My sister and her boyfriend of the last 15 years decided to jet down to Las Vegas and get married, opting to have the ceremony in one of those drive-in wedding chapels. I think they had to wait in line, as there were a few other couples ahead of them. But it was a package deal. For one very low, low price, they got a chapel, a justice-of-the-peace dressed like Elvis Presley and there own Vegas wedding cake. A crying bridesmaid was 50 dollars extra.
When I heard about all of this, I was naturally very happy for my sister. It had just the right amount of spontaneity. But I was curious about the Vegas wedding cake. Were Las Vegas wedding cakes somehow different from other kinds of cakes? Obviously, you’re not going to get a Milwaukee wedding cake in Vegas. But my just-married sibling explained to me that Vegas wedding cakes had the distinction of being handmade in Las Vegas. So when a couple decided to tie the knot in the city of broken dreams, they could rest easy knowing their nuptials would be capped with a Las Vegas wedding cake. One that had it’s history tied somewhere to the Strip and not some cake that was frozen and shipped in from Arizona.
I guess I saw her logic. Las Vegas is home to more weddings per capita than anywhere else in the United States. More and more people opt for a wedding in Vegas because they know it’s cheap, quick and if it doesn’t work out (say you wake up the next morning wondering who the woman is sleeping next to you), than you can get a divorce just as easily. I don’t believe Vegas wedding cakes are part of any divorce packages.
I saw a picture of my sister’s wedding cake and I have to admit, the cake fit the occasion. I don’t know if you can apply the term “gaudy” to a wedding cakes, but hers certainly fit the bill. It was 3 tiers high and colored pink, complete with little statues of the bride and groom. One of which happened to be Elvis himself. I thought that was nice touch. My sister picked that one out herself. So not only did Elvis preside over the ceremony, but he was a mainstay of the cake as well. That type of thing should be mandatory in a wedding in Vegas.
I have since learned that there are different types of themes you can choose from if you decide on a wedding in Vegas. You can do the Mafia bit, or you can dress up like the Pharaoh. I know Elvis spent a good part of his in career in Las Vegas eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But I never imagined that his image would be so indelibly linked to Tinsel Town. Vegas wedding cakes, chapels and even motels are all available with some kind of Elvis motif. Personally I would opt for Wayne Newton. But seeing Wayne in sequins with a ‘nanner sandwich in his hand just isn’t the same thing the King.
But I digress. The issue here is more the wedding cake and less the wedding in Vegas. There are some reputable bakeries in and around the Strip. Some dating back 40 years or more. There’s one family-run bakery in particular, that has been baking Vegas wedding cakes since 1952. And they are now in their 3rd generation of bakers. That’s a lot of wedding cakes. And a lot of little bride and groom figurines come to think about it.
After seeing the photo’s of my sister and her husband and the look of total fulfillment in their eyes, it dawned on me that I don’t think the ceremony would have been nearly as special if it had been in a conventional church, in some typical small town in the Midwest. No, something about Las Vegas drew them in. And it’s the same pull that will get my wife and me there for our 25th wedding anniversary. But – thank you very much – I want Donald Trump and not Elvis on my wedding cake.