Las Vegas

Going to the chapel in Las Vegas

Going to the chapel

Graceland Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The song Chapel of Love was first recorded by the Dixie Cups in 1964. Going to the chapel is hardly a problem in Las Vegas, as there are more than 30 wedding chapels along or near North Las Vegas Boulevard. In 2011 the Clark County Marriage Bureau issued 89,407 marriage licenses. On average, 315 couples get married every day in Vegas. Marriages in all of Clark County account for five and a half per cent or one of every 20 marriages performed in the United States.

With the high cost of traditional weddings, many people look to Vegas as a unique and romantic way to tie the knot. There are 26 major hotels offering weddings, ranging from the Bellagio to Mandalay Bay, along with traditional churches. In addition, private chapels offer wedding packages, from the quickie I Do Service, which is completed in minutes, to themed marriages, outdoor and celebrity ceremonies. For trivia buffs, the Candlelight Wedding Chapel set a record of 425 weddings at a single site over a 24 hour period on February 14, 1987. That means a wedding every three and a half minutes.

Cost of a wedding

The cost of a Vegas wedding really depends on the size of your budget and imagination. A traditional wedding at the Bellagio can cost between $25,000 and $30,000. More budget friendly weddings are provided by the private chapels. Package costs range from the $199 Viva Las Vegas Special to the Honeymoon Package of $829 at the Graceland Chapel.

If you were to buy an average wedding package for $500, your wedding will include the use of the chapel, limousine service, traditional wedding music, digital photos, bridal bouquet, boutonniere, DVD of the ceremony, champagne glasses, marriage certificate holder and a bride’s garter. They might even throw in The Rules for a Happy Marriage. 

Plan well ahead, make reservations and apply online for your marriage certificate to save time. Do not show up for your wedding intoxicated, as the chapel can refuse to marry you.

Specialty weddings

Depending on the chapel or package, there may be additional costs, from a caterer to special music. Even rings, wedding dresses and a tuxedo can be provided—for a price. Should you want a unique marriage such as a Star Trek or a 007 theme, there are a myriad of choices. Elvis can make an appearance, walk the bride down the aisle and sing at your wedding. If love is in the air, a helicopter wedding flying over The Strip can be arranged. Outdoor weddings have been held in the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, but most couples prefer the gardens and gazebo of the chapel. If time is an issue, A Little White Chapel has a drive-through window, also known as the Tunnel of Love Drive Thru, equipped with a classic pink Cadillac car.

Celebrity weddings

Hollywood has produced many romantic comedies to popularize getting married in Vegas.  These films include Viva Las Vegas (1964), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), What Happens in Vegas (2008) and most recently Last Vegas (2013).

Celebrities married in Vegas include Elvis and Priscilla Presley, Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere, Michael Jordan, Kelly Ripa, Jon Bon Jovi, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie and many more. Although many of these marriages didn't last, the celebrity names are still used in advertising.

Laws for getting married in Vegas

Taking the big step is relatively easy. A couple must be 18 years of age, provide identification, have a social security number and obtain a marriage license together for $60 from the Nevada Marriage License Bureau. A blood test is not needed in Nevada, nor is it necessary to be a resident of the state. If you’re divorced you must provide the final decree. Should you wish to renew your vows, only your marriage certificate is necessary. Individuals who are not American citizens may need to order a special document called an apostille, but check with both the Canadian and American authorities to guarantee that the marriage is recognized outside of the United States. This should not be a problem for Canadians.

It should be noted that if you get married in Nevada and the marriage does not work out, you must get divorced in Nevada. It also seems fitting to state that since Las Vegas revolves around gambling, marriage is probably the biggest gamble of them all.

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