The happy couple recites their vows while gazing into each other's eyes. The minister, clad in a huge pompadour wig and a spandex jumpsuit festooned with rhinestones, croons some fifties rock lyrics before pronouncing them man and wife. The newlyweds exchange a tender kiss, and then parachute out of the ceremony location/hot air balloon for an evening of high stakes poker.
The notion of a Las Vegas wedding conjures up a variety of
images, ranging from the slightly offbeat to the downright
outlandish. The main draw of a wedding in Sin City is presumed
to be the lack of a waiting period for marriage licenses,
allowing for an exchange of vows within hours of the initial
proposal. However, in recent years, Las Vegas has begun to
attract new clientele to its assortment of wedding chapels
-- professional couples seeking a more intimate wedding experience,
without the extensive prep time and financial expense involved
in a traditional wedding. For those couples, Las Vegas offers
a host of options at varying price ranges.
The Language Of Love
If your wedding plans lean towards Las Vegas, you should prepare
yourself for a very different planning experience. While the
buzzwords for a traditional wedding are caterer, florist,
and location, the language in Las Vegas focuses on "packages"
and "a la carte menus." A wedding package is simply a collection
of wedding services provided for a single set price. For example,
a basic wedding package might include a half-hour wedding
ceremony, the minister's fee, and a bottle of champagne, while
a more extravagant package might provide a wider variety of
services, from the bride's bouquet to an assortment of wedding
photographs. Wedding packages generally do not include the
reception, although separate reception packages are also available.
Most wedding facilities allow you to customize your wedding
package by adding individual items or services from an a la
carte menu, with each option priced individually. Although
it is possible to construct your wedding entirely from the
a la carte menu, it's generally more cost effective to customize
an established wedding package.
Las Vegas is first and foremost a casino town and many of
the larger resort casinos maintain wedding chapels with packages
at varying price ranges. Couples opting for a casino wedding
can arrange for friends and family to stay at the casino,
allowing for plenty of post-wedding revelry since guests are
no more than an elevator ride away from their lodgings. Brides
and grooms also have the opportunity to take advantage of
a casino's special amenities.
Couples marrying at the Venetian casino/resort might choose
to include a romantic gondola cruise or some pre-wedding pampering
at the resort's Canyon Ranch spa. A bride and groom exchanging
vows at the Treasure Island casino/resort have the option
of marrying onboard the HMS Britannia in the resort's very
own lagoon. Most of the major resort casinos provide wedding
coordinators who can help you choose the best possible wedding
within your budget. Once you have made your choice, you should
reserve your wedding date as early as possible. While it's
certainly true that one can be married with less than a day's
notice in Las Vegas, there is no guarantee that your preferred
venue will be available.
Going To The Chapel
If marrying so close to the roulette table isn't quite what
you had in mind, you have the option of choosing one of the
many independent wedding chapels throughout Las Vegas. These
chapels generally offer more economical wedding packages than
their casino counterparts, and provide some of the more offbeat
wedding options available in Las Vegas. An independent wedding
chapel is also an excellent choice if you are interested in
a one-stop shopping approach to your wedding preparation.
Perhaps one of the most well known facilities, The Little
White Wedding Chapel maintains several chapels, an on-site
florist, bridal gown and tuxedo rental, and a beauty salon
for convenient wedding preparations. And if you're planning
an intimate wedding of less than ten people, their Burgundy
Chapel is absolutely adorable.
Every Price Is Right
How much you pay for a Las Vegas wedding is really up to you.
You will need to obtain a marriage license from the Clark
County Courthouse for $35, and there are several no-frills
wedding options to be had for less than $100. Wedding packages
are available in a wide range of prices from less than $500
to about $3000 for deluxe wedding packages at the larger resort
casinos. These prices do not include a reception.
The Fine Print
While a wedding in Las Vegas can certainly be a fun, memorable
experience, you should consider the matter carefully before
making a decision. The same features that make wedding packages
so attractive can restrict your options somewhat. You should
keep in mind, whichever venue you choose, you will not be
the only couple marrying there that day, or possibly even
that hour. If your wedding package specifies one half hour
of chapel time, there is the distinct possibility that another
wedding party will be assembling outside, even as your ceremony
is finishing. You should also be aware that many facilities
require certain wedding services to be provided in-house.
This means, while you are not required to hire a particular
resort or chapel's photographer or florist, you may not be
allowed bring in an outside vendor to do the job. Be certain
that you understand exactly what is and is not possible before
placing a deposit.
Where To Begin
Unless you've got your heart set on marrying in your favorite
casino or at that beautiful chapel your sister used last year,
you will want to explore a variety of venues before making
a decision. Plan to spend a few days in Las Vegas early in
the selection process and visit five to ten potential spots.
Most wedding sites will provide you with brochures that outline
available wedding packages and a la carte options. Be sure
to view the chapel area itself before making a final choice.
This can be tricky since weddings occur daily, but facility
staff should be able to tell you when the chapel will be available
A Matter Of Taste
Only you can decide whether or not a Las Vegas wedding is
the right choice for you. If your notion of an ideal wedding
is firmly fixed in your mind, and you won't feel satisfied
unless every detail of the fantasy has been realized, then
a packaged ceremony is probably not going to fulfill that
vision. If however, the idea of marrying in a relaxed, playful
atmosphere with minimum of stress sounds perfect, a Las Vegas
wedding might just be the wedding of your dreams.
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