Las Vegas is the undisputed entertainment capital of the world, where the pursuit of fun has become a science and an art. As Drew Carey once said, “Everything and anything you want to do, you can do in Las Vegas.” From the great hotels like the Bellagio and MGM Grand with their fine dining, spectacular shows and casino table games to adrenaline-fueled escapades like driving a race car down the speedway or zip-lining across the Grand Canyon, Sin City has it all.
This extreme energy helps explain why Las Vegas is also the wedding capital of the world, with a $2 billion wedding industry. Over 240,000 people visit Las Vegas every year to tie the knot, drawn by the convenient legislation as well as the chance to create long-lasting memories with the proverbial wacky Vegas wedding. Let’s take a look at some of the crazier ways to get married in Las Vegas.
Looking for fast love
First, though, how did Las Vegas become such a popular wedding destination? A very basic reason is that it’s fast and cheap to get hitched in Las Vegas. The state of Nevada has done all it can to expedite marriage ceremonies ever since 1928. That’s when the neighboring state of California passed a “gin law” that made prospective married couples wait three days before going through with the ceremony. The purpose of this law was to stop people from getting married in haste, especially while drunk. The effect was it drove would-be elopers to Nevada. Today, the Clark County marriage license bureau, just north of the Las Vegas strip, stays open until midnight all year round. All you have to do is produce a photo ID and pay $102 for the license and certificate. The entire process takes an hour or less on average. Nowhere else in the world can you get married so fast!
Love me tender
What’s a Sin City wedding without Elvis, undoubtedly one of the biggest stars to perform in Las Vegas? The spirit of the King is on every street in Las Vegas, where he got married back in 1967. That was three years after he shot a couple of gambling movies: Frankie and Johnny, with its casino dice games, and Viva Las Vegas, which encapsulates the spirit of the city with its singing, dancing, glamor and fast cars. (You can find this energy reflected in online slots like Vegas Stacks.) Today, many people come to Las Vegas specifically to be married by Elvis – or one of his skillful impersonators, at least. The first Elvis-themed wedding ceremony took place in 1977 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel, where famous musicians like Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Ray Cyrus and Aaron Neville have also tied the knot.
Elvis weddings proved extremely popular and many establishments began to offer them. The Elvis Wedding Chapel, for instance, has a whole team of professional Elvis impersonators groomed to croon and serenade the nation’s loving couples. You can even have Elvis walk you down the aisle – or drive you to the altar in a pink Cadillac! A number of Elvis themes are available, from a Blue Hawaii set-up complete with palms and hula girls to the jukebox and soda fountain of the Doo Wop Diner.
The ultimate romantic rock ‘roll icon, Elvis also had a great love of guns (the Colt .45 was his particular favorite.) If the combination of firearms and romance appeals to you and your partner, too, then you may be interested in a Shotgun Wedding. That’s what the Gun Store indoor shooting range calls their unique wedding offering. Walk down the aisle of an on-site wedding chapel with guns hanging from the walls and exchange vows beneath a flowered trellis before heading for the shooting range to establish who’s the best shot. Talk about getting your marriage started with a bang!
Another place where you can tie the knot and pull the trigger is Machine Guns Vegas. The package includes a minister, chairs, photographer, pictures and flowers, plus a pink M4 rifle for the bride to shoot, an MP5 rifle for the groom and a Glock 17 hand-gun for both of them to take turns with. Friends and guests can join in the shooting for a fee. Who would have thought that a shooting range could be one of the best places to elope in Nevada?
Take the plunge
One of the most iconic and hilarious Las Vegas wedding movie scenes is the ending of Honeymoon In Vegas. After a series of misadventures resulting from a rigged card game, a desperate lover (Nicholas Cage) skydives with a team of “Flying Elvises” to join his future bride (Sarah Jessica Parker) on the Las Vegas Strip. Since life has a tendency to imitate art, today you can emulate that crazy scene for real, on your own wedding day. A number of wedding organizers offer tailored sky-diving packages for the bride and groom to take the plunge together at 120 mph. You can hold the wedding ceremony before or after the jump or you can even be married in the air by a “skydiving preacher.”
Another way to make that leap of fate is zip-lining from FLY LINQ’s 550-foot High Roller Observation Wheel, with its picture-perfect panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip and the mountains all around. FLY LINQ offers a variety of options: “Marriage Soaring” includes a semi-private ceremony on the launch deck for up to 10 guests with express zipline passes, while “Vows and Views” covers a private ceremony and zipline rides for up to 40 guests, with sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries thrown in.
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