Sunday, 15 September 2019

How To Plan A Las Vegas Elopement

Planning A Las Vegas Elopement ItsHollieAnn
It's been almost three months since our perfect Las Vegas wedding and since then, I've been rounding up all things planing, to share with you. When I started looking at Vegas weddings I was surprised to find very little information on how to actually do it so I hope this helps in some way if you're organising an LV wedding of your own. Early on in the prep, I wrote about why we were planning to elope but even if you're having a bigger wedding, hopefully there will be some details in here for you.


Starting with the legal stuff. Before doing anything, I checked for the requirements to marry in the USA. At the time of our wedding in June, we didn't have to inform our local registry office, seek permission from our council or file anything when we got home. 

I also checked the Nevada government website to confirm, as a same sex couple, we could marry there and if there was anything they required. Under Nevada law, couples are required to obtain a marriage licence before they marry and so we completed the pre-application online a few months before we flew out (they last for one year) and then went to the Marriage Licence Bureau the day after we arrived to sign and collect our documents which we had to take with us to our wedding.

It's worth noting that your marriage documents will be filed by your officiant soon after the wedding and you will then order your certificates online which you can use in the UK to change your name and prove your marriage where necessary. You don't have to file this anywhere except somewhere safe in your home. Ours took around two weeks to arrive - If you receive anything in the post asking you to order them, don't do this. Use the instructions your officiant gives you to ensure legitimacy.


I found our photographer, JamieY Photography, on Instagram whilst I was in Charleston, a month or so before we got engaged. I sent so many photos to my other half and on our way to a New Years party when I was back home, I messaged her to see if she was available the week we were due to fly out. That night, much to my surprise, we got engaged and the next morning Jamie confirmed she was free. I couldn't believe it. 

I'd looked at her work for months, scoured her website in incredible detail and read endless amazing reviews online. I knew she was perfect right away and even after digging deeper, I found no fault. Jamie was incredible and so fun to work with.

Not only was this amazingly helpful but, without jumping to the next point, she also offered packages. This meant that we could choose one that was right for us that included a whole host of other wedding aspects and see the total cost upfront. Genius. 


Before we booked a package through Jamie, I searched a little online for other planning companies and what they could offer. As you can imagine, there are a multitude of wedding companies in Las Vegas all offering to help with your day. I followed a few on Instagram to get a feel for what they were like but after delving deeper into what their packages offered, I didn't find any that came close to what Jamie was offering. There seemed to always be a catch or something missing - There were also a few that didn't get back to me which was more frustrating than I care to admit. 

If you're going to opt for a package, be sure to ask what's included. Confirm what the price will be and any additional costs you may incur whether that be from tax, tipping or permit fees. Make sure there are contracts in place to protect you as a consumer but also them as a supplier.  

Generally speaking I found that there were additional costs for transport, permit fees and props. These packages will not cover your licence fee or certificate costs. 

Hiring a planner

We were so lucky to have the help of the wonderful Angelica included in our package. She helped us with everything from choosing our vendors, arranging them for us, coordinating the day and was generally the best person to have with us. She even made our dinner reservations and sourced the champagne I'd been dying to find. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

If I'm honest, especially when planning a wedding overseas, I think a planner is 100% necessary no matter how big or small the day. Angelica knew the market, had connections with great suppliers and vendors and of course, was in the same timezone to everyone she needed to contact. 

In the early stages of planning, I questioned whether it was necessary to hire a planner but the closer our wedding got and the more stressed my fiancee and I became, we knew it was the right decision for us. It's worth noting that it also didn't cost us the ends of the earth which was a huge bonus.


Though Angelica could have helped us find a location, we knew after seeing Jamie's photos that we wanted to get married on El Dorado Dry Lake Bed. As the name suggests, it's a dry lake bed surrounded by mountains about 30 miles outside of Vegas. Our friends and family didn't believe it existed.

It's important to know that not all wedding venues in Las Vegas are chapels. Each hotel will have their own wedding space if that's more up your street. For a permit fee, you can marry in the Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon or like us, the Dry Lake is always an option. You can choose to marry in the Grand Canyon however this is covered under Arizona law and so would be a very different scenario - I'd recommend doing separate research on this.

The Dry Lake has no cost, Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon have permit fees and each chapel will have different prices depending what option you choose. Pick a location that suits you as a couple.


We were sign posted to three different officiants by Angelica, our planner. From this we read their profiles, watched other ceremonies they'd conducted and like always, read reviews online. If you're not hiring a planner, you can find officiants with a quick search on Google, The Knot or Wedding Wire. Be sure to check they're official by visiting the Nevada government site. We were married by Judy of Wedding Vows Las Vegas and couldn't recommend her enough.


It's worth noting, if you're not hiring a planner to organise, you'll need to find a way to get to your chosen location. The Dry Lake we married on was 30 miles outside of the city, in the middle of the desert and so we needed someone to take us there, wait with us and bring us home. The cost of an SUV was far less than I thought and I think, with a tip, it was around $200 and it was booked through Lucky Limo SUV. 


Like anything, get some inspiration from Pinterest or Instagram. You'll find a whole host of suppliers, photo and location inspiration, ideas on props, set ups and everything inbetween. Searching the hashtag #LasVegasWeddings results in a real feast for the eyes.

Happy planning! If you have any questions that I haven't answered above, let me know!

Planning A Las Vegas Elopement  HollieAnnBowe

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