After considering all the expense of a formal wedding, hundreds of details and preparations to handle and months of stress, eloping to Las Vegas might seem like a good idea. 100,000 people every year get married in Las Vegas and the city has been called the Marriage Capital of the World.
That reputation started in 1912, when California imposed a three-day wait after getting the marriage license. It was called the “Gin Law” because legislators passed the law to reduce the numbers of drunk, impulsive weddings.
In Nevada, you do not have a waiting period before you can marry or need a blood test. You can get married in a wedding chapel, church or in a simple civil ceremony in the office of the Clark County Commissioner of Civil Marriages. Time-of-day doesn’t matter and you can get married 24/7, year round.
Before you abandon a hometown, family wedding, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Your friends and family might be hurt by your plans to elope. It might ease some hurt feelings if you discuss it in advance and invite your family and a few very close friends to go to Las Vegas with you.
Many casino/hotels have wedding chapels for their guests and a staff that can handle all the details of your wedding, if you chose, like the Monte Carlo, Stratosphere, Excalibur and Treasure Island.
You can design your own wedding, including getting married by Elvis, Cher or Dolly Parton impersonators, to name a few. Your imagination is your only boundary. Almost any type of wedding can be arranged in Las Vegas.
The first thing you have to do is to get a marriage license at the Marriage Bureau. The Las Vegas downtown office is in the Regional Justice Center located at 201 East Clark Avenue. It is open daily for issuing licenses, from 8:00 am to 12:00 midnight, including holidays. The fee for a marriage license at this time is $55, cash only. They appreciate exact change.
If you want a civil marriage, the Office of Civil Marriages, located at 309 South 3rd Street, is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm daily, including weekends and holidays. The fee for the civil marriage is $50 and they only accept the exact amount of cash. No cards or checks. You will be required to bring one witness with you for a speedy wedding.
You need to know the other Nevada rules about marriage licenses. You can get married at the age of 18 without parental consent. If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you need a notarized parental consent or your parents present to give that consent. If you are under 16 years of age, you will need a court order to get married. Both you and your intended spouse each need one of the following before you can get a Nevada license to wed: State Driver’s License, State ID Card, Military ID, passport or a certified copy of your birth certificate (the original will do, also). If you have been divorced, you have to know the date it was final. Once your license is issued, you can get married anytime within one year from the date of issue.
The license fee is $55 and they do not accept checks, debit or credit cards. Bring cash. The exact amount would be a good idea. Both of you will have to fill out a license application, but the $55 fee only needs to be paid once. You will need proof of age, so bring photo identification.
If you are 18 years old, you do not need parental consent to wed. If you are 16 or 17 years old, both of you will need a notarized copy of parental consent, or better yet, your parents to personally give their consent. Younger than 16 requires a court order.
Both of you will need to show an approved ID to get married. It can be a State Driver’s license or ID, military ID, passport or certified/original copy of your birth certificate.
Since so much of the online information you need to know about your Las Vegas wedding might be out of date or change without notice, it would be a good idea to let your fingers do the walking and call directly to the Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau: (702) 671-0600.
If you decide to elope and get married in Las Vegas, you truly can have the wedding of your dreams.
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