My fiance wants to elope to Vegas and I'm feeling a bit rebellious. Could be heaps of fun and more our style. Where do I start and is this going to cost a bomb? What can I reasonably expect from my best friends? It's not unheard of in our circles of a $35k-plus wedding and we have a healthy "wedding fund". But I hate the idea of spending it on a wedding. Which leads me to… Do we have to cover our guests' (>10) flights?
Weddings cost what now? Sorry, but . . . Wow. Go to Vegas and invest the change!
Being a Kiwi is no barrier to a Las Vegas wedding. You can book a venue and even the marriage licence in advance. You will need to pick up your licence from the registrar's office before you marry - they absolutely won't conduct a wedding without one. Go in advance and be prepared to queue.
Vegas locals overwhelmingly recommend Mandalay Bay as a wedding venue. It looks beautiful and they have great packages and options for receptions ranging from less than a grand to $5750 plus tax. I examined these dizzying escalations and you do not need all the, um, "extras" (two Michael Jackson ONE™ tickets, anyone?) that comes with the fanciest packages. I think Radiance offers great value at $1250.00 plus tax.
If you like the outdoors, check out Valley of Fire, Cactus Joe's, or Nelson Ghost Town. The Neon Museum is also really cool.
In terms of "traditional Vegas" venues, everything comes up Mandalay Bay, baby. You might look at the Foundation Room at the top of Mandalay Bay - "the best balcony view in the entire city".
As the hosts of the weekend, you're expected to pay for the usual suspects: the wedding reception and the rehearsal dinner. Anything else is up to you. Considering your guests will all be travelling and staying in local hotels for the celebration, it's also a good idea to host a welcome party and/or a morning-after brunch. Another top tip is to make sure your guests are not too far away from each other, some hotels are really far apart! You can book "hotel blocks" on hotelplanner.com.
Regarding flights, the exception would be a very important guest who has no other means of making it to the wedding (but their attendance would mean the world to you). If grandma is keen for Vegas, make it happen.
The Facebook groups "Las Vegas wedding planning" and "Las Vegas wedding community" are great online communities.