There’s that old, corny saying about how what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but does your Las Vegas wedding ceremony still mean that you’re legally married after you leave the city limits?
Las Vegas is the land of instant weddings, and there seems to be a wedding chapel on every corner. The wedding industry might seem like entertainment in Las Vegas, but the result is almost always a legal marriage that is recognized everywhere, even in a foreign country.
Are All Las Vegas Weddings Legal?
Getting married in Las Vegas has this spur-of-the-moment feel to it. We’ve all heard the stories of couples who have run off to Vegas to get married or even met in Las Vegas and tied the knot on a whim. When the legalities of getting married anywhere else seem so complicated, how is it possible that a Las Vegas wedding is even legal?
Everything seems to run at an accelerated pace in Vegas, including the process of getting married. No, you can’t just walk into a wedding chapel, say “I Do,” and walk out being legally married. There are a few boxes you need to check off before that happens. Still, having a legal Vegas wedding is pretty easy, and if you manage it, your marriage is legally binding everywhere.
What’s needed for a Legal In Las Vegas?
Just like anywhere else, there are few things you have to do before you can be considered legally wedded in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’re planning ahead for your Las Vegas wedding, you’ll find the process to be pretty low stress. It’s easy to get everything you need with little fuss. Even if you’ve suddenly decided to tie the knot, getting the necessary paperwork is pretty easy.
Here are the three main boxes you need to check off for a successful, legal wedding in Las Vegas.
The first and most important thing you need for a legally binding marriage in Vegas is a marriage license. In other places, getting a marriage license involves a waiting period that can take weeks and require just about every form of identification imaginable.
In Las Vegas, getting your hands on a legal marriage license is much easier. You can begin the process by filling out some preliminary forms for your marriage license online with the Marriage License Bureau in Las Vegas. You can get a head start on this up to ninety days before your wedding. But, if you don’t have the benefit of that much time, this can also all be done in a single day.
The next step is for both parties to make a trip to the Clark County Marriage License Bureau. With very few exceptions, you both do need to appear in front of the county clerk. The Clark County Marriage License Bureau is located in Downtown Las Vegas at 201 E Clark Avenue, Las Vegas. You’ll find them on the ground floor of the Regional Justice Center.
All either of you needs to finalize your marriage license application is some form of valid government-issued identification. A driver’s license, government-issued photo identification card, including a state ID card, a photo ID issued by a foreign country that states your date of birth, military identification, a resident alien card, or a passport are all acceptable forms of identification for acquiring a marriage license in Las Vegas.
A social security card, birth certificate, and other forms of legal identification that do not include a photo and your date of birth are not accepted forms of ID.
The process of walking into the marriage license bureau, showing your identification, and receiving a legal marriage license takes about 15 minutes from start to finish if there is no line. How long it actually takes depends on how many other madly-in-love couples have the same idea as you.
Age of Consent
The second thing you need, and really you can’t get the first if you don’t meet this requirement, is to be the legal age of consent. To be married in Las Vegas, you must be the legal consent age of 18 years of age or older.
There are a few exceptions for extraordinary circumstances when someone who is 17 can make an appeal for a marriage license in Las Vegas, but these exceptions are few and far between. In most cases, if you want to get married in Vegas, you must be a legal adult.
This one seems self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. You can be married legally in Las Vegas only if you’re currently single, legally divorced, or widowed. You don’t have to bring your divorce decree or death certificate with you to the marriage license office, but getting married while already married is considered a gross misdemeanor.
Marriage Ceremony Vs. Commitment Ceremonies and Vow Renewals
Now that we’ve covered the basics of legal Las Vegas weddings let’s go over a few instances when you can get married in Las Vegas without a legally binding contract.
You can get married in Las Vegas and have it be “just for fun.” You only need to find a chapel that’s willing to do it. Many will as long as you’re well informed that you’re entering a legally binding marriage. This same category covers commitment ceremonies where two people can promise their love and devotion to each other in front of witnesses or even Elvis, but not have it be a legal ceremony.
Another type of ceremony where you don’t legally marry the person you’re standing next to is a vow renewal ceremony. Many married couples come to Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows and confirm their commitment to their marriage.
You don’t need any marriage licenses or marriage certificates for this type of ceremony. Most chapels will give you a vow renewal certificate with no legal backing, but you can also apply for a vow renewal certificate with the County Marriage License Bureau.
Whether it’s in an elaborate wedding at one of the major resorts on the Las Vegas Strip or a quiet ceremony in a small chapel, getting married in Vegas results in a true, legal marriage that’s recognized everywhere. If you want to get married in Las Vegas, there are beautiful wedding venues and quirky chapels, all with great wedding packages. You can have the wedding of your dreams in Sin City.