PARTY LIKE A ROCK-STAR!
by Skye Huntington
From the Extravagant to the Outlandish
Mick and Bianca Jagger on their wedding day – from the book, “Vogue Weddings” one of 400 ceremonies that have appeared in Vogue in the magazine’s 120-year history.
Vegas is known as the “Wedding Capital of the World” because up to 150,000 couples get married here every year and 5 million people have been married here since 1908. The last six years have had unusually high peak times on the dates of 7/7/7, 10/10/10, and 11/11/11. There were more than 7,500 requests of marriage certificates alone for 12/12/12. For that special day, Back Bar USA had a one-of-a-kind world-class wedding offered for $1,212,120 at Caesars Palace. It included a private jet to and from Vegas, three nights in a Caesars Palace suite, free-flowing Dom Pérignon throughout the stay, dinner at Restaurant Guy Savoy, VIP access to Pure Nightclub, elegant watches for the groomsmen and stunning earrings for the bridesmaids. Talk about experiencing the high-roller lifestyle!
More and more couples seem to want something different, and Vegas certainly offers that. Getting hitched in Vegas is generally more affordable than elsewhere, easier, and more fun. Instead of taking a year of your life getting stressed out – here in Vegas, at the wedding chapels and large hotels, a wedding coordinator can arrange everything from the music to the flowers to the photography. Clark County makes it easy to get the license. There is no waiting time period, no blood tests – so you can get married that very day. And Vegas is loaded with incredible restaurants, shows, and exciting things to do on your honeymoon.
If you are strictly a traditional couple who enjoy the preparation of months or even years of planning, and want to get married in the same church that the rest of the family has been married in, probably a Vegas wedding isn’t right for you. But, should you fancy the idea of a Vegas wedding, you’d be in the company of such stars as Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Michael Jordan, Clint Eastwood, and Pamela Anderson (no, not Mick and Bianca Jagger - they know how to “Party Like a Rock Star” wherever they go). Here are a few of the different style weddings you can have here in Vegas. Some are Romantic, some have Breathtaking Views, then there are ones that are Exciting and Unique, and of course, because it’s Vegas, there’s the Fantastically Surreal. Whatever route you choose, remember that a successful marriage requires falling in love many times – always with the same person. Choose your love, then love your choice.
EIFFEL TOWER AT THE PARIS
Paris is known to be the city of romance and Paris Las Vegas can provide you with much of the same accoutrements. Exchange vows on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower and overlook the great views of the city. You can then have French food at your beckon call, and even reserve a dining area
with a Juliet Balcony, overlooking the casino and Paris scenery. Magnifique!!
ROMAN WEDDING AT CAESARS PALACE
The Venus Garden provides a quiet secluded area for a wedding. With Roman statues surrounding you, you’ll feel like you could be in Rome, Italy.
GONDOLA WEDDING AT THE VENETIAN
Ahh… Venice, Italy …or at least some of your impressions of Venice will suffice. Set sail in a White Gondola in the romantic canals at the Venetian, exchange your vows, and then have the gondolier serenade you.
BELLAGIO’S TERRAZZA DI SOGNO
Imagine having a wedding and reception with the Bellagio Fountains in the background. Where else could you have the famous fountains choreographed to “your song”, and your first dance together as man and wife?
Lovebirds can get hitched at the modern chapels with two-story windows overlooking Mandalay Bay Beach; experience an outdoor, ultra-posh wedding ceremony at one of the highly coveted beachside cabanas during the day; or enjoy a private, nighttime affair right on the tropical sand shores.
CHAPEL IN THE CLOUDS
The Chapel in the Clouds is at the very top of the Stratosphere Tower, just under the observation deck, which you and your party can explore post-ceremony. After your “I Do’s,” you can get another charge by stepping on the “Big Shot” thrill ride that jets you up a 160-foot tower generating 4G’s of force. Can you imagine the free-fall back down?
MAVERICK HELICOPTER’S CLOUD NINE
Maverick Helicopters custom creates adventure weddings. Their ultimate package at just under $5,000 will fly the couple and three guests over the Hoover Dam, over the Grand Canyon, and set you down for a sunset wedding in the Valley of Fire.
