Leaving Las Vegas

Neither of my weddings took place in June, which is still the most popular wedding month. My avoidance of June probably has more to do with my aversion to traditional wedding stuff than a dislike for the month itself. However, June does come with some baggage like the interminable weeks of confinement to the classroom for dubious educational purposes while the custodian putts around mowing the lawn to torment the inmates while they count down to the final bell on June 30, or the arrival of the summer solstice that starts the slow slide towards getting up in the dark. But I digress.

If you want a wedding with the least amount of fuss, the most amount of amusement, the highest likelihood of sunshine and warm weather, and (unless you get carried away at the slots) the least strain on your wallet, I recommend Las Vegas. I am happy to provide some insight based on my most recent Las Vegas wedding experience.

• You do need a marriage license because contrary to popular belief they do not dispense them from vending machines beside the craps table. The marriage license office is in a dodgey part of town, which may be intended as some form of deterrent for the less than committed. It came as a surprise to several of the hopeful couples in my line-up that you do need to produce ID and ideally proof of all of your divorces. This appeared to be a problem for at least one of the brides who was expecting to depart for an imminent ceremony (judging from her attire) once she had the requisite paperwork in her clutches. However, it is good to know that the marriage license office is a 24/7 operation, which was much appreciated by Britney Spears. Too bad it is not also a 24/7 divorce facility.

• If you do without the photo package – and indeed, that is definitely something to avoid if you expect the wedding to be ancient history before the photos are developed (I’m talking to you, Carmen Electra), you can secure an officient at the Little White Chapel for less than 50 bucks and you will definitely get what you pay for. We had the aptly named ‘Reverend Love’, who likely got his credentials by mailing a box-top coupon and 25 cents to Church of What’s Happening Now. All I can say is that a choir gown can conceal a multitude of wardrobe sins except for footwear. But it appears that all was in order, and we left with a certificate that looked pretty legitimate.

• Go for the limo, as it is likely to provide more entertainment value than the Cirque du Soleil. The Chapel threw in a limo and driver at no extra cost to ferry the wedding party to the gala reception (or in our case, lunch at the Bellagio). The limo driver was about six foot seven, with a bald head and an earpiece connecting him to important dispatches from wedding HQ. Limos take up a lot of road real estate and the Las Vegas strip is typically grid-locked. This gave us lots of time to hear the story of ‘John’s’ life which included far too much information about his stint as a Navy Seal, his current sideline in ‘executive protection’, his concealed weapon permit (a fact supplemented by a show and tell of this shoulder holster), and the fact that the last time he had killed someone the jury did not convict him because it was clearly self-defence in the line of duty protecting a rapper that he could not name due to confidentiality issues. We were clearly very safe in his hands as evidenced that we did get to our lunch destination without serious incident.