How to Get Legally Married in Nevada and Plan Your NV Wedding
Although Nevada is known for the classic Las Vegas elopement, that isn't the only type of wedding ceremony you'll find here. According to McKenzi Taylor of Cactus Collective Weddings in Las Vegas, the state of Nevada is "seeing a rise in the traditional destination weddings, micro weddings and scenic outdoor weddings (the latter being our specialty)."
But the best part of getting a Nevada marriage license isn't just the range of weddings this state can accommodate — it's also how simple it is to get a marriage certificate and name change. "The marriage license process in Las Vegas is the easiest I have found (and heard from our 600+ couples)," Taylor said.
This takes some wedding planning stress out of the process, giving you more time to dedicate to finding the ideal local vendors to bring your wedding vision to life. "In Las Vegas, the sky is the limit when it comes to planning a wedding: You can do anything from a drive-through chapel, full-scale luxury wedding, destination wedding, micro wedding, outdoor wedding or any form of elopement," she added. "Literally, you can get married on the side of the street, in a national park or a chapel."
But don't let all of the options intimidate you. Whether this is a destination wedding or a local celebration, the first step is knowing how to ensure that your nuptials are legal by obtaining a Nevada marriage license.
How to Get Married in Nevada
The Las Vegas marriage license process is particularly unique because you can get it the same day you want to get married, explained Taylor. With that in mind, we break down the rest of the process for getting legally married in Nevada, step by step, for your wedding planning convenience
Is there a waiting period to get married in Nevada?
In Nevada, there is no waiting period between applying for your marriage license, getting a copy of it, and being able to get married. The marriage license bureau is open nearly around the clock, "in true Vegas fashion", explained Taylor. "While we don't recommend getting it same day, it is still very easy—Vegas is open! You are able to walk out of the County Clerk's Office right into a chapel and get married."
What are the legal requirements to get married in Nevada?
In summary, each party needs to be 18 years of age and have a form of identification with them when they go to the Marriage License Bureau in person. Once there, they'll need to pay for the license, have a witness for a ceremony, have a legal officiant perform the ceremony, and turn in the marriage license paperwork.
What's considered a common law marriage in Nevada?
Nevada does not recognize common law marriages however, individuals can register as a domestic partnership.
Nevada Marriage License 101
In general, getting your marriage license in Nevada is fast and easy. "It usually takes about 15 minutes in total and costs about $102 dollars," said Taylor. "You each need to present your [photo ID] and be in person to obtain the license." But let's take a closer look.
What do you need to get a marriage license in Nevada?
Both parties need to be 18 years of age and appear before a clerk at a Clark County Marriage Bureau location in person for the marriage license application. You must show a valid identification card, like a driver's license or your birth certificate along with a secondary document that shows the applicant's legal name and photograph. You'll also have to pay a license fee. U.S. citizens will also need to give your Social Security Number (however, the physical card isn't necessary). A blood test isn't required.
Once you have a Nevada marriage license, you must have a wedding ceremony within the state with a legal marriage officiant. Your officiant then has 10 calendar (not business) days from the date of your marriage ceremony to file the certificate with the bureau.
What does a Nevada marriage license cost?
Previously, the cost to obtain a marriage license was $77. However, starting in July 2021, the license fee in Clark County changed to $102—with the increased fee going towards supporting domestic violence and rape crisis programs in Nevada. Cash is accepted as well as credit cards, money order, business checks and bank cashier checks.
How long does it take to get a marriage license in Nevada?
Generally speaking, it's a pretty quick process. You can show up at the County Clerk's Office with your photo ID and license fee—and expect to be on your way in under an hour, according to Taylor. "Certain times and dates can have a longer wait, so consider planning in advance," she said. And although it varies by county, "in Las Vegas, the Clark County Marriage License Bureau is open from 8:00 a.m. until midnight, every day of the year—holidays included!"
Can you apply for a marriage license online in Nevada?
You can apply for your marriage license online in Nevada. However, you are still required to visit the County Recorder's Office and pick up your license in person, but pre-registering online expedites the process once you arrive.
How do you get a copy of your Nevada marriage license?
After filling your marriage certificate with the Marriage License Bureau within ten days of your wedding ceremony, you can order copies of your certified marriage certificate. This is certificate is legal proof of marriage and can be ordered online, by mail or in person. Each certified copy costs $20 and you should be able to request it within a few days of officially filing, according to Taylor.
How to Plan a Nevada Wedding
Given how quickly and easy it is to obtain a Nevada marriage license, you'll likely want to focus on figuring out other wedding planning logistics first—like where exactly and with which vendors. As you work on other preparations for you big day, we're here to also help give guidance when it comes to other planning details as well as the best wedding pros to work with in Nevada.
The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a Nevada Wedding
Although geographically, Nevada is a large state, population-wise, the state is mainly made up of a few larger cities that are frequently considered ideal destination wedding locations The Las Vegas area sees the most weddings annually followed by Reno. "Because you can have any type of wedding you can imagine in Las Vegas, it appeals to everyone," she said. "You can spend as little as a few hundred bucks or well into the millions."
In addition to the city convenience and appealing activities that Las Vegas offers, there are also options for those who aren't interested in the gambling or flashy casino feel. "You can start your day with a hike through Red Rock Canyon or visit Mt. Charleston—the options are truly limitless," she added. "The Reno and Lake Tahoe area also has so much to offer with water sports during the summer, skiing during the winter, and hikes through the mountains."
What to Look For in a Nevada Wedding Venue
One of the most important things to look for when searching for your Nevada wedding venue is to make sure that it fits your vibe, guest count and budget. "If you can find a space that checks those boxes, the rest will come so much easier," said Taylor. "After you've accomplished this, you'll want to ask questions like what is included in the venue fees?"
That's because taxes and gratuities can add over another 30% on top of base prices and this can quickly change your budget, she explained. "You'll also want to know what is included in the venue rental," she added. "Are tables chairs and linens a part of the package you booked or should you be budgeting for these things as well?" Lastly, you'll want to do your homework and read what other couples' experiences have been like at each venue you're considering.
How to Find Nevada Wedding Vendors
When you start searching for your vendors, Taylor's best advice is to start with anyone in Nevada who you trust and get their recommendations as a jumping-off point. "It's highly suggested you book your wedding planner and venue first," she said. "From there, if your venue or planner is suggesting someone, they're most likely tried and true." But it's still essential that you do your own research on sites like The Knot Marketplace and Instagram. "Make sure you read reviews and ask other vendors about past experiences with anyone you're considering hiring," she added.
The Best Times of Year to Have a Nevada Wedding for Good Weather
According to Taylor, different areas in the state of Nevada are wildly different when it comes to weather and the best seasons to get married. "If you're getting married in Las Vegas, you'll certainly want to consider the spring or fall," she said. "The mild temperatures in March, April and May—as well as September, October and November, make these our busiest months for weddings."
But even if you plan to have your wedding completely inside, the 115 degree heat in the middle of July in her experience is really only tolerable if you're by the pool. "If you're considering a more northern destination in the state, like the Reno/Lake Tahoe area, summer and fall seem to be the winners," she said. "The winters can be quite cold and snow is common."