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES
You can enjoy the view of Las Vegas 1,000 feet above the ground, or go as high as 3 to 4,000, depending on which wedding package you choose. Private flights with just your group in the basket with the pilot also available.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Imagine yourself walking down a rose-covered walkway to meet your groom on a pirate ship overlooking Sirens’ Cove. The captain of Treasure Island’s pirate ship is there too, and will perform the ceremony while a pirate swings down from the crow’s nest to deliver your rings.
GOLF AT THE WYNN
If golf is your passion, you can play a round of golf at the Wynn Golf Course, a par 70 high-caliber golf course designed by Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn, and then include a trip to the spa as the perfect before wedding day precursor. The Wynn Country Club offers ceremonies at the base of a cascading waterfall surrounded by lush landscape. The Wynn Chapels offer intimate indoor venues as well as a courtyard venue.
Two ordained ministers are on-hand for a shotgun wedding at the world-famous Gun Store. That’s pretty unique, getting married on their VIP Range and shooting exotic firearms! There’s the Mr. & Mrs. Smith & Wesson package that includes the couple’s choice of any 6 guns, double ammunition on handguns and semi-automatics, and 6 targets.
MADAME TUSSAUD’S WAX MUSEUM
You can pretend to be part of the Hollywood in-crowd with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt standing up for you at Madame Tussaud’s. You choose your star-studded reception from sport stars like Tiger Woods or Shaquille O’Neal, or the Washington crowd like JFK or Barack Obama. George Clooney is available, as long as he’s not the one getting married.
If you are the water-loving type, say “I do” surrounded by 15 different species of sharks. Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef also includes photography, so the lighting is just perfect to capture it all. A pianist can also be hired, as there was always music under the water in The Little Mermaid.
THE ROLLER COASTER AT NEW YORK-NEW YORK
The wedding takes about 15 minutes and then the couple has a seat in the front row of the roller coaster. You can have up to 14 guests ride along in the train in the 16-person roller coaster car. Couples say the best thing is that there’s no dress code.
GRACELAND OR ELVIS WEDDINGS
The Graceland Chapel has been in Vegas for over 50 years, and Elvis himself got married to Priscilla at the original Aladdin Hotel, almost that many years ago. Elvis impersonators can walk the bride down the aisle, entertain you with songs, and even dance with you. There is a fairly long list of various chapels that engage in some sort of an Elvis package for you to choose from.
Yes, you read that right. The chapel, right in the middle of the restaurant, is available 24 hours a day, just like their menu. Can you say “Grand Slam Wedding!”? Enjoy the eggs, and the wedding cake made of Denny’s pancakes. It’s certainly different, and people will want to see this unique Denny’s Restaurant for themselves.
WELCOME TO FABULOUS LAS VEGAS
Thousands of couples have wed beneath this historical sign even though it’s not an official chapel. Most wedding chapels in town will make arrangements for a civil service here and you can also arrange for Elvis to come along.
MINUS 5 AT MANDALAY BAY & MONTE CARLO
When the heat soars to 110, getting married in Minus 5 at 23 degrees above zero will help cool you off. Made almost entirely out of ice, this is a state-of-the-art ice lounge that features ice sculptures, a frozen bar top, frozen glasses, and frozen couches. The lounge has fur jackets to loan to guests for the ceremony.
POP-UP WEDDING CHAPEL
Get married – real or faux, at one of the most techno-savvy hot spots: The Cosmopolitan’s Pop-Up Wedding Chapel, located on the corner of the Strip. A white cling arch faces the Strip and an artistic rendition of the “Welcome to Fabulous Vegas” sign sets the background for the perfect photo compatible with social media interaction. By posting to Instagram or Twitter using hashtag #PopUpChapel, the photo is added to The Cosmopolitan’s Facebook under a special “Wedding Chapel” tab, plus the photo is instantly available on a video screen above the couple.
Baller Basketball Hardwood Suite at Palms Casino
Assemble your own dream team and live like a baller from your ceremony and all through the night for a rockin’ reception. Covering 10,000 square feet on two floors, the Basketball Hardwood Suite replicates the lifestyle of an NBA superstar, with an indoor basketball court, professional locker room, scoreboard, and NBA-sized Murphy beds. This is a true sports fan’s dream come true. I personally had the chance to experience the Hardwood Suite after a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony poolside at the Palms, followed by an all-night reception in this luxury 2-level suite wired with amazing lighting and sound that pumped out the low-end, as we danced the night away on the hardwood court, (plus played a little late-night b-ball).
