Going to the Chapel

Our picks for where to tie the knot

Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel holds a superhero-themed wedding. Krystal Ramirez

Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel holds a superhero-themed wedding.

Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

Las Vegas is a place where people escape reality—why should their wedding day be any different? The Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel offers couples fantasy ceremonies, whether it’s being married by Elvis in a replica ’50s diner or having Dracula tie your knot while sexy vampire chicks fly overhead. You can also make your own combo platter. “We’ve had Spock in Camelot,” chapel owner Ron DeCar says, “a pink Caddy, but in Egypt with Darth Vader. Whatever the customer wants.”

Over the years, DeCar has officiated ceremonies dressed up as everyone from Batman to Dr. Frank-N-Furter. He came up with the themed wedding chapel idea years ago, and “it just took off.” What’s the busiest time at Viva Las Vegas? “It’s like a conga line of costumes on Halloween,” DeCar says. 1205 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-384-0771, VivaLasVegasWeddings.com

Little White Wedding Chapel Krystal Ramirez

Little White Wedding Chapel

Little White Wedding Chapel

Drive-thru nuptials may seem like the ultimate in no-frills, but at the Little White Wedding Chapel, it’s done with panache in a pink Cadillac beneath a canopy of stars and cherubs. “We were actually the first drive-thru,” wedding planner Jennifer Waggoner says. She points out that chapel owner Charlotte Richards created it years ago, not out of kitsch, but kindness. “We did have handicapped people, so she made the drive-thru so they could just pull up to the window and get married,” Waggoner explains. “It became a Vegas thing.”

Richards began her career in weddings as a florist, and her Little White Wedding Chapel was originally her home, which has grown over the years to encompass several chapels from small to large. Richards’ connection to Elvis also runs deeper than having a guy with sideburns on staff: “Elvis was married at the Aladdin, her husband was his photographer and she was his coordinator,” Waggoner says. 1301 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-382-5943, ALittleWhiteChapel.com

Graceland Wedding Chapel Krystal Ramirez

Graceland Wedding Chapel

Graceland Wedding Chapel

A wedding with Elvis overseeing the “I do’s” is a Las Vegas tradition—even if it’s not your wedding. “Can we crash a wedding? We get that a lot,” says Brendan Paul, owner and chief Elvis of the Graceland Wedding Chapel for more than a dozen years. He adds that ceremonies are private, but some couples welcome extra well-wishers. “Some say, ‘Yeah, sure, it’s Vegas—the more, the merrier!’”

Paul has four backup Elvises to share the “Love Me Tender” duties, but it still adds up. “We do over 9,000 weddings a year. I sing in about a third of them,” he says. Among the celebrities married at Graceland is Jon Bon Jovi, who was wed there 25 years ago. “He pops in sometimes when he’s in town,” says Paul, who’s also done vow renewals for Rob Zombie and Billy Ray Cyrus. 619 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-382-0091, GracelandWedding.com

Vegas Weddings Krystal Ramirez

Vegas Weddings

Vegas Weddings

As the Vegas wedding industry expands, so do many of the chapels—in 15 years, Vegas Weddings has gone from one venue to multiple locations. “Right now it’s wedding season. This Saturday alone we have 30-40 weddings over our eight venues,” says Aimee Stephens, director of marketing for Vegas Weddings.

Vegas Weddings offers a variety of sites, including ceremonies in a rooftop gazebo and a traditional indoor chapel with stained-glass windows and pews, as well as outdoor “Hawaiian Garden” packages at a location on the Strip. For something more uniquely Vegas, there’s the “Casino Chapel,” with a poker table, slot machine and a giant aquarium built to look like a one-armed bandit. “This was built by the guys on Tanked,” says Stephens, adding that one of the show’s hosts promptly used the chapel to renew his vows. A Pawn Stars mini-chapel in Pawn Plaza is also especially popular for vow renewals. 555 S. Third St., 702-933-3464, 702Wedding.com

Little Church of the West Krystal Ramirez

Little Church of the West

Little Church of the West

Having moved from the Frontier to the Hacienda to a spot in the shadow of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, the Little Church of the West is the oldest building on the Las Vegas Strip. But it also has a more personal history for many people. “A lot of people now keep it in the family, so their grandparents got married here, their parents and now the kids are coming to get married here,“ says Dan Vallance, marketing director of the Little Church of the West. “They bring grandma’s picture out in front of the chapel, and they want to do the same picture.” He adds, “We’re very proud of the percentage of the people who were married here that are locals—everybody knows somebody who was married here.”

Little Church of the West is the location where Elvis and Ann-Margret wed at the end of Viva Las Vegas. Nonfiction celebrity weddings held in the 74-year-old chapel include Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford, as well as Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie. 4617 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-739-7971, LittleChurchLV.com

Paris Las Vegas Chapels

Paris Las Vegas Chapels

Paris Las Vegas Chapels

A Las Vegas wedding doesn’t have to be tongue-in-cheek. For those who prefer the traditional, elegant route, the Paris Las Vegas keeps it classic. The Chapelle du Jardin is modern chic, with a pearl-gray finish, while the Chapelle du Paradis evokes Versailles with gilded chandeliers and a cloud-strewn ceiling mural. “We do 7-10 ceremonies during the week. On busier Saturdays we can have 8-10, but on average it’s about five,” wedding coordinator Elizabeth Powell says. However, things are engineered to prevent the shuffling that happens at some chapels. “We never have two at the same time,” she says. “So we would never have two groups of people running into each other in the hallway or anything.”

Of course, if you want your Paris wedding to still have that Vegas flair, you can get married at the top of the Eiffel Tower, 460 feet above the Strip. Just make sure the maid of honor isn’t afraid of heights. 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 877-650-5021, ParisLasVegas.com

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