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 {The re-newlyweds, post-ceremony}

I had the honor and pure joy of being a guest at my friends’ Tina and Mickey’s vow renewal in Las Vegas this past weekend. To celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, they decided to do a wedding pt. II with Elvis officiating this time around. They sent out a Paperless Post that stated “NO RSVP, JUST COME PARTY.” Hawaiian attire was encouraged. I was in. Having subjected myself and my loved ones to the most unnecessarily intense wedding planning process over the past year and a half, Tina was exactly the type of bride (ie not a bridezilla) I needed to be around.

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I used to say that I wanted to get married again every year, because I love weddings so very, very, very, very much; but, the planning of this first one has been such a soap opera, I left for Vegas unable to imagine ever wanting to do it again. We’re exactly 38 days away from our wedding, and at some point between our wedding photographer quitting a few weeks ago to learning roughly 1/3 of our invitations got lost in the mail last week, I hit my breaking point. I was ready to tap out and head to city hall, or just keep the Baria surname forever, whichever was less of a headache, if we hadn’t paid so many goddamn deposits and the people who had received their invites hadn’t already booked their cabins and flights. (And, if we’re being completely honest, I really want to wear my dress.) And then I went to Vegas, and watched Tina and Mickey get married all over again, and their renewal renewed my love for weddings and excitement for my own.

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I know that sounds like some Hallmark “Movie of the Week” crap, but it really is true. I can only hope I am as radiant, calm and “in the moment” as Tina when it’s my day, and that we are as in love as the two of them on August 1, not to mention on August 1, 2025. It was so inspiring and emotional; there is a whole new weight to hearing wedding vows spoken between two people when you know they’ve actually been living by them for the past decade, and want to make those promises to each other all over again. Standing there in their Hawaiian gear, an Elvis impersonator between them, reciting those vows, was one of the most romantic things I’ve ever witnessed.

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{A few of my favorite people around, post-nuptials}

It was also one of the most fun, carefree weddings I have ever attended; Elvis walked Tina down the aisle while serenading her, and the vows consisted solely of lyrics from Elvis songs. (Still made me cry. The lyrics to “Love Me Tender” alone will getcha.) And when they were re-pronounced husband and wife, Elvis sang again AND WE ALL GOT UP AND DANCED IN THE AISLE. All of the guests coming together like that, right after they kissed, everyone dancing… I’m getting choked up all over again. It was some of the most pure happiness I’ve ever been a part of at a wedding. It made me want to walk down the aisle to an Elvis song. And I hope when everyone throws flower petals at us from the cones I forced my friends to make in my wedding sweatshop, I hope they’re all up dancing while they do. It was a moment I will never forget.

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And then, for the reception, we all went to a tiki lounge where you can smoke and gamble at the bar! I ordered a drink that said something like “one’s fun, two will make you forget your own name.” I’m a light lightweight, so I think I forgot my name about 4 sips in. It was Tony’s bachelor party this past weekend (funny, he was in L.A. for that and I was in Vegas), so I was fifth wheel to Katierose and her boyfriend Matt, and our friends Tom and Kate for the vow renewal extravaganza. Post-tiki bar, we decided to head to Fremont Street to experience the glory that is old Las Vegas, and took the most exciting/terrifying taxi ride of our lives.

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That’s Katierose with Jeannine, our cab driver, who is basically a French version of Ken Jeong’s character in The Hangover. When we told her we were headed to Fremont Street, she shouted, “Why the f*&$ you want to go there?!” We told her to party. So, she gunned it and started swerving back and forth toward oncoming traffic, hollering “Okay yes let’s party! I love to party!” Then, she told us she’s also a magician and the secrets to magic. She told us a lot of other things that I don’t remember because I was scared for my life. But we survived, and we will never forget her! Jeannine, you are everything I imagine Vegas to be, and more.

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On Fremont Street, Katierose’s dream of experiencing an oxygen bar came true. Kate and the boys gambled while Kro and I boozed to a lounge duo that mostly sang ’90’s hits. We explored old hotels, dodged half-naked women and men in bikinis posing for photos, and checked out classy souvenir shops that sold T-shirts like this:

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{The worst shirt I’ve ever seen, and also what I feel like wearing after Tony’s bachelor party}

I crawled into bed before midnight, exhausted and proud that this Vegas trip was nothing like the last one. Here’s the view from my room:

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The morning after the re-marriage, I ordered pretty much everything on the room service menu and watched Ancient Aliens. It was glorious.

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{I only took a picture of the healthy things I ate}

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I hit the spa while everyone else gambled. Katierose won $100 at the slots, and then we piled in the car to drive home. We stopped at Alien Fresh Jerky (you can help finance their dreams of a UFO Hotel on Kickstarter here), and then In-N-Out, where I continued pretending I don’t need to fit in a wedding dress in a month. And then Katierose and I serenaded Kate with Maroon 5 songs and other Top 40 jams she is too cool to listen to on her own time all the way home. It felt like a friendship movie, only it was real life and we smelled like beef jerky!

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{Our feelings on Kate insisting we stop at the alien jerky place}

Tina and Mickey got this wedding right. Maybe it’s because they’ve been married for 10 years, and have a deep understanding of what a wedding should actually be about because of that. Maybe it’s because they’re two of the coolest people alive, so it just makes sense that they would have a cool, chill wedding. Probably both. Either way, it was such an honor to be a part of such an intimate, joyous, hilarious, fun weekend. It set the bar high for the happiness scale I hope my guests feel, and even higher for what love at a wedding looks like. Congratulations on 10 years and happy re-marriage, Tina and Mickey! Thank you so much for having me.

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{SO IN LOVE}