Like Rachel Riley And Pasha Kovalev, We Had A Vegas Wedding – Here's What It's Really Like

Disco limos, casinos and a whole lot of margaritas.

Rachel Riley and her former Strictly Come Dancing partner Pasha Kovalev have got married in Vegas.

The pregnant Countdown star shared a photo after their ceremony, with the caption: “Introducing the new Mr and Mrs Kovalev ... we both said yes!”

They’re the latest celeb couple to exchange vows in ‘Sin City’, hot on the heels of Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner and singer Joe Jonas.

While Vegas has long been synonymous with weddings, the bright lights, casinos and Elvis impersonators can divide the crowd. So what’s it really like to get married in Vegas if you’re outside of the celebrity bubble? Two couples shared their experiences.

Sophie Gill Griffiths and her husband Daniel chose to tie the knot in Vegas in September 2018. The couple had previously holidayed in Vegas and Sophie, from Cheshire, admits the city took a few days to get used to.

“It is a bit of a shock on the senses, and the morality senses,” she says. “It’s so big, it’s so over the top and so gluttonous, it plays into the vices of human beings, so it took us a day or two to relax into it.”

But when the couple began planning their wedding, they decided they wanted to return with friends and family – and eventually flew back with 42 guests.

Sophie & Daniel Gill Griffiths
Supplied by Sophie & Daniel Gill Griffiths
Sophie & Daniel Gill Griffiths

Sophie’s dad died when she was young and she wasn’t sure how she would handle a traditional British wedding without him there. “I think that would have been quite emotionally hard for me,” she says.

A big incentive for the pair was also the lower cost of a Vegas wedding compared to a UK wedding.

“We looked at a traditional wedding, we’d been to quite a few that had obviously cost a lot of money. We’d seen the physical and emotional toll that could take on people and the stress that people put themselves under and we didn’t want to do that,” she says.

The couple’s big day spanned multiple locations – something they wouldn’t have been able to afford in the UK. From a chapel wedding they went to a garden in a downtown bar, visited a casino, ate in the private room of a restaurant, took photos of the bouquet toss by the Las Vegas sign and ended the night on a rooftop bar with views of the entire strip.

“I think a lot of people have this idea that Vegas can be very trashy and yes, it does have that side to it. But anywhere you’ve got such competition to be the best, actually, things can be really good quality,” Sophie says.

“The chapel was beautiful. The food was some of the best food I’ve had at a wedding – we had swordfish and steak. The whole day was just amazing.”

In comparison, Laura McEwan and her husband Ian, from Birmingham, discovered the quieter side of Vegas at their October 2017 ceremony.

“The wedding itself was in a private garden of a hotel surrounded by flowers and it was really intimate,” says Laura.

Laura and Ian McEwan
Laura McEwan
Laura and Ian McEwan

For the couple, choosing Vegas as their wedding location was a no-brainer.

“We decided to get married in Vegas having been to all sorts of traditional weddings in the UK and realising, whilst all were lovely, they weren’t for us,” Laura says. “We wanted something fun that people would remember.”

The couple had 30 guests fly over, which was actually more than they expected to sign up to the holiday.

“Most of our friends and family were supportive but some couldn’t or wouldn’t come due to the cost – which we totally understood,” Laura says.

But their day went without a hitch. After a quiet ceremony they embraced the full Vegas experience, with margaritas in the hotel garden, a disco limo back to their hotel and pizza before dancing the night away.

“It was great to get married in the sunshine - no fear of it raining in the desert,” says Laura. “Our only regret is getting married on the last day, rather than at the start of the weekend. Let’s just say everyone was quite hungover by the time the ceremony actually arrived.”