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How much do weddings cost? This one in Las Vegas is just $15

Las Vegas Chapels

August 29, 2023

By: Quek Jie Ann | CNBC

A survey shows half of newlyweds go into debt over wedding bills.
Peter Dazeley | The Image Bank | Getty Images

They say love doesn’t cost a thing.

But that certainly isn’t true of weddings.

In 2022, couples in the United States spent, on average, nearly $30,000 to get married, according to a report from the wedding website The Knot.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1950s, the “Complete Guide to Wedding Etiquette” advised couples to earmark £30 ($38, or $482 when adjusted for inflation) for a reception that included the price of alcohol, according to the BBC.

In fact, it’s possible to tie the knot for even less today.

What a $15 wedding gets you

A Las Vegas venue, called the Chapel of the Flowers, is charging just $15 for a wedding package that includes:

  • An on-site ceremony
  • A 10-minute photoshoot and five 4×6 photographs
  • A wedding bouquet and boutonniere
  • A live broadcast of the ceremony

The package price — which is normally $500 — is what couples paid to get married in the chapel in 1953, said Cynthia Sharpe, the venue’s director of storytelling.

A picture taken in 1953 of a sign outside the Chapel of the Flowers promoting its $15 wedding packages.
Source: The Chapel of Flowers

“Chapel of the Flowers wants to give back and thank all of the amazing couples who have been a part of making Las Vegas the Wedding Capital of the World,” she said, referencing the city’s trademarked name.

The discounted wedding package is part of a celebration commemorating 70 years since Las Vegas was first given that moniker, according to a campaign promoting Las Vegas as the “Wedding Capital of the World.”

The package is available to 70 couples on a first-come-first-serve basis, and does not include the minister’s fee, which is $70. As of today, all packages are still available, Sharpe told CNBC.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Nevada had the highest marriage rate in the U.S. in 2021. Couples can obtain a license and get married in the same day.

Other inexpensive options

Other venues in Las Vegas are also discounting wedding packages, according to the campaign.

Couples can have an Elvis-themed wedding at The Little Neon Chapel for $470 until Sept. 30, which comes with an ordained minister dressed as Elvis, photos and room for 10 guests.

An Elvis impersonator performs a remote vow renewal ceremony during the pandemic at Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images News | Getty Images

For $700, couples can exchange vows 900 feet above the city’s famous Strip atop The Strat Hotel, Casino & Tower, the tallest structure in Las Vegas. The package, which comes with a Champagne toast for the couple and 15 guests, is available through Dec. 30.

The danger of wedding debt

A 2019 report by the financial services company LendingTree estimates 45% of newlyweds incur debt to pay for their weddings.

Furthermore, nearly half of those with wedding debt said money issues led them to consider divorce, according to the survey. Only 9% of couples without wedding debt said the same, the report showed.

Source: LendingTree

The survey also asked which wedding expense they deemed the most “worth it.” The most popular response didn’t concern the wedding at all — it was the honeymoon.

LendingTree’s survey included 506 Americans, aged 18 to 53, that had been married in the previous two years.