A lot of heat, a lot of lights and the smell of money in the air: Las Vegas is intoxicating enough as it is, but the added promise of a quick, no-hassle hitch has always had the power to make some visitors extra giddy.
Of course, the words 'Sin City' and 'romance' don't seem like they go together, but ever since the glitzy Aladdin Hotel union of Elvis and Priscilla in 1967, the Vegas wedding has become more of an attainable fantasy than a drunken snap decision, for most people at least.
Planned or unplanned though, there are no run-of-the-mill nuptials here and the variety is something of a minefield. So, we've compiled a handy guide to some of the best modern matrimonial 'packages' LV has to offer.
And always remember, for (almost) every Angelina and Billy Bob, there's a Kirk Douglas and Ann Buydens - the couple were married in 1954 and remain together to this day.
You can make your Vegas nights as debauched and decadent as you want - it's not difficult - but if you want a wedding day with style and perhaps even a little bit of subtlety, the Wee Kirk o' the Heather could be your best bet. Established in 1940, it's the city's oldest continually operational chapel and is all-American in the down-home, apple pie sense. Quaint and intimate, The Wee Kirk might even be deemed old-fashioned, but it is bookable online, with everything from "Simply I-do"s to limousine and flying packages on offer.
The Original Elvis Wedding
In many people's minds, it just isn't a Vegas ceremony unless the minister also happens to be The King. There are plenty of places to say "uh huh" around town, but an exclusively Elvis-themed venue is really the way to go. Elvis Chapel's offerings run from just $180 USD right up to $1100, all complete with variations of rock 'n' roll serenades and special vows. The chapel’s website links to their traditional sister spot too, but surely an Elvis wedding counts as traditional round these parts.
Graceland is the other real deal Elvis chapel in town, where numerous rockers, including Jon Bon Jovi, have had the knot tied by a slightly more portly Presley: authentic Vegas years style.
All Aboard and Up Above
Of course, Vegas's big hotels all have their own chapels and/or assorted novel settings too. You want European-style romance and sophistication within arm’s reach of pure American-style indulgence? OK. You want a white gondola and a serenade, but perhaps in a slightly cleaner setting than Venice itself? Well, The Venetian can offer exactly that. Their Sul Acqua ceremony starts at $800 and includes accommodation discount too. Plenty more ceremonial scenes are on offer too, utilising the hotel's gardens, bridges, fountains and square.
Also water-themed, but a little more 'way out' is Treasure Island's Enchantment package, which includes outdoor nuptials aboard the hotel's Song Ship. Ahoy!
If you fancy something equally elegant but a little headier or higher up, Paris Las Vegas has a selection of wine-themed weddings and, even better, observation deck nuptials inside its own spectacular replica Eiffel Tower.
Helicopter Weddings: at first you might think "Wow, getting married IN a helicopter in Las Vegas!", but don’t get too carried away. The host of heli-hitchings available here won't actually have you exchanging vows in the clouds. It would be far too cramped and noisy - NOT romantic - for a start. However, a flight above The Strip and maybe even over to Red Rock or Grand Canyon could be the perfect way to start married life.
Though gay marriage isn’t legal in Nevada, Gay Chapel Of Las Vegas manages to truly make the most of the Vegas vibe with more than twenty-five mad and magical themes for commitment ceremonies. Styles range from 'Egyptian' to 'Intergalactic', covering just about everything (including classic/traditional) inbetween. As the city's biggest chapel GCLV can accommodate 100-capacity for a ceremony, so while it may not be a wedding in the strictest sense, it's sure to be a party.
Did you get married in Vegas or have you been to a Vegas wedding? Got any more recommendations? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the author: andrewAndrew Bowman
Andrew is an occasional contributor to the Virgin Atlantic blog. He lived in the Japanese countryside for two years until he could no longer resist the pull of London's galleries, pubs and clubs. He likes to pretend he can speak Japanese and also sometimes writes about music.