Every year, some 80,000 weddings are performed in Las Vegas, making it the most popular destination wedding site by far.
But is a Las Vegas wedding right for you? If you’re a traditional-minded couple -- or if one of you has been planning your wedding since puberty -- the answer is probably no.
On the other hand, if you want to get married quickly and are open to something different, a Las Vegas wedding could be perfect for you.
Below you’ll find some of the plusses and minuses of having a wedding in Las Vegas. If you decide to go ahead with it, you’ll be in the company of such notables as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Newton.
Celebrities who once married in Las Vegas and since have been divorced from those partners include Britney Spears, Richard Gere, and Angela Jolie.
Pros of a Las Vegas Wedding
Affordability – This is the biggest advantage of a Las Vegas wedding. While a traditional US wedding costs $25,000 on average, you can have a complete wedding ceremony for a few hundred dollars (or less) in Las Vegas. (Of course, you can also splurge by having your wedding at a better hotel and customizing the options.)
Timing – You will be able to book a chapel for your wedding in Las Vegas on short notice. Reservations are helpful, although walk-ins are accommodated in some places.
Just don’t expect to sweep into a Las Vegas wedding chapel on Valentine’s Day or a popular holiday weekend and get married right away.
Convenience – You can pre-apply for a marriage license at the Clark County Clerk's office in downtown Las Vegas. And once you fill it out, they'll give you a free wedding website to use (see bottom of form).
At Las Vegas hotels with wedding chapels, there’s usually a wedding coordinator who can organize everything from a limo to drive you to pick up your license, order your wedding flowers, arrange the officiant, and set up music and photography/videography. And you can plan it all over the phone or even online.
Fun – Couples who’ve been married before, older couples, and couples who love to laugh appreciate the ease of a Las Vegas wedding. And if you want to get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator, who's to stop you?
Start the Honeymoon Early – No need to get on a plane or head out of town after the wedding. Las Vegas is more than a great wedding town – Las Vegas is a great honeymoon destination, too.
Cons of a Las Vegas Wedding
Your Wedding, Your Way – There’s no comparison between a wedding planned months or years in advance with a quickie Las Vegas one. If you’re someone who cares about having specific wedding colors, custom favors, a certain baker, local florists and bands, and other elements that personalize a wedding, you may not be satisfied with a standard Las Vegas wedding package.
Conveyor Belt Mentality: While Las Vegas wedding chapels attempt to keep wedding parties separate, they don’t always succeed.
Some Las Vegas hotels have more than one chapel, so you may encounter people from other wedding parties. At one of the better Las Vegas wedding chapels, couples have one hour of chapel time: 30 minutes for guest arrival and seating, 15 minutes for the ceremony, and 15 minutes for photography. If you walk down the Las Vegas Strip later (or even pause at a craps table for a while), you’re likely to see several other brides and grooms on your special day.
Guest List: If you live far from Las Vegas, some friends and family members will be unable to afford the expense or time to travel to Vegas to see you get married. (On the other hand, this is a perfect way to avoid having marginal friends and family attend your wedding.)
Reception Sites: Las Vegas wedding chapels are just that: Places where weddings are conducted.
If you want to have a reception afterward, that has to be arranged separately. Larger hotels have banquet and meeting rooms which are mostly used for corporate functions. I recommend a private room in a restaurant.
Tacky Image: Despite the best efforts of Las Vegas' finest hotels -- which can produce gala affairs second to none -- Las Vegas weddings are still considered tacky by some.
All the Best
Whether or not you decide to wed or honeymoon in Las Vegas, keep this in mind: It's ultimately less important where you seal your vows than it is that you say them with a true heart -- and live them throughout your marriage.