Vegas journalists have a habit of making bucket lists before they leave town—a to-do list of touristy delights and local landmarks that they’ve somehow missed until the clock starts ticking. They embark on a frantic sprint to satisfy as many Vegas-isms as possible, packing their days full of casinos and clichés. If you ask me, it doesn’t sound like all that much fun.
So a few years ago, I started my own Vegas bucket list. It’s an informal checklist that exists mostly in my head, a reminder to go out and do certain things before I’m working on a deadline. Right now, the list includes summiting Mt. Charleston, eating at the Circus Circus steakhouse and kayaking through Black Canyon. And until a few weeks ago, it also included attending an impromptu Vegas wedding.
It was a Saturday night and I was at Kiss by Monster Mini Golf, celebrating a few friends’ birthdays. But before we could play a round of putt-putt or try out the Kiss Twister rug in the VIP room, Monster Mini Golf owner Christina Vitagliano asked for a favor. A couple was about to get married in the in-house chapel, but they had no family, no friends, no guests to support them. Would we be willing to attend? she asked.
A few minutes later we were seated in pews, cell phones raised, watching a slightly nervous groom stand next to a looming Gene Simmons in full makeup and leather codpiece. Soon two of my friends were walking the aisle as last-minute bridesmaids, and the bride—dressed in black—emerged to our cheers. As a photographer snapped, Simmons led the couple through a ceremony packed with Kiss quotes, love and promises of eternal devotion, pausing every now and then to ask the crowd for an enthusiastic “oh yeah!” When the rocker finally told the pair they were safe to make out, their newlyweds’ kiss was a sweet, tender moment so at odds with the fun-lovin’ atmosphere I felt myself blush.
The couple left the chapel smiling, and though I hoped they might join us for mini golf or beers, I didn’t see them again. The night turned back to birthdays, noisemakers and general silliness; the wedding a quick, wonderful blip on a Saturday night. I’m sure that by now the couple has forgotten all about the faces in the crowd that night they got married in Las Vegas, but I won’t forget them anytime soon. Bucket list, check. Now, on to the next adventure.