Travel2020: Love Las Vegas-style with daring I do’s
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Las Vegas and weddings go together like neon signage and beehive hairdos. That may be because Las Vegas pronounces more marriages per capita than any other city in the world.
In 2017 alone, 78,187 marriage licenses were issued in Las Vegas — which makes for roughly 214 per day or nine marriage licenses an hour on a 24/7 clock. And 2017 was a down year for Las Vegas, which has seen as many as 128,000 weddings in a year, as happened in 2004. Based on the most current data available from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), 4 percent of Las Vegas visitors, or 1.7 million people a year, come to Las Vegas to celebrate their own wedding or someone else's.
That said, if Las Vegas is anything, it is unconventional. It’s a city built on dreams of what can be rather than what is. If it happens in Vegas, it automatically captures attention, collects ears, and stops the conversation. And the same can be said for weddings in Las Vegas.
While weddings in Las Vegas can be as conventional as Kansas corn stalks, they can also be anything but that. Consider the legendary drive-thru window at A Little White Chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. Couples pull up, order from a short menu of options, roll down the driver-side window and let the vows begin. It all takes less than 15 minutes.
You can get married on a golf course, on a mini-golf range, in a pod on the High Roller, in a museum dedicated to mobsters, in a Cirque du Soleil set, in an aquarium with or without sharks, in a pool by a floating wedding cake and mermaids, even on a thrill ride called "Insanity" that will have couples dangling 900 feet over Las Vega Boulevard.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, which, along with New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day and weirdly numbered days (1/9/19, 02/22/20, etc.) brings lines around the block for licenses at the county clerk’s office, Las Vegas offers a menu of imaginative ways couples can take the plunge.
To the extent that tying the knot is taking a plunge, couples can put it all together with a nuptial jump off the Stratosphere tower. Billed as the Skyjump Proposal Package, couples can combine it with a wedding option, taking the plunge from 829 feet before or after the sealing kiss.
The Stratosphere’s Chapel in the Clouds can accommodate up to 240 guests and give them commanding views from the 104th and 112th floors.
Big Apple Plunge
Other adrenaline-focused couples can careen through a 144-foot-drop followed by dizzying corkscrew turns to seal their marriage on the Big Apple Roller Coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. Brave family and friends can join them on this ride of a lifetime.
Big Night in Neon
Lovers dazzled by the glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip can surround themselves in the flash and bling of restored vintage neon signs at the Neon Museum in Downtown Las Vegas. The signs offer a true Vegas backdrop and make a stunning and compelling backdrop for photos.
Married with the Mob
Nearby, the Mob Museum, housed in the historic former federal courthouse and U.S. Post Office, offers ceremonies and receptions amid lifelike exhibits of some of America’s most notorious crime bosses. Weddings here are as fun as they sound with the possibility of the wedding couple and guests dressing in period costumes and partying like the peak days of Prohibition.
Couples who want to link their fates to the heavens can do on the High Roller at the LINQ Promenade. The largest observation wheel in the world allows the couple and up to 38 guests to take the spin over Las Vegas and say their I do’s above the Strip.
More sensual affairs can be arranged with the "Mistress of Sensuality, Edie," of Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity show. She performs marriage ceremonies in the dramatic lobby set-up of the Zumanity Theater at New York-New York as two additional artists from the show escort the couple down the aisle and celebrate their union in full regalia, or the lack thereof.
The couple then gets to enjoy the show afterwards in one of the special "Love Seat" sofas reserved for such occasions, as acrobats, soaring aerialists, and zany clowns move into motion. A photo and video package can be added.
Las Vegas makes many things possible — among them is getting married with Barack Obama or Barbra Streisand or J-Lo as an official witness to an intimate ceremony. Plus, at Madame Tussaud’s Las Vegas, there is no chance these figures will steal the show.
The legendary wax museum attached to The Venetian offers several packages to get the show rolling, though. “Hangover Experience” packages start at $5,500 and include an Elvis minister (because you have to have Elvis!), hors d’oeuvres, and spirits and furnishings for 30 guests and plenty of other extras.
Elvis and Friends
Having Elvis officiate a wedding is not new in Las Vegas but the Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel extends that concept into a variety of themes, from beach parties to gladiator get-togethers and graveyard bashes for rates that start at $199.
To add a topping to those nuptials or any wedding in Downtown Las Vegas, couples can seal their vows in a couple’s flight through Fremont Street Experience on SlotZilla. The zipline attraction offers two takeoff options: the lower zip line, which is 77 feet high and straps riders in a traditional harness, and the upper zoom line, which is 114 feet high and requires riders to fly face-down like a superhero — possibly a challenge for those in gowns and tuxes but still a fun way to mark the day.
Wedding note: All couples getting married in Las Vegas must present a current government-issued license from the Clark County Clerk’s office, which charges a fee of $77. Information can be found online: www.clarkcountynv.gov.
All photos courtesy of the author or LVCVA.
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