Years ago, I mentioned in conversation with some coworkers that I’d gotten married in Las Vegas. One of the coworkers said, “You don’t seem like the type.”
I found that remark amusing enough to remember it nearly a decade later. Exactly what “type” gets married in Vegas? My husband and I were engaged for a few years before taking the plunge, and we were well into our grown-up years when we got married. It’s not like we eloped – we planned the wedding ahead of time, and my immediate family joined us for the big event in Vegas.
Are you the “type” to get married in Las Vegas? Here are 10 reasons why you should be.
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Every time I talk with someone else about her wedding, she inevitably relays some sort of horror story, or several. I don’t know anyone who had such an easy wedding as mine.
I certainly don’t mean to criticize women who have traditional church weddings. My sister did just that a few years after my Vegas wedding.
She wanted a bigger wedding with all of her friends and extended family from both sides present, and I was thrilled that she had the time and wherewithal to make it happen. However, I hate to see women pressured into having a big wedding that they don’t want and/or can’t afford.
Cheaper Than the Alternatives
When my husband and I got married nearly 20 years ago, we were, like many young adults in their mid-20s, pretty much broke and just getting by. We hadn’t even bought a house at that point. We’d been engaged for awhile, and though I wanted to get married, the thought of planning a wedding – and paying for it – filled me with dread.
I mentioned to my parents that we’d decided to plan a wedding, and they offered to pay for everything if we got married in Las Vegas. They were going there for a trade show every year, and we could plan our wedding to happen during that trip. I’d never been to Las Vegas, and it sounded fun.
The people we most cared about attending our wedding were my immediate family – my parents and my younger brother and sister. My sister started dating her husband a year or so after my wedding, so he wasn’t in the picture at that time.
I’m pretty sure that the wedding plus airfare, hotel and gambling budget for my entire family cost less than we would have spent for a traditional wedding. Seriously. I picked one of the top-of-the-line packages at the wedding chapel, too, including pictures, reception with cake and chauffeured limousine transportation for all of us, from the hotel to the chapel for the ceremony.
The place where we got married still exists, and they offer complete wedding packages starting at $795. The average cost of a wedding these days tops $30,000 according to TheKnot.com.
No Guest Obligations or In-Law Squabbles
Many weddings become much larger than anticipated because both sides of the family want to invite every relative under the sun. Plus, if you invite this friend, then you have to invite this other friend, and if you invite this coworker, you can’t leave out this other coworker without hurting her feelings.
You get the picture. You end up inviting way more people than you really want to.
A wedding in Vegas, especially a small one with just immediate family, pretty much rules out anyone feeling excluded if they’re not invited. That’s assuming you don’t live anywhere near Vegas. I live in Raleigh, NC, which is a long airplane flight away from Vegas.
In-law squabbles weren’t an issue for me, but many brides seem to have problems with conflicts between the mother of the bride and mother of the groom. If the wedding chapel does all the planning and the invite list consists only of those who can go to Vegas, you’ve eliminated most of the potential for friction.
You may think that because it’s your wedding, you should have final say in everything. However, if your parents and/or in-laws are footing all or part of the bill, they may (understandably) feel that they have some skin in the game.
Wedding and Outstanding Honeymoon Destination, All In One
When you plan your Vegas wedding, you’re also planning the honeymoon. Yes, my parents and siblings were there for my honeymoon, and we all had a blast. My husband and I did go off on our own sometimes, including a road trip to Hoover Dam.
We actually spent a lot of time away from my family because of our differing interests, though we usually ate breakfast and dinner together. Since my parents live 500 miles away, I was (and remain) grateful for any amount of time I could spend with them, and my husband understands this.
Minister? Organ Music? No Problem
Vegas weddings are seldom like what you see in movies. There was no Elvis impersonator in sight when we got married. My dad escorted me down the aisle and a minister performed the ceremony.
I wore a white wedding dress and my husband wore a tux. My sister was the maid of honor and my brother the best man. A Las Vegas wedding is a great compromise when you want a small wedding but something more than a courthouse ceremony (which is fine, too, if that’s what you want).
We mailed wedding announcements to let our friends and family know we were getting married (find a great option for unique wedding and shower announcements here).
They Know the Drill
Vegas wedding chapels have hosted thousands of weddings. They have it down to a science. Our wedding cake was absolutely the best cake I’ve ever eaten.
You buy a wedding package from one of the dozens of wedding chapels in or around Las Vegas, and they take care of the rest. You do need to go downtown and get a marriage license at city hall prior to the ceremony. There was very little actual wedding planning involved, other than selecting the chapel and deciding which plan to go with, plus the travel arrangements.
Want Something Unusual? You Got it
We wanted a relatively standard wedding – myself, my husband and family, preacher, music, I do and done. Some people want the Elvis impersonator or some other unusual quirk. Whatever you want, it’s Vegas, baby. You can probably find it.
Relax on Your Wedding Day
Since the chapel takes care of everything, you can actually relax on your wedding day. I can’t actually remember anything stressful about my wedding day. I remember a lot about that Vegas trip, like the fact that it snowed the day before my wedding. Snow flurries in Vegas are a rare occurrence, given that it’s a desert with a generally warm climate.
It’s not that I have a short memory or that my wedding wasn’t memorable. It was memorable for all the right reasons.
Outstanding Scenery for Photos
If you’d like some pre- or post-wedding photos, you can choose from among a wide variety of available backdrops. The Las Vegas Strip offers a fantastic array of gorgeous photo opportunities, both during the day and when lit up beautifully at night.
I recommend the Bellagio for numerous beautiful photographic backdrops both inside and outside of the casino/hotel. Plus, their buffet is outstanding, making it a great post-wedding dinner destination.
Drive less than 20 miles from Las Vegas and you’ve got the breathtaking Mojave Desert scenery of Red Rock Canyon. More than a million people a year visit Red Rock, with its 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with exhibits and a book store. The area’s distinct geologic features, animals and plants provide spectacular backgrounds for pictures.
Vegas is Awesome
Las Vegas is an amazingly fun place. I’m hardly a party animal, believe me. I rarely drink alcohol, but I like to gamble a bit. I also enjoy seeing the incredible hotels and attractions and attending shows. My whole family continued going to Vegas every year until I had my first child, and the last two of those years, my husband and I went a second time later in the year, just the two of us.
I watched for a time when there were no major conferences or conventions in town and got a good deal on our rooms at Bally’s Las Vegas.
Vegas isn’t for everyone, though. People call it Sin City for a reason. If you’re going to gamble, set and stick to a budget and don’t even think about opening a line of casino credit. Contrary to what some folks think, prostitution isn’t legal in Las Vegas, though it is legal in parts of Nevada.
That’s not to say that a man by himself won’t get hit up by a lady of the evening, but the place isn’t crawling with streetwalkers and strippers. Billboards advertising adult-oriented entertainment are all over the place, though, so it would be really hard to hide them from innocent eyeballs.
How About You?
What’s your wedding story? Stressful? Wonderful? What do you wish you’d done differently? Here’s a fascinating list of the most and least expensive states in which to get married.
Read more of my travel related posts at this link.
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