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Brad Paisley T-shirt leads Vegas wedding couple to a Paisley show

Updated March 5, 2022 - 6:52 pm

Mayra Ramirez and Luis Pantoja wanted a stealthy wedding. The couple had planned to slip into Vegas for the nuptials, go unnoticed, then notify their loved ones later.

Well, they picked the wrong date to be secret, and the wrong T-shirt to go undercover. That item, now famous, has led to Mayra and Luis’ return to Las Vegas.

On Feb. 20, Ramirez and Pantoja signed the 5 millionth wedding license dating to 1909 in Las Vegas. The event touched off a celebration at the Clark Country Marriage License Bureau. The vacationing couple received a brilliant diamond wedding band from Vegas jeweler Michael E. Minden, a painting by renowned Vegas artist Jerry Misko, a spa package at Paris Las Vegas and a key to the Las Vegas Strip, and more, much more.

The couple’s wondrous Vegas getaway has not ended. A famous country artist is making an appearance. Luis wore a Brad Paisley concert shirt to pick up the license, and also later when the two exchanged vows at Special Memory Wedding Chapel in downtown Las Vegas. They are not quite the 5 millionth couple to be married in Vegas (not every couple that signs a license follows through with the ceremony), but they are making history. And Paisley is playing the soundtrack.

“That day, I was going to wear another shirt, but Mayra told me, “You know what, this one and it looks good on you,’ ” Luis said in a phone chat Friday. “And I’m like, ‘Well, we’re just gonna do it undercover anyway.’ That’s why Mayra’s in a onesie and sneakers. We were trying to do it without letting her family or my family know. Then we got caught up in all of it, basically.”

Luis is an avid music fan, and a former DJ. “Over the past three years or so, I’ve become a country music fanatic,” he said. “So I’ve gotten into the newer country guys, and I love Brad Paisley.”

Mayra picked up the T-shirt for Luis at a Paisley show at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., last October. Luis has never seen the country headliner in concert. In another fortuitous piece of timing, Paisley is performing next weekend at Encore Theater.

On Tuesday, the country superstar congratulated the couple on social media and added “… quite the wedding attire, Luis … y’all help me find them.” And, “I wanna bring them to a show and give them a first dance!”

It will happen. The couple also received a two-night stay at Caesars Palace, tied to their return trip. The logistics took some additional planning. The couple is, for the time being, in a long-distance marriage.

Mayra is in San Jose, the couple’s original hometown. Luis, who has served four years in the Army and four more in the Marines, is a cook at Captain Bill’s in Treasure Island, Fla. The couple reunites in California in April.

Luis says his favorite Paisley song is the wrenching acoustic ballad “Whiskey Lullaby,” the duet with Alison Kraus, from Paisley’s 2004 album, “Mud On The Tires.”

“I can relate to that song, coming from the military, being in a situation where you miss someone,” Luis said. “It hits hard, but it is a great song, and I love that this is an acoustic show. We are so excited to see him, together and in person.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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