WILLIAMSBURG, VA (BRAIN) — A Vegas wedding—or any wedding for that matter—wasn’t on retailer Sharon Oakley’s Interbike 2013 itinerary. But her partner in life and business, Robert Maye, co-owner of Red Barn Bicycles, had other ideas.
“We’ve been together for more than seven years, owned a house and a bike shop,” said Maye. “Sharon gave me a hard time once in a while about getting married after watching many of our friends get married, but we had no plans to actually do it.”
That was, until, Maye was en route to Las Vegas for Interbike. On the flight west from Virginia, he hatched a plan to surprise Oakley with a good old-fashioned Sin City wedding.
Maye arranged for drive-through nuptials at the Little White Chapel after the show on Thursday, Sept. 19, complete with a limousine to pick them up at their hotel. Two friends who had accompanied Maye and Oakley to Vegas for Interbike by Invitation spent that day running around the city to find the necessary matrimonial accoutrements, including a veil and a stand-in ring for the bride-to-be.
And Oakley was none the wiser. Knowing they had dinner reservations that evening, she changed out of her bike-logoed T-shirt but didn't bother with makeup. When she got down to the lobby, she had no idea that the limo waiting outside the MGM Grand was there to whisk them off to the chapel.
“When she saw the limo, she wanted to get a photo with it, because you know, it’s Vegas and she thought it would be funny,” said Maye. “I told her it was for us, and that we were going to get married.”
“I thought he was messing with me,” said Oakley. “But in under an hour, we were married.”
After a quick pit stop at the courthouse to file paperwork and get a marriage license, Maye and Oakley waited behind two other couples before exchanging vows in a pink Cadillac at the drive-through at the Little White Chapel.
An Elvis impersonator (Or was he? - ed) was in attendance and sang "Fools Rush In" and "Viva Las Vegas" for the couple and their friends, who also served as witnesses.
“Elvis was new to the job and had some trouble with his karaoke machine,” said Oakley. “Our friend had to hold a cord in just the right spot so the machine wouldn’t cut out. It was really pretty funny.”
In addition to Elvis’ technical difficulties, the ring that was procured last minute for Oakley was two sizes too big. “Luckily, my friends had some moleskin they had bought for the blisters they got from walking around Vegas for two days,” she said. “So we wrapped some of it around the ring so it would stay on my finger.”
Oakley said she had to post photographic evidence to Facebook before friends and family back home would believe that they had actually gotten married in Vegas—and that Maye had pulled it off as a complete surprise. “He really got me. I truly had no idea what he was up to, and it was the last thing I expected,” said Oakley.
“And to be honest, this is probably the biggest favor he could have done me,” she added. “Taking the responsibility of planning an elaborate wedding back home off my shoulders was perfect. I couldn’t have possibly included everyone I would have wanted to in our awesome community. And to afford $20,000 for a wedding … that’s a lot of inventory and bikes.”
The couple plans to celebrate their marriage and the one-year anniversary of Red Barn Bicycles with family and friends in mid-October.