HOW IS TO GET MARRIED IN LAS VEGAS
I have been wanting to write this post about my wedding in Las Vegas for almost 3 years. I have got married with my husband in Las Vegas on September 3rd, 2015.
Since then, I’ve been wanting to write this post for three reasons. The first reason is denying some myths about getting married in Las Vegas. The second reason is helping you, in case that you’re going to get married in Las Vegas. And the third reason is telling you how my wedding was.
Myths about getting married in Las Vegas
As I told you, there’re a lot of false myths about getting married in Las Vegas. And I asure you that you don’t know how much myths there’re until you get married there. At least here, in Spain, the questions that people do are always the same.
When you get married in Las Vegas, you dress-up as Elvis and Marilyn
That’s right. There’re a lot of people who get married in Las Vegas dressed like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Also there’re a lot of people that ask the officiant of the ceremony to dress like Elvis. But most of people want to get married with wedding dresses and tuxedos.
Getting married in Las Vegas is shabby
Movies have done a lot of damage… This is another myth created by films. The typical scene about two drunk friends who meet two girls with a “dubious reputation” and they get married at 3 a.m. in the first chapel they found.
Yes. Getting married in Las Vegas can be shabby. But it only happens if you are also shabby. But your wedding in Las Vegas can be so luxurious as you want. It all depends on you.
A wedding in Las Vegas is not legal
Another thought that a lot of people have is that weddings in Las Vegas are not real. They think that marriages are not oficially legal. But a wedding in Las Vegas is so legal as you want it to be.
If you want to act a play, you can do it. But if you want to get married officially, you also can.
My husband and I, we wanted to get married officially. So, before the ceremony, we made the neccesary legal procedures. I will tell you later how it works.
Marriages that get married in Las Vegas don’t last
That is the best myth. When Landi and me got engaged, I told everyone. Within that “everyone” there was a stupid person. That person, after hearing we were going to get married in Las Vegas, said me the next unfortunate commentary: ‘Marriages that get married in Las Vegas don’t last”.
Unfortunatly, that’s not the only time that I’ve heard it. But the truth is that: it doesn’t matter where you get married. If you get married with the correct person, it doesn’t matter if you get married in Las Vegas, or in the seabed of Australia.
Steps to follow to get married in Las Vegas
The first step to follow is meeting someone incredible which you can marrie with. If you already have it, we can continue.
But first of all: I’m from Spain. Maybe some points are only valid for people from Spain. For example, if you are an american, you don’t need to re-legalize your marriage in your country.
Find a nice chapel
There’re a hugh quantity of chapels in Las Vegas. As I said before, you can make your wedding very economic and basic, or you can spend a lot of money and have a very luxirious wedding. It’s up to you.
In Las Vegas you can decide what kind of wedding you want. Almost every chapel has “packs” with different things: wedding dress, tuxedo, bouquet, limousine, etc. Be sure that you choose a pack that includes everything what you want.
In our case, the chapel’s election was the best. In the pack we had everything what we wanted. The chapel staff was so kind. It was a chapel worked by a family, they were very friendly.
Obtain your marriage license
If you want a legal wedding in Las Vegas, you have to go to the Clark County Marriage Bureau in Las Vegas. There you can obtain your marriage license. You can go by appointment or without it. We went without it and we barely staid there for one hour.
The process is as follows: you go there, wait in the queue, when it’s your turn you give the information to the person on the desk, pay for the license (about USD60). You’re ready!
One way to stramline the process is to have the documents already printed and filled out. This way you don’t h ave to fill them at the office. If you want to go by the fast queue, ask for a pre-order here.
My chapel asked me to go the day before the wedding to check everything was right. We tried on the wedding clothes, choose the bouquet, etc. So when we finished at the Marriage Bureau, we went to the chapel.
Yes. Those were all the preparations.
The great day arrived: Wedding in Las Vegas
The great day is finally here: the day of your wedding. In our case we got married at noon to be able to be calm afterwards. We went to the chapel, where the staff were already waiting for us.
- This day you should bring to the chapel the papers they gave you the day before at the Bureau. At the end you will have to leave some of these papers in the chapel. Thus, the officiant of the ceremony can sign them and send them back to the Bureau.
We did not have guests. We were alone in Las Vegas, so it was a very intimate wedding. The owner of the chapel helped me put on my dress and get ready. We had a photo session throughout the chapel before the ceremony.
After the photo session, the officiant of the ceremony arrived and married us. When the ceremony ended, we had another more professional photo session. The chapel had a photo studio and Ashlyn Tracy was our photographer. About this photo session I speak more in the video that you can see below.
The limousine ride
If you get married in Las Vegas you can not miss a limousine at your wedding. We chose a wedding package that included the limousine. We had never been in a limousine before, and it’s truly an amazing experience. I also speak more about the limousine experience in the video. Don’t miss it!
Wedding in Las Vegas: My own experience!
I could not leave this special post without a video. In this video I tell you how my experience of getting married in Las Vegas was. There are many pictures of that day so do not miss it!
Paperwork afther the wedding (for foreigners)
If you are not American, for your marriage to be totally legal in your country, you must follow some steps. I am going to talk about the case of legalizing the marriage in Spain because it is the one I know.
When arriving in Spain (or your own country)
Do you remember that you left some papers in the chapel after you married? The staff of the chapel will explain it to you, but about 10 or 15 days after your wedding, you will have to ask the Bureau to send those papers to you by post.
