He Planned a Mystery Trip Full of Surprises – Pt. 2


My husband did the unthinkable. He actually planned a spontaneous, surprise vacation for the two of us right down to the dinner reservations each evening. He even made sure the kids were taken care of it so I wouldn’t have to stress over it! You can read about the agonizing month of hint dropping, my unrelenting harassing him for details, and the thoughtful Christmas morning reveal HERE in Part 1.


The big day of departure finally arrived and with everything he had already planned, it never occurred to me that there were even more surprises up his sleeve. As we were sitting at the airport, reveling in the fact that we were about to fly sans-children, he pulled something out of his bag and said, ‘Let’s see what we have planned for tonight.’ It was tickets for Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque de Solieil! If I could have picked any show to see, that would have been it. Does this man know me or what? The show was phenomenal! The MJ hologram dancing to Man in the Mirror at the end had me bawling! I didn’t want it to end. If you’re ever in Vegas, see it! *This is not a paid advertisement for Michael Jackson ONE…it’s just THAT good.

The next day was New Year’s Eve. There was energy in the air. I could tell it would be a fun day, but I was clueless as to what was about to go down. After lunch Phil tells me I should be ready to go by 2:30. But go where?!? Maybe another show? But how could we top MJ? He says I’ll want to look nice, maybe a little dressed up. Yep. It’s a show. At 2:30 we hop a cab and he secretly tells the driver our destination. Wait. Why are we headed away from the strip? Hey, there’s the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Cool! Oh, we’re getting out? Okay. There are about 50 people hanging around, all waiting in line to get their picture taken. So we get in line and my mind starts running:  Hmmm. This is weird. This isn’t a show. Why would he have told me to dress up for this? Oh well.  I’ll just go with it. Why is he acting so nervous? Who the hell is he texting? This is when things get crazy…

All of a sudden I look to my left and there’s an Elvis. Jumpsuit, guitar, scarf, glasses…the whole nine yards. Here are my thoughts in the exact order they happened:

Oh my God, that’s hilarious…so Vegas-y.  Wait, why is my husband walking over to Elvis? Phil, what are you doing? Get back here. Did he just introduce himself to Elvis? Now Elvis is calling me over to him. He’s calling me by name! How does Elvis know my name?!? What in the actual hell is going ON??? 


IMG_5202At this point Elvis tells me, “Marie, this guy loves you so much that he wants to marry you all over again today!” And the crowd of people we had been waiting in line with starts cheering. I can’t even look at them! This might be the most surreal moment of my life, you guys. This is not how we usually roll. All I can do is look at my husband and ask him (repeatedly) “Are you serious?”

So Elvis recruits a few photographers from the crowd and makes an aisle for me to walk down as he’s singing ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.’ We join hands and he starts the vows (which are peppered with perfectly timed Elvis references.) He referred to us as Hound Dog and Hunk-a-burnin’ Love more than once. And pronounced us married again with no return to sender by the powers vested in him by the state of Nevada, the state of rock-n-roll, and all of his friends at Graceland. It was hilarious and tacky and a bit of a blur. But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Because it was also incredibly romantic. I still can’t believe he pulled it all off.

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As an added bonus, when it was all over Elvis offered to drive us back to our hotel. Naturally, we hopped into his shitty old red mustang with a bottle of mouth wash in the back seat. So I’m riding shotgun with Elvis down the Vegas strip and at this point I can’t tell if this guy has broken character or not. When we ask him what his plans are for NYE he tells us he’ll probably just head back to his condo and watch the Twilight Zone. That’s when it hits me, I feel like I’m IN the Twilight Zone right now. Elvis drops us off at our hotel we notice the valet looking at him funny. Not because he’s The King, but because he recognizes him as the Elvis who had preformed his daughter’s wedding a few weeks ago. Weird things happen in Vegas, you guys!

Feeling like newlyweds, my husband and I spent our night ringing in 2015 with 400,000 new friends. Did you know they shut down the strip to cars at 6:00 to make room for all the people? There were lots of free drinks, lots of music,  and lots of fireworks at midnight. It was one of the best days in the history of us.

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After a recovery day on New Years Day we hopped in a rental car and made the 4 hour road trip to LA to visit my cousin and meet her brand new baby. It was my first time seeing her house (other than via Facetime) and we had so much fun hanging out together. She’s my person. You know the one who you can totally be yourself with? The one who knows the real you and loves you anyway. We never finish a conversation because one topic runs into the next, and we ultimately get lost in hysterical laughter. The fact that she and my husband worked together behind my back to plan this little excursion made it all even more enjoyable.

IMG_5410  We’ve been home for almost a week now, and I still shake my head whenever I think about what my husband did for me. Vacations and surprises and nights out are not our usual. We tend to fly under the radar. But the truth of the matter is we had a challenging year. Nothing earth shattering or deal breaking happened between us. We just got disconnected from each other. I suppose life with three kids can do that to any couple. This trip was designed to show me how much he loves me. I got the message loud and clear and trust me…there’s no return to sender! I am so grateful. And so lucky he loves me tender.


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