15 years ago Britney Spears and her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander arrived in Las Vegas for a three-day whirlwind of drinking, gambling and wedding bells. Like so many before them, Britney and Jason succumbed to the party atmosphere, got carried away and ended up getting married.
Unfortunately for the lovestruck pair it wasn’t meant to be, with the wedding being annulled just 55 hours after the signing of the nuptial papers. Britney copped a lot of criticism for her shotgun wedding, much of which was unfair and over the top.
Waking up hungover to find a picture of your own wedding ceremony, presided over by a terrible Elvis impersonator, must not be the best way to start a morning. However, it’s a rite of passage for anyone going to Vegas. Or at least that’s what film and TV would have you believe.
There are alternatives to the Britney wedding experience, and believe it or not, it is possible to have a traditional, classy wedding in Vegas. Here’s your ultimate guide to bucking the trend and having a wedding to remember in Sin City.
Why get married in Vegas?
There is no better place in the world to get married for a gambling fanatic. Las Vegas may now be second to Macau in terms of revenues and visitors, but it is still the spiritual home of gambling, making it the ideal venue for anyone who is fond of a flutter.
Las Vegas is also one of those cities with a hard-to-quantify vibe, a special feeling that the place has built up over almost a century of excess. Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and many other famous faces have at some point in their lives called Vegas home.
Many reflect on the times when these stars were in Sin City as a golden era. The city was in its prime. Its combination of neon lights, dazzling shows and casino games was like nothing else that could be found in the US at the time. The 1950s was an exciting, classy, even romantic time to be alive in Vegas.
Today, this unique look and feel lives on at a truly one-of-a-kind online casino. With chequered flooring and a Wurlitzer soundtrack, one place to get a sense of this bygone era of Vegas’ casino scene is at 777 online casino.
Speaking of history, Europeans often view Vegas’ architecture as a crass attempt to imitate the heritage of other countries – with the canals of Venice, the pyramids and the Eiffel Tower being rebuilt as shiny casino exteriors. But these over-the-top monuments all add to the allure of Las Vegas, making it one of the most iconic places in the world.
What’s more, there’s something magical about Vegas – and who wouldn’t want to experience that for their wedding?
The best Las Vegas wedding venues and packages
The Special Memory Wedding Chapel and the Viva Las Vegas Chapel may be the most famous wedding venues in Sin City, but they’re certainly places to avoid if you want to have a memorable wedding. Below we’ve covered three of the top wedding venues – all of which offer a unique experience.
Do you have room on your guest list for a couple of sharks?
For the past eight years, this venue has been voted the best place to get married in Vegas by a number of leading publications and organisations. There are two main options available to book, a traditional chapel style service inside Mandalay Bay, or…
A Mediterranean-style seaside wedding at the venue’s real sand beach, basking in the Nevada sunshine. Mandalay Bay is an operating aquarium and as such offers something completely different and unique for your wedding reception.
In the main reception room, floor to ceiling windows offer you and your guests a fish eye view of the 1.3 million gallon aquarium. Your guests may find it off-putting to watch the Best Man’s speech as a shark swims by, but it will certainly make for a memorable experience.
There are several packages to choose from here, including:
- Exquisite – 30 minutes of photography, one night at Resort King with VIP check-in and a limousine – $850
- Elegant – seating music, one hour of photography and 30-day webcasting – $1,600
- Luxury – three hours of photography, spa and salon vouchers and two nights in the Sky View Suite – $4,250
Find tranquillity, peace and natural beauty right in the heart of the Las Vegas strip
Las Vegas was initially discovered almost 150 years by a group of Spanish speaking travellers who used it as a brief retreat in the harsh terrain of the surrounding desert. The original site was abundant in natural meadows, leading to the Spanish travellers calling it ‘the meadows’ – Las Vegas.
If you want to capture a little bit of this historical natural beauty for your wedding, you can at The Flamingo. Situated right in the middle of the main strip, this venue is a world away from the glitz and glamour of the buildings around it.
The Gazebo Chapel at The Flamingo is surrounded by palm trees and garden flowers, making it an idyllic desert retreat. Walking around the tropical grounds of the resort you will find a series of exotic plants and man-made waterfalls that provide the perfect setting for your wedding photos.
The Flamingo offers several wedding packages for couples with different budgets. These include:
- Happily Ever After – 12-rose bridal bouquet, 30-minute photography and four special songs from a pre-selected list – $600
- Tie The Knot – ceremony video, marriage certificate holder and official chapel toasting glasses – $1,200
- Can’t Help Falling In Love – hair and makeup package, Happy Hour bar ride tickets and a six-passenger limousine – $2,500
Red Rock Canyon
You won’t find a better view of the surrounding desert anywhere else in Las Vegas
Visitors to Las Vegas can often forget that they are in one of the most visually stunning landscapes in the world. 17 miles away from the strip is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the perfect location for a scenic outdoor wedding.
As it is an area of outstanding natural beauty there are pretty tight restrictions on guest numbers meaning you will only be able to invite up to 50 close friends and family. The stunning rust coloured peaks that make up the backdrop will make up for that though as you’ll simply be left breathless at the views.
A one-hour wedding package with a limousine will set you back $1,200 here – and would suit small wedding parties. The all-inclusive package is $1,800 and gets you two hours and a photographer.
You will need to apply for a special wedding permit at least two weeks before your wedding and choose from a handful of companies offering their services at the venue. Afterwards you and your guests will be ferried back to the main strip to enjoy a reception in the hustle and bustle of the city.
Although there are only three specific venues mentioned in this article, there are plenty of other classy wedding options in Las Vegas. For a city so synonymous with cheap, tacky, shotgun weddings, the abundance of upmarket venues is staggering.
The diversity of Vegas gives you a wide range of choice that you simply will not get in any other city in the world. Tie the knot surrounded by sharks, atop the ‘Eiffel Tower’ or inside one of the world’s most famous casinos.
The world is your oyster in Las Vegas, and you may even make back the cost of your wedding at the roulette table afterwards.
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