So this is the final part of ‘What happens in Vegas’ a guide to getting married in Las Vegas, based on my own personal experience…..if you missed the previous posts, you can catch up here —-> Part I and Part II
Flowers: The flowers were arranged by the chapel, and this is quite common. For us, the groom’s boutonniere along with the brides ten rose custom bouquet was included, but as lilies are my favourite flowers, I upgraded to the oriental lily mix bouquet. I wasn’t disappointed, they were absolutely stunning. I was so gutted when I had to leave them in the hotel room when we left Vegas, but we couldn’t really take them with us on our road trip, it would have been silly!
My lovely flowers a few days old…..
Marriage Licence: You don’t need to apply for this until you arrive. Available from Clark County Clerks Marriage Bureau, at the time of writing this the price is $60. You must have sufficient ID with you; birth certificate and passport are fine, but BOTH of you must appear in person and the licence is valid for one year from the date it is issued. As Las Vegas holds over 100,000 a year (about 315 per day!), you can imagine how busy the Marriage Bureau gets. You can now fill out an “on-line marriage pre-application” form that allows you to take your reference number and ID to an express window within the bureau. The pre-application form will be kept in the system for 60 days. When Ian and I got married, we paid $75 and the chapel where we were getting married sent us a limo driver to pick us up and take us for our licence. He already had the forms ready and helped us to fill everything in – it was worth every penny! He also took us in the early evening when the bureau is at its quietest (a little tip for you there, as not a lot of people know that!); we were probably in and out within 15 minutes! (Some day’s people can be queueing around the block and waiting for hours).
You will also need a certified copy of your marriage certificate; it costs $15 and you can pick a copy up in person, order it online or send off for it snail mail styleee. There is no waiting time in Vegas when getting married.
We were really lucky with our chapel and the limo driver. After taking us for our marriage licence, he then took us to a mini-mart so we could pick up some necessities, followed by a night-time tour of the strip; he pointed everywhere out and recommended places to go. Don’t expect this kind of customer service from every chapel on the strip!
Witnesses: If, like Ian and I, you get married and it’s just the two of you, you’re going to need witnesses. Don’t panic! Your photographer and videographer can act as your witnesses!
Jazz hands have been a very weird part of our lives for as long as I can remember! I can’t recall how or when the whole jazz hands saga started, but it would have been a very random moment indeed. When we told our photographer we wanted to do this under the Vegas sign, she was confused for quite some time….
Gratuities: Don’t forget that with this being America it is expected that you leave gratuities. Each chapel will be different, but they will always ‘suggest’ amounts, and these are roughly as follows: Minister $60, limo driver $40 and your photographer $30. Our Minister gave us an envelope and then left the room, so there was no awkwardness, and again, I think we put money in an envelope for our photographer. We tipped the limo driver directly when he dropped us off back at our hotel.
I think that’s about everything for the marriage part of it! One of the great things about getting married abroad is that once the wedding is over, you’re already on your honeymoon!
General Info: Once you’ve landed and been through customs, you’re ready to start your adventure and find your way to your hotel. If you plan on taking a taxi, you’ll find that the taxi driver will probably ask if you’ve been to Vegas before; I would suggest saying YES! Figure out which part of the strip your hotel is on, as unless you say something, the taxi driver will probably take you along the freeway. Our hotel was just a few minutes drive from the airport, and even though there was no need for our driver to take the freeway, he did, as this is a longer, more expensive fare. So figure out where your hotel is before you go and tell the driver to avoid the freeway. A little tip from me to you!
As for the strip itself, we walked everywhere. The day after we got married we walked from our hotel, to the Chapel of the Flowers to collect our images, and then back again. This is roughly 10 miles and in 90° heat, it was tough! If you prefer not to walk everywhere, you can easily navigate the strip by bus, monorail, shuttle or taxi.
Obviously most people go to Vegas for the gambling, but that didn’t hold any interest for us, which is why we stayed at the MGM Signature; it’s one of the few hotels on the actual strip without a casino. Obviously there are others, but I have no idea what they are like. This is where Google and Trip Advisor become your best friend again!
So that’s it folks! My ‘What happens in Vegas’ guide has come to an end; I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it helpful! …..and if you ever find yourself getting married in Vegas and in need of a photographer – I’m always happy to travel outside of the UK!
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