This Is How Much It Cost to Get Married in Vegas in the 1950s

You can't help falling in love with a deal this good.

Weddings are big business in Las Vegas. The city markets itself as the “Wedding Capital of the World,” and numerous celebrity couples, from Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, tied the knot here. In 2018, over 74,000 marriage licenses were issued in Clark County, Nevada.

One reason couples choose to take a chance on love in Vegas is to keep the budget down. The average wedding in 2017 cost over $44,000, according to a Brides magazine survey. That price includes invitations, wedding dress, flowers, cake, reception music, wedding rings and much more. Rather than hosting a lavish party with hundreds of guests, a private ceremony in one of Vegas’ many wedding chapels could potentially save newlyweds thousands of dollars. And since the city is in the desert, the weather is always good. Why you’re there, make sure to check out these must-see Las Vegas attractions that aren’t casinos.

Back in the 1950s, it was even cheaper to get married in Las Vegas. Marilyn Curtis, of Pico Rivera, California, married her handsome groom, Earl, at the Little Church of the West, on July 21, 1951. The total cost—a mere $87! Here’s how it broke down.

Vegas Wedding Pamphlet 1950sCourtesy Marilyn Curtis/Reminisce

The price of love in the 1950s

  • $25 Chapel charge, including flowers and candles, recorded music, the minister and four postcard wedding announcements
  • $25 Wedding dress
  • $14 Bridal bouquet, two corsages, and three boutonnieres
  • $10 Wedding photos, which included four poses (one 8×10 and six 5×7)
  • $8 One-night stay at the Hotel Last Frontier
  • $5 Marriage license
  • Total: $87

Marilyn says in the 1950s, the city was a far cry from the glittering light show that it is today. There wasn’t much traffic, and vast expanses of desert linked the handful of hotels and casinos that fronted the two-lane highway now known as the Las Vegas Strip.

Hotel Last Frontier Las Vegas wedding informationCourtesy Marilyn Curtis/Reminisce

Dinner and Dancing

After an intimate ceremony, the wedding party, still dressed to the nines, enjoyed an “expensive” dinner at the posh Flamingo Hotel. One of the most celebrated resorts of the time, it was built by mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. Dinner prices in the Flamingo Room ranged from $3.50 to $7.50. During dinner, Duke Ellington and his orchestra called the couple up on stage for their first dance. Their love stood the test of time, and they stayed married for 43 years until Earl passed away in 1994. This is why brides need to have something old, new, borrowed and blue. 

The Little Church of the West Souvenir cardCourtesy Marilyn Curtis/Reminisce

Weddings in Vegas today

Modern couples can still get married in Vegas on a budget, but the prices are higher than in the 1950s. A marriage license in Clark County currently costs $77, and basic packages at The Little Church of the West—located near the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign—start at $209, plus a $60 minister fee (or a little extra for Elvis!). Check out these fun facts you never knew about the Las Vegas sign.

Originally Published in Reminisce