareable. After we did a short visit to the visitor center we head off to hike the red rock features of Calico Trail. We then drive counter clockwise on the one-way road around the valley stopping at numerous lookouts along the way. We stop and hike Ice Box Canyon which was an impressive steep valley with jutting rock features. After our visit to Red Rock Canyon we have a late lunch at Del Taco before returning to the airport to drop off the rental car and wait for our 6:30pm flight back to the Bay Area.

We had a wonderful extended trip to Vegas. The visit to the new bridge was exhilerating, Laurie and Brent's wedding was memorable and fun, Red Rock Canyon was spectacular. Until next time... VIVA LAS VEGAS!

  • At the entrance to the park

  • Red rock features off the Calico trail

  • At the start of the Calico II trail

  • At the start of the Calico II trail

  • This type of rock is perfect for hiking

  • Just trying to straighten out this rock

View of the Red Rock Canyon red formations.

  • Toby at Red Rock Canyon

  • Toby at Red Rock Canyon

  • Trying a jumping photo on uneven ground

  • Toby at Red Rock Canyon

  • Toby and Alan at Red Rock Canyon

  • Toby at the High Point Lookout over the valley

  • Alan at the High Point Lookout over the valley

  • Highpoint Lookout over the valley

  • Our Jeep at Ice Box Canyon

  • We start our hike into Ice Box Canyon

  • Bright fushia colored dessert flowers were everywhere

  • Toby along the Ice Box Canyon trail

  • Toby along the Ice Box Canyon trail

  • Alan along the Ice Box Canyon trail

  • The narrow section of Ice Box Canyon

  • Pretty yellow flowers covered the valley floor

  • Toby at Red Rock Wash Overlook

  • View of Pine Creek Canyon

  • Near the exit of the park at Red Rock Overlook

  • Near the exit of the park at Red Rock Overlook

View of the Red Rock Canyon west ridge and Pine Creek Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon.