The Strip’s wham, bam thank you ma’am wedding scene has always hogged the limelight, but it’s time you knew there’s more on offer
My fiancé and I wanted a short engagement and elopement. As little fuss as possible and just the two of us was our dream wedding vision. Living in Vegas with any number of chapels on our doorstep and a “wham, bam thank you ma’am” wedding culture meant we could easily drop everything and get hitched. It was this stereotype that nearly resulted in us having a Las Vegas wedding that was beige rather than beautiful.
Living in Nevada since 2015 and working as a wedding photographer and coordinator since 2008, means I’m well versed in the Vegas wedding scene. Surprising, then, that it took the planning of my own wedding for me to see the true colors the Strip’s wedding scene. And what I saw was a Bridezilla.
Bridezillas and the Strip’s wedding scene share a lot of characteristics. Take, for example, a bridezilla’s constant demand for attention. The Vegas wedding strip does the same but rather than endless calls and messages it nags you with a constant stream of headlines about the latest celebrity wedding. Whether the marriage lasts (like Bon Jovi) or crashes and burns (like so many I lost count), is irrelevant. What’s important is that it’s all eyes on wacky Vegas weddings. Again.
Bridezillas are boastful, too. Celebrity weddings add fuel to the fire but that’s nothing compared to Las Vegas’ apparent determination to cling to the title of ‘wedding capital of the world’. In 2018 a total of 2,201,772 weddings took place in the US. Of those, a 110,216 took place in Vegas. Sounds like a lot, but the numbers show more people chose to say “I do” in California, Florida, New York and Texas ahead of Las Vegas. We’re continuing to cling to a reputation that isn’t drawing interest as much as it used to.
Vegas’ wedding shine is dulling. And I blame the Strip for hogging the limelight. For too long, it’s led people to believe the only way to get married in Vegas is to a backdrop of neon lights, spending as little money as possible and getting hitched in a rush.
Such is ‘Stripzilla’s’ influence even I got momentarily sucked into its trap. And I’m right in the thick of the Vegas alternative wedding scene!
I drew the line at a cheesy Vegas chapel. And was quick to bury the idea of having a dead celebrity impersonator officiating, but (full disclosure) I almost got hitched in the Clark County offices for speed and ease. I know exactly how this happened. These Stripzilla qualities I loathe are the same qualities that, as the owner of a Vegas wedding company, I’m indebted to. I got sucked-in just like any other couple.
Eloping in Vegas offers a thrill, excitement and nostalgia matched by few other wedding destinations. I’ve said it before, but turning to your partner and shouting with joy, “WE’RE GETTING MARRIED IN VEGAS, BABY!” is cool. There’s something reckless and bad ass about it.
Credit where credit’s due: those feelings are only there because of the bright lights, the affordability, short-lived celebrity marriages and, of course, all the Elvis impersonators.
This style of wedding suits some people. Like the couple who wanted the full weird and wacky Vegas wedding complete with Minions. That’s their version happy wedding, so the Strip delivered in all its garish glory. But it’s not the only wedding style on offer.
Like the bridesmaid who’s had her fill of Bridezilla, I’m stepping up to say it’s time we talked more about the naturally beautiful wedding locations in and around Las Vegas. It’s time we showed more of our alternative, boho Vegas wedding scene that’s the perfect contrast to the Strip. While the idea of Vegas grabs the imagination, our smaller, more intimate wedding style is ideal for couples who like the idea of Vegas but don’t want the overwhelm of the bright Vegas lights.
Imagine how much stronger the Vegas wedding scene will be when the Strip budges over a bit and shares some of the limelight with the alternative wedding locations in Vegas. It’s a team effort.