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Married in Las Vegas
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Married in Las Vegas
  Las Vegas Travel Tale

by Lorry Patton ...

flowercanvas2.jpg When you're in love, it makes little difference if you're walking across a muddy cow field at home or a white-sand beach on a tropical island. The truth is when you're in love, being together is all that counts. However, when you're planning a romantic wedding, or planning to renew your vows, the setting becomes very important. After all, you are creating images that will last you a lifetime.

Several destinations are synonymous with love: Hawaii, Fiji, Las Vegas ... Las Vegas? Yes, Las Vegas. In fact, Las Vegas is the marriage capital of the world. On average more than 100,000 couples say "I will" each year and most often on Valentine's Day. Naturally, the state's liberal marriage laws, like no blood tests required and no waiting period, have a lot to do with the high statistics, but more than that, the only restrictions in a Las Vegas wedding are your imagination and your budget.

And what could be more romantic than eloping? If you're within 1200 miles from Las Vegas, just throw an overnight bag in the trunk of the car and head for the Clark County Marriage License Bureau (702-455-4415) at 200 S. Third Street in downtown Las Vegas. They are open every day 8 a.m. to midnight and around the clock from 8 a.m. Friday to midnight Sunday. The price of a license is $35. (Have divorce papers on hand if you've been divorced and a birth certificate or passport for ID). Then swing by one of the dozens of chapels (names and phone numbers of a few below) and get married in a minute (almost) at the price of $50 and up. (You don't need to get a license to renew your vows; all you need is to show your past wedding certificate to the chapel officials and they will perform the ceremony exactly as you wish. ) On your way, stop at a 24-hour convenience store for a bottle of champagne. After the celebration, pull into any one of the ma and pa motels on the strip and between kisses, embraces, and sips of the bubbly, while soaking in an outdoor hot tub, count the stars that light up the dark desert sky.

Eloping doesn't always mean spur of the moment; so if you want to do some planning, but still want to keep it private, don't tell a soul when you decide on a date. ( Isn't keeping a secret just too romantic?) Call ahead and choose one of the many packages available at any of the 50 or so chapels within the city. A package that includes flowers, portraits, and music will cost around $300, add a live organist and a limousine for another $200.

Weddings in Las Vegas can be as basic or as unusual as you want, however, if you're planning a wedding with guests, it's best you involve a wedding consultant. They can arrange transportation for your wedding party, suggest lodging and menu selections and help with everything from your wedding dress to renting hot air balloons if you want to exchange your vows among the fluffy white clouds. They can even hire an orchestra to play your favorite tunes in Red Rock Canyon, if you want your most memorable event to take place among millions-of-years-old rocks. Just pluck a romantic fantasy from your mind and a consultant will make it happen.

After the ceremony, whether it is a quickie with a marriage commissioner for $25 or a silver, gold and lace performance at the gilded chapel at Bellagio with all the pageantry you can afford, remember, you are in one of the world's most exciting cities. Whenever you decide to emerge from behind closed doors, in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night, you'll be exposed to the some of the world's finest cuisine, some of the world's classiest entertainment and nearby some of the world's most spectacular scenery. But then, when you're in love, none of that matters.

Candlelight Wedding Chapel: 800.962.1818 or 702.735.4179

Little Chapel of the Flowers: 800-843-2410 or 702-735-4331

Las Vegas Weddings: (Consultants) 888-30-MARRY

A Little White Chapel: (Drive-through & Balloon ) 702.382.5943 or 800.545.8111

A Viva Las Vegas Themed Wedding: 702.384.0771 or 800.574.4450

Wedding Chapels at Bellagio: 888.987.3344 or 702.693.7700

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