THere’s a sprawling city in the middle of the desert, on the west coast of the US, where tourists head to enjoy shows, shopping, restaurants and nightclubs, and where high rollers travel to throw down bets in lavish casinos.
It’s called Las Vegas, but with 80,000 marriage licenses issued annually, the Nevada hotspot has been dubbed “the wedding capital of the world“. Once famous for celebrity quickie marriages and annulments, à la Britney Spears, Sin City has well and truly turned its reputation around.
It has become the destination for lovebirds to elope and say “I do”; for brides to walk down the aisle without months of pre-wedding planning stress; or for non-traditional couples to swap a historic church for a more intimate chapel, or even a trendy hotel suite.
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Las Vegas is better known as the “wedding capital of the world”
Jon Bon Jovi and Miley Cyrus‘ parents Billy Ray Cyrus and Leticia Finley, among other stars, have all wed in a Las Vegas ceremony, and are still married today. Part of the city’s charm is in offering the ultimate freedom of choice – ranging from having an Elvis impersonator officiate your big day, to choosing a luxury hotel to host your wedding soirée.
When HELLO! Online visited under the guidance of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, we saw a host of possible wedding venues. Nearly every hotel has its own wedding chapel, not to mention the wealth of independent ones dotted around town. But beyond this, the city offers other spectacular locations to say “I do”.
Scroll down for our pick of the best places in Vegas to tie the knot
Couples can marry in the Grand Canyon, or mid-air in the helicopter
This is one location that really is designed for just you and your love. The bride is literally whisked off her feet as she embarks on a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon – a mere 45 minutes away from The Strip. The journey offers a very up close and personal experience with one of the seven natural wonders of the world, while red and orange rock formations form the backdrop of the all-important wedding photos. Couples are given the choice of marrying in the air, or in two secluded spots – the Grand Canyon in Arizona, or the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
This option is for those who want a truly private wedding ceremony or who wish to elope, as only six people can ride in the helicopter, plus the pilot. With the minister, photographer, bride and groom, there are few spaces left for guests. Sundance Helicopters offer wedding packages that start from £2,200, which include a minister, flowers, cake and refreshments, professional photographs and a video and a limousine service to the runway.
Why marry here? How many people can say they tied the knot mid-air, or among the Grand Canyon’s majestic red sandstone surfaces that truly are out of this world?
Wedding planners can time the Bellagio fountains to start when the newlyweds enjoy their first kiss
The iconic Bellagio Hotel, located in the heart of the Las Vegas Boulevard, is home totwo wedding chapels and several outdoor locations. For couples who want to recreate that Ocean’s Eleven moment, they can marry on the Terrace of Dreams that overlooks the gargantuan fountains and surrounding Tuscan landscape. Inside, the two traditionally decorated chapels serve as another magical option.
The Beautiful Thing package (£16,200) includes the chapel ceremony, mini reception for 30 guests, a harpist and three-night stay in a penthouse suite among other luxuries. The Dream of Life package ($6,500) offers a two-night stay in a salone suite and dinner at Sensi or Circo. The Millennium Wedding package and The Bellagio Wedding package are also available, while the option to marry in your hotel suite starts at £970.
Why marry here? Wedding planners can time the famous Bellagio fountain water show to begin as the married couple enjoy their first kiss as newlyweds.
Themed weddings are aplenty in Vegas, most notably Elvis ones
Graceland Wedding Chapel
How many people can say they’ve been married by Elvis? Well, a few thousand actually, including Jon Bon Jovi to Dorothea Hurley in 1989 and Billy Ray Cyrus to Leticia Finley in 1993. Both couples, who are still married with children today, had the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll serenade them as they tied the knot. This chapel is home to the original Elvis ceremony, and has been performing weddings for more than 50 years, although there are a few other Elvis-themed chapels in town.
Why marry here? For couples who want to pay homage to “The Pelvis” or who love themed-weddings, an Elvis one may fit the bill.
