Steps to getting legally married in Las Vegas (and common mistakes!)

What paperwork to do to get legally married in Las Vegas and how to have your friend or family member officiate your Las Vegas Wedding

You probably stumbled across this post because you are planning your Las Vegas Wedding or Elopement. And yay! I’m glad you’re here and I’m happy to provide some insight into the process. Likely, it’s your first wedding and you want it to be PERFECT, right?!

pastel wedding colors

For those that are looking for a more romantic and nature-inspired wedding, a desert or garden wedding in Las Vegas is also very appealing. Or hey, let’s go downtown to Old Las Vegas and capture some neon lights and antique buildings. And the idea of having your bff officiate your wedding sounds great, right?! My couples almost ALWAYS have their friend or family member officiate and I get this question rather frequently so I wanted to clear it up by writing a post about it. First off, I have some great news! You can have your dream wedding in Las Vegas! and your friend can officiate as long as they do their homework and get all their paperwork in order. Here is my guide for how to get legally married in Las Vegas and what you, as the couple needs to do.

wedding band inspo

A common misconception is that you can fly to Las Vegas on a whim to get married and bring your best friend along who just got their officiant certificate online yesterday. Wrong!! Nevada has very strict officiant laws to prevent this from happening. I am of the opinion that this is intentional to protect legally ordained officiant’s in Las Vegas that have made a career out of it.

emerald shaped engagement ring

I actually made this exact mistake and I’m a Las Vegas Wedding Photographer. One of my best friends had gotten her ordainment certificate online and was told it was valid in all 50 states across the United States. She thought that she was good to go and didn’t give it any more thought. The day before I got married she realized that she had not filed the proper paperwork with the state of Nevada in order to legally officiate our marriage. In Nevada, even if you have your officiant certificate that is supposed to be valid you have to register with the state of Nevada 30 days prior in order to legally officiate ceremonies.

desert wedding inspo

I didn’t want an officiant that I didn’t know on my actual wedding day so what I did was we went to a drive-through wedding the day with a licensed officiant before or actual wedding date. So legally, my marriage date was January 10, 2020 even though what I would consider my “real” wedding would have been on January 11, 2020.

desert elopement photographer

How you and your fiance can get legally married in Las Vegas

  1. The easiest way to apply for your pre-marriage license is online.

    **Carefully check through what Clark County needs from you. You’ll need multiple forms of ID. Please refer to the link above to triple check everything you need. I highly recommend making a “wedding folder” that you put everything you need into before your trip to Las Vegas.

  2. Fly to Las Vegas for your wedding!

  3. Go to the Marriage Bureau (They’re open until Midnight every day!) to pick up your paperwork

  4. Get married!!

  5. Follow up with your officiant to make sure they file their paperwork as seen below.


Steps to being able to legally officiate a wedding in Las Vegas:

Get ordained!! I highly recommend the Universal Life Church

  1. Fill out an affidavit with the county will be performing the ceremony in. 

  2. Specifically for Las Vegas which is located in Clark County you will also need a letter of good standing. 

  3. You will then have to take a quiz no later than 30 days before you will be officiating a wedding in Las Vegas.

  4. Perform the ceremony!

  5. Send the documents to the Marriage Bureau to register the marriage. You should do this immediately, but you have up to 90 days to do.

wedgewood wedding photographer

Easy peasy right? I hope you found this helpful and now that you know everything about the legalities of a Las Vegas Wedding I know you’re looking for your dream Vegas Wedding Venue and more tips. Here’s some additional reading for you. Grab a cup of tea and get on it:

One thing you NEED to know about booking your Las Vegas Wedding Venue

Best 3 Las Vegas Wedding Venues

If you enjoyed this post and are looking for a Las Vegas Wedding Photographer I’d love to chat more.


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