Lovin’ our venues? You’re not the only one!
Be sure to book now for September and October 2024 so you don’t miss out on popular spots.


Lovin’ our venues?
You’re not the only one!
Book now for September and October 2024 so you don’t miss out on popular spots.    DON’T MISS OUT

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As wedding photographers in the Wedding Capital of the World, we see it all.

We work with couples every day and service weddings multiple times per week, and it gives us a front row seat for what can and does go wrong when getting married in Vegas.

If you want to make your wedding in Las Vegas problem free then you’ll be wise to heed the advice we’re sharing with you.

We’ve stashed away these wholesome nuggets over years of being Las Vegas wedding photographers and want to share them with you.

14 Expert Tips for Getting Married in Vegas is written across the top, followed by a list of 7 Dos and 7 Don'ts as explored in the blog. The Cactus Collective Weddings logo and cactus-collective.com appear at the bottom.

1. Don’t Assume a Cliché Chapel Wedding Is the Only Kind of Vegas Wedding

Although Las Vegas is well-known for quickie wedding ceremonies at tacky chapels, that’s not the only way to get married in Vegas.

There are also beautiful wedding venues up and down the Strip and throughout the Valley.

The elegant ballrooms, fancy restaurants, gorgeous terraces and other great spots on the Strip give couples lots of venue options. For some, a chapel wedding is ideal.

If you’re a little more adventurous and want to venture away from the resort corridor, you’ll find incredible outdoor venues like Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area and Valley of Fire State Park, along with lovely all-season indoor options such as Canyon Gate Country Club and the Rita Deanin Abbey Art Museum.

Breathtaking options lend themselves to amazing wedding photography you can’t get anywhere else.

Places like the Neon Museum, Cactus Joe’s and Eldorado Canyon are popular spots.However, if you desire something different, you do have lots of other wedding venue options.

2. Do Pick the Right Season

The weather and temperature in Vegas can be challenging for some visitors, so think about you and your group when choosing the time of year you’ll be visiting for your wedding.

Are you outdoors people, or do you like to stay in the comfort of a climate controlled environment?

Depending on your venue, your Vegas wedding may be much more enjoyable during a cooler month rather than in the middle of the summer.

While it’s a dry heat, unlike the humid summers so many of us transplants remember from our days back East, it can get intense.

Temperatures spend long stretches of days in the triple digits in the summer months, but there’s little chance of rain ruining the occasion, so that’s good news!

If going outdoors, consider an evening ceremony, after the high heat has passed.

If a summer wedding is what you want, plan accordingly and be ready so you and your guests don’t wilt.

Encourage guests to wear weather-appropriate clothing and be sure to drink lots of water.

If an outdoor ceremony or reception is planned, during any time of year, it may be smart to have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather.

Monsoon season does sporadically bring rain and you’ll be surprised at how cold it can get in the winter. Just be ready to be flexible and you’ll be fine.

The weather in Vegas isn’t too scary, and you’ll more than likely not have anything to worry about if you know what’s coming during the season you’re visiting.

3. Don’t Forget Your Marriage License

Las Vegas has a reputation as being a do-anything-you-want-because-there- are-no-rules sort of place. While we do encourage everyone to let loose and have a good time, we do have laws.

For example, for your marriage to be legal, you must have a license.

Thankfully, they’re super easy to obtain.

Complete the application form online and then go to the marriage bureau at 201 E Clark Ave to pay for and receive your license.

In Nevada, you can get married on the same day that you file for the marriage license. Eighteen other states require a waiting period after getting your marriage license, but Nevada does not.

Check the requirements at the Clark County website to make sure you’re prepared and have everything you need to apply. You can even pre-register to make it even easier.

The Clark County Marriage License Bureau is open seven days a week, from 8 AM until midnight. To apply, each partner will require one valid form of identification.

Your marriage license will be prepared with your legal name exactly as it appears on your identification.

You can get married immediately after receiving your license and your license remains valid for one year.

