Ever wondered how to get married in Las Vegas? I know there are many guides out there, but how many of them are based on actual hands-on experience? This one is, because I did get married in Las Vegas. I will tell you how, but before, a short introduction about why.
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Why we decided to get married in Las Vegas?
I actually got married three times, all these times during one summer and all these times to the same man. Me being a citizen of Lithuania, and my husband a citizen of Hungary (so both citizens of the European Union) you would think it was easy. But no, the planning process required complicated logistics and bureaucratic paperwork.
Our first marriage took place in local Vilnius Church with our closest relatives and friends. We called it “in the eyes of God”. The second one took place in my husband’s home village in Hungary, where we invited relatives and friends we wanted to see the most. We called this part of getting married “in the eyes of everyone we care about.” But there was the last part left: we were still not actually legally married in the eyes of the officials.
If you get married in Lithuania or Hungary, you receive all your paperwork in either Lithuanian or Hungarian, and it has to be translated to the other language. This would mean cosmic prices, long waiting time and potential mistakes. As we do not speak each other’s languages so well, but have Danish as a common language, getting married in either one’s country would mean that the other would not really understand the ceremony. And as we were already planning to go to California for our honeymoon, we just though we will make a little de-tour and drop by Las Vegas. There we would quickly get married “in the eyes of the State of Nevada, the United and all the clerks in the world” before starting our holiday.
What papers do you need to get married in Las Vegas?
First, you will need to obtain a marriage license in Clark County. For this you must come to the Marriage License Bureau in downtown or to one of the other offices with your passport or ID card. Or (even better), try the online marriage pre-application process (click here and follow the instructions). If you have done the online pre-application, you will get a reference number, which you’ll have to bring to the Marriage License Bureau along with your ID. This way you can also skip the queue in the Bureau and use the “Express Window”.
The Bureau is open all days of the week from 8 am til midnight.
Even if you are like us a citizen of the EU (or some other country, not the US), your marriage will be totally legal, so don’t joke with it. To have it certified in your country, you have to ask for the marriage certificate from the County Clerk’s Office and an Apostille from the Nevada Secretary of State. You have to bring those to your respective authority in your home country and get it all legalised.
What do I do next?
If you went to get your license to the downtown, then as soon as you emerge from the building with this paper in your hands, you will most likely be met by several chapel workers, inviting you to choose their chapel. You can go with the nicest chap to their chapel, or you can just walk straight down the street and have a look at them yourself. Some will provide extra options, like getting married in the pink Cadillac by Elvis Presley himself (still pretty alive in Las Vegas), and some will be offering basic services.
There are also many wedding chapels in the hotels. Our hotel did not have one, and it was so hot outside that we did not want to spend long time looking for the perfect one. We just walked in the first one we saw on the street next to the Bureau and got it over with.
If you do not need anything fancy or requiring long preparations, you can just go to any of the chapel, wait a short while until you are called to a small room and married after a short nice speech in some 10 minutes time. We arrived there on a Sunday morning, so I think the queue was even shorter than usual. All the party-goers would still be asleep.
You can bring your witness with you, if you wish, or just get one in the chapel. We wished very much to have my childhood friend, who now lives in Canada and could not make it to our European weddings. I felt that my marriage would in a way be not finalised without her being present, and now we have her signature in our Marriage Certificate.
How much does it cost to get married in Las Vegas?
Just like getting married anywhere else, it depends on the kind of wedding you want. If you decide to go with a Vera Wang dress covered in diamonds, it can be rather pricey. We went for a cheap option, partly because we are cheap skates, and partly because it was our third wedding that summer. The question put by the officer in the chapel: “Would you at least like some flowers?” made us both shout out simultaneously: “Please, no!”
But seriously, here are some numbers:
- Marriage license: 77 USD
- Marriage Certificate: 15 USD
- Apostille from the Nevada Secretary of State: 20 USD
Ana, and where is your wedding dress?
I actually did not plan wearing a big fluffy white dress, because I already had one for our previous weddings. Zsolt and I did plan some nice outfits though, and these are not what you saw us wearing in the pictures. Truth is that our luggage got lost for two days and only arrived in the evening after our wedding. Therefore for the wedding itself I’m wearing a clean grey t-shirt I borrowed from my friend. Zsolt is wearing his semi-clean shirt, which survived the flight and a hot day out. My make up is by Emilia, my childhood friend and now official marriage witness.
But when the luggage arrived, we finally could change and go out to explore the city. A combination of your wedding and going out at Las Vegas at night is a good excuse to wear tiara.
Another pro of getting married in Las Vegas is that there are plenty of honeymoon options not far from there. We’ve chosen a road trip through California, but there are plenty of other honeymoon destinations just a flight away for you to get inspired.