Love and Marriage, Vegas-Style

The Joys and Advantages of Marrying in Vegas

Posted by Jacquie O

If you've found "the one" and are considering cashing in your chips while the odds are still in your favor (or while that hunk of burning love is still hot), Vegas is most definitely a great way to go.

People often write off the idea, believing that Vegas-style nuptials aren't as profound or meaningful or sophisticated or traditional enough. If you love Vegas for all the reasons you do, chances are, you will love everything about how your Vegas wedding goes down.

For starters, you can save a lot of dough. I'm from the school of thought that all those Benjamins are better spent on a down payment for a crib, a phat vacation, or to pay off debt and start the marriage baggage-free. Granted, I'm not your white-bread or apple-pie American female whose dreamt all her life of the lavish Cinderella experience. If that should be you (or your girl if you're a guy) good luck! Remember: half of all marriages end in divorce (including my own). And, probably half of the marriages that have ended in divorce are paying off wedding debt long after the dissolution!

My own wedding came in at around $1,000. That included the honeymoon, three days and two nights in Sin City. Keep in mind that this wedding took place in 1996, so figure your expenses to be relative to current prices.

Here's a breakdown of what comprised our expenditures, for reference as you ponder the matter:

  • Two gold wedding bands
  • Marriage license (obtained in downtown LV's county offices; they're open well into the evenings)
  • My silky white, but casual, above-the-knee length dress (snagged for under $30 at Macy's, because anything white still lingering about the store in October was on clearance)
  • Matching white accessories and shoes (also a steal during the fall months)
  • A basic Bally's chapel wedding package for about $275, which included ceremony with minister, photos, video, and flowers. And, the photographer was no slouch! She took impressive photos right on with lighting, timing, angles, you name it. I'm hideously un-photogenic and I never looked better than in those photos, and my husband came out looking like a Hugo Boss model. The flowers were beautifully arranged and the video still moves me to this day... onward.
  • Three days and two nights at the storied Flamingo Hilton
  • All meals and a fair amount of stiff drinks
  • Gambling (blackjack, mostly, and we broke even)
  • Gasoline (drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, and back)

Our respective families reside on the East Coast, so we chose to go the wedding alone - just us two and our minister. Beforehand, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it being just us. In other words, would we feel validated, serious about the whole thing? Keep this in mind: minutes before your ceremony, during, and after, you'll be overwhelmed with emotion, nervous as a Chihuahua at the vet, giddy like a child, and entirely consumed by the presence and thought of your beloved. All else will not matter. You could take an accidental dump in the aisle during the exchange of vows and somehow the beauty of it all will overshadow it.

If you want guests to attend, cost shouldn't be an issue if each of them is willing to cover hotel stay and travel expenses (you'll enjoy more gifts this way too). Furthermore, Vegas-style weddings, in my opinion, seem to call for the casual, the kitschy, the bizarre - anything but convention or formal tradition. So, you can ditch the idea of coordinating matching duds for the wedding party.

Lastly, you can expect the unexpected, either at some point during the affair or something later on down the line, you just never know what can transpire when Vegas is the setting. One night, about a year into our marriage, my husband and I were watching Honeymoon in Vegas with Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker. At the end of the flick, when the two finally get married, after enduring every possible shenanigan - Cage in full-on 70s Elvis duds and Parker in super hot showgirl threads - we find that the officiating minister in the scene has a very familiar voice. Lo and behold it was our minister; though difficult to recognize in the silly wig he wore for the part. It was just a cool moment when we discovered that.

If you have a fantastic relationship, how you tie the knot will not matter - however cliche that may sound. If you both love Vegas, have faith in the system, because odds are you're going to have the most fun and hassle-free wedding possible, not to mention that the only shirt you're going to lose is the one you're wearing on your wedding night.

[ Big welcome to Jacquie O to the VT freakscene. Rock on J-O! - Ed ]



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I double-downed on my first wife, then she split. We got hitched at The Aladdin which has some bad mojo... look what it did to Elvis/Priscilla! Welcome J-Oh!!

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