Whether you're straight, gay, feline or canine – Las Vegas will cater for all your wedding wishes.
Zeno the hairless sphinx cat looks resplendent in his tuxedo, every inch the best man his mistresses want him to be. And here come the brides! Jennifer Hendrix, Erica Nagel and Zeno are in town from Florida and have chosen Vegas Weddings on South 3rd Street in the city's Downtown district for their big day. It's Valentine's Day and the normally busy Las Vegas wedding chapels are run off their bridal slippers.
Vegas Weddings managing director Ann Parsons tells me their typical 20 daily ceremonies will be more like 60-75 today. She can't be sure as a lot of their business is walk-in. Or drive-in, where you pull up at the window and exchange vows in your car ($165) or their limo ($280). Ann shows me through the four on-site venues operating the 7-10 minute nuptials. Prices range from $125 for a basic walk-in up to $3850 for the Mob Wedding package at the nearby National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. Add-ons might include ministers dressed as Elvis, Tom Jones or a gangster, complete with black fedora, white tie and tommy gun. "Elvis is the most popular and we have several Elvii on our books," says Ann.
"The Marriage License Bureau is just down the street, near our Tux and Gown shop", she tells me. "Weddings are a $500 million industry for Nevada. There are 86,000 weddings each year in Las Vegas alone. And it's not like the movies – we do not marry intoxicated people."
Ann has catered for some pretty astounding stuff in her time, including dog weddings, underwear weddings, Game of Thrones weddings, zombie weddings on Halloween and a Russian couple who filmed an entire Bond-style thriller with a kidnapping of the bride, race through the Nevada desert and bridal rescue by the groom from the trunk of the matrimonial limo. Which is a stretch. Today has been quite conventional, however, and I am about to leave when Zeno arrives with Jennifer and Erica, identical in gown, shoe and coiffeur. The blushing blonde brides exchange traditional vows while Zeno watches on, hissing with pride. Theminister's patter is the standard "love one another; serious commitment; till death us do part" stuff but his rapid delivery is a testament to today's hectic schedule.
The happy couple then head out to the street for a flower shower in front of a replica of the famous Las Vegas town sign. Zeno retreats to his comfortable cage to lick his cuff links, his job done. Tonight Jennifer and Erica will spend their wedding night walking the neon-lit Vegas Strip in their bridal gowns with Zeno the hairless tuxedoed cat. For tomorrow life returns to normal.
Vegas Weddings, 555 South 3rd Street, Las Vegas is open 9am-midnight, seven days a week. See 702wedding.com
The writer travelled as a guest of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA)