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By E.C. Gladstone

June marks traditional wedding season in most of the U.S. But getting hitched is never out of season in Las Vegas, where over 100,000 marriages are performed every year (Valentine’s Day is actually the busiest day). Don’t assume those are all just elopements: the scale of the biggest Las Vegas hotels means they are prepared to handle a gathering of any size at virtually any time, to fit any budget or desire. (The Stirling Club at Turnberry Place for example, just threw a traditional Hindu ceremony for 700 guests, with the groom arriving on an elephant!) And depending on the situation, you can choose from any number of world-famous chefs and patissiers to handle the catering and cake.

Elegance and romance

In addition to the wedding chapels on Las Vegas Boulevard South near downtown, virtually all major Las Vegas hotels
offer wedding packages in their own chapels and outdoor settings, as
well as spa and salon services, florists and photographers. Among the
most impressive are THEWedding Chapel at Mandalay Bay (selected as a 2008 pick by The Knot magazine) the Terrazza di Sogno at Bellagio, as well as several opulent packages at both WYNN and The Venetian. The Flamingo‘s classic tropical gardens and waterfalls offer poetic ambiance in a slightly more budget-conscious range. And there’s also the vintage-1942 Little Church of the West,
which is actually on the National Register of Historic Places (who
knew?), and is wherecelebs from Betty Grable and Harry James to
Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton have gotten hitched.

Fantasy and fun

Vegas is also tops at novel nuptials: Everybody knows this is the place to get married by an Elvis impersonator, or from the comfort of your car (at The Little White Wedding Chapel’s drive-thru Tunnel of Love), even in a helicopter or hot air balloon. But did you know, you can also exchange vows on the pirate ships in Treasure Island‘s Siren’s Cove€; amongst the maneaters at Mandalay Bay‘s Shark Reef; 800 feet above the ground atop the Stratosphere; on the bridge of the USS Enterprise at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Star Trek Experience; or in Medieval costume at Excalibur; and at The Venetian, you can not only marry in a special wedding gondola on the Grand Canal, but also have a Phantom of the Opera themed ceremony in the Phantom theatre lobby.

Needless to say, Las Vegas hotels can also handle your every desire for bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and of course, honeymoons. I’m tempted to get married myself now, just so I can enjoy those!

Insider Tip: Though far from the Strip, Las Vegas™ Springs Preserve museum/park features a number of beautiful settings for an eco-friendly ceremony, with on-site organic catering by the Wolfgang Puck group!

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E. C. Gladstone is a former editor for AOLVegas, and interviews top Strip entertainers, restaurateurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for VEGAS Magazine. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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