THE VOLCANO AT THE MIRAGE
A beautiful lagoon with cascading waterfalls sounds romantic enough, but then throw in the red-orange lava and fireballs, and you will have a ceremony that’s intense and dramatic.
THE NEON MUSEUM
Go retro Vegas with your wedding ceremony performed in the Neon Boneyard, where you can walk down the retro neon aisle of the largest collection in the world of more than 150 signs that have been rescued and put on display. Have your picture taken in front of the museum by the “Wedding Info” sign while you sip on champagne.
This 180-acre cultural center offers scenic locations like an arboretum where you can get married among lush botanical gardens, the courtyard rotunda with its grand staircase, or the courtyard plaza with white lights adorning the trees.
LAKE LAS VEGAS
Try seeing yourself getting married in a wedding gazebo in this romantic Italian village with lake views, or at the Ravella Hotel, with a white sand beach or Tuscan-style courtyard. After the ceremony, opt to take a gondola ride on the lake that’s surrounded by stunning red mountains.
THE SMITH CENTER
A beautiful art deco-style performing arts center, The Smith Center, is where couples can host an elegant wedding in the intimate Cabaret Jazz room, at an outdoor courtyard, or in the elegant Reynolds Hall.
If you like pine trees and crisp mountain air, consider Mount Charleston for your romantic wedding ceremony and retreat. If it’s a winter wonderland you’re thinking of, plan your wedding for the winter months when there’s plenty of powdery snow. Summer temperatures here are about 30 degrees less than Vegas, making for that perfect sunny 80 degree day for outdoor ceremonies when it’s at a brutal 110 degrees down in the Vegas Valley.
RED ROCK CANYON
Red Rock’s natural beauty is the perfect backdrop for a breathtaking wedding. The boulders range in color from deep red to white. The canyon was once the bed of an ancient deep sea and the red color is a result of weathered iron composites.
Edward and his Vampire Coven invite you to bring your “Bella” for a dark wedding at “Breaking Dawn.” This takeoff of the Twilight series, a vampire themed fantasy romance, lets Edward be the minister of ceremonies as you celebrate your “Eclipse” and “New Moon” as partners for all eternity. This is featured at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.
Envision a fog-filled wedding chapel with flickering candlelight. Eerie strains of organ music reverberate as the bride emerges from the mist, carrying a wedding bouquet of blood red roses. Count Dracula emerging from his coffin or the Grim Reaper as minister, welcome you into the Gothic Wedding Chapel.
The characters from this cult classic film will all be there at your wedding: Minister Frank-N-Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta, Brad and Janet. To start, Frank-N-Furter will perform “I’m Just a Sweet Transvestite” and then “There’s a Light – Over at the Frankenstein Place” will be sung by the whole cast. You can say your “I do’s” and then sing and dance to the “Time Warp”, with the ceremony offered at Viva Las Vegas – Traditional and Themed Weddings.
Only in Vegas—a drive-through wedding! Drive up to the window, perform your vows, and drive off married, all within five minutes. According to Vegas Wedding records, there are about 5,000 drive-through weddings each year. Motorcycles, limos and party buses are all popular choices.
Many brides and grooms embrace some of the wedding traditions that have been handed down through the generations. Some of these traditions didn’t start out as you would have suspected, and are quite unromantic. Read on…
WHITE WEDDING GOWNS
Brides always dressed in vibrant colored gowns, until Queen Victoria wore a white gown for her 1840 marriage to Prince Albert. The reason it was controversial at the time, was that white was associated with mourning. It only took a few years until white became the only color that was acceptable for first-time brides.
The bridal veil covered the brides from head to foot in ancient Rome. The brides weren’t hiding, they were preparing for their death. The veil was made to the exact height of the bride, so it could be used as her burial shroud when the time came. During the years when arranged marriages were prevalent, brides did have secrecy in mind. The groom didn’t even get to see his new wife until after they were officially married, and sometimes it was not a pleasant surprise! During Victorian times, the weight, length, and quality of the veil was a sign of status. The longest veils and trains were for the Royal brides. Think of Princess Diana’s 25-foot train.
Brides used to carry a bouquet of garlic and dill. This tradition came from the time of the Plague, when people used the herbs to cover their noses and mouths in an effort to survive the illness. The dill (also known as the herb of lust) was eaten by both the bride and groom in hopes of increasing sexual desire. Today, flowers are used as a symbol of fertility.
