I Will Always Be Your Best Friend

There have been times when I was not sure that true happiness would be mine. I may be wrong, but I suspect that Lilliam may have had a few of the same feelings as she raised her three beautiful daughters by herself.

Our concerns have since been swept away by a love that evolved from two people beginning as friends, continuing to grow because of respect for the other’s values related to life, and culminating with this day’s event.

Each day I feel fortunate that I was granted another chance to find love, but more than that, eternal friendship.

Lilliam and I arose Tuesday and went out for breakfast. When we returned, we got dressed in preparation of our 11:30 AM limousine call.

Heather Padular, who you may remember from her Chiriquí Doctoral research on Danza de Moros y Cristianos,  made flight arrangements from Boston to LasVegas upon learning of our event.

I can’t tell you how special it was for Lilliam and I to have Heather and Maureen share this day with us. Heather took many of the photos that recorded our day. She helped fill the void of not having direct family in attendance and I have said often she is a surrogate daughter.

Heather came up to our room to await the limo phone call.


The call came in as scheduled and we were told to be waiting in the lobby at noon “Sharp”.

Maureen met us in the lobby. At noon, the long white chariot arrived and the four of us exited the hotel.

Jack, our driver, had Heather and Maureen enter first on the right side. Then he assisted the lovely Miss Lilliam. He then escorted me to the left side door. It was all performed orderly and with obvious planing.

Heather had taken a position, with her back to Jack, so she could take photos. Maureen had a side seat and also took photos. Thanks to the both of them, Lilliam and I have lots of digitally recorded memories.

The following photos tell the story in the limo, and up to entering the chapel for the wedding ceremony.

I had watched several YouTube videos on Las Vegas Weddings in preparation for this trip. They come in all types, from ones performed by an Elvis impersonator, to ones where Elvis just sang and escorted the bride down the aisle, to ones costing tens of thousands of dollars at the Bellagio, to simple civil ceremonies.

The Bellagio was out and I wanted something simple but elegant.

I chose the Graceland Chapel.

I did make one special request. I asked that the ceremony be conducted in English and Spanish. In my opinion, the ceremony was conducted as I wanted. Simple and Elegant.

I escorted the lovely Miss Lilliam down the aisle in place of Elvis. Photos within the chapel were only allowed to be taken by the Graceland photographer. Heather was prepared in case his camera failed.

I will tell you a secret if you will keep it between you and I. As the minister (Carlos Vallesillas) went through his opening statement,I could feel a tear well up in my left eye. I only hoped that it would not stream down my cheek to be followed by a second. I think I brushed it away without anyone seeing.

Next he told us to face each other and hold hands. I will never forget the look on Lilliam’s face. Her eyes were bright and laughing as if this was the happiest time in her life. A more beautiful woman I have never seen than she was at that very moment.

As the vows were recited and the rings were placed on the fingers, I remember the last sentence we both repeated, me in English and Lilliam in Spanish.

It was, “I will always be your best friend”. How perfect was that?! Two people brought together by kismet, who became friends and than fell in love.

The ceremony ended with my getting to kiss my wife.

The Graceland photographer took photos throughout the process. Following the ceremony, he took many more photos (several requiring a kiss).

IMG_3125While we were waiting for them to return with the signed marriage certificate, Heather managed to capture a photo in the chapel.






The following photos were taken by Heather after we left the chapel. Jack, the driver, provided some recommendations of locations for the best photos. As you will see from the photos,it was windy day. While it did mess up the hair, it didn’t take away from the joy of the moment.



Jack took this photo of us in front of the limo.


Heather took the photo of me assisting Lilliam into the limo.


She also took these in the limo that tell another story.

You can sit closer now that we are married.
OK. I will move closer.
Ah, That’s better.

Instead of Jack taking us back to the hotel, I had him take us to Golden Nugget for a celebration lunch.


After lunch, we took a taxi back to the hotel. Maureen had to go, but scheduled time with us on Thursday. Heather stayed to visit and the three of us went for a walk later to the Bellagio to watch the famous water fountain display. Unfortunately, the wind was too high and it was cancelled.

On our way back to the hotel, Lilliam and I bid our farewells to Heather. She would spend time Wednesday by the pool.and sightseeing prior to her 8:00 PM flight. Lilliam and I were scheduled for a bus tour of the Grand Canyon on Wednesday.

While day 2 doesn’t end here, it does as far as this post is concerned. 🙂

16 thoughts on “I Will Always Be Your Best Friend

  1. I’m touched that you would share this joyful moment with us. My husband Bill and I are happy for you and all your family. Congratulations ! ( fireworks……bam bam bam…..pop pop…..etc)

  2. Congratulation’s to both of you, you make a vary nice couple, Happiness is some thing we all like to have bat most of the time never accomplish, we are happy for you two.

  3. Congratulations, Don and Lilliam! What a beautiful testimony to love and friendship. God bless you both!

  4. Hope you stay as happy as you are at this time. My second (and last) time around has been the best 21 years of my life and hopefully, there will be many more. Congratulations. You better watch out Miss Lilliam is very beautiful.

  5. ¡Felicidades! Les deseamos muchos años de feliz matrimonio a usted y a su señora esposa.

  6. Beautiful photos of the two of you on such an amazing day. We are sending our most heartfelt congratulations.. Married life is wonderful, Don Ray. May yours be an amazing journey.

  7. Don Ray and Lilliam, what a wonderful Love Story, blessings to you both for a long and wonderful life together. Friendship is very important for a strong relationship, so happy you found each other. Nancy & Joe, San Clemente, Ecuador

  8. Don congratulations to you and Lilliam!! You guys make a lovely couple. Here’s to many more years of happiness.

  9. Congrats to you Both…wishing you much love and a long, happy, healthy life together and may the friendship just keep on growing….

  10. A, Don Ray y a mi Tia Lilliam, quiero que reciban todas mis felicitaciones por su matrimonio, la alegría y todo el amor estará entre ustedes para siempre, sé que Dios les dará su bendición.

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