Category Archives: Celebrity Las Vegas Weddings

How Las Vegas Became the Wedding Capital of the World!

Vegas Wedding florist
Only in Las Vegas! The history of how Viva Las Vegas Weddings (and other Vegas chapels) got to where we go through a large cooler of wedding bouquets every day!

Traditionally, June is recognized as a popular month for blushing brides, marking the beginning of the summer wedding season. Las Vegas, however, is known as a more non-traditional wedding capital where it’s wedding season year ’round and where tying the knot with Elvis has become a Vegas phenomenon. Here at Viva Las Vegas Weddings, we DO perform an awful lot of Elvis weddings and Themed weddings, but our traditional ceremonies still make up more than half of our business. But how, you ask, did Las Vegas become the wedding capital of the world?

The city developed its reputation as a mecca for weddings as far back as the 1930s—long before Elvis—when several laws were relaxed during the Depression in order to stimulate the economy. Mining in Nevada was on the decline at the time, and gambling was legalized to compensate for lost revenue. The state also shortened its residency requirements for couples seeking divorces, and marriage laws became more lenient. The legislation was so successful that wedding chapels sprang up all over to accommodate the resultant demand.

Soon after residency requirements were relaxed to encourage divorce tourism in Las Vegas, the divorce and wedding trades benefited dramatically from the publicity of a national scandal related to the messy affair between Minnie (Mildred) Kennedy and Guy Edward “Whataman” Hudson. Guy had fled Los Angeles in July of 1931 after posting bail on a bigamy charge. Three weeks earlier, he had married Minnie “Ma” Kennedy, a California evangelist and mother of noted evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. The marriage was annulled soon afterward, but Minnie followed Guy to Las Vegas. (When she arrived, Minnie made a well-documented fire and brimstone sermon atop a blackjack table at the Boulder Club on Fremont Street.) After Guy’s divorce was finalized in August, the two again were united in matrimony on a cliff overlooking the Boulder Dam construction site at Black Mountain along the Colorado River. The marriage lasted only a year. “Whataman” went on to entertain in a Colorado nightclub as a “sexologist” and then disappeared from the limelight into relative obscurity.

Vegas bridal bouquet
Lilies, the most popular flower for wedding bouquets when Las Vegas was young!

By the 1940s, Las Vegas became rather notorious for celebrity weddings. Real-life movie star weddings began fairly early on and included Betty Grable and Henry James tying the knot in Vegas in July of 1943. Over the next several years, the trend continued, and in January of 1958, iconic film couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard married at the El Rancho. A memo to the publicity and promotions office at the hotel read, “Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Hollywood motion picture personalities, will be married in the bungalow of Mr. Beldon Katleman…EVERYTHING COMPLIMENTARY, PER BK.” It’s touching to remember that despite Las Vegas’ reputation for short-lived marriages, the Newmans were married for 50 years at the time of Paul’s death…

Other famous wedding vows included those of Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy, who married singer/actor Tommy Sands in September of 1960 at the Sands Hotel. The whirlwind romance made all the gossip columns and teen magazines, but the marriage lasted only until 1965. Perhaps coincidentally, in 1966 Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made for Walking” made it to #1 on the pop music charts. On March 2, 1963, Desi Arnaz Sr., who had been married to Lucille Ball from 1940-1960, married for the second time, also at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Desi and his new bride, Edith Mack Hirsch, were married until Edith’s death in 1985. Desi passed away the following year.

In the years since, many famous folks (and thousands of lesser-known couples) have been married at the dozens of chapels along the Strip as well as in chapels at the resort hotels. Big names have included Angelina Jolie, Michael Jordan, and of course Elvis and Priscilla, who were wed at the Aladdin Hotel, now Planet Hollywood!

Here at Viva Las Vegas Weddings, we’ve had our fair share of recognizable names and faces! Erin Brockovich (her story was made famous by the movie titled with her name) renewed her wedding vows with her husband, and more recently, Shia LaBeouf said “I Do” to bride Mia Goth in an Elvis Pink Caddy ceremony. Several other stars visited the chapel while performing their duties as attendants in the weddings of friends or family members. LeAnn Rimes was a maid of honor at a friend’s wedding, and Matt LaBlanc was best man at the wedding of his father. Talk and game show host Craig Ferguson was at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel as best man in a wedding that was also attended by Ringo Starr. Sara Ramirez from Grey’s Anatomy even did something of a group BFF “wedding” with all the girls from the show. Jillian Armanante from Judging Amy had the extra honor of having Angelia Jolie as her maid of honor here at Viva. And, Nick Wechsler from Revenge was best man to his best friend from high school.

