Sometime early in April this year, 2016, we decided to buy airline tickets to Las Vegas. Our families don’t know about our secret Vegas wedding, and we only let a handful of our friends in on the secret. (Only so they would watch our dog while we were out of town). On May 6th we flew to Vegas, and on May 7th the King and Queen of Fatcastle got married by another King, Elvis.
Since we were younger, we had both joked about a Vegas wedding, spontaneously, and with a drink in our hands. We finally made it reality.
Preparing for your Vegas Wedding
We flew out on a Friday night and returned only one night later. Friday night, we arrived in Vegas and explored the strip. Saturday morning, we went to the marriage license office of Clark County to get our marriage license. The whole process is incredibly easy: You go online and fill out this pre-application.
We filled out the application about a week before we left for Vegas. On the day of our wedding, May 7th, we stopped by the office, showed our IDs, paid the fee (currently $77), and received our license. Two couples were waiting in front of us, and it took probably about 20 to 30 minutes total. The queen is not a US citizen, but the process barely differs for residents and non-residents. The queen’s driver’s license indicates that it is “temporary” due to her student visa status. However, the clerk accepted it and no one needed to see her passport. Here is the address to pick up your marriage license.
Around the time we booked our tickets to Vegas, we also booked a package with a wedding chapel. We decided on “a Elvis chapel”, thanks to their excellent online ratings. We also listened to our gut feelings. When we called them they indicated that they had a special going on. The “Burning Love” package was about $55 cheaper, which means 10 extra pictures and an additional song performed by Elvis. The chapel also organizes a small bouquet of roses, an Elvis impersonator for the ceremony, limo service to and from the hotel, as well as a copy of Elvis’ and Priscilla’s marriage certificate (yay…).
Vegas Wedding “Elvis Style”
We only had a hotel for one night, so we had some drinks on the strip. We requested to be picked up at one of the casino hotels on the northern part of the strip. At the Circus Circus, the bartender even gave us some free drinks because we told him we were about to get married. The limo came about half an hour later than agreed upon, but the driver was friendly and we were tipsy so we didn’t care that much.
When we got to the chapel, a lady rushed us into the bathrooms to change and it all happened very fast. The chapel organizes for a real minister to be there, so you actually get married before the Elvis ceremony. The Elvis wedding is just for the show and the pictures – Elvis is not a minister (shocking). One of the chapel employees serves as the witness. After the “real” wedding, Elvis walked the bride down the isle while singing “in the Ghetto”. This song was not on their original song list, but they happily accept special requests. You get to choose three songs for Elvis to sing. Unfortunately, he only sings about 30 seconds of each song, and the whole ceremony takes a mere 10 minutes.
So you pay $300 plus tax plus about $180 in tips (for the minister, the photographer, the “Elvis”, and the limo driver) for a 10-minute experience. Well worth it if this has been your lifelong dream.
We got 30 pictures included in our deal, as well as a tacky 10-minute video to share with friends and family at our real upcoming wedding. The photographer told us that the full set of pictures (80 in our case) cost 200 dollars extra. It is important to know that they upload the pictures to a website called dotphoto.com several days after the ceremony. You can download the pictures from the website and order some fun merchandise like coffee mugs. A lot of the 80 pictures were doubles or bad shots (eyes closed etc.) so we decided against paying the extra $200.
Vegas Wedding Outfits
The queen had even ordered a wedding dress for the occasion. She used a website called vbridal.com and ended up paying only about $100 plus shipping from China for a custom tailored dress. Even though these websites with dresses from China have a terrible reputation, the dress fit perfectly and she might even use it for our real wedding, which is coming up later this year (because, why only get married once?). The little flower hair pin is from Claire’s. The king rented his tuxedo from men’s warehouse and ended up spending more on his outfit than the queen. Crazy world.
After the Wedding
While we really liked the ceremony, which was just as you can imagine (tacky), the photographer was a little disappointing. Elvis was great and we could tell that he has been doing this for a long time – he stayed in character for the whole time we were there. After the ceremony, the limo driver took us to Freemont Street so that we could gamble and drink some more. We flew home that same night.
About ten days after your Vegas wedding, you can go online and request your official marriage certificate. But beware: probably before the seven to ten days are over, you might receive solicited calls from service providers offering to send you expedited marriage certificates for a higher price. If you see someone from Nevada calling a few days after your marriage ceremony, don’t answer the phone and research the number to make sure you are not being scammed. It happened to us, and we are usually pretty careful. Make sure you use the official website.
So what did the whole Vegas wedding cost us? $800 in airline tickets from Florida, about $300 for outfits, almost $500 for the ceremony, $80 for one night hotel, probably about $100 in uber rides around Vegas, and then drinks, food, and a lot of sleep, more money for game of thrones slot machines… but who is counting? A Vegas wedding is a special experience and in the end, you only get married once (or twice, like us.)