|Venues for wedding ceremonies at Bellagio include a traditional chapel and a terrace overlooking the Strip.|
While Las Vegas may be best known for shotgun weddings and wedding chapels featuring Elvis impersonators, a variety of properties on the Strip have crafted unique new wedding packages. Travel Agent spoke to a number of these properties to find out how agents can best sell Vegas weddings and give their client a ceremony they will never forget.
“We offer ceremonies in both the evening and afternoon at The Mirage Volcano,” says Rachel Nelson, wedding specialist at The Mirage. The Mirage Volcano, reopened in 2008, combines music from Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and a volcano designed by the team behind the Fountains of Bellagio to create a striking, one-of-a-kind Las Vegas spectacle. “Our available ceremonies are actually timed with the Volcano, so at the conclusion you can watch the Volcano show and have champagne toasts during the show,” says Nelson.
For couples looking for a more intimate ceremony, The Mirage also has indoor private banquet rooms that can be customized. “We also offer private-venue ceremonies, if the couple would prefer,” says Nelson. “We believe our unique outdoor locations are what brides are really interested in right now, especially in our nice-weather months. Our outdoor locations are definitely what’s selling right now.”
While The Mirage does not have a dedicated wedding chapel, it constantly updates its product to provide guests with new experiences. “One of the biggest advantages is that we don’t have a chapel here, so our focus is on showcasing our new venues,” says Nelson. “At The Mirage, one person handles a guest’s ceremony and reception. The rest of the hotels in town you’re dealing with have someone for chapel and someone else for reception.”
For agents trying to sell a wedding at The Mirage, a focus on the resort’s unique facilities has brought success. “I would have travel agents focus on the uniqueness of our property and outdoor venues,” says Karen Knox, director of The Mirage catering. “One point of contact can handle everything that is needed for them at The Mirage. I definitely have the ability to help with dinner reservations and salon reservations. It’s not like agents have to spend a lot of time trying to pull together all the details because we give them all the details with menu packages. You don’t have to do a lot of outsourcing.”
At Bellagio, which boasts a more traditional wedding chapel in addition to other ceremonies, a team of wedding coordinators helps take stress out of the setup for brides. “We offer our exclusive customer service, with nine wedding coordinators who are really talented, proactive and go above and beyond to make the guest happy,” says Aida Bouaoun, Bellagio wedding chapel manager. “We do not have a commission program for travel agents, but we will do anything to make our guests happy. Bellagio gets a lot of references from all over the world, agents calling from all over. When agents book for rooms, they do get a commission.”
“We have the most beautiful terrace in the world, the two-tier Terrazza di Sogno (Terrace of Dreams),” says Bouaoun; the terrace can accommodate up to 34 guests and overlooks the Strip. “On the terrace, at the moment of the kiss, Bellagio fountain soars to the sky, a selected song plays from the music list, and everybody has goose bumps—from the couple to family and friends. It is an extraordinary setting. Couples can create special memories and get DVDs of the ceremony.”
If your clients are looking for a one-of-a-kind sensual experience, Caesars Palace offers a customizable aromatherapy package that focuses on the meaning behind the flowers in the wedding bouquet. “We recently created an aromatherapy package, something that no one has done in the industry,” says Desirae Parker, weddings services manager for Caesars Palace. “It incorporates the different flowers with meaning in the wedding bouquet. We usually concentrate on color scheme at weddings, but don’t necessarily understand what the flowers represent. The package also includes Cleopatra’s Arsenal, different essential oils and massage packages.”
In keeping with the resort’s classical theme, the bride and groom can even be carried to the altar on a litter. “We don’t expect guests to know anything and we go through every single detail, giving brides feedback on how they should proceed with their wedding. We build a rapport with them so it becomes stress-free, and our wedding coordinators build a relationship with each and every couple,” says Parker.
|A ceremony at The Mirage Volcano ends with a spectacular pyrotechnic display.|