A Foodie Fantasy ; 9 Places to Tie the Knot in Vegas

vegas uncorked
Vegas Uncork’d is a foodie’s fantasy

by Kristine McKenzie
If you like food, then you need to be in Vegas April 23 – 26.

Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit is returning to Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace and MGM Grand for its ninth year of wining and dining with celebrity chefs.

“This is truly the only weekend each year when world class chefs gather in one destination to host intimate dinners where they push culinary innovation and mix and mingle with their fans and peers,” said Adam Rapoport, Bon Appétit editor in chief.

Chefs featured at this year’s events include Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Gordon Ramsay, Julian Serrano, François Payard, Masa Takayama, Michael Mina, Guy Savoy, Emeril Lagasse and more.

Some of the events are already sold out but tickets still remain for plenty of amazing opportunities to eat gourmet food and chat up your favorite star chef.
Here are a few of our picks:

Chefs’ Counter: All-Star Feast (Aria), April 23: Buffets are a big thing in Vegas but you’ve never been to a buffet like this. Mingle with culinary superstars Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Julian Serrano, Michael Mina, Masa Takayama and Shawn McClain as they take over The Buffet at Aria and put their gourmet spin on this Vegas institution.

Decadent Delights with Master Chocolatier François Payard (Caesars Palace), April 23: Chocolate. Wine. French food. What are you waiting for? Experience French fare at Master Chocolatier François Payard’s pâtisserie. Guests will indulge in a selection of sweet and savory canapés and one-of-a-kind chocolate creations paired with premiere wines.

Tequila and Tacos with the Too Hot Tamales (Caesars Palace), April 23: Food Network chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are throwing a fiesta at their new Border Grill inside The Forum Shops at Caesars with unlimited signature tacos, ceviches, seafood cocktails, oysters and more. Oh, and did we mention the free flowing margaritas?

The Chefs of Wolfgang Puck: A Lunch Across the Empire (Caesars Palace), April 24: Wolfgang Puck is often credited for bringing some of the world’s top chefs to Las Vegas with the opening of his Spago restaurant inside the Forum Shops at Caesars more than 20 years ago. Chefs from several of his Vegas restaurants will come together to showcase the many flavors of Puck. Guests will enjoy five courses prepared by Chef Eric Klein (Spago), Chef Dustin Lewandowski (Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill), Chef Mike Tiva and Jorge Martinez (Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina / Trattoria del Lupo), Matt Hurley (CUT) and desserts by Corporate Executive Pastry Chef Kamel Guechida & Corporate Director of Pastry Nicole Erle.

Grand Tasting (Caesars Palace), April 24: This is the big event at the Garden of the Gods pool that you don’t want to miss. Enjoy a staggering variety of signature dishes prepared by more than 50 award-winning chefs with free-flowing wines and spirits from around the world.
Mix Master: Pour Like a Pro (Aria), April 25: Break out your best bartending skills during this fun-filled, interactive cocktail competition and seminar. Before the contest, watch master mixology expert Craig Schoettler at work. Then, compete against fellow participants to see who can mix up the best original cocktail.

Guy Savoy
Premier Pairings with Krug Champagne & Guy Savoy (Caesars Palace), April 25: Who doesn’t love Champagne? Pair it with gourmet food from a Michelin-starred chef and you can’t lose. This event with Chef Guy Savoy and Krug Champagne features four courses from Savoy including many of his signature dishes, such as the artichoke and black truffle soup and colors of caviar, perfectly paired with Krug’s prestigious Grande Cuvée and Krug Rosé among others.

Emeril’s New Orleans Seafood Extravaganza (MGM Grand), April 25: Party like you’re in the Big Easy at this event at the MGM Grand Producer’s Pool. Numerous stations will be set up offering freshly shucked raw and grilled oysters, whole grilled market fish cooked to order, New Orleans-style boiled seafood, chilled salads and seafood ceviche. A wide selection of craft beers will be on tap and live music will be performed to top it all off.

To find tickets for all events and for more information, go to www.VegasUncorked.com.


shark reef wedding

Nine unusual places to get married in Las Vegas
Shark Reef Aquarium
Get married surrounded by 1.6 million gallons of water and 15 types of sharks at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.

Tie the knot in your car, among the sharks or on a roller-coaster in Las Vegas.

Nearly 122,000 couples obtain a marriage license every year in Las Vegas, where they can tie the knot at a drive-thru or with an Elvis impersonator officiating.

The number of newlyweds is so high that Sin City claims the title of wedding capital of the world.

Nevada makes it easy to get hitched. There’s no waiting period, no pre-wedding blood test and pretty much anyone, same sex or not, can land a marriage license through the Clark County Marriage License Bureau. About the only obstruction is the bureau’s hours; it closes from midnight to 8 a.m. daily, even on holidays.

Here, a look at nine ways to get married in a memorable way:

Your wedding can be in the middle of the desert, or close enough, at the Springs Preserve, the 180-acre botanical garden filled with Mojave Desert cacti and succulents. Twenty venues here range in size from an outdoor amphitheater with room for 1,700 to a 20-person ceremony next to a fountain.
Info: Springs Preserve, (702) 822-8779

Make it a wedding afloat on the white wedding gondola at the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. The service is held on the Italian gondola floating along the canal while a gondolier serenades the couple.

Info: Venetian, (866) 548-1807

Thrill seekers will love tying the knot at 67 miles per hour on the Roller Coaster at New York-New York. Grab 16 friends and have the ceremony performed in the midst of the twist that simulates a jet fighter’s barrel roll.
Info: New York-New York, (866) 606-7111

Make Lago Di Como and the Fountains of Bellagio the setting at the Terrazza de Sogno at the Bellagio. Up to 34 can fit on the Italian balcony. You can even time it to take your first kiss as husband and wife while the fountains dance to music in the background.

Info: Bellagio, (702) 693-7700

Add a sense of thrill to saying “I do” surrounded by 1.6 million gallons of seawater and 15 species of sharks at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. True, more than 2,000 will be in attendance, but all are animals swimming in the aquarium.

Info: Mandalay Bay, (702) 632-7490

Normally the threat of a volcano would call off a wedding, but at the volcano in front of the Mirage, it makes a dramatic backdrop. Lava explodes 12 feet in the air during evening ceremonies, while during the day, the waterfalls and lagoons provide a more tranquil setting.

Info: Mirage, (702) 791-7155

Add a bit of history to your wedding ceremony with more than 150 neon signs at the Neon Museum. This collection dates back to the late 1930s through the early ’90s and represents motels, local businesses and celebrated casino resorts from throughout the Las Vegas Valley in the Neon Boneyard. Up to 400 can attend here.

Info: Neon Museum, (702) 387-6366

Yes, Elvis can marry you in Las Vegas. The King will even walk the bride down the aisle and concludes the wedding with “Viva Las Vegas,” the Presley hit and practically the theme song of Las Vegas. Singer Jon Bon Jovi even got married here and afterward threw a concert as 75 couples tied the knot in the parking lot in 2001.

Info: Graceland Chapel, (702) 382-0091

In a rush to get hitched? Make it a drive-thru wedding. Couples can tie the knot in a car, limo or a pink Cadillac provided by the venue, never stepping foot outside the car. The cheapest wedding package here, $99, has you married in a matter of minutes in your own vehicle.

Info: Vegas Weddings, (702) 933-3464


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