4. Do Make a Budget — and Follow It

It’s easy to get carried away when planning your wedding ceremony and reception, so it’s important to determine your budget and then stick to it.

This will relieve stress during the planning stage and will make you feel more financially secure as you start your new life together.

Before you start planning, determine a general budget and then fill out a more detailed budget with spending caps for specific items. This will help you prioritize what you want and where you should allocate your resources.

Figure out how much you want to spend on attire, food, flowers, venues and Vegas wedding photography. 

Getting a good handle on your itemized list will give you a good idea of where you can afford to hold your wedding events and how many people you should invite.

By setting your budget early, you can set realistic expectations and avoid falling in love with something you can’t really afford.

5. Don’t Overdo the DIY

Doing things yourself takes a lot of time and effort. Will the results be worth the stress?

Spending a bunch of evenings and some weekends here and there to create your own centerpieces, decorations, photo murals, cake toppers… it all adds up.

Consider leaving it to the professionals. Going crazy on the DIY projects may cause more stress and panic than it’s worth.

And getting all that stuff with you on your destination wedding can also be complicated if you are traveling to Vegas from out of town.

There are people you can hire who do this for a living; consider hiring them rather than burdening yourself, your partner and all your friends and family with a long list of DIY chores.

6. Do Get a Solid Headcount

Before you start booking venues and putting down deposits, determine your approximate headcount — or at least as close to it as you can get.

While you may have some no-shows or some people who bring the surprise guest or two, approximating how many people you expect to attend will help you choose the venue.

This can help you avoid a venue that is too small or one that will leave you with a ton of extra unused (and expensive) space.

Having an approximate headcount will also save you money in other ways, including food, drinks, centerpieces and chair rentals.

7. Don’t Under- or Over-plan Activities

Having too many or too few events and activities surrounding your wedding can ruin the experience for both you and your guests, especially for destination weddings.

Keeping friends and family entertained is crucial. But keeping everyone too busy can be overwhelming and out of some guests’ comfort level.

You don’t want everyone running around crazy-like, turning an otherwise fun weekend into a fast-paced frenzy to tick things off a checklist. 

Although out of town guests may rely soley on your entertainment options, they may also appreciate some downtime to either relax or explore on their own.

Allow breaks between activities and do your best to accurately estimate how long each activity will take.

You don’t want to overlap stuff so tightly that you have to abandon something that everyone is enjoying just to keep to the schedule.

8. Do Plan a Reception

Unless you’re eloping on a just-the-two-of-you style occasion, most often guests will expect some type of reception following your ceremony.

It’s customary to allow your guests to celebrate with you following your union. 

This is especially true for out of town guests or if you’re doing a destination wedding. Even a small reception is a good idea and an opportunity to debut yourselves as a newly married couple.

If you’re coming to Vegas, we suggest you turn to the experts at Gather After to help you do it right.

Our team has put together a great grouping of ceremony add ons and extra touches, which include mini celebrations with cake and champagne, audio guest books and much more.

9. Don’t Skimp on Entertainment

While it may be necessary to cut costs in some areas and go with less expensive options, skimping on the entertainment could be a mistake.

Adding live musicians to your ceremony is always a classy touch and is more affordable than you think.

People associate powerful emotions with music, and having your song played live while you walk down the aisle is a little way you can make your day extra special.

While guests may not remember what the flowers looked like or what they had for dinner, they’ll remember whether or not they had fun.

Take steps to make sure that both you and your guests have a good time. As a rule, bands are more fun than DJs, and good bands are worth the money.

10. Do Research Vendors

You’ll be working closely with these people for the next several months so you’ll want those who you enjoy working alongside. Know what you want and who can provide it for you.

Find those who you work well with and whose personality vibes best with yours.

Even though someone may be great at what they do, it must be a good match.

Don’t be afraid to interview a few potential options to find the person that sees your vision and who you can imagine working with throughout the journey.

