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Nevada

Weddings in Nevada

Nevada's rich past is deeply rooted in quick weddings and prompt divorces. And if there's one thing Nevadans have learned over the years, it's how to get married in style. From lakeside ceremonies and mountaintop receptions to quaint chapel nuptials and drive-through "I dos," there's a ceremony and location for all tastes and budgets.

And Nevada is a one-stop shop for many couples: It's one place where you can marry and honeymoon in one of the world's most beautiful locales, be it Lake Tahoe, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire or the glitzy Las Vegas Strip.

Outdoor venues are an oft-requested element of Nevada weddings. From the ruddy peaks and valleys of Red Rock Canyon, only 15 minutes from downtown Las Vegas, to the regal and crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, Nevada has an endless variety of terrain for that picture-perfect wedding. In 2005, Modern Bride magazine named Lake Tahoe in the top 10 wedding destinations, in part because of the lake's range of rustic to elegant, affordable to extravagant.

Nevada's reputation as a wedding mecca is well-founded in its historically convenient regulations. Nevada does not require pre-wedding blood tests or a waiting period, and marriage licenses are easy to buy at the county clerk's office in each of the state's 17 counties. True to their reputations as cities that never sleep, Las Vegas and Reno even have license bureaus that stay open until midnight or around the clock on weekends.

Wedding chapels dot the Nevada city skylines and rural landscapes, offering a plethora of venues for the special day. Most offer wedding packages ranging from $100 for a basic ceremony to $1,000 for the whole shebang with a cake, photographer, music and limousine service.

Few things in Nevada are ordinary or routine, and weddings are no exception. Only in Nevada can you float, race or fly your way to the altar, be joined in matrimony by Elvis and toast to your new life at a craps table.

You might enter the romantic ranks of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Demi Moore and Michael Jordan, all of whom were married at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. The chapel appeared in the "Ross and Rachel's Wedding" episode of "Friends" and has been featured on "Good Morning America," "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee."

For a touch of history, couples can marry at The Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, the only building on the Strip to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The chapel, built in 1942, has seen many celebrities within its walls. Roy Rogers sang at the first wedding performed at the chapel in 1943, and Betty Grable and Harry James were the first couple to tie the knot at its altar. Among the laundry list of celebrity nuptials are Angelina Jolie, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dudley Moore, Cindy Crawford and Mickey Rooney. The chapel has even been featured on the Silver Screen in "Viva Las Vegas."

The Reno Hilton brings the traditional church setting indoors with stained glass art in its chapel. The Las Vegas Hilton sends couples to the stars with its "Star Trek" themed ceremony while Prince Charming can prove his undying love for his betrothed by conquering a fire-breathing dragon before joining his fair maiden at the altar and being wed by Merlin the Sorcerer. And for the hopeless romantic in all of us, we'll always have Paris - Paris Las Vegas, that is. Couples can marry atop the Eiffel Tower or poolside in the City of Light on the Las Vegas Strip. Also offering an international flair for those who stay stateside, the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas re-creates the beauty and allure of Venice with its gondola rides on the Grande Canal and a ceremony on the Rialto Bridge in St. Mark's Square.

However, not everyone is looking for the King of Rock 'n' Roll to pronounce them man and wife, and Nevada has just the right formula for the more traditional, albeit unforgettable, wedding day. Most chapels offer Christian, traditional or civil services, as well as all the little details from flower arrangements to music that make the day special for each couple.

Part of what makes Nevada so unique is its untouched wide-open spaces and Western heritage. Virginia City, Nevada's biggest and richest town in the 19th century, is a picturesque spot to tie the knot and ride away on horseback or buggy, neither of which are an unusual sight in this Western town.

Goldfield, another once-flourishing mining town in Southern Nevada, boasts an impressive 1907 courthouse with huge parapets and a rough stone façade reminiscent of a Scottish castle. For a small fee and advance notice, the justice of the peace will perform a traditional Paiute Indian blessing in the District Courtroom, which still contains original brass gaslight fixtures and priceless Tiffany lamps.

Historic Eureka, on U.S. Highway 50, is one of Nevada's best-preserved mining towns. The 1880 red brick courthouse is a popular wedding venue, as is the Eureka Opera House across the street. Both buildings hearken back to the gold-mining era of the late 1800s and are beautifully restored. The Eureka Opera House also features a modern full-size kitchen perfect for preparing a reception dinner.

True to its name, Lovelock in Northern Nevada is just the place to lock one's love in matrimony and metaphor. Lovelock has adapted the ancient Chinese custom of the "lover's lock," which a couple would lock around a chain and throw away the key, thus locking their love for eternity. Lovebirds flocking to Lovelock can mirror the Chinese custom and set the symbol of their love on display for all to see.

International visitors make up the third largest group to say their vows in Nevada, perhaps because the regulations are the same for international visitors and residents alike. International couples can receive official documentation, called an apostille, of their Nevada marriage by sending a certified copy of their marriage certificate to the Nevada Secretary of State. The fee is $20 and the certificate must be mailed to 101 North Carson St., Suite 3, Carson City, NV 89701-4786

Nevada is an eclectic embodiment of beauty and repose, glamour and excitement, making it one of the top wedding destinations in the nation, as well as the fastest-growing state in the nation.
In 2004, more than 147,000 marriages were filed in Nevada. With a bounty of beauty and abundance of entertainment, Nevada truly is one state where one can do it - even get married while on vacation or during a weekend getaway. Most importantly, it's a place where love that runs as deep as the gold in the hills can be expressed and bound in marriage in any number of unique and matchless ways.

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Document Information
Source: Nevada Commission on Tourism; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070904
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