Bridesmaid fashion developed from an idea to confuse any evil spirits. By dressing in identical clothes, or in some cases exactly like the bride, the evil spirits would not know who was getting married. In Victorian times, the bridesmaids wore white dresses, but with much shorter veils to distinguish them from the bride in her voluminous veil.
THE BEST MAN
In days of yore, the “best man” was a warrior, needed to help the groom steal a bride. Some villages had a shortage of women, so a man who wanted to get married enlisted the help of his best friend to help him bride-nap a woman. No wining, dining or wooing, she was just taken. The bride’s family would try to reclaim her, but the best man’s job was to protect the stolen bride from being rescued before a completed marriage ceremony took place, when her fate would be forever sealed.
SHOES ON THE CAR’S BUMPER
In ancient Egypt, shoes were once symbolic of possession and authority. The father of the bride would remove the bride’s wedding shoes and give them to the groom. The groom would then tap his bride on the head with the shoe, meaning he was her new master. After that, the father had no more authority over his daughter. In later years, shoes were thrown at the bride and groom as they departed the wedding as a sign of good luck.
THROWING THE GARTER
In medieval England and France, a tradition called “fingering the stocking” meant that guests would enter the wedding chamber and check the bride’s stockings, to see if the marriage had been consummated. Further, at the end of the ceremony, guests would rush the bride to tear off a piece of her dress for good luck. These practices were so invasive that it was finally decided to pacify the mob by tossing out the garter.
A pope in the 12th century decreed that brides would receive rings and that they would be married in the church. Those rings didn’t have diamonds that are so common today. DeBeers created the ad campaign: “A Diamond is Forever…” and that changed everything. In India, Hindu brides wear their wedding rings on their left foot on the toe next to the big toe. These rings are only supposed to be worn by married women, while men are exempt from wearing them at all.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN TRADITION: JUMPING THE BROOM
Starting in slave times, when it was illegal for slaves to marry, couples jumped the broom in lieu of a legal wedding. Freed slaves taught their children that this was a sign of bondage and it wasn’t until the scene in the famous television mini-series, Alex Haley’s “Roots”, in which Kunta Kinte jumped the broom, that this became revived. Trendy modern African-American couples use it as a symbol of their heritage.
JEWISH TRADITION: BREAKING THE GLASS
At the conclusion of a Jewish wedding, the groom crushes a wine glass under his heel. It serves as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the most holy place in all of Jewish history. It also reminds the couple of how fragile a relationship can be and the need to preserve it. It is also probably the last time the groom gets to put his foot down, since the one to run the household will most likely be the bride.
KOREAN TRADITIONS: BEATING THE FEET
In South Korea, the groom has to endure a foot beating, called a “bastinado,” that takes place after the wedding ceremony. The groomsmen remove the shoes and socks of the groom and tie his feet together. Lifting his legs off the ground, they take turns beating the soles of his feet with a stick, cane, or fish. This is to test the groom’s strength and knowledge, since he’s also asked questions while being smacked with the fish.
SCOTTISH TRADITION: DIRTY BRIDE
It’s called “Blackening the Bride.” Friends and family members create the grossest mixture possible and then pour it on the bride-to-be before the wedding day. The concoction can be a combination of dairy, fish, molasses, feathers, and even animal waste. After she has been thoroughly covered with this foul mixture, she is then paraded through the streets of her town. The reasoning for this, is that surely, nothing in her marriage could be more humiliating than public blackening.
RUSSIAN TRADITION: BREAKING GLASSES
The bride and groom must race each other to a special carpet on which they will stand to recite their marriage vows. If the bride gets to the carpet first, she will be the head of the household and vice versa. After the marriage and the first toast to the couple, everyone throws their champagne glasses on the floor. If they break, it is considered good luck.
MALAYSIA TRADITION: BATHROOM BAN
It is not permitted for the bride and groom to go to the bathroom for 72 hours before the wedding. This ritual has been going on for centuries. The couple is starved, given little water and then watched over by their loved ones to make sure they don’t cheat. If the couple survives this torture, they will have abundant fertility, none of their children will die, and if they are able to survive not urinating or pooping for 3 full days, how hard can marriage be?!
CLARK COUNTY MARRIAGE LICENSE BUREAU
201 E. Clark St. • Las Vegas, NV 89101
Hrs: 8am-Midnight, 365 days a year
• Both parties must appear at the Marriage License Bureau
• Must Have: photo ID, proof of age, and know your S.S.#