Getting married in Las Vegas is both easy and inexpensive, so it should come as no surprise that this mecca for excess and kitsch has become the Marriage Capital of the World. In fact, close to 100,000 couples flock to Sin City to tie the knot each year.
While ceremonies officiated by Elvis in the wee hours of the morning are certainly still popular, most couples look to Las Vegas when it’s time to tie the knot because of the endless possibilities the city offers. Joni Moss, a go-to wedding planner in the area with more than 20 years experience and owner of LV Wedding Connection says, “We’ll do anything as long as it’s legal.” In other words: the sky is the limit when it comes to planning a wedding in Las Vegas. Get married inside of a slot machine at the Casino Wedding Chapel, on board the Titanic, a 25,000-square-foot exhibit at the Luxor, atop a 50-story replica of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas or in a Maverick helicopter enroute to the Grand Canyon. For a more traditional experience tie the knot at Aria’s serene onsite wedding chapel, which is outfitted with cameras so you can live-stream your nuptials.
Here we’ll give you all the facts you need to know about destination weddings in Las Vegas, from the laws and customs to the best time to plan a wedding and the costs involved with doing so.
The best time to go: Fall and spring are generally the best months to plan a Las Vegas wedding because temperatures tend to be mild (rather than cool or sweltering). That said, April through June and September through the end of October are also considered peak season in the city so look to November to avoid the crowds while scoring more reasonable hotel rates.
The flight: Westjet and Air Canada both currently operate direct flights between Las Vegas and Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Air Canada also offers a direct flight from Montreal while Westjet offers additional direct flights from Winnipeg and Edmonton. Flights from Alberta and B.C. take about three hours while the trip from Montreal and Toronto is about five hours.
The legal paperwork: The Clark Country Court House is open 365 days a year and typically issues same-day marriage licenses within 20 minutes for a cost of $60. To obtain your marriage license, both parties must appear in person before a clerk at a Clark County Marriage Bureau location. Identification to prove your name and age is required. Whoever performs your marriage ceremony has, by law, ten days to submit documentation to the Clark County Recorder’s Office for your marriage to be recorded. Once recorded, you can order a certified marriage certificate online from the Recorder’s Office website. There is no waiting period to get married after the marriage license has been issued. Marriage licenses are good for one year from date of issue.
The local customs: There is nothing more classically Vegas than a wedding ceremony officiated by The King. Whether you choose the iconic Graceland Wedding Chapel or a more contemporary hotel venue, there are a number of ordained Elvi ready and willing to help you tie the knot. Joni Moss recommends one Elvis impersonator above all others: Jesse Garon. This king of Kings (who was given the key to the city in 2011) will even pick you up in a pink 1955 Cadillac that used to belong to Lucille Ball!
The budget: Las Vegas weddings can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars (for a simple private ceremony in your hotel suite) to tens of thousands of dollars for larger celebration at a hotel or private mansion. Basic wedding packages at hotels such as Aria, Wynn and Paris Las Vegas start at approximately $1,700.
The venue: With a costume shop on-site and a chapel complete with fog machines and entryway large enough to drive a Cadillac through — yes, you can actually be driven partway down the aisle — Viva Las Vegas is an especially popular choice for themed celebrations. For a more refined garden party celebration we recommend the Wynn’s idyllic Primrose Courtyard, the only private courtyard on The Strip.