We DO seem to be name-dropping, but…When you book your fabulous Las Vegas wedding with us—Traditional, Elvis, or Themed–you’ll at least know you’re in good company, historically-speaking. The walls of our lobby are filled with photographs of celebrity couples and guests from the past 18 years, all now part of the wedding history of Las Vegas, and of Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel!
www.vivalasvegasweddings.com
Las Vegas candlelight weddings

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Get Married in Vegas with a Movie Legend–or Two, or Three…

Marilyn impersonator wedding Vegas
Be married by (or add her to your Elvis wedding) a gorgeous silver screen goddess

This week at Viva Las Vegas Weddings we had one of the most unique and memorable wedding ceremonies EVER, featuring our fantastic Liberace tribute artist as minister, our stunning “Marilyn” look-alike as songstress and bridesmaid…and..the Wicked Witch of the West… As we always say, we do our best to create the wedding of your dreams, whatever that means! From the Land of Oz to a galaxy far, far away, we will customize a Las Vegas wedding in your favorite time and place.

This particularly original wedding included music from the movies, candlelight, dancing, songs by “Liberace” and “Marilyn”–and even a few tears! ALL of our themed wedding packages will include round trip limo service, theatrical lighting and fog effects, flowers, photography and customized wedding coordination. You’ll even have an online wedding page/invitation to post your photos. That’s also where your wedding can be streamed live online on the DAY!

Wizard of Oz wedding
The Wicked Witch of the West made a wicked bridesmaid, with sidekick flying sock monkey!

You can always add the movie icon of your choice to an Elvis Wedding Package…Have “Marilyn” riding shotgun in the Elvis Pink Cadillac Wedding, shooting into the chapel with the two of you in the back seat! You’re only limited by your imagination at Viva Las Vegas Weddings! And of course, you and your guests can dress in costumes, if you like, playing other characters from your favorite films…

If you have your own ideas for the perfect movie-themed wedding for the two of you, give us a call. Check out our themed wedding packages at www.vivalasvegasweddings.com to get an idea of what our themed weddings include, and then just mix and match your characters, songs, and special features. We can discuss all the details for making your wedding day uniquely YOU! Call us anytime at 702-384-0771 and we’ll be happy to help with your legendary wedding/vow renewal in Las Vegas!

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Get Married in Vegas by the Bluez Brothers!

Blues Brothers wedding in Vegas
Pull out all the stops for your Blues Brothers themed wedding!

We’ll be you didn’t know our third most popular themed wedding after our Elvis Pink Cadillac Wedding and Gothic Themed Wedding is our Bluez Brothers Themed Wedding in Vegas! Our very own “Jake” and “Elwood” will do the honors and give you some vocal lovin’ every day of the week! These musical ministers are a hit with wedding couples and their guests–spring it on them as a surprise, or have a costume-party style wedding, with everyone sporting shades!

Have a look at this “Bluez Brothers” found on YouTube. It’s not our ‘chapel quality’ video, but you’ll get the idea of how much fun these folks were having!

Your Bluez Brothers wedding includes everything seen here, plus flowers, photography, video, wedding coordinator, and round trip limo transportation from your Las Vegas Strip or Downtown hotel. You can add live streaming video coverage, too, for friends and family who can’t be in Vegas, so they can watch your wild and crazy wedding live back home!

Bring your mother--or sister--to your wild and blues-y Las Vegas wedding! Bring your mother–or sister–to your wild and blues-y Las Vegas wedding!

If you’d like to hear more about our many other exciting wedding packages and add-on options, characters, and upgrades, you can chat with us online at:

www.vivalasvegasweddings.com or call us at 702-384-0771. Thank ya. Thank ya very much!

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What if You Can’t DECIDE on a Theme for Your Viva Las Vegas Wedding?

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We know, between our Elvis Wedding Packages, Traditional Wedding Packages, and Themed Wedding Packages, it can be VERY hard to decide. But remember that your Las Vegas wedding CAN be a combination of any of these packages. OR, even none of the above. We take requests. We do custom weddings. You can even order every element of your wedding a la carte style at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.

