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Desert Companion

I do - with a view: hot wedding spots

Bright future: The Neon Museum

Getting hitched?  Give your vows a wow at these heart-fluttering, jaw-dropping wedding spots

Whether it’s for a drive-thru quickie or a lavish extravaganza, Las Vegas draws lovebirds from across the land to its endless array of wedding venues. This embarrassment of riches translates into a unique challenge for locals. With so many possibilities and such amazing variety, how to pick just one? Culled from the long, long list of awesome places to swap “I dos,” the 12 venues below offer romance to suit every taste and style.

The heights of love

The views are terrific from a thousand feet, so why not take the plunge at the Stratosphere Tower? For a traditional ceremony with sweeping valley views, choose between two charmingly appointed wedding chapels on the 103rd floor. Move up a few levels for alfresco possibilities on two observation decks and a private balcony. Thrill ride ceremonies are also available, if your definition of romance includes the word “adrenaline.” (chapelintheclouds.com)

Queen of the desert

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Far more than a place to buy saguaros and Joshua trees, Cactus Joe’s Blue Diamond Nursery is a garden of desert delights on Blue Diamond Road. Nestled among native trees and outdoor art on the western edge of the property stands a rustic wooden wedding chapel topped with a peak-roofed cupola. Inside, a large window provides a striking view of Red Rock Canyon. (cactusjoeslasvegas.com)

Vows among views

Sunset Gardens, a verdant oasis on Sunset Road at Annie Oakley, boasts a lavish resort setting for weddings and receptions. The candle-lit wedding chapel has views of the garden, as do three banquet rooms. Planning a fabulous wedding is made even easier by the on-site floral shop, beauty salon, day spa, tuxedo and bridal boutique and photography studio. Custom cakes, invitations and accessories are also available. The finishing romantic touch sure to get your heart hammering: thousands of twinkling lights in the trees. (sunsetgardens.com)

The king of all weddings

Louis the 14th meets Elvis at one-of-a-kind Hartland Mansion, which served as a location in the film “Casino.” Once two separate houses in the heart of downtown’s most storied neighborhood, this faux French palace on Sixth Street near Charleston features more than 30,000 square feet of vintage Vegas splendor. Ornately decorated rooms, an indoor swimming pool and a grand double staircase provide glamorous settings for ceremonies, receptions and photo shoots. A wedding here will add you to a star-studded list of earlier guests, which includes Willie Nelson, Engelbert Humperdinck and Ginger Rogers, not to mention Sharon Stone and Robert DeNiro. (hartlandmansionlv.com)

Love me tender

The local tradition of getting hitched by the King need not be reserved for tourists only. Whether you want young Elvis in skin-tight jeans or the, ahem, mature Elvis in rhinestone-studded jumpsuit, your choices are nearly endless. One venue with a knack for “Love Me Tender” ceremonies is the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard near Charleston. The friendly and versatile staff at this bastion of kitsch can also help you plan a themed wedding. Pirates? Zombies? Zombie Elvis? Your tastes are the only limit. The real shocker: Viva Las Vegas offers lovely traditional weddings, too. (vivalasvegasweddings.com)

Our love is wheel

Climb aboard the Nevada Southern Railway in Boulder City for a wedding on a roll. Built by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1931 to aid in the construction of Hoover Dam, the train now runs along the scenic Boulder Branch Line for more than three miles. Newly refurbished, air-conditioned Pullman coaches, a dining car, and an open-air car offer unusual options for ceremonies and receptions. (nevadasouthern.com, click “special events”)

Latest flame: Valley of fireHearts on fire

Spectacular red rock spires and brilliant strata form a fabulous backdrop for an outdoor wedding at Valley of Fire, Nevada’s first and largest state park. Scenic spots including the Seven Sisters, The Cabins and Rainbow Vista offer a variety of breathtaking settings for up to a hundred people. Sunset is an especially enchanting time for a ceremony or photo shoot. (sceniclasvegasweddings.com)

The ring, please

Rapidly becoming the cultural heart of the city, The Smith Center is a wonderful new location to host a memorable wedding. The Grand Lobby and majestic Reynolds Hall can accommodate large groups in Art Deco magnificence, while Cabaret Jazz and the versatile Troesh Studio Theater offer more intimate surroundings. The outdoor Courtyard is another appealing option. Wherever a ceremony is held, a romantic touch is the ringing of the 47 cast bronze carillon bells in the center’s 17-story tower. (thesmithcenter.com, click “book your event”)

A new stage: The Smith Center

Love on the lake

Romance rules at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson. Ravella Hotel and Resort’s Capella di Amore overlooks the lake from a bridge modeled after Italy’s fabled Ponte Vecchio. Nearby, the manicured gardens at Ravella and Aston MonteLago Village Resort offer lovely locations for outdoor ceremonies. For a wedding on the water, there’s the 80-foot La Contessa yacht, which features two decks, two bars, and a terrific sound system. (ravellavegas.com, montelagovillage.com, lakelasvegasmarina.com)

Going to the chapel

For a traditional church wedding, the charming mission-style Chapel of the Holy Family beckons from the hills overlooking Lake Mead. This jewel on the campus of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children is vibrant with colorful murals, handmade tapestries and a warm Southwestern ambience. The Ranch can also host receptions. (stjudesranch.org, click “about”)

The peak of happiness

Winter, summer, and the seasons in between are all perfect times for a wedding at The Resort on Mount Charleston. With its breathtaking vista of the surrounding peaks and canyons, the resort’s Canyon Terrace is a spectacular setting for a fresh air ceremony. Cozy and warm, the resort’s elegantly rustic Aspen Room also has beautiful views and can accommodate up to 200 guests. (mtcharlestonresort.com)

Wet and wild

The list of offbeat spots for exchanging vows in Las Vegas is a long one —here are two that stand out. For the adventurous, a ceremony conducted under water in the 117,000-gallon aquarium at the Silverton Resort and Casino (silvertoncasino.com) might be the perfect choice. In addition to several hundred piscine witnesses, mermaid bridesmaids are available. For a nostalgic twist, consider the newly opened Neon Museum (neonmuseum.org). This year on Valentine’s Day, the museum is offering special wedding packages in the “Neon Boneyard,” where the forest of classic signs creates a photogenic and uniquely Vegas backdrop.

Of course, this list is just a tiny sample of Southern Nevada’s novel nuptial options. Can’t decide where to exchange vows? Look at it this way: You can always choose again when you’re ready to renew them.

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