Happy 1 Year Anniversary to us! On December 31st last year (2016) we travelled to the United States and got married in Vegas! Actually we got married just outside of Vegas, in the Valley of Fire State Park. In celebration of our one year anniversary we thought we’d share our experience of getting married in Vegas for anyone considering the same, or for all of y’all wedding tragics who just love a good wedding of any shape, size or location!
Married in Vegas: Eloping to the Valley of Fire State National Park, Nevada
Married in Vegas: First things First – Get a Marriage License
First things first we had to get a marriage license. It may surprise you that getting married in Las Vegas is not an instantaneous on the spot in front of the first Elvis impersonator you see affair! It’s still pretty easy, efficient and quick though, if time is of the essence! To obtain a marriage license both parties need to present themselves at the Clark County Marriage License Bureau with photo ID and USD $77. This process takes about 15 minutes all told, unless there is a long line ahead of you. But there’s plenty of time to get there, the office is open from 8am until midnight daily, 7 days a week including holidays – how cool is that!? We pushed the time limits and made our way there just before midnight on the night before our intended wedding day each with a cocktail in hand… NB you couldn’t actually bring these into the office, you must show some decorum! And being very drunk could be cause for being turned away by security, so plan your pre-game festivities accordingly! You can get all the info on the Clark County official page for marriage licenses here.
Where to Get Married in Vegas?
This was the first question we asked ourselves, we’d figured out the why already of course, the why is different for everyone, but for us it was timing, cost and simplicity mostly! So where to get married in Vegas? We wanted something low fuss, but a casino chapel wedding seemed not our style and a novelty drive-thru or Elvis wedding might be fun at the time but regrettable in years to come. In the end, then, the answer was simple! By simply ruling those options out we were not left with too many more! The obvious answer was NOT in Las Vegas, but just outside of it at the Valley of Fire State Park. The pictures of this red dirt, rock and scrub desert park was just too stunning in all the photos we saw whilst researching. We were super pleased with our choice too, our only regret that we didn’t have more time to take a quick hike, but hey that’s what anniversary celebrations in years to come are for!
How to Get Married in Vegas?
Now this was initially the most difficult question to work out. We did try looking into privately planning all aspects of our Valley of Fire State Park wedding, but this turned out to be time consuming and expensive. We only had three weeks in which to plan the occasion and in hindsight were probably lucky to get our chosen date and venue no problem! Because we wanted to get married outside of Vegas quotes for services were generally at a higher rate and had to be calculated as non-standard quotes. We looked into getting an Elvis celebrant out to the desert but diva that he was his stipulations were many and pricey including what time we would need to return him to Vegas for his nightly performance!
So we bit the bullet and booked through a wedding package company. There are absolutely HEAPS of these to choose from, whatever sort of wedding style you are looking for there is probably already a package for it or a company happy to help customize it to your design. We were one of over 80,000 couples who got married in Vegas in 2016 alone! It’s a big industry! So there’s a plethora of services available for whatever you may need including hair and makeup artists who will come to your hotel room!
We booked with Las Vegas Weddings Company (LVWC) we were pretty pleased with the ease and price of their Valley of Fire State Park Wedding Package which was under $1000 USD and included a celebrant, photographer, entries to the park and more. It didn’t include the transport to the park so we booked a limo service separately. Having this more personal input meant that this was exactly what we wanted, we were able to bring drinks and keep them in the limo fridges and the driver was really fun. Leaving the other details in the hands of the package company meant this was perhaps not as personalised as we would have liked. For example they also organised some simple flowers but the choice was between red or white roses, which is not much of a choice if you are going for a very specific aesthetic. We also found the photographer, although a really fun guy who got a couple of incredible shots, to also be perhaps not our style, particularly after the 99th prom pose shot… So these are some of the trade-offs of using a package company – it’s very unlikely to be exactly as you would dream it to be, so be prepared to have low expectations (which can then be exceeded) in exchange for a great price and a minimal-planning/stress-free experience.
Valley of Fire State Park Wedding
A couple of quick notes specific to a Valley of Fire State Park Wedding. We got married at the Seven Sisters landmark. There are 3 other areas you can choose from. You have to book to have your marriage at these locations as there seems to be an all-day back to back turn over here of wedding after wedding! It didn’t feel crowded though, although a group of park visitors did stop by the picnic area that we had left some of our things at so we now feature in a handful of peoples holiday/park visit snaps I guess! The Valley of Fire State Park website wedding section now directs bookings through one of the Vegas Wedding package companies, I wonder if a deal has been struck to try and give them exclusivity? Although it still seems you can book through the different package company that we used.
We got married at the end of December in the State Park. This is mid-winter in Las Vegas with daily max temperatures around 15C (60F). On the day of our wedding the skies were clear and blue, it was cold and we brought jackets with us, but it was warm in the sun! The sun seemed to set around 5pm which is something to keep in mind for a sunset wedding. We wanted a sunset time slot but it was taken for our date. However our slightly earlier time slot thus meant that we caught golden hour, a photographers favourite time of day! Of the three days we were in Vegas only one was slightly drizzly, typically Vegas enjoys a pretty dry climate (its a desert!) so it makes for a pretty good bet for an outdoor wedding destination, even in winter! One final note on what to wear 😉 Now of course this is totally up to you and I got chatting to the photographer and found out that ABSOLUTELY, brides wear full dresses and heels all the time here! But we did find that it wasn’t easy to walk up some of the rocks for photos, even in boots, and the hem of my not very long dress got covered in red dirt. Finally as mentioned above a coat was a godsend and so also were sunglasses for the bright desert sun.
Celebrating Getting Married in Vegas
Actually we don’t have much to tell you here as this is a no-brainer! Las Vegas has it all so your post-ceremony celebration will be easy enough to figure out based on what you love. A note specific to our post-wedding ceremony celebration was simply one of timing – that is it fell on New Year’s Eve (very much chosen by one of our party who is bad with remembering dates to always know when the subsequent anniversaries fall 😉 ). As we were celebrating on New Year’s Eve EVERYTHING was double the usual price, and I am not exaggerating when I say double! We grabbed dinner at an all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ restaurant and then spilled out onto the strip to mingle with the crowds and see the midnight fireworks countdown. If attending this, note that you can still drink out on the street, so we were purchasing beers from our nearest shop at USD $4 per can, which didn’t seem to dear until the next day when we returned to the shop to find all cans now only USD $2 per can.
So that concludes our little post on getting married in Vegas, we hope you found it informative and/or the romantic wedding-obsession fix you were looking for! What happened next? Well here we are a year later celebrating our first year of marriage so I guess Vegas elopements can stick 😉 If you’ve got married in Vegas, are planning a Vegas elopement, or are just a total wedding tragic we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! Until next time, Viva Las Vegas (Weddings!) Erin & Ryan