Click to read first Part 1: Love on Las Vegas Boulevard – Finding Zion
Among the Bail bondsmen, pawnshops, liquor stores and Adult Video purveyors on Las Vegas Boulevard, you’ll find the two most famous wedding chapels in Las Vegas, A Little White Wedding Chapel (ALWWC) and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel (VLVWC).
I don’t know about the other couples there, but as a wedding blogger, I fell in love immediately with the scene. I also fell in love with the pink Cadillac parked outside our hotel room. To go riding on a freeway in a pink Cadillac (with Elvis) will cost you and your beau $777 and includes lights and fog machine effects during your ceremony (VLVWC). If you weren’t escaping the desert heat in your sexy Ford Escape like my friend and I, there were plenty of available alternatives to get to the chapel on time, such as the classic stretch limo to Cinderella’s carriage.
Weren’t expecting to fall in love with a stranger or got on the plane to elope before you had time to pack a bag – no worries. Between the two chapels, there are plenty of shops to fulfill all your needs from florists to tux and gown rentals to beauty parlors. Need cash to tip your Elvis minister? Just go across the street to the Cash for Gold shop. Wedding bands? There’s a pawnshop too. Want to wow your future spouse with some sexy lingerie on your wedding night? Visit the S&M shop across the street; they’ll give you some tips too. Desiring a little liquid courage before taking the plunge? There are plenty of liquor stores to quench your thirst or toast to love! Wanna squeeze in a bachelor or bachelorette party a ½ hour before saying I do? Rent or buy some quality cinema from the XXX adult store and have a party for one in your hotel room!
Once you feel outfitted with the appropriate trims and fixing of a Las Vegas wedding, the chapels provide a fantastic array of wedding themed options for anyone. If you thought the strip was glamorous and uniquely memorable, wait till you see the package options the chapel’s offer…
At the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel newlyweds can chose from an array of exotic wedding themes (prices based from 2012) from James Bond ($1,100) to Camelot ($700). Why anyone would want to get married by the Bluez Brotherz ($1,100), Sigmund and Freud ($1,100) or Tom Jones ($700) is beyond my generation, but to each his or her own, pussycat.
But who wouldn’t fracking chose the Intergalactic option ($700), which includes “the use of the Starship chapel, all Intergalatic memorabilia, including all of your favorite space character cardboard cut-outs, one Minister Transporter, illusion entrance, and “Mr. Shpok” Minister, theatrical lighting and fog”?
Then there’s the Egyptian package ($750), which includes “the Egyptian chapel decorated with original Egyptian paintings, the mummy’s sarcophagus, Cleopatra’s throne for the Bride’s entrance, two male slaves (yes, you read that right) to carry and care for the bride, belly dancer to dance for the groom and King Tut as minister” because – hey, why not? You’re in Vegas.
I personally plan on renewing my vows after five years of marriage with the Phantom package ($750) (if I have to explain this, then the magic and romance of Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber is clearly lost on you). I just hope the package includes taking the mask home…
There are more conservative wedding packages or the traditional Elvis ones (VLVWC: $200 to $1,500) for those less into being married by Liberace ($800). Those include the traditional red roses, lit gazebo, unity candle, something called a wedding scroll and four to ten complementary candid photos depending on the cost of your package.
At A Little White Wedding Chapel (ALWWC), which has married many celebrities from Bruce and Demi to Brittany Spears offers the more traditional white wedding with a flavor of Vegas. What was striking about this venue is that it was like a combination of a doctor’s office and a pull up fast food joint (in fact the drive-thru wedding is a real thing you can do. No word on if you can super size your order). It features a list of á la carte wedding menu items to add onto your special day like certificate holder, Marilyn costume rental or garter while you wait around for your number special moment to be next in line.
The beauty of the Las Vegas wedding is that little planning is needed. Anything can be found and acquired on the boulevard. It just comes in the taste and flair of Las Vegas – plastic, neon, previously used with a little bit of cheese on the side, but sometimes those qualities make the best of memories.
When we rolled up to our hotel there was one party outside hooting, hollering and hamming it up for the camera. They were embracing the frills of the Las Vegas wedding and having a fantastic time. Then at the Little White Chapel, the room full of anxious fiancés sitting quietly and, surprisingly, stoically, for their moment with the minister. When we were getting a tour of the VLVWC, a couple casually dressed in jeans and black shirts silently emerged from the chapel newly married. They stopped to kiss under the light of the marquee and smiled as their names scrolled across it congratulating them. They disappeared just as peacefully by rounding the corner and walking away down the boulevard into the night. Even on the strip, a simple, quiet wedding is possible.
Needless to say the Vegas wedding is what you make of it. One can embrace the Elvis impersonator or be embraced by Dracula ($750). Or one may play it safe and opt for casual, no-frills simplicity. In my short 24 hours on Las Vegas Boulevard, I learned a couple needs only three things when marrying in the city of sin. The first is, be confident in your decisions – both in terms of the heart and chapel package. The second is to roll with the theatricality, surprise and zaniness that is Las Vegas. The third is to completely own it, “That’s right. I got married by Elvis. Viva Las Vegas.”