Ballpark Estimate: $100 to $3,500
Want to say “I Do” without letting all of the fuss and planning drive you to sing the wedding blues? Then getting married in Las Vegas, Nevada, just may be the perfect option for you. Today, many couples head to this extremely colorful spot to legally tie the knot. This destination offers a variety of options sure to meet every couple’s budget and taste. Better yet, it is easy to get a marriage license there with no waiting period required before you can formalize the commitment. This makes it especially appealing for couples who want to hit the jackpot by becoming “Mr. and Mrs.” on the spot.
A Popular Option
With its bright lights, elaborate casinos and numerous special effects everywhere you look in Las Vegas, as well as the feeling of pure excitement that just seems to permeate the very air, it is no wonder that more than 100,000 couples choose to get married in this amazing location each year.
Whether you want a simple civil ceremony performed by a justice of peace, or prefer to go all out for a large-scale event that is worthy of the over-the-top details you can find everywhere, you can find just the right option to suit your fancy. In fact, the sky is in limit when it comes to weddings in Las Vegas…literally, that is, because some couples even opt for a helicopter wedding, which typically includes a ceremony at a scenic spot inside the Grand Canyon, which is just a short flight away.
One of the many major attractions of getting married in Las Vegas is the fact that you don’t need much paperwork to make it official. (See the list below).
You can apply for a marriage license at one of the Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau locations, which are open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight, including holidays. You can also have a ceremony performed right by a justice of the peace every day until 10 p.m. During slower times, it takes up to half an hour to get a marriage license. During busier hours, however, you can expect to have a longer wait. To help speed up the process, you can also access the marriage license paperwork online and print it and fill it out at home to bring with you. This can save you a little time.
Note that no blood test is required in Las Vegas, which makes it much easier for couples who are pressed for time.
What You Will Need
If you are applying for a marriage license in Las Vegas, here is what you will need to bring with you:
- Official identification, such as a driver’s license, a passport or a military ID card.
- You social security number
- Proof of your age
- Parental consent if you are under 18
- Proof of your divorce, including the city, state and date where the decree was registered
- Completed marriage license application forms for EACH the bride and the groom (if you filled these out in advance. You will each need to fill out a separate form.)
- $55 in CASH only to cover the application fee (no checks or credit cards are accepted)
It is also worth noting that you may want to bring a legal witness with you, but if you come without any family or friends, don’t despair. Most wedding venues will have someone on hand, or will allow you to ask someone in the building to take on this important role.
Further, you will need to have proof of your marriage when you return to your home city and state. You can purchase a copy of your marriage certificate from the Clark County Recorder’s Office for a small fee (usually under $10). Just check with your local clerk’s office in advance so you will know exactly what you need, since there can be variations from place to place.
Finally, marriage license requirements can change from time to time, so always double-check on all of the details before you leave for your wedding, so you will know exactly what you need to become husband and wife.
The trend of getting married in Las Vegas dates back many decades, but one of the most highly-publicized unions that occurred in this location was on May 1, 1967, when Elvis Presley and Priscilla Anne Beaulieu exchanged vows at the Aladdin Hotel. The ceremony was a private affair, followed by a reception at the hotel’s casino where the young couple entertained about 100 guests.
Other well-known brides and grooms include Pamela Anderson, Nicky Hilton, Mary Tyler Moore and Paul Newman. (In fact, Angelina Jolie even chose Las Vegas as the spot for her infamous marriage ceremony to Billy Bob Thornton.)
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on a Las Vegas wedding depends a great deal on what you want. The marriage license itself costs $55, and then the cost of the marriage ceremony will be an additional fee on top of this. The price starts at under $50 to have a local justice of the peace perform the most basic legal ceremony for you, which will take about 5 or 10 minutes. This is the least expensive option. To the other extreme, you can spend as much as $3,500 to have a more elaborate ceremony performed in one of the casino themed chapels. Many couples, however, opt to get married in one of the many small, picturesque chapels that abound in Las Vegas. You can find such chapels located throughout the area, and can also find some more formal chapels included right inside some of casinos. The price range for a chapel wedding can start at a few hundred and go on up to about $3,500 or more.
So a Las Vegas wedding can cost anywhere from $100 to $3,500 for the license, ceremony and any special details you add.
Breakdown of Options and Prices
Here is a more detailed breakdown of each of the most common options from which couples typically select:
What would a Las Vegas wedding be without an Elvis impersonator in attendance? For many couples, this is an enjoyable touch to make their ceremony truly memorable. A variety of companies offer Elvis-themed ceremonies and the price for such a lark starts at $125 and goes on up to about $500.
A Little Chapel
The quant (or cheesy, depending on how you look at it) “Little Chapel” setting is quite in demand in Las Vegas. As a result, the most popular chapels are very efficient at moving couples in and out through their doors. A package deal that includes the chapel, the ceremony, music, photos and a bouquet can range from about $200 to $500. Some of the most popular chapels include The Little Church of the West, the Little Chapel of the Flowers, The Grove and The Little White Chapel.
If you can’t tear yourself away from the casinos for long enough to get married in one of the many chapels, you may want to opt for a quickie drive-through ceremony instead. This is truly the ultimate “Las Vegas experience.” You can either drive yourself up to the window to have a minister perform the legal ceremony, which starts at about $200, or you can “super size” your order with a limo ride, music and other extras to make your day truly special for the bargain menu price of $350.
If the idea of a Las Vegas wedding chapel appeals to you but you want a more formal version, you might look to the range of options available in the large casinos on the strip.
Some of them offer wedding productions as elaborate as the settings they are in. For instance, you can opt for a roller coaster wedding at the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel. Or have a unique Star Trek wedding on a replica of the Enterprise starship through the Las Vegas Hilton. Finally, the Excalibur Hotel and Casino hosts a medieval theme ceremony inside its castle-shaped setting. These are just a few of the many unusual weddings you can buy. The price range is as large as the range of details you can select, but experts say that many packages start at about $350 and go on up to about $3,500.
If your love is so powerful it lifts you up off the ground, then maybe a helicopter wedding will catch your fancy. Such packages typically start at under $1,000 and can go up to about $2,000 or more. This typically includes a private helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, along with a wedding ceremony performed at a very scenic spot on land. Many couples have a wedding picnic and cake at the location before getting back into the helicopter to head back to the strip.
Get All the Facts
While many couples create truly wonderful wedding memories in Las Vegas, some also report many hidden fees and unexpected costs that they accrued during their ceremonies. Therefore, the experts advise asking lots of questions up front and getting all of the facts before you commit to your location.
If you want to learn more about Las Vegas and the unlimited options that exist on the strip, it might be worth it to invest in a book that will give you an overview of what to expect. Neon Nuptials: The Complete Guide to Las Vegas Weddings by Ken Van Vetchen costs under $15 and is a great resource to get you started on your path to wedding bliss in the City of Sin.