Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mountain wedding? Or Elopement? UPDATE (Plus a few tips on getting married in Vegas)

I feel like a creep just assuming you'd want an update, but I wanted to thank everyone for the advice and say that we're now married! 

The comments definitely made me realize that our ranch option was just as much work as a traditional wedding so we discussed a bit further and decided to get hitched in Vegas after our work conference.  We found a pretty little old ring for me on eBay. I found a dress online that I liked well enough, was in my size, and could be quickly delivered. My guy treated himself to an old-school barber shave at the hotel spa. It was all very simple, cost-effective, and private.

To anyone considering the same, I'll say that getting married in Vegas still isn't the easiest thing in the world. Some short lessons learned: 

Vegas chapels, especially the well known ones, seem to share the common elements of theme weddings, maroon carpet, faux columns, and plastic flowers. We wanted this to be quick and private, we did not want it to feel like The Hangover

Yelp reviews were massively helpful. We found a great looking chapel, but the comments repeatedly described it as a "casting call" where you waited outside in the heat for the bell to ring for your turn.

A Vegas courthouse wedding requires an appointment and that you bring your own witness. Since we were traveling alone and didn't want to grab someone off the street, we sadly ruled this option out. 

We ended up going for a bare-bones "Just Us" ceremony at our hotel. The hotel was helpful enough, we were able to write a custom ceremony for the officiant to perform, and we ended up laughing like our normal happy selves through the ceremony. All around, it was a perfect choice for us.

If you have other readers considering the Vegas option, I'd be happy to share more concrete information. It took hours of online research for us to make sense of the countless options available in Vegas.

Happily married without all the stress,

-Mr. & Mrs.


We always want an update. Trust.

♥ ♥ ♥

Photo by Boo George


  1. more info? yes please! you couldn't have updated at a better time!

  2. yes! I'd love more details on how you did Vegas research - there are so many cheesy options, and going with a hotel isn't necessarily a sure bet, either.

    Also interested in whether the hotel tried to 'up-sell' with photography, flowers, champagne, etc. or if they were more actual customer-focused.

    1. As I said below, they offered upgrades but didn't push them. I considered a bouquet but at $200, that would have gotten us close to the $1000 package and we wanted to avoid it. The packages include well rounded options so it's about picking the right one for you instead of having to wade through up-sells.

      I'm still struggling how to explain this part, because it's honestly not a complaint -- As a bride & groom we weren't given any special treatment. I'm not MAD, but... maybe.. eh.. bummed? At check-in, they didn't mention it. They didn't upgrade anything with our room (we didn't try the $20 slip). A friend was married in Hawaii and it was all WHOA SPECIAL TREATMENT AND FREE SHIT but she also spent like $30,000 and we spent $500. So... I honestly didn't expect like a gift basket, but I also kind of wanted maybe at least a congrats at check-in? I know its stupid. I totally didn't whine to the hotel about this. TONS of people get married in Vegas so we weren't that special. If you want the royal treatment, you pay for it in Vegas.

    2. Thanks for the response! The Venetian's wedding options are actually really appealing, particularly compared to Caesar's and Bellagio, which are pretty meh. We're pretty seriously considering doing Vegas, either eloping or just close friends/family.

      As far as the no 'special treatment' thing... I think I'm ok with that, but it's good to know.

    3. Caesar's & Bellagio happen to be two of the other places we visited while there. Bellagio is gorgeous, but it's all fuckinginsane with people. All of Vegas is, of course, but Bellagio was cr-azy. It was overwhelming.

      Caesar's was so smokey compared to other places. I can't really wrap my head around this, because it's such a popular place. Ventilation issues, maybe?

      Palazzo and Venetian are connected so once you figure out the maze, it's easy to get to both. Venetian is nicer but more expensive. Again, we just defaulted to The Palazzo based on our conference but I can't speak highly enough about Palazzo rooms. Room service food was SO GOOD too. I'll go back, no question.