One of The Cosmopolitan’s most impressive features is its cascading chandelier
The Cosmopolitan’s Wedding Suite is for the quirky and very modern couple. Purposefully designed without the traditional aisle and ceremony seating, the bride walks down a hallway and into the main room where the service takes place, where her guests (25 seated or 40 standing) and groom will be waiting. The stylish suite located on the 35th floor has a wrap-around terrace overlooking the Las Vegas Boulevard – the perfect backdrop for the couple to exchange vows. Plus, the suite has two separate lounges for the bride and groom to get ready in. After the ceremony guests can mingle on the terrace or in the main room that lends itself to a luxurious cocktail reception area.
Why marry here? The sky-high wedding suite has one of the best views of Vegas, allowing couples to seal their love overlooking the heart of the city, including the famous Bellagio fountain water display.
Couples can say “I do” at the top of the High Roller
High Roller at the LINQ Promenade
As the largest observation wheel in the world that opened last year – topping the London Eye – marrying on the High Roller really does reach new heights. The groom and up to 38 guests in one pod take the first half hour spin around the wheel, and are then joined by the bride once they reach the bottom for a second turn. The ceremony then takes place in the pod.
Why marry here? Timing the ceremony with sunset is perhaps one of the most romantic ways to say “I do”, when the sky turns pink and then orange and the sun dips behind the mountains, and the lights of The Strip come to life.
Vegas has a wealth of hotel chapels, including the newly designed Wedding Salon at the Wynn Hotel
The Wynn Hotel’s newly designed Wedding Salon is a newcomer to the Vegas wedding scene, having just opened a few months ago. Taking inspiration from an antique sterling silver box made by Buccelatti, the elegant, cream-coloured salon houses two indoor chapels including the bride’s pampering room, and one outdoor garden that features a romantic leafy canopy. The Diamond Extravagance package exudes luxury, offering the couple custom Cartier wedding bands, a rehearsal dinner at Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare, a reception in one of the hotel’s opulent ballrooms, a private party at the XS Nightclub and a first dance choreographed by performers of musical Le Rêve.
Why marry here? Combine the wedding celebration with a VIP experience of magical water show Le Rêve, which includes champagne, truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries.
The canopy of the Keep Memory Alive Event Centre is dotted with 199 irregular windows
Keep Memory Alive Event Centre
Just minutes away from The Strip, the Keep Memory Alive Event Centre is located next to, and partnered with, a brain health research and treatment facility. On paper, it may sound like an odd choice of venue, but the event centre is essentially a 9,200-square-foot blank canvas for couples to create the wedding of their dreams. Frank Gehry designed the modern wonder, which offers the wow factor from both the inside and outside.
Couples can marry alfresco in the garden, or in the centre. Its stainless steel canopy is dotted with 199 windows – no two are the same in shape or size – which means a patchwork of blue and white can be seen by day, and a brilliant constellation by night. The building can also be set aglow in the colour of your choice in the evening. The acoustics inside the bubble have the approval of Michael Bublé, who recently performed here and loved it. A dance floor can be erected for the reception and enough tables and seats provided for 400 guests, while caterers prepare the meal in a Wolfgang Puck-designed kitchen. The only decoration inside is a vibrant 20ft James Rosenquist painting that was commissioned for the medical centre, so the bride and groom should bring in all the props and decorations they need.
Why marry here? A plus for charity-giving couples – all proceeds go to the research, treatment and clinical studies of neurological diseases at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health next door – meaning that your unforgettable wedding will help others remember.
Food lovers can enjoy a Michelin-starred wedding breakfast at the Joël Robuchon restaurant
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
A real gem of the hotel, the Joël Robuchon Parisian Terrace and Restaurant transports lovebirds to the French capital, and specifically to the 1930s. With its elegant setting, the bride and groom can marry in the ivy-decorated terrace, followed by a post-ceremony toast in the exquisite Aperitif Lounge. The highlight of the reception will be dining in Las Vegas’ only three Michelin-starred restaurant, feasting on a five-course menu. The all-inclusive wedding package is priced at £3,840.