“What are we doing today?” Anthony asked me from the bed at our Las Vegas Hotel. It was the morning of our last day before we headed on to Los Angeles after a quick trip to show our kids the infamous Strip.
“I’m not sure. Maybe take the kids to The Venetian. What do you want to do?” was my response as I kept my eyes on my phone, trolling through my emails and sipping a double shot Starbucks whilst Eva watched cartoons and Jack had his morning sleep.
“I think we should get married”
That certainly got my attention away from the phone “Are you serious?” I asked…about fifteen times. After 12 years together and two children, getting married hadn’t really been on my radar.
“Yes, I am serious. Are you serious?” Anthony questioned me.
I asked Eva if she thought her crazy parents should get married today and she gave us what can only be described as a three year old’s eye roll.
“OK then. Let’s do it!” I exclaimed as I grabbed the laptop to check out the legalities (ever the researcher!).
A wedding in Las Vegas is legal in Australia, and pretty easy to do – but requires a bit more effort than we expected. It’s not possible to just turn up at the Little Chapel of Love and have it all over and done with in five minutes. But you can do it in seven hours!
First you need to obtain a marriage license from theClark County Marriage Bureau. You must do this in person, however you can fill out the application online to reduce your wait time (we did this, and only waited in line for about one minute). The marriage license is valid from the moment you receive it for one year and cost US$77. You still need a marriage ceremony to complete the process, and this can take many forms in Las Vegas.
As we wanted a casual, fuss free wedding, we were happy to find any venue that looked half decent and preferably didn’t have Elvis as the Minister.
For the ceremony you can wear anything you like, within reason, and we decided to put in a little bit of effort which meant a stop at Fashion Show Mall. Eva was the self-appointed flower girl so she needed a new dress, along with a white dress for her mama. Thankfully Macy’s is prepared for this as we were surrounded by white dresses within a few metres from the entrance. Clothes sorted, it was on to the rings. We later discovered that you don’t have to exchange rings during the ceremony, but I am glad we did. There is no shortage of jewellery stores in Vegas, so your options are endless. You might also want to get hair and/or make up done whilst you’re at the Mall. I didn’t as we were juggling two kids who wouldn’t have the patience to sit still whilst Mummy had her face painted.
After we received our Marriage License we found a venue that takes “walk ins”. Some people choose to be married on certain dates so there is a chance that the venue you want is fully booked – for example on Valentine’s Day. We were married on 6 July and were told that the venue was fully booked the next day – 7/7/17 – Lucky numbers in Las Vegas.
We chose Downtown Vegas Chapel which is bright and modern and exactly what we were after. They provide wedding packages but like most things in America, includes plenty of add ons. Make sure you clarify what you are getting for your money. Our package included nine photos taken by a professional photographer. We couldn’t choose just nine photos from the 90 taken, so we ended up purchasing all of the photos – for $800! (told you – add ons!)
The Minister spoke with us before the ceremony to make sure it was exactly as we wanted. The Wedding Planner from the Venue, Whitney, was wonderful and she even located a basket with fake petals for Eva to spread down the aisle.
We hadn’t expected to get professional photos taken, thinking a few selfies would suit us just fine, but now that we’re back home it is wonderful to have those photos to look back at what seemed like a whilrlwind.
You will receive a signed marriage certificate after your ceremony, and the Minister has ten days to register it with Clark County. Once it’s registered you can order a certified copy online. You will need this if you intend to change your name in Australia. You may also need an Apostille, which is obtained from the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.
Whilst legal in Australia, a marriage in Las Vegas cannot be registered with Births, Deaths, and Marriages. This means that if you would like to take your new spouse’s name you will need to apply to change your name.
Getting married in Las Vegas was a fantastic decision for us, as we love the place and used to visit every year pre-children. It was simple, and for this stress head, was the perfect way to get married. Even if I was engaged for only seven hours.
Have you been married in Las Vegas or Overseas? Is there anything you would have done differently?