Often couples find it simpler just to choose our Las Vegas Themed Wedding, which features all the kitschy best of what most people expect from a Las Vegas Elvis wedding. It comes with Elvis as minister, a showgirl/bridesmaid, theatrical fog and lights, flowers, photography, round trip limousine service…basically, the works! Plus, you can add more Las Vegas glitz if you like…Add a Liberace impersonator, Marilyn impersonator, Tom Jones…OR, dress up as your favorite Vegas icon at your own wedding or wedding vow renewal ceremony! We rent costumes, too! Add a Pink Cadillac entrance with Elvis driving you down the aisle into the chapel! Other ideas? Just ask us!

Vegas wedding package
If you want a Vegas wedding but can’t figure out which one, our Las Vegas Theme may be just the ticket!

Our Las Vegas Themed Wedding includes Elvis singing three songs and a fun and frivolous game of chance played during the middle of the ceremony. You can also request live streaming of your ceremony, so folks who are back home can watch without having to travel to Vegas. They won’t believe their eyes.

Las Vegas sign wedding Elvis
For the ultimate Las Vegas wedding, get married by Elvis under this iconic sign!

In cooler months, another popular option is having your Elvis wedding at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, if you really want to go hard with that unique Las Vegas theme! See details on our drop down menu on our homepage at www.vivalasvegasweddings.com Only in Vegas, baby. Give one of our staff members a call with ideas and questions at 702-384-0771.

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Custom Viva Las Vegas Themed Weddings NOT On Our Website!

Indiana Jones wedding in Vegas
We can create your favorite movie themed wedding for you by request!

If you’ve seen all our Elvis, Traditional and Themed Weddings on our drop-down menu at www.vivalasvegasweddings.com and still don’t see the perfect Las Vegas wedding package for you, give us a call. Or, feel free to chat online with us right on the website. Tell us about your ideas and dreams for your ceremony, or the quirky twist you’d like to add to one of our existing wedding packages. Other couples do it all the time, as evidenced by these photos!

We don’t technically have a wedding package with an Indiana Jones-ish minister, but we can put a little something together for you. Prices and included features will be comparable to our OTHER themed weddings. If you are on a tighter budget, you can simply choose a basic traditional wedding package, and adding a character minister and appropriate movie-themed music as a slight upgrade.

Harry Potter themed wedding Vegas
Merlin from our Camelot themed wedding can also go full Hogwild!

Sometimes all we have to do is adjust one of our existing themed weddings with all the right touches. In the above photo, we substituted a familiar Wizard for Merlin in our Camelot Themed Wedding and added another well-known character. And, don’t forget, YOU can come dressed to suit a movie role. Recently we did a Grease (the musical) themed wedding in our 50s Doo Wop Diner. The couple came dressed and Danny and Sandy, and bridesmaids were all Pink Ladies. It was SO nifty!

Adam's Family wedding in vegas
Halloween-time weddings bring out the scary movie ministers!

At Halloween–or, year ’round really–we do Gothic Themed Weddings with any number of creepy “ministers.” Once we came up with the entire Addam’s Family! But we’ve also got Dracula, Elvira, the Grim Reaper, Edward, and even Zombie Elvis to do the honors in a foggy graveyard setting.

Call us with your thoughts, and we’ll come up with a package price just for you, with all the options that make your custom wedding uniquely unforgettable! Viva Las Vegas! 702-384-0771

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Marrying in Las Vegas with Your Favorite Tribute Artist: Prince, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Even…Elvis!

Michael Jackson Wedding Vegas
Our MJ-impersonator “Thriller” Wedding Package thrills couples ‘year round!

Okay, most folks NOT having a traditional wedding in Las Vegas will go for Elvis. He is, after all, the KING of rock ‘n roll. But we also have the KING of pop, or just about any other music royalty tribute artist you can name. Your choice of musical “minister” will perform your ceremony and sing live at your wedding. (Be sure to ask about having your ceremony live-streamed across the country and round the world!)

Choose our “Thriller” wedding using the Themed Weddings pull-down menu on our website at www.vivalasvegasweddings.com There you’ll see all the details for having an incredible Michael Jackson impersonator do the honors, or call us at 702-384-0771 to make arrangements for the substitution(s) of a music icon of your choice. Most variations from our basic Thriller Themed Wedding will include all the same extras for a similar price—flowers, photography, round-trip limousine service, video, wedding coordinator…the works.

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Unique Thriller (or other impersonator) weddings include photos with your names in lights on our outdoor marquee over the Las Vegas Strip, WITH MJ, Prince, the Beatles, Tom Jones, Liberace…and, usually….Elvis! At Viva Las Vegas, we are happy to hear your requests and we’ll do our best to make your wedding an unforgettable time for you both. Viva Las Vegas!

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