Getting Married In Vegas: What Is It Like?
If you are considering getting married in Las Vegas, you are not alone. Vegas is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the United States, where an average of 10,000 marriage ceremonies are performed each month; that’s about 300 weddings per day! If you thought you could simply roll off the airplane and into a wedding chapel on your special day, think again. There is plenty of competition for venues, the city is home to many beautiful alternatives to the Graceland Wedding Chapel, and the notion that you can get married under the influence is no more than a long standing rumor.
For insider tips and tricks on the ins and outs of getting married in Las Vegas, look no further. Sin City is one of our favorite elopement destinations. Let’s dive into all the logistics of getting married in Vegas, from how to make your Vegas marriage legal to how much you should budget for your trip and what you can — and can’t — do ahead of time.
Getting Married in Vegas is Easy
One of the perks of a Vegas wedding is the simplicity of the legal aspects of your marriage certification. You don’t need much to obtain a marriage license in the state of Nevada. You won’t be required to bring proof of divorce or take a blood test and there is no requisite waiting period after your marriage license is issued before you may get married. You can even start the application process online beforehand. Simply pre-register for your marriage license on the Clark County Clerk website and then bring your corresponding confirmation number to the County Clerk’s office at 201 E Clark Avenue where they can approve and finalize your application.
Don’t forget to bring your Clark County marriage license with you on the Big Day. A legal marriage ceremony can’t be performed in Las Vegas without it!
How to legally get married in Las Vegas
The Clark County Marriage License Bureau is open seven days a week from eight in the morning until midnight — even on holidays. Both you and your partner will need to provide one valid form of identification each, but note that if you want to use a birth certificate here, you will also need to provide a document that contains the name and photograph of that person. Additionally, if you are divorced, you will be asked to confirm this in writing on your marriage license application. Your marriage license is valid for a whole year and you may get married as soon as you have your license in hand.
Can foreigners get married in Las Vegas?
If either of the spouses-to-be are foreign citizens, be aware that a Las Vegas wedding is legally binding in most countries, but that many of these countries will want a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the County Clerk’s Office and an Apostille from the Nevada Secretary of State. These cost $15 and $20 respectively.
How long does it take to get a marriage license in Las Vegas?
If you begin your marriage license application online first, your subsequent visit to the County Clerk’s Office should be relatively fast. Face-to-face time with a clerk only takes about 15 minutes. But they don’t take appointments here, so there is no guarantee how many other couples will be in line ahead of you on any given day. Leave yourselves more time than you think you will need and dress with the assumption that you may be waiting in a line outdoors.
How to Legally Change Your name in Nevada
When you apply for a wedding license in Nevada, your name will be written as it appears on your government-issued identification. If you wish to change your name, you should request that your name change is written next to your former name on your marriage license. Then, bring that document to your local Social Security Administration office and DMV to formally begin the process.
Getting Married in Vegas:
Can be Done on a Budget
There is a Vegas wedding for every budget. If you want to splurge on your special day, Vegas has plenty of opulent options, and if you’re hoping to elope on the cheap, Vegas can do that, too. Our Las Vegas elopement packages range from $400 to $3,800.
Note that permits may be required for certain Las Vegas elopement venues, like national parks and municipal buildings, so check on these costs before confirming your preferred location. Your elopement planner can help you to determine what permits, if any, you’ll need to secure before your big day.
Advance planning will save you not only time and stress, but also your wedding budget. Factors like accommodation and transportation get more expensive depending on the concerts, conventions, and other major events happening in Las Vegas at the time, so do some research on your desired dates before you begin making reservations. And when making reservations, be sure to ask for all fees upfront. Hidden costs for things like parking and hotel rooms can add up quickly and burst your budget when you arrive in town.
Can be Elegant
While there are plenty of sweet and kitschy wedding chapels along the north end of the Strip in Sin City, there are also a bunch of beautiful outdoor venues in the area, like the mystical Nelson Ghost Town, the nature-focused Springs Preserve, and the red sandstone-laden Valley of Fire State Park.
Calls for Some Prep Work
While it may seem fun to simply show up and get hitched, we encourage couples to begin planning at least a few weeks in advance of their Vegas elopement. Making just a few arrangements for the special day can make all the difference. Take your accommodations: while many venues will accommodate you without a reservation, we suggest booking your stay before you arrive so you have one less thing to worry about and you don’t get any nasty surprises. Another thing to consider before booking your accommodations is traffic — which is notoriously tricky in Las Vegas. If you have a busy day lined up, try booking a hotel or B&B near your wedding venue so you avoid the risk of getting held up on the drive.
If you’re traveling from Las Vegas from out of state, having a local wedding planner can take these sorts of logistical considerations off of your plate. Not only that, a local insider will know about hidden gems and the best local eateries, so you can get the most out of your Vegas elopement.
We highly recommend hiring a photographer to document your big day, no matter how spur of the moment your elopement is. Having photos — and even a video — of your elopement day will be wonderful keepsakes not only for you, but also for your nearest and dearest who could not be there to celebrate with you.
The Best Times to Get Married in Vegas
With Vegas being such a beloved elopement destination, you should keep in mind that there are a few times of year when competition for elopement venues ramps up, such as Valentine’s Day. The city also comes alive during events like the annual Viva Las Vegas held in mid-April, DEF CON around mid to late-summer, and the National Rodeo Finals in December. Of course, Las Vegas hosts countless other events and conferences throughout the year, so do a little research to find out what’s happening in town on the days of your Sin City elopement. You can have an elopement and a vacation all at once.
Winter is Las Vegas’ least busy season, so accommodations are less likely to be booked up and some vendors may offer preferable rates. Nevada’s desert climate does lend itself to quite cold winters, so be sure to pack some photogenic layers if you dream of eloping at an outdoor venue during the winter months. Similarly, if you plan to elope in Las Vegas in the summertime, the days get really hot. If your Vegas elopement venue is outdoors, having your ceremony early in the morning or around sunset will give you the most comfortable temperatures as well as the most flattering light.