I recently got married in Reno, Nevada to my boyfriend of four years. It was the happiest day of my life, and not the most expensive wedding which was really nice. Roger and I are both not religious, so it was an easy decision to get married in Reno, Nevada and have our wedding with the Commissioner of Civil Marriages. The only part about the wedding that was confusing was the paperwork that had to get done. So I wanted to create a guide to the paperwork of getting married in Reno for anyone that needs it.
Step Number One to Getting Married in Reno (of course, this comes after meeting the person that will love and respect you for the rest of your life): You and your soon-to-be spouse need to go in person to the Reno Court House at 75 Court Street in downtown Reno to get your marriage license. There are meters for parking in front, and I wouldn’t put more than thirty minutes in because it is rather quick for government work! In order to obtain the marriage license, bring identification with you and know the birth states of both of your parents; I had to guess on my parent’s birth states, that was embarrassing.
The person will offer you a certified affidavit of the marriage license, if you plan on changing your name, save yourself a trip and buy it then, it was only seven dollars. Speaking of cost, the marriage license costs $55. So a total of $62 to either bring with you or charge to a card, they do not accept personal checks. They are open 8am to 12am (midnight) every day, but they are probably closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, so try to plan around those days. I would also not go the day before or the day of Valentine’s Day, I can only imagine that they would be busier than usual with so many weddings on that day. The marriage license is good for a year, so you can easily do it months before your wedding.
Step Number Two: Get married! For you to be legally married in Reno, Nevada, you must have both a marriage license and a marriage ceremony. There are little wedding chapels throughout downtown Reno, but we found them too cheesy for us. However, if you do not have a witness, it is a smart decision because they will have one and you need one for your wedding to be legal. You can also have someone ordained to perform your wedding ceremony at ulc.org. If you take that route, make sure to have the person get ordained at least two weeks before your wedding, just in case it takes a little longer than promised. And also remember to have a witness present, it is necessary for the marriage ceremony to be legal.
You can also get married with the Commissioner of Civil Marriages which is also in downtown Reno at 195 S. Sierra Street. The hours are Thursday through Monday, 9am to 6pm, and closed for lunch at 1-2pm during the week and 2-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. I would email in advance to double check the hours, but they do not make appointments for weddings. When we went, on a Sunday, there was no one in front or behind us. I think we may have been the only marriage ceremony that day, so appointments wouldn’t be necessary in most cases anyway.
The office where the marriage ceremony is performed is very small (not more than four or five guests, we had only our parents attend) and the vows were nice, nonreligious and did not contain the word “obey.” You can ask for a copy of the vows, which is a good idea, because if you are as emotional as me, you won’t remember what was said! It was $50 for the ceremony. I hadn’t thought to ask about personal vows, so you may want to ask in advance of your marriage ceremony to see if you can do that (I’m almost positive you can though, after all, it is your wedding).
However you decide to get married in Reno, Nevada, bring the marriage license with you! It is required along with the minimum of one witness.
Step Number Three (if you are changing your name): Go to the Washoe County Complex on Wells Avenue, near the Lawlor Event Center. In building A, on the first floor, go to the County Recorder’s office. There are two entrances, it’s the one with the sign saying “Marriage and Real Estate.” Have your blue copy of your marriage ceremony certificate and purchase a certified copy of your marriage for ten dollars. Then go to the DMV and change you name. They will need the certified copy of marriage and will give it right back. The fee for the new driver’s license is $7.25 and you can go to either the main branch or any of the Express DMVs.
Then you can change your social security information. You will want to have the certified affidavit, certified marriage certificate and two forms of identification. One ID needs to have your old name and some description of you or your picture (Passport, School ID) and the other needs to have your new name and again some biographical information or picture of you (the new driver’s license). These four things should cover all your bases as I have been told various requirements by various people. You can either mail it in, or go in person to 1170 Harvard Way, right off of Vassar Street.
I hope this clears some of mystery to the procedure for getting married! I think nowadays we tend to worry more about the matching linen and favors for the wedding than the actual legal bonding you are performing. I just hope that anyone getting married in Reno, Nevada is as happy and committed as my husband and I are. And try not to stress too much about your big wedding day, because remember, it is one of the best big days of your life!