Getting Hitched in Vegas? Elvis May Have Left the Building

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Come the New Year, Elvis impersonators who perform marriage ceremonies in Las Vegas, Nev. must be active or retired ministers with a congregation of 20 or more. That goes for all ministers who perform wedding ceremonies, though the Elvis impersonators will still cost extra.

A spokeswoman for the Clark County government, which includes Las Vegas, describes the new county law as a housekeeping item, a "reinforcement" of a 1967 state law. Up until now, county law was silent as to how large a congregation a minister needed before that minister could perform weddings. State law requires such ministers to have a congregation but doesn't specify a number.

"We could have said [a congregation of] one, be we are the ones who said twenty," said Mindy Wadkins, Clark County public information services manager.

Consistent with state law, the new county law also requires ministers to pass a criminal background check before attaining the necessary license to perform marriage ceremonies.

More than 100,000 weddings are performed in Clark County annually, mostly in Las Vegas.

Wadkins stressed that the new regulations affect ministers, not judges or the betrothed. "It's really not going to be tougher to get married in Las Vegas, [but] it may be one step tougher to get a license to marry people," Wadkins explained. "It's not [an additional burden] on our guests."