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Q&A With a Las Vegas Wedding Expert

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Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world, boasting a whopping 115,000 weddings a year!

Kris LaBuda is the manager of the famed wedding chapel at Flamingo Las Vegas, an iconic part of the Las Vegas experience since 1995. Kris has assisted brides and grooms with their most important day for 16 years, 13 of which have been at the Flamingo.

She’s seen and heard it all, and has generously volunteered to share some of her Vegas wedding insights and stories on the Pulse of Vegas blog.

wedding expert

Kris has seen it all at the Flamingo wedding chapel. Now, she gets to endure our annoying questions!

Pulse of Vegas Blog: What would surprise people about Las Vegas weddings?

Kris: One thing that may surprise your readers about Las Vegas weddings is they really do last. I have met couple after couple walking through our doors who are celebrating their 38th, 40th, 63rd, ad infinitum, wedding anniversary. Las Vegas may have a reputation as “Sin City,” but something about it makes marriages stick.

Pulse of Vegas Blog: Do you do quirky weddings at Flamingo? Elvis? Aliens? Other themes?

Kris: We’ve tried offering quirky weddings, but our Flamingo couples haven’t been super attracted to those packages. We did have a “White Wedding Package” recently, which, among other things, included a Billy Idol impersonator to perform the song “White Wedding” during the ceremony. Whatever the wedding, we can make it special.

Pulse of Vegas Blog: How do Las Vegas weddings differ from what some may think of Las Vegas weddings?

Kris: Does “cheesy” come to mind when you think of Las Vegas weddings? Cheesy’s an image that’s helped Vegas become the wedding capital of the world, but it’s also a misnomer since Vegas offers so many options for wedding venues. Caesars Palace, for instance. Caesars Palace can hardly be called cheesy. At the Flamingo, we work really hard to dispel any associations with unwanted cheese (though we do have pink feather boas on hand, just in case).

flamingo wedding

We crashed Rachel and Bryan's recent wedding at Flamingo for this photo. Court date pending.

Pulse of Vegas Blog: What’s your policy if someone comes in and wants to get married on the spot?

Kris: We only have a few truly “on the spot” ceremonies every year. Couples that arrive with their marriage licenses in-hand are so cute, though. They’re all cuddly and sheepishly ask if we can squeeze them in. Usually, they’ve seen something about us before they walk through our doors. Performing a legal marriage in Las Vegas requires obtaining a marriage certificate and license from the Clark County Courthouse prior to the ceremony so couples do have to do a little planning prior to arriving. (Find out more.)

Pulse of Vegas Blog: Has an actual Flamingo Las Vegas flamingo ever disrupted a ceremony?

Kris: Yes, we really have had ceremonies disrupted by flamingos. Our Paradise Falls location is right next to Flamingo Island, where the flamingos live. Every day, the flamingos and wild waterfowl, including Sacred Ibis, pheasants, ringed teal and wood ducks, are fed by their keepers, Jackie and Robin. Because they get so many questions about the birds, they started a program called “keeper talk” in which they wear microphones and help our guests understand a little bit more about these interesting birds. When we first started performing ceremonies nearby, we were interrupted by the amplified sounds of the birds and laughter from the audience. Now, though, the wildlife center is included on our wedding schedule. Each of us takes care not to schedule weddings around the flamingo feeding times.

Flamingo weddings

This Sacred Ibis is clearly a flamingo wannabe.

Pulse of Vegas Blog: Any other stories about Flamingo weddings you’d care to share?

Kris: Strange coincidences happen here, too. When I first became a wedding planner, we would run indoor ceremonies at the same time we had outdoor ceremonies planned. I was taking our gazebo bride out to the staging area for a 5:00 ceremony and another planner was taking the other 5:00 bride to her staging area. The two girls looked at each other, astonished, “Kristy?” the indoor bride said, “Is that you?” Sure enough, the two girls were long-lost sorority sisters. Imagine, they booked the same hotel on the same day and time.

If you have questions about Las Vegas weddings, feel free to post them in our Comments section, and we’ll pass them along and share the answers in future posts from our Vegas wedding expert. Learn more about weddings at Las Vegas’ Flamingo hotel.

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