I know this is late for the original poster, but here’s my experience for anyone else in a similar situation… I just got married in Vegas last weekend. It was great! Except… none of my friends could make it due to financies/family/vacation time at work, etc. Some bailed at the last minute. It was a short notice wedding (2 months) and only my family and close long time family friends made it. Which I fully expected when planning.
Ceremony was at a place called the Grove. We booked the $500 package that included a minister (he was fantastic, name is Phil), limo service to and from our hotel, traditional music, chair set up/take down, and 30 min on the grounds. There are 3 sites to pick from: garden, gazebo, and arbor. Its a small place that has a reception facility on site although we did not use it (and after having seen it, I still probably wouldn’t have used it BUT I had only 15 people). To save money, we booked our ceremony for 11am on Sunday and had a lunch reception at Maggiano’s at 12:15. The room was small, capacity I believe is 35, it was the “DiCarlo” room. Since we only had 15 people it was very spacious. It overlooked the Wynn/Encore towers. Because it was a Sunday afternoon for 3 hrs only, the food minimum was only $400. We exceeded that of course because my parents wanted extra menu items not in the standard package. Our total bill at Maggiano’s with additional items (no alchohol though), taxes, gratuity, everything was $900. In all fairness, my parents added extra stuff that I believe cost about $200 that I would not have chosen and I personally do not think added to the experience.
Grand total for ceremony + reception for 15 people: $1430. I did spent $30 on 2 sets of flowers from Costco, which my aunt created a beautiful arrangement for the table out of one and made my gorgeous bouquet out of the other. I could also recommend a few off strip hotels that are nice (not ghetto, clean, I’d stay there again type places) and very affordable (Silverton and Southpoint). Southpoint is technically on the strip but you need a car as its a few miles south of Mandalay Bay. Looking back the only thing I would change is the location my parents selected for hosting a dinner the night before: Mirage Buffet. The food made my dad and my husband spend lots of time in the bathroom the night before/morning of the wedding. 🙁 Plus it was the most expensive. Even maggiano’s was cheaper than the Mirage buffet and Mirage automatically adds a gratuity of 18%. Not only did the food options suck, the food quality sucked, and it was expensive. The server didn’t take our plates unless asked, didn’t bring us drinks often enough, and didn’t serve us any food. What did we tip 18% for??? I would have picked elsewhere for that, but my parents didn’t ask us our opinion and we weren’t paying, so we just showed up. But I wouldn’t recommend “Cravings Buffet” at the Mirage!! PASS!
I have found the going rate for buffets seems to be around $30 at the main strip casinos. We also went to the Flamingo, which I thought was run down and overpriced. Honestly, if people are traveling, I do think you should provide at least some type of reception option even if its just a meal like we did. We did not want the whole dinner/dancing/loud DJ thing for many reasons. I loved having my wedding and reception done by 3:30 pm. Like I said the food cost is only $400 minimum on Sunday afternoon at Maggiano’s in the DiCarlo room, and they had the best food of ANY place we went the entire time we were in Vegas. The price per person is $26 (plus tax of about 7% and gratuity 20% but any place is going to charge you that) . They also provided a beautifully decorated cheesecake for our wedding cake. It was great. We brought our own decor and they set it up for us. I brought a vase from home and one of our guests gave us a beautiful crystal vase as a gift (we knew it advance). One of the floral bunches bought at Costco went in the vase, and my bouquet went in the gift vase as a centerpiece for our 2nd table. They were SO GREAT to work with! We expected that though; my parents hosted events at Maggiano’s in CA in the past so we knew they’d be accomodating and they were. They would have let us bring our own cake but we wanted cheesecake and the dessert was included there anyway. It was an extra $30 for the decorated cake on its own table but totally worth it. I was nervous going into the weekend since all this was booked sight unseen. Almost ALL of the “chapels” in Vegas are in a terrible area and super ghetto (one is even located next to a giant adult shop – Wee Kirk O the Heather). I googled mapped EVERYTHING!! Street viewed and satellite viewed them all! I was nervous the Grove would be too far, people would get lost, next to adult shop, etc even though I street viewed/google mapped it but it was GREAT! No one got lost, they had plenty of time to get from the Grove back to Maggiano’s, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 We had an intimate wedding with our closest family, those who made it a priority to be there) and it was fantastic.
If you add in our hotels and flights for us and our son well then the cost was a lot more, but I seperate the “wedding ceremony/reception” costs from the “trip” costs. Weddings don’t need to cost thousands of dollars or be planned years in advance to be special. …….. $1430.