If you’re planning a destination wedding, this can be a bit tricky, so phone or Facetime interviews are a must. It’s also important that they be compatible with each other.

Many vendors have existing relationships and history working with other vendors, and that always makes things easier.

If you contact vendors in the right order, you’ll be more likely to get the benefit of this synergistic approach.

[design note: insert the following testimonial in some visual way. Be sure to include a photo of the couple. [Cora + Travis]

“I could not recommend Cactus Collective enough to plan an elopement or small wedding in the Vegas area. We decided to elope about a week before traveling to Vegas. They were very fast in their responses and helpful to plan. The wedding itself was extremely well-planned and every minute was organized. We felt as if they genuinely cared every step of the way.”

~ Cora D., married June 2023

11. Don’t Choose Far Apart Venues

You’ve planned what you think will be the perfect day. The venues you chose for your ceremony and your reception will be gorgeous. But are they too far apart?

While we like to think of Las Vegas as a small town with a larger than life core, the entirety of the Vegas Valley is bigger than people may realize.

If you’ve chosen two places on opposite ends of town, you may be spending a lot of time in the car on your special day. 

With traffic, it could take extra long to travel the distance in between venues, especially if you’re traveling anywhere near the Las Vegas Strip.

It’s worse on weekends and during big events. Rush hour is short in most parts of town, but traffic can slow you down if you aren’t prepared.

When considering venues, make a practice trek between the two locations to ensure both good proximity and ease of travel.

Do it at the same time of day, and even on the same day of the week, to get the best idea for what you could be up against. 

If you just don’t have the ability to do trial runs, use Google Maps to select the day of the week and time you’ll be traveling to get an estimated range of the travel time.

12. Do Communicate with Your Vendors

Getting married in Vegas can be a lot of fun, and your vendors are equipped to make your wedding day super memorable.

Just remember: they’re here to help and everything goes more smoothly when you communicate.

When consulting with vendors, make sure you ask the right questions.

Don’t be afraid to insist upon certain things or make changes. They’re working for you and this is one of the biggest days of your life.

Everything should be stated as clearly as possible in a contract to avoid miscommunication and disputes later.

Good communication with your vendors, planners and photographers will ensure that everyone is on the same page and will make for a successful wedding day.

13. Don’t Party Too Much Before Your Event

This is Vegas after all, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and the action happening all around you.

It’s a party town, but you’ve got to remember that your wedding trip is more of a marathon than a sprint.

Know your limits and don’t go overboard the night before.

If you’re planning on having a wild night, give yourself a day or two in between so that you can be at your best on the best day of your life.

14. Do Take Advantage of All Las Vegas Offers

If you’re getting married in Vegas, you’ve made a great choice. They don’t call us the Wedding Capital of the World for nothing.

While you’re here, you should definitely explore the valley and see some of the great things beyond the Strip.

There’s so much to see and do on the Strip, it’s easy to get stuck there, but then you’ll be missing out on great golf courses, incredible hiking and biking trails, some of the best rock climbing in the world and fascinating museums.

Sin City has it all, and we’re ready to share it with you when you get married in Vegas.

Remember, while you’re undoubtedly taking care of all the things that lead up to your wedding day, you also want to have some plans for after the wedding. We’ve put together a substantial list of ways to explore Vegas after your wedding.

Check it out — there’s so much to see and do!

Use our Destination Wedding Planning Checklist to help you plan the Vegas wedding you want!

McKenzi Taylor
McKenzi Taylor

McKenzi Taylor is America’s go-to elopement and micro wedding expert, often featured in small and major media outlets, such as the New York Times. With over 15 years of wedding photography experience, it was after planning her own Las Vegas elopement in 2016 that McKenzi felt her purpose shift into elopement coordination. She started Cactus Collective Weddings soon after in 2017. Since then, she’s become a WIPA board member, and has helped well over 1000 couples get hitched in style around Las Vegas, San Diego and Black Hills.