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Couples say their vows, and their prayers, before riding the Big Shot at the Stratosphere Hotel. Credit: Cashman Photo.

By Amy Drew Thompson

It’s 2012, young lovers, and Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Thinking about popping the question? Not only are scads of  Las Vegas hotels primed to host your dream wedding – whether that means formal elegance or ushers dressed like Stormtroopers – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will even let you “try” marriage risk-free. But more on that later…

At 1,149 feet, the iconic Stratosphere CasinoHotel & Tower is home to the tallest freestanding observation tower in the country. Couples looking to get the scariest parts of their marriage over with might opt for a “Thrill Ride Wedding,” which includes a ceremony on the observation deck, and a spin on one of their jaw-dropping rides. Traditional options are available, as well, each with the stunning views afforded by settings north of the 100th floor.

With all the romance of tying the knot on one of Venice’s canals, the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino’s Cerimonia sull’Acqua weddings are performed in authentic Italian gondolas and include flowers, photos and a singing gondolier.

Of course, hotels don’t have a monopoly on nuptials. Dozens of celebs – some who are still married – got hitched at the Little White Wedding Chapel, which boasts a drive-through “Tunnel of Love.” Viva Las Vegas’ chapels range from conventional to quirky, like their Doo-Wop Diner, a favorite for services where “Elvis” presides. Twi-hards might opt to summon “Edward Cullen” to officiate theirs.

The Gay Chapel of Las Vegas is the city’s only gay-owned and -operated venue. And they’ve got themes galore. Want Liberace? A ride to the altar on custom Harleys? How about Egyptian-style, complete with slave boys to carry the bride and goddesses to fan the groom – or vice-versa?

They might not have cowboy or Camelot ceremonies at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas‘ new Pop-Up Wedding Chapel, where passersby can gawk at you, but they do offer a “faux” option – complete with rings dispensed from a gumball machine. If you want the legally binding kind, however, you’ll have to fork over another $90.

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Freelance travel writer Amy Drew Thompson, who got hitched on the pink sand of Harbour Island in the Bahamas, just celebrated her 10th anniversary. Plans for a kitschy Vegas vow renewal are in the works.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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