Las Vegas easily deserves the title of the “IT” destination for elopement. After all, Sin City’s second source of income is impromptu marriages. For many couples, it’s considered a rather romantic choice for exchanging vows. We can’t argue with that—the thought of running away to get hitched is enough to make anyone’s heart swoon.
If you’re thinking of eloping in Las Vegas, there are a few things you should know first. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as easy as getting off a flight and exchanging rings 10 minutes later. However, it is still more or less an easy process. But just to make sure you know what to expect, here are a few things to keep in mind before jetting off to tie the knot in Vegas.
Know the Laws
Depending on where you’re coming from, be it another state or another country, it’s important to double-check the laws for where you live on getting married. In the state of Nevada, the requirements for marriage are pretty basic, such as you need to be 18 years old (without parental consent) and you need some form of legal ID. As long as you fulfill the requirements, your marriage will be legal in the state. However, it may not be recognized when you get back, especially if you’re a foreigner. So make sure you have all the supporting documentation before you hop on a plane and come back home.
You Still Need a Marriage License
Unfortunately, you can’t just spontaneously walk into a chapel and exchange rings. You’ll need to get a marriage license first. Fortunately, this is quite easy. The quickest way is to fill out an online form to request one. Then, you and your partner will both need to head to the Clark County Marriage Bureau to verify your identity (so, obviously, bring a driver’s license or passport). After that, you’re all set to go. In the best-case scenario, the time it takes to say “I do” will be no more than four hours!
And again, if you’re coming from overseas, you might need some additional documentation, which is dependent on the country you’re from. So please inquire with your local authorities about what you’ll need.
It’s an Easy Process
Since the whole point of eloping in Vegas is to get hitched before someone gets cold feet (kidding!), most venues want to make the process as quick and easy as possible. Hence, you’ll find that a lot of places offer all-inclusive packages that include things like a photographer, bridal bouquet, transport, catering, and/or wedding coordinators. Little White Chapel, for example, is one of the top spots for getting married and they even provide services like hair and makeup, fittings, and an option to shop for rings on-site.
Witnesses, which are necessary to complete the ceremony, are also not hard to find. Anyone present on the day of, such as the photographer, can be a legal witness to your ceremony.
But best of all, such packages tend to be rather budget-friendly in comparison to organizing each and every bit yourself. And often, you don’t need to use their services, either—just the ones you want. So, if you have a specific photographer in mind but don’t care about the rest of the details, you can mix and match to your liking.
It’s Not all Elvis
Being officiated by an Elvis impersonator continues to be incredibly popular among couples who elope in Vegas. However, that’s not the only option. Vegas is a rather unique destination to get married because there is a wedding theme for each and every person. Whether you want to tie the knot via a drive-thru or host a luxurious affair, Vegas has it all!
Some Venues Have Dress Codes
…while others don’t. Depending on your venue, you might be okay to elope in just a t-shirt and jeans, but others may be pickier. To avoid problems, double-check if there are any specific requirements on where you want to get hitched.
Keep it Short
Elopement ceremonies tend to be short, so you might find that you have a time limit on how long your ceremony can last. Note that there’s no need for multiple royal wedding-style readings or long vows. That is, unless you want to do that. In which case, make sure your venue isn’t strict about its schedule.
Don’t Get Drunk
It’s easy for things to get crazy in Vegas, but it’s a bad idea to start off your marriage on a sour note. Therefore, no matter how tempting it is, avoid having a hangover on your wedding day and don’t gamble all your money away the night before. You can always party later!
You Can Do a Redo
An elopement is an easy way to make your marriage official, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to mark the occasion. If you want, you can have a more serious celebration after the fact with friends and family. This may be necessary if you decide you want your loved ones to be present on your special day.