      One of the hotels let's you get married by a shark tank, I just can't remember which one. Maybe Mandalay Bay? Maybe that's not your style. Still, it's kind of cool.

      I'll stop overwhelming this place with text. If you have questions about working w/ the planners at the Venetian, click through my name and ask away. Happy to help!

  3. I got married in Vegas and I would recommend the Mandalay Bay. Most Vegas chapels are somewhat cheesy - come on, it's Vegas - but the MB is classy and they let you bring your own music, write your own vows, etc.

    Also, no matter where the ceremony is held I would suggest doing your marriage license paperwork on-line ahead of time. Saves time at the courthouse and their website tells you what documentation you need to bring with you.

    1. I stayed at the Mandalay Bay last year (and when Hurricane Irene hit my 3 day stay turned into 9!) and it's a really beautiful, classy hotel. The chapel area is very far removed from the casino floor, which would be important to me.

      Also, to the OP: so happy for the update! Glad to hear everything went so well. <3

  4. Congrats! So happy for you that you went this route.

  5. Also, there's this option for folks who like vegas but are more partial to the desert than a chapel as a ceremonial setting. Logistics halfway down.

  6. Congratulations!

    (this post reminds me of when Lilly and Marshall headed to Atlantic City to try and elope and everyone there was like "What do you think this is, Vegas? You need a marriage license and there's a 3 day waiting period in NJ"...sorry, television sidetrack)

  7. oh hey! Didn't realize this was posted.

    We stayed at The Palazzo because it was the location of our conference. Instead of switching hotels for the wedding part, we just extended a few days. The hotel was great for the price. It's all-suite rooms, had a massive bathroom, and was $130-140 a night (varied b/c of our group rate). If you book a wedding with the hotel, you get 20% off your room. Zero complaints about the hotel.

    The Palazzo is connected to The Venetian so they share wedding services (it took me awhile to understand this). They list packages starting at $1000, which includes your ceremony w/ officiant, up to 10 guests (I think), flowers, 1 hour of photography and some photo prints. We didnt want the flowers, the photos, and wouldn't have guests, so I emailed asking for an even MORE basic package. I was a bit embarrassed to ask for the cheaper than cheap option, but was flat out sick of searching at that point. The Just Us ceremony was $500. They offered upgrades, but never pushed. I actually asked at the very last second if my Mother could watch without upgrading packages and our planner was happy to make an exception for one guest. She didn't end up coming (couldn't get a flight) but I appreciated the flexibility.

    $500 (still) seems like a lot for your 1/2 hour time slot in the chapel, but I stand by our decision. The deciding factor for us was the fact that the "cheesy" places STILL charge anywhere from $200-400 for the rush, bare bones, super basic wedding. The chapel area at The Venetian was very quiet, secluded, pretty, and gave us the privacy we wanted - worth a few bucks more to us ;)

    Marriage License - on a Wednesday afternoon the line was very short. The ladies were fun to chat with and very efficient. Yes! There's an online option to fill out ahead of time. We actually tried to do this, but it's only Internet Explorer compatible and we brought a Mac. We took a car to the Bureau but had to wait aaaaawhile for a cab back to pass by. Take note and maybe plan transportation better than us.

    Standard Vegas Chapels - there are some nice ones so I don't want to sound all judge-y if that's your choice.

    Chapel of The Flowers - narrowed down to this as our fall back. Reviews are VERY positive. Again though, it was hardly cheaper than the hotel which contributed to our decision. We also really really didn't want a unity candle ceremony (personal choice) and that seems pretty standard if you want a non-religious ceremony.

    The Little Church of the West - seems adorable in photos but was the one reviewed as a "casting call" with hoards of people waiting out side for their bell to ring. Countless reviews said you're rushed in, rushed through, then rushed out. Total bummer.

    I will say, and I know I sound like an asshole, as we drove to the License Bureau we passed by many of the go-to chapels and my heart totally sank. I'm really glad we didn't give up searching and pick one.

    So, that's a lot of writing. Let me know if you have any other specific questions!