First, a word of caution, do NOT book your honeymoon under your new name (if you're changing names); even if you're married, your new name does not take effect until you've gotten your marriage certificate and gone through quite a few steps with the US social security office (assuming you're a US citizen), DMV, etc. Until that is all done and you have new ID's issued, your name has not changed regardless of whether you're married.
Okay, so here are your prerequisites for obtaining a marriage license in Clark County:
- Both parties must appear in person at the marriage bureau location.
- Applicants must be a biological male and a biological female, at least 18 years of age, and no nearer of kin than second cousins or cousins of half-blood, and not having a husband or wife living.
- As of fall 2014, forget this part, anyone can now get married!! Nevada law allows only a male and female to be married. Domestic Partnership questions should be directed to the office of the Secretary of State in Carson City, Nevada at 800-992-0900 or at www.nvsos.gov
- Have "acceptable" identification, which consists of the following:
- Driver’s License
- ID card issued by a US state or territory
- Foreign government issued ID card, including drivers license (must contain picture and birth date)
- Matricula Consular Card
- Military ID card issued by a US Armed Forces branch
- Military Dependent ID card issued by a US Armed Forces branch
- Certificate of citizenship issued by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Certificate of naturalization issued by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Permanent Resident Card issued by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Voter ID card (if it contains both birthdate and photo)
- There are combinations of other forms of ID you can use in place of the above; that list is at http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/clerk/Services/Documents/Identification%20Requirements.pdf
Assuming you have one of those, here are the steps. Prior to beginning this process, you must ensure that the ID you plan to use has the correct name because marriage records cannot be changed later; i.e. if you've divorced and changed back to your maiden name, you need to ensure your ID is up to date before submitting anything.
- Find someone to marry you in Las Vegas. If you're getting married at a chapel, most likely they'll have an officiant for you, preferably one that you'll be able to communicate with beforehand to ensure your ceremony goes the way you want it. There are also numerous third parties who can come to marry you at any location of your choosing; there is a list of some of them at http://www.vegasgroom.com/19/ If you find one of these suits you best, you can search to verify they're licensed in Nevada at the following page: http://www.nvsos.gov/MinisterPublicApp/SearchHome.aspx
If you would prefer to bring your own officiant to preside over your wedding ceremony, that is also an option. To do that, your chosen officiant will need to go through the registration process before your wedding date. At the very least, 45 days ahead of time should be planned to ensure the process completes before your wedding date. The out of state temporary officiant application process (good for one marriage) is outlined here:
For locals, it is http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/clerk/Documents/Perm_App_Pkg.pdf
You should also provide your officiant a copy of the steps for submitting the marriage license forms after your wedding; those are located at: http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/clerk/Documents/Information_for_officiant_English.pdf
- If you choose to, and it is highly recommended that you do unless you just like wasting your own time, you can fill out a pre-application for the marriage license online at http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/clerk/Pages/PreApp.aspx It must be within 60 days of the date you plan to obtain your license to use the pre-application, so if you're further out than that, wait until 60 days to fill it out. Regarding the link, please be aware that you will need pop-up blocking disabled and if you're using Internet Explorer 9+, you will need to put it in 'compatibility view' mode for the page to work properly since the state of Nevada is a bit behind on their page coding.
- Once you get to Vegas, both bride and groom must appear in person at the "Marriage License Bureau" with the ID mentioned above. As long as you did step #2 and pre-registered, you'll be able to use the pre-registered line at the license bureau, this means you could be in and out anywhere from five minutes to maybe an hour at most. If you did not pre-register online, you're going to have a LOT of information to fill out at the bureau, some of which you may not even know, and it could take two to three hours to get in and out. The cost of the license is currently $60 in cash, or you can pay $65 by credit card. There is only one location in Las Vegas that will give you the license, it is the Marriage License Bureau located at:
201 East Clark Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Hours: 8am to Midnight every day of the year including holidays
Do not go to any of the other locations, especially the Office of Civil Marriages as they will not have your license nor be able to issue you one. If you take a cab here from the strip, plan on it being at least $25 each way, so you may want to make other arrangements such as having friends take you if someone with you has a rental car, or ride the bus.
If you take the bus, the ideal option is to take the "SDX" which is the Strip & Downtown Express. A 24-hour bus pass is $7 and you buy the ticket at the stop via a machine, not on the bus. It runs 9am to 12:30am. There are eight strip stops before downtown and once downtown, get off at the Bonneville station. You can find their route maps at http://www.rtcsnv.com/transit/routes-maps-schedules/ (or more specifically, but in case the link changes I gave the other one first, click here for the May 2012 schedule)
If you lose this document, you cannot get a copy or any type of reissue, you need to start over, pay the fee again and go through the line again, so don't lose it!!
- Find somewhere to get married. This can be anywhere in Nevada that you can get an officiant to. Lots of options for that in the Chapels section. The marriage license you obtained above is good for one year from the date of issuance.
- Once your marriage occurs, your officiant will have you sign the paperwork along with your witness. Then it is the officiant's job to turn that paperwork into the country properly to have your marriage recorded.
- Once you're married, start searching for yourself at the following location; the Clark County recorders office search page: https://aivitals.co.clark.nv.us/WebPIInternet/ Keep in mind that "exact" means including middle name, so you should leave the search form set to "like" if you aren't typing your entire name in.
- You'll typically get two results after all the paperwork has been submitted and a few days have gone by; one result will be type MLIC which is your marriage license. You can look at it if you like, but serves no purpose at this point. The one you're waiting for is type MAFF which is your marriage affidavit. Once you see that it exists, you're able to move on to the next step. If you see that it takes more than three business days, your officiant probably hasn't turned it in yet or turned it in late, so contact them to confirm.
- Go to the Clark County Recorder's Office ordering page at http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/recorder/Pages/OrderingMarriageCertificate.aspx
- Click Order Online
- Click Order Marriage Documents
- Search for yourself again. This form is just as stupid as the other one where "First Name" really means "First Name Middle Name" if you used a middle name on your application, which most people do.
- Click on your name. A new box will pop open and near the top you'll see a "Please Signup, or Login, to order a copy of this document." Click Signup most likely unless you already have an account. From there you can complete the checkout process to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You may want to order two just to have an extra on hand if necessary. You can also pick them up in person. Do NOT order them through any of the losers who hang out in front of the marriage license bureau or from any of the 'official looking' letters that show up in your mailbox starting two days after your marriage license has been recorded; those are from third party businesses who want to charge you $20+ in fees to order your certificate for you, even though it will get to you at the exact same time as ordering it yourself.