The New Las Vegas – Wedding Capital of the World

Whether it’s a case of ‘I do’ or ‘I do – again’, the Wedding Capital of the World can provide a great location to get married or renew your wedding vows.

Enjoying a resurgence as a ‘must see’ destination, Las Vegas has shaken off it’s tacky, downmarket image and has emerged again as a glittering jewel in the heart of the Nevada desert. If you want 5 star luxury in your hotels, world class dining with more than its fair share of celebrity chefs, and entertainment to rival any major city anywhere (shows include several by Cirque du Soleil, while residencies by artists such as Celine Dion and Elton John have become synonymous with the city), Las Vegas is for you.

The Las Vegas Strip hosts some of the biggest and brightest hotels in the world. The latest addition is casino developer Steve Wynn’s self-titled Wynn Hotel. The Wynn is a $2.7 billion development and, like most of the hotels in the city, is on a massive scale. To give some context to this, the main feature of the hotel is a man-made mountain and waterfall that runs into a 3 acre lake. The waterfall and lake have images displayed on them to produce a unique show on the hour, every hour, called “Lake of Dreams”. And if you have your own waterfall and lake, why not?!

The Wynn was built to outshine Steve Wynn’s previous luxury hotel The Bellagio – most recently made famous as the casino robbed by George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the film ‘Ocean’s Eleven’. And the Bellagio is no slouch in the luxury stakes either – its Picasso restaurant has real Picasso paintings on its walls. Outside the hotel, its musical fountain shows have become one of the unmissable sights of Las Vegas.

If you wanted more proof that Las Vegas is changing, you don’t have to look far. The Venetian Hotel has its own Guggenheim Museum. In the hotel and independent shopping malls you will find all the upmarket shops you would expect in the most exclusive of shopping streets – Chanel, Dior and Ferrari-Maserati to name but three – as well as more affordable high street staples.

But if you’re looking for somewhere to get married, or you want to renew your wedding vows, Las Vegas could be the place for you. So what’s the appeal? Well, it can be as simple or as elaborate a ceremony as you want. It can be as traditional or themed as you want. And there is a ceremony for any budget – starting at only $25 and going up to $20,000 plus – and everything in between. And you’ll have plenty of choice of restaurants to celebrate your wedding.

There is no minimum stay required to get a marriage licence in the city – all you need is $55 and i.d. and you’re ready to get married. And the wedding is legal in the UK when you get home. If you’re renewing your vows, you’ll just need to take a copy of your marriage certificate to your chosen chapel. There are over 70 chapels and other venues around Las Vegas, some of them within the major hotels as well as a big selection of independent chapels. And that’s before looking at ‘destination’ wedding venues such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Charleston and Lake Las Vegas.

If you’re looking for a wedding chapel with celebrity links, The Little Church of the West is a pretty little wooden chapel that has been around for over 50 years – which is positively antique in Las Vegas terms! They have married stars including Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Deanna Durbin, Shirley Bassey and Richard Gere – it’s also the chapel where Elvis and Ann Margaret exchange vows in the film ‘Viva Las Vegas’. Or the famous Little White Wedding Chapel which has married stars including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland [she obviously liked Las Vegas for her weddings!], Joan Collins, and more recently Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. It is also where Britney Spears started her first round of married life – it lasted only 55 hours.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of the King, Elvis and Priscilla married at the original Aladdin Hotel back in 1967. That hotel was replaced by a new and improved Aladdin, but you can still book your ‘Love Me Tender’ Wedding Package with Elvis impersonator here. In fact if you want an Elvis impersonator at your wedding, you have 94 ceremony options at various chapels – the Graceland Wedding Chapel even has a ‘Duelling Elvis’ package where you get 2 different eras of Elvis for your money.

So what are the most romantic wedding package options available in Las Vegas? Well it obviously depends on your definition of romance – if you’re already married to your motorbike, for instance you can have a Harley Davidson wedding where you ride right up to the altar, or you can even get married in the Harley Davidson Café, surrounded by Hogs and related memorabilia. But we have a few of our own favourite options:

1) Get married on a balcony overlooking the lake at the Bellagio Hotel. When the minister pronounces you man and wife, the fountains will play for you.

2) Get married in a gondola on the Grand Canal at the Venetian Hotel as a gondolier serenades you both.

3) Get married at the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset for stunning views of the city.

4) Take a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon and get married in the Canyon itself – your wedding photographs will be stunning

And for something more out of the ordinary, how about the following:

1) Pirate ship wedding at Treasure Island. The bride enters down a rose-strewn walkway before a pirate swings down from the rigging with the rings. Not the most private of settings in the middle of Treasure Island lake, but great fun nonetheless.

2) Star Trek wedding at the Star Trek Experience. Get married on the deck of the Starship Enterprise in the presence of Borg, Ferengi and Klingons (depending on the package), before celebrating your wedding with a Federation wedding cake in Quarks Bar.

3) Wild West Wedding at Bonnie Springs. Just outside the city, get yourself married old west style in this old west town with your minister on horseback and cowboys holding the groom at gunpoint during the ceremony.

4) Belleza Dogs at the Belleza Wedding Chapel. If you can’t bear to be parted from your four-legged friend during your wedding, why not make him part of the event? Take your pooch along for the ceremony, and the Belleza will even throw in a bag of dog biscuits to keep him happy on honeymoon.