The holiday season brings with it abundance of engagement proposals and even impromptu weddings. There seems to be something about the season which calls for warm family events and gatherings that shouts “wedding vows”.
And believe or not Las Vegas is the ‘go to’ destination for many couples, of all ages and life stages when a unique event is planned.
Couples literally come from all over the world to say “I do,” sometimes with a unique officiate to tie their knot.
On a recent visit to “Sin City” members of our group of travel writers took in the abundant variety of wedding venues guided by wedding consultant/planner extraordinaire Joni Moss-Graham of LV Wedding Connection.
After our behind-the-scenes tour I can sincerely say that Las Vegas is truly the wedding capital of the U.S.
“The wedding and event industry is a huge part of tourism to the city,’’ explained Ms.
Moss-Graham, as she shuttled us around the city.’’”Saying vows is a very emotional and an irreplaceable event for any couple. That’s why here in Vegas we understand the “one size or event doesn’t fit all.’’
And after a day scouting venues and even peeking in on some actual weddings I do believe that the sky’s the limit when it comes to wacky Vegas weddings. In fact, the sky isn’t even the limit when you consider that a couple can be married in a helicopter, a balloon or even on a roller coaster there.
“Love is definitely in the air here,’’ said Ms. Moss-Graham pointing out that couples have been married on the High Roller at the Linq.’’
A Chapel of the Flowers, we witnessed a Japanese couple and their entourage of family and friends celebrate with a beautiful traditional ceremony, complete with flowers and chauffeured limos. Everything from the setting to the photography was elegant and traditional.
This locale offers romantic ceremonies in either indoor chapels or serene outdoor settings. Wedding planners work with the couple on all aspects of the event. Trip Advisor has named Chapel of the Flowers one of the top attractions in Las Vegas.
The cost to be married here starts with a basic package of $350 and rises to ‘Luxury and Cherish’ ceremonies costing thousands of dollars.
If you prefer a non-gaming location complete with a breathtaking rooftop venue and a ground level garden gazebo head to the Alexis Park Resort. “For the ultimate Passion in the Park,’’ this is your destination, according to Jo Ann Richard, coordinator of special events. At Alexis Park you can choose from several different places to actually have the your ceremony depending on whether you want it indoors, outdoors or a combination of both, explained Ms. Richard. You can be married poolside, in a penthouse or a suite. The resort also offers different levels of accommodations for your guests.
Nowadays ceremonies here, as well as at other Las Vegas venues, include legal, commitment, and vow renewal events.
“Wow Weddings’ can be planned in the Grand Canyon, the Valley of Fire or other unusual places surroundings the city.
The Chopper Chapel at the Harley Davidson Café offers along with its wedding chapel gazebo, the possibility of being married on its bikes.
Or maybe you want to be married in front of the outdoor “Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. It too, is possible.
You can have The Rock Star Wedding or an Elegant Elvis Package.
But if you really want Elvis to figure in your wedding head for Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, where ‘your Elvis officiant’’ can be none other than Ron Decar.
When Mr. Decar started his Vintage Las Vegas events in 1999, he performed maybe 13 Elvis weddings a month! Now Mr. Decar and his staff perform more than 500 a month themed weddings featuring Elvis and other celebrity impersonators as officiates.
To demonstrate such an event for us, Mr. Decar pulled some of our group into impromptu wedding, complete with Mr. Decar dressed as Elvis and singing a couple into the building in a pink Cadillac convertible.
The large double doors to the chapel opened and a 1954 pink Cadillac, surrounded by smoke billowing from machines and holding our “pretend couple” was driven in by Elvis (Mr. Decar). All three hopped out of the car and Elvis conducted the ceremony in song. It was truly mesmerizing and memorable event.
Renting an Elvis officiate from Viva Las Vegas is available in nine different packages. You can have Elvis who sings and performs the ceremony. And of course, you can have a take home video of the event. And you can even have transportation to the chapel and your names on the chapel’s marquee.
Ron Decar’s company also offers Batman, James Bond, the Blue Brothers and characters from “Star Trek” as officiates.
This past year, Bea Broda, a member of our group and a well-known producer/writer/host and speaker from Canada performed a wedding vow renewal in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Car Stars event.
“The theme was Back to the Future, so many of the stars, except for Michael J. Fox, from that movie were present,’’ said Ms. Broda, a past president of the Society of American Travel Writers. “In 2016 the event will focus on super heroes and Ms. Broda will perform renewals as Wonder Woman.””
And while Bea is a perfect Wonder Woman, beautiful and multi-talented, she already has married many couples while both she and the wedding couples were dressed traditionally.
“I have performed wedding ceremonies before,” explained Ms. Broda, who was a pastor of a church in Toronto and performed marriages in the province of Ontario.
“Sometimes, explained Joni Moss-Graham, a wedding couple will be accompanied by their own officiate when they arrive in Las Vegas. “As long as they have ordination that allows them to legally marry a couple in most states, including Nevada, they can perform a wedding here, after the couple obtains their marriage license.”
On any given day in Las Vegas there are 300 weddings taking place in 50 different chapels.
Any couple can go downtown and with $77 obtain a wedding license. For the wedding to be a legal ceremony, it must be licensed by the state of Nevada.
Las Vegas saw 90,000 weddings in 2014, according to Ms. Moss-Graham, a Statewide Wedding Representative for Nevada and a former president of the Nevada Wedding Association. “But, that was down from a 125,000 a few years ago,’’ she added. “We also did a lot of Commitment ceremonies, and with same sex weddings becoming legal, maybe those numbers will begin rising again,’’ she said.
“Nevertheless, I stay in the happy world working every day of the year,’’ said Joni Moss-Graham.
By Diane Siskin
www.littlechapel.com and firstname.lastname@example.org