It takes about 10 or 15 days to get all the papers ready. For that reason we have to wait. Once those days have elapsed, you can request your documents on this website. https://recorder.co.clark.nv.us/RecorderEcommerce/default.aspx
To request your papers, you will have to enter the number of your marriage license. That data is on the papers that you took with you. The shipping cost of the marriage certificate is approximately USD10.
A few weeks later you will receive your signed and sealed marriage certificate in your home. This paper certifies that, indeed, you have married in Las Vegas and it is a legal marriage in the United States.
Is it legal in your country?
As I said, I talk about the case of Spain. Maybe in your country is legal. But in our case, as we were Spanish, our wedding in Las Vegas was not legal in Spain. In other words, in Spain we were still single.
In order to legalize our wedding in Spain, terrible paperwork had to be done. These paperwork meant sending the certificate back to the United States, returning it to us, paying an official government translator to translate the document, and much more.
To make matters worse, after all these procedures, we would have to wait approximately three years to receive our «family book«.
Definitely, legalizing a marriage from Las Vegas in Spain is not easy. It is not cheap either. It is not fast either. It’s a mess! In Spain there is a terrible bureaucracy, and every paper you ask costs you money. Especially if it is something «exceptional» such as legalizing a foreign marriage.
How to be married in Spain without leaving your salary in it?
I searched for information on the Internet and saw that many people took a «shortcut» to be legally married in Spain after a wedding in Las Vegas. It is a much faster, cheaper and simpler process.
You just have to go to the civil registry office and say that you want to get married. You take the papers they ask for and they give you a date for the wedding. When the day arrives, a judge marries you, and the same day you get your «family book«. You go happy to your home with your husband or wife and begin to enjoy your legal marriage in Spain.
Of course, be sure to marry the same person you married in the United States! If not, it would be polygamy and is very punishable!
What is the «family book»? I want to clarify this point, because I do not know if the family book exists in other countries. In Spain, the «family book» is a document that certifies that a family exists. It is the document that you get when you get married.
Other FAQ about getting married in Las Vegas
Perhaps there are still doubts about weddings in Las Vegas. I will try to answer below the most frequently asked questions that people make about weddings in Las Vegas.
But if your question is not below, leave it in the comments. I’ll answer you as soon as possible!
I have no witnesses. Can I get married?
Landi and I went alone to Las Vegas. We had no witnesses and that was not a problem. If you have no witnesses, the chapel will provide them.
I do not have a wedding dress or a tuxedo
Be calm. We did not have a wedding dress or a tuxedo either. Also, we were traveling from the Canary Islands. Can you imagine wearing the wedding dress in the suitcase? In most of the chapels there are rental dresses for the bride and tuxedos for the groom.
I can’t speak English. Can I have a Spanish ceremony?
Yes. It’s amazing how many people speak Spanish in that part of the United States. In our case, the officiant spoke Spanish (more or less) and our ceremony was done in Spanish. Of course, if you need the wedding to be in Spanish, tell the chapel beforehand so they can be prepared.
I don’t want a religious ceremony. Is a civil ceremony possible?
Yes. We asked for a civil ceremony, not religious. They fit your needs in most cases.
Is it very expensive to get married in Las Vegas?
As I said throughout the post, it all depends on the amount of money you want to spend. You can have, from the simplest wedding for about USD80, to the most extravagant, with a helicopter, for more than USD3,000. It’s up to you.
We, for example, could enjoy a wedding with EVERYTHING we wanted it to have, for less than the price of a wedding dress in the Canary Islands. And we do not deprive ourselves of anything.
Should I leave a tip?
Yes. That is to say, they will not say anything to you if you do not leave a tip. But in the United States it is very common to leave tips. So include the tip in your wedding budget!
It’s different in Spain: the tip is totally a client’s decision. If the customer is very happy with the service and wants to leave a tip, great. If you are not happy, or just do not want to leave a tip, it is not frowned upon.
Can my family watch the wedding on streaming?
Yes. Many chapels give you the option of streaming the wedding. Your relatives and friends who are far away can see the ceremony if you hire this option. In addition, they will offer you photo and video service.
My opinion about getting married in Las Vegas
To finish this post, I would like to tell you my impressions and the conclusions I got after marrying in Las Vegas, since there were many.
Maybe it’s not the most conventional wedding. There are many people who dream of a wedding «in style» with 200 guests, dinner, dance, party, fights between brothers-in-law … and everything that «conventional» weddings have.
We did not want that. We did not want a ‘commitment’ wedding where you have to invite your great aunt, even though you have not seen her for years, because it would be violent if you didn’t do it. Where you have to pay USD100 per plate at dinner, USD600 to the hairdresser, USD2,000 to the photographer, USD1,000 for the dress … and a long etcetera with many zeros.
We wanted a wedding in which the important thing was that Landi and I were getting married. Nothing else. In which the most important thing was that union between him and me.
We had no commitment to anyone because, I repeat once again, we were alone. Nobody got angry for not appear in the photos, nobody misunderstood anything, nobody got drunk and ended up with the tie on his head … it was him and me. And anyone else. Also, it was VERY economical if we compare it with conventional weddings.
All these are wonderful advantages. But both Landi and I agreed that the best part of our wedding was not having to worry about ANYTHING at all. The tranquility of knowing that everything was contracted, and that we only had to enjoy the day of our wedding and have a good time.
So… Did I like to get married in Las Vegas? I LOVED IT! I loved that day was just him and mine, and I loved being on my honeymoon from minute zero. It was an experience that I do not change for any other, and that I will always remember as a truly special and wonderful day.