Although many couples opt forÂ the neon and architecture of The Strip or even classic downtown Las Vegas for their wedding venue, the city is surrounded by the picturesque Mojave desert.
This landscape appeals to those looking for a more natural look and feel, and there are a variety of locations from a half hour to just over an hour’s drive outside the city. TheseÂ desert wedding venues are a different side to Las Vegas, with majestic geological features, sand covered vistas and desert plantÂ life like cacti and even Joshua trees.
Doing your wedding yourself at theseÂ venues requires a little bit of homework, in that you will need to purchase a wedding permit, andÂ arrange for aÂ wedding photographer and wedding officiant to meet you at the venue. The best time of day, for weather and photos, is sunset.
If that seems like a hassle, there areÂ companies such as City Wedding Tours,Â Las Vegas Luv Bug WeddingsÂ and Cactus and LaceÂ who provide packages to these locations that include photographer and minister, amongst other things.
It should be noted that none of these locations is really thatÂ well-suited to a full reception (the exception being Eldorado Canyon, and I recommend you use a planner if you do so) but that cake and a little Champagne toast might be in order.
Weddings at Eldorado Canyon at NelsonÂ
This former gold mining town is popular with couples who want to combine rustic vintage buildings and whimsical props (crashed plane or antiqueÂ trucks, anyone?) with their wedding vows. Eldorado is a great spot for those seeking a rustic, retro wedding style. This “ghost town” has been featuredÂ in the movie â€œ3000 Miles from Gracelandâ€ and offers indoor and outdoor venues for your wedding ceremony.
Details: Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours
Venues: Say your I Do’s surrounded by the antiques in the barn, or just outside amongst the cholla cacti and antique vehicles
Theme: WhimsicalÂ western with a vintage twist
Travel Time: 60 minutes south ofÂ Las Vegas
Fee: Starting at $100 for 10 people for up to two hours, $150 for up to 20 guests for up to two hours, $50 an hour after that
Inspiration: real weddings at Eldorado Canyon
Weddings at Red Rock CanyonÂ
Red Rock is a gorgeous area just west of The Strip, boasting amazing views of — you guessed it: incredible red rock formations. The area is popular with adventure seekers and includes aÂ scenic drive loops, 30+ miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a variety of outdoor activities including rock climbing, horseback riding and mountain biking. There are twoÂ fabulous outdoor spots to get married, including a scenic overlook and Calico Basin. Red Rock Canyon has been featured in theÂ Little Vegas Wedding Venue Spotlight series.
Details: Red Rock National Conservation Area
Venues:Â Calico Basin offers a boardwalk surrounded by greenery and petroglyphs, while Scenic Overlook isÂ a panoramic vistaÂ of the nearby sandstone mountain formations
Theme:Â Natural mountainous wonderÂ with green details
Travel Time:Â 30 minutes west of Las Vegas
Fee:Â Wedding permit is $200, and must be arranged at least twoÂ weeks in advance
Inspiration:Â real weddingsÂ at Red Rock Canyon
Weddings at Valley of Fire State ParkÂ
A little more remote is the Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldestÂ state park with vividÂ red rocks, just north of Las Vegas. The dramatic whorled sandstone formations, natural arches and petrified wood as a wedding backdrop willÂ wow you. The Valley of Fire has been seen in scenes of “Transformers” and “Planet of the Apes.”
Details: Valley of Fire State Park
Venues:Â There are only four approved venues for weddings at Valley of Fire: Seven Sisters, Rainbow Vista, Visitorâ€™s Center or The Cabins. Some sites hostÂ as fewÂ 15 people, some up to 100 people
Theme: Mother Nature on fire
Travel Time:Â 75 minutes north of Las Vegas
Fee:Â Wedding permit is $100-175 depending on the size of wedding, and must be arranged at least three weeks in advance