Underwater. On a roller coaster. In Elvis’ pink Cadillac. There are countless ways to get married in Las Vegas.
Even better, you can tie the knot at nearly any hour of the day or night, seven days a week.
At 11pm on a recent Saturday, multiple couples stood in line at the Clark County Marriage Bureau waiting to file paperwork to receive a marriage license. Outside, representatives of chapels stood with signs and clipboards, hawking their services.
Andrea Jones, a Wisconsin resident, and her boyfriend, Nick Bernardo, stood in line waiting.
“We’re in town, we love each other and are going to get married anyway, so we figured, ‘Why not?'” Jones said.
The couple came to Las Vegas on holiday and hadn’t planned to get married here, but like many, decided spur of the moment that it would be an adventure.
Las Vegas is the undisputed wedding capital of the world. Last year, the Clark County Marriage License Bureau issued 80,738 marriage licenses at a rate more than double any other jurisdiction in the United States.
The majority of the licenses go to tourists.
Getting hitched in Vegas can be quick, easy and fun. Although wedding ceremonies must be performed by a certified official, marriage licenses are issued within minutes, and there is no waiting period to get married.
Countless people come to Las Vegas for shows, parties and the sights and end up leaving with a ring on their finger.
There are many spots here to get betrothed in a traditional ceremony. Mount Charleston is a 45-minute drive from the Strip and offers scenic views and cozy lodges. Downtown Las Vegas is home to multiple wedding chapels that offer classic garden or chapel ceremonies. And most every resort on and off the Strip offer wedding packages with fancy facilities for both the ceremonies and receptions.
THEwedding Chapel at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is among the best. It’s classy and elegant. Get married in a private chapel, next to a waterfall or in a penthouse suite.
The Venetian is a fantastic destination as well. Choose from a ceremony on the resort’s Wedding Bridge in St. Mark’s Square, in the lush landscape of an Italian garden, or in a white gondola on the Grand Canal with a serenading gondolier.
On the other hand, in pure only-in-Vegas fashion, the city also offers scores of options for more over-the-top, unique ceremonies.
There are at least nine chapels and resorts that host Elvis-themed weddings. A Las Vegas Wedding Chapel offers an ‘Aloha Las Vegas’ package in which Elvis and hula girls sing and dance. At the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel, Elvis will walk you down the aisle and leave you with a satin scarf.
If you’re more of a rocker, head for KISS: by Monster Mini Golf, where a face-painted, boot-wearing Gene Simmons impersonator will officiate your special day, with raining guitar picks and billowing stage smoke.
Thrill-seekers can get married while twisting and turning on New York-New York’s roller coaster, while certified scuba divers can get hitched underwater in the Silverton’s 117,000-gallon aquarium. Mermaids act as maids of honour, with 4,000 sea creatures as witnesses.
Fremont Street is the site of the world’s only Denny’s restaurant with weddings on its menu. Enjoy a signature Grand Slam breakfast at the diner chain, say “I do”, then celebrate with a pancake wedding cake.
I got married at the Little White Wedding Chapel, the same place that Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Britney Spears, Sinead O’Conner, Sylvester Stallone and many other celebrities tied the knot. It certainly wasn’t a traditional wedding, but it was fantastic.
The cosy chapel is nestled on the Strip and is more cheesy than elegant. A pink Cadillac, in which you can get married, sits in a driveway, and Elvis roams in a gold jumpsuit.
If you want a true ‘quickie’ wedding, there’s the Tunnel of Love Drive Thru chapel window, to which you can drive up and say your vows from your vehicle. One of my best friends got married there on her lunch hour.
We chose a small chapel inside but made good use of the kitsch, posing in front of gaudy Las Vegas backdrops and paying Elvis to serenade us. My husband wore a baby blue suit.
Our thoughts – which thousands of people share, as evidenced by the constant stream of weddings here – is that there’s only one Las Vegas, so embrace the vibe.
Tips for getting married in Vegas
* Both the bride and groom must appear in person to apply for a marriage license at the Marriage Bureau.
* Be sure to bring original identification to prove your name and age, such as a driver’s license or passport. You may bring an original or certified copy of your birth certificate but will need a second form of ID as well. Foreign birth certificates must be translated into English and notarised.
* A Clark County marriage license costs only $60, and applicants can pay with cash, credit card, traveller’s check or money order.
Planning to get married in Vegas? Browse our hotels in Las Vegas to find the perfect one for you and your wedding guests.