What’s needed for a Vegas wedding?

My fiance and I are traveling to Las Vegas this September with our families to get married. I was wondering as a UK national what form of documentation is required to be legally married. Is it true we need legal documents from a lawyer stating we are both single? This is the a first marriage for both of us and the first time traveling to the States. We don't want to get there with just our passports and find out we cannot get married. Please help.

Zoya
(London)

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First off, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! The good news is that marriage requirements in Las Vegas are the same for US citizens and non-citizens, and marriage licenses issued in Vegas are recognized as valid in the UK (and pretty much everywhere in the world).

The requirements to receive a marriage certificate in Las Vegas are as follows: The applicants must be a male and a female, at least 18 years of age (there are special cases for 16- and 17-year-olds, but we won't get into that), cannot be any closer kin than second cousins and cannot already be married. To prove your identity you'll need acceptable ID (no faxes, photocopies or the like). The most commonly used form of identification for Americans is a state-issued driver's license; in your case you'll probably use your passport. Both parties are required to be present when submitting the application.

Only one form of ID is required, but I recommend bringing along a second -- like your English driver's license -- just to be on the safe side, in case there's an unforeseen problem with your primary form of identification.

If either partner has been previously married it's required to give the exact date of the divorce, as well as the city, state and country in which it was granted. A copy of the divorce decree is not required.

Americans are required to include their Social Security Number on the marriage application, but this doesn't apply to non-citizens such as yourself. No blood test is required and there is no mandatory waiting period after a license is issued. Fee for the marriage license is $60 fee CASH. That's roughly roughly £40.

You can speed the process by filling out an online pre-application before arriving in town. (Note: for reasons that make sense only to government bureaucracies, Internet Explorer is the browser required for using the online form.)

In Las Vegas, there are three locations to submit your marriage license application:

  • Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave., 5th Floor, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Commission Division Office, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Marriage Bureau, 201 East Clark Avenue, 1st Floor, Las Vegas, Nevada. (This is likely the office you'll use, as it's near the Strip and open everyday between 8am and midnight.)

Since there's no waiting period, once you and your fella have the license in hand, the two of you can head to a chapel and get hitched right away. In fact, you don't even have to get out of your car for your wedding if you don't want to, but the idea of a drive-through wedding strikes me as terribly unromantic. Efficient maybe, but unromantic. Still, in Las Vegas it's an option. But I suggest one of these nicer alternatives:

Wedding Chapels at the Bellagio

One of the most beautiful hotels on the Strip, Bellagio wedding packages start at around $2,000 and run all the way up to... well, however much you want to spend.

Even, if you don't get married here, it would be worth stopping to talk with the concierge about some photo time in their garden lobby area. Gorgeous!

Chapel of the Flowers

A Las Vegas institution for more than 50 years, Chapel of the Flowers has been featured on TLC's new show "Happily Ever Faster." It's also been voted as Best Wedding Chapel in Southern Nevada by Nevada Magazine and Best Wedding Chapel by a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll. Packages run anywhere from $199-$10,000. Elegance and intimacy at affordable prices.

Or get married with The King's blessing

If you're looking for a truly Las Vegas experience, go for the Elvis Chapel. Here you can have an Elvis impersonator serenade you, give the bride away and perform the ceremony! Packages range from $180-$1100. I know you're coming from the land of the Beatles, but I have a personal soft spot for The King and this place. Cookie-cutter weddings all blend together, but no one will be able to top a tale of a dude in a rhinestone-studded jumpsuit asking your soon-to-be husband if he promises to Love You Tender.

Of course you may be in the mood for some personal pampering before the wedding. For the ladies, Las Vegas has some fantastic options for the treat of a day at spa. Some of my favorites are:

Spa Bellagio

While pricey, the spa packages offer serious -- I mean very serious -- pampering and luxury. There's also a couples package, if you and your fiance want some time to be spoiled together.

Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Venetian

Travel magazines consistently vote this location a top spa, and for good reason. The Girlfriend Getaway package offers a 50-minute massage or 50-minute facial with a manicure/pedicure, 3 hours use of the Private Salon Suite, VIP service and use of Women's Relaxation Lounge for 3 hours, "Aquavana" thermal and aquatic settings, and food service.

Spa Mandala at Mandalay Bay

The surroundings here are beautiful and the spa offers some really indulgent packages for brides and couples.

After you've been pampered and prepped, take stock of some of the group activities Las Vegas has to offer. One of my personal favorite bachelorette activities is "Thunder from Down Under", a male revue at the Excalibur. Some of Australia's hottest hunks put up a hell of a show for a room full of screaming women. Even if it's not your thing, it's still awesome to watch other women lose their panties over these guys. If you end up sitting at the choice middle table, hold on to your drinks; the gents have been known to crawl on all fours across the table, knocking beverages right off the table.

Now for the groom, I could go the easy route and recommend the strip clubs, but I'd rather not recommend something that could very well cause a fight, so better to keep the peace. Perhaps the two of you should attend one of the many Vegas shows that are titillating without being blatantly explicit. "Zumanity" is Cirque du Soleil's sexiest show, while "Ka", "Mystere" and "O" are amazing performances that don't show quite as much skin.

What an exciting experience this trip will be for you! Make the most of it. Have fun and congratulations!

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5 responses to “What’s needed for a Vegas wedding?”


  1. emma stevens said:

    My husband and I got married in the little chapel of flowers in aug 07, it is by far the preetiest chapel. the gardens are beautiful for your pictures.


  2. Steve the Texan said:

    Annette, there really is no one best estimate of how much a Vegas wedding will cost. They vary WIDELY. Very, very widely. If you already have a hotel reservation, start your search by contacting the concierge there. These people are absolute experts in areas like guest weddings and very likely have working relationships with stylists and the like.


  3. Annette said:

    We have booked to get married in the Little White Chapel in July we are coming from England and would like to hire wedding dress and tux please could you recomend a place to hire and give me some idea how much it costs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Steve the Texan said:

    The Venetian, with its gondolas, and the Bellagio, with its fountains, would both make for beautiful wedding shots. Your best advice will come from the planners at the chapel, though. They handle a LOT of weddings, so they are truly experts on what locations work well on what days at what times.


  5. Susan said:

    My fiance and I are getting Married in March 2010 at the Little Chapel of Flowers. We've booked a 2 hour photography session after our ceremony and we are are allowed 2 - 3 stops. Can you suggest some good locations for photographs? Our ceremony will take place 11am. Thank you.

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