Fool rushed in; Elvis scam at Neon chapel

When you go to Las Vegas, you have to expect to lose money. But that should only be when you’re gambling in a casino — not when you’re going to renew your wedding vows.

Debbie and I recently went to Vegas for our 20th anniversary. We were going to go to Cabo, but she got nervous about all the violence going on in Mexico, even at resorts, just days before we were to leave. We thought about Miami as we’ve never been there, but decided that would take more planning.

So Vegas it was. We know it pretty well so figured it would be a no-stress trip — wrong.

First the good stuff. We went to see Shania Twain at Planet Hollywood. Even though she hasn’t had a hit in 20 years it was still a tremendous show. She sings wonderfully, and her many romantic songs were perfect for our occasion. Most impressive were her amazing sets. Thanks to technology, that can be pulled off when an artist is playing in the same venue every night. It’s much better than when someone performs a single concert somewhere.

Prior to that, we had a wonderful meal at the Bellagio near the fountains.

We also saw ventriloquist Terry Fator, who we really enjoyed 15 years ago when he won the TV show America’s Got Talent. He was big for a few years at the Mirage, but now he’s playing in a small venue at New York-New York. But we still really liked the show. He can sing with his mouth shut better than most people can with their mouths open. And his impressions of famous people while singing are spot on. I especially liked his Kermit and Frog and Louis Armstrong duet on “What a Wonderful World.”

A must on any romantic trip is riding the gondola at the Venetian. Our guide sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis, the first song I sang to my wife at karaoke many years ago. So that was cool.

Another romantic spot we found — and I mean found — was the 1923 Prohibition Bar at Mandalay Bay. It’s a speakeasy, meaning hidden like during Prohibition when it was illegal to drink alcohol. The door looks like a bookshelf on the outside but when you go inside it has classic, cool furniture, and a bar. It was awesome.

What wasn’t awesome was my impromptu decision to renew our wedding vows. I surprised my bride by telling her Elvis was going to perform the ceremony. Sounded fun. But just before we left to go to The Little Neon Chapel I got a voice message saying to be sure I had $120 cash to pay Elvis.


When I signed up online it said the package included Elvis, the chapel, two Elvis songs, Elvis sunglasses and an Elvis marriage certificate. When you go to the asterisk, lower on the page it says, “Lowest Price in Vegas” at $169.

When you click on the next page it says different photo packages you can get.

When you click on the next page you see a number of options: wedding rings, a photo shoot, a limo, minister for a real wedding, etc. One option says Elvis $120, but I didn’t worry about it since it looked like it was included in my package.

I called and said I’m not paying $120 more for Elvis. It says it’s included. She said if you go further onto the site — four pages in — you can read near the bottom that Elvis is NOT included when you buy packages. She said many people get upset when they find that out.

Sounds like a scam to me. So we canceled not wanting to throw good money after bad. I did email them and say I was going to write about this because I want to warn my Kitsap County readers who like to go to Vegas not to fall for this.

There is a line in the Elvis song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” that came to my mind while writing this column — “Only Fools Rush In.”

Elvis package.

Elvis package.