MadameNoire Featured Video
1 of 15

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Kypros / Getty

Is this the weirdest time in history to get married, or the perfect time? I alternate between believing either or, but either way, I just did it! My boyfriend and I – sorry, husband now – finally tied the knot. We eloped in Las Vegas, to be specific. This is not a time when I would dare ask a hundred loved ones to travel from around the country and sit closely at a table to celebrate my nuptials. In light of COVID-19, that is not very responsible. But, furthermore, that’s not something I ever wanted – neither of us did.

Planning a proper wedding was this awful, dreadful task that loomed over us – something we felt we’d have to do eventually, but would hate every moment of. We’re casual people. We don’t need a whole to-do. We’ve been together for seven years and at this point, we just wanted to get married! We didn’t want to put nine to 18 months of wedding planning between us and the status of married. I know it is a difficult time in history. A tense one. Protests took place along the very street our chapel sat on just two days before we got hitched. We wondered if we should cancel. But ultimately, we decided that now, more than ever, is a time to grow love. So that’s what we did.

People drove by and heckled us. Some were supportive, yelling “Congratulations!” and “Get it!” Some yelled the cliché but funny “Don’t do it!” We loved every second of it. Here’s what it’s like to elope in Las Vegas during this pandemic, in case you were thinking about doing it yourself, which many couples actually are, with more traditional weddings needing to be postponed.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: L.E. BASKOW / Getty

The Marriage Bureau

First off, the marriage bureau is open, so you can get married. You can file for your license online. The form takes all of five minutes. And then you just need to pick it up at the Marriage Bureau within sixty days of filing. Be ready with information like what cities your parents were born in and their names before marriage. And be ready with $77, which is what the license will cost. Most chapels in Vegas will require a Nevada-issued marriage license to marry you. So keep that in mind before running off and getting one in your home state.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: ANGELA WEISS / Getty

At the bureau

The bureau requires you to wear masks at this time to enter the building. Your temperature will be taken at the front, and you’ll get a squirt of hand sanitizer in your palms. All of the employees are wearing masks, and there will be a large plastic shield between you and the clerk who works with you. Between the masks and the shields, we wound up having to repeat ourselves multiple times to make sure we got all the paperwork right.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: L.E. BASKOW / Getty

Is anybody else doing it?

There was one another couple picking up their license while we were there, and it was honestly surreal having these two giddy couples, standing around wearing masks, while celebrating the beginning of one of the most important acts of their lives. But it was also great to see that even a pandemic won’t stop love. We gave each other knowing and teary-eyed smiles, and congratulations. We all knew the complicated emotions we were experiencing.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Denise Truscello / Getty

Onto the hotel

Only a tiny portion of Las Vegas is open right now. On the strip, multiple properties within the Caesar’s Entertainment group are open, including Caesar’s Palace (where we stayed!), Harrahs, and the Flamingo. At Caesar’s, they were running temperature checks for every guest that checked in. And those working the front desk spray and wipe down their counter and credit card machine, and get a sanitized pen, before checking in each new guest. All employees are wearing masks. And there are staff members standing at every entrance, handing out disposable masks.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Denise Truscello / Getty

Are people wearing masks?

If I had to give an eyeball estimate, I’d say about half of the guests were wearing masks. Not the best of odds. But it is Vegas, so, many of those who wore masks wore bedazzled or designer masks, covered in bling or metal hardware or glitter. If you were to tell a designer, “Make me a mask, but make it Vegas” – you get the idea. Some women with a lot of plastic surgery opted for clear face shields because, well, why cover up all of that expensive work?

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Jim Steinfeldt / Getty

We picked The World Famous Little White Chapel

You know, where Michael Jordan got married. Where Britney Spears got married. Very classy establishment LOL. To be honest, we absolutely loved the chapel and the staff. Every part of it walls in, is charming. But walls out, well, TBH it’s in a bit of a rough neighborhood. Pay-by-the-hour motels and seedy adult book stores line the streets, along with a decent amount of potato chip bags and empty Skoal tins. This is chapel central. It’s where all the drive-by, budget chapels are. So if you’re into something with a bit more, eh, finesse, it’s not for you. But if you have a sense of humor, go for it. We loved it.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Busà Photography / Getty

It felt like an apocalyptic wedding

In many ways, it all felt like getting married in the apocalypse. The chapel itself has bars on the windows. All the chapels in that neighborhood do. They’ve attempted to make them decorative – they are “bars” shaped like beautiful vines and painted white, but, bullet-proof bars nonetheless. Before even entering the building, we needed to walk up to a woman behind a bullet-proof window who checked our names and IDs. Then somebody unlocked the door for us, and re-locked it behind us. It almost felt like we were doing something illegal by getting hitched.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Kypros / Getty

The chapel district is eerily quiet

Due to the pandemic and recent road blockages surrounding protests, every other business on the street was closed, and orange cones lined the sidewalks – some bent or knocked over, making you think of the tanks and crowds who rushed through there just 48 hours earlier. In this desolate area, this little chapel stands strong, determined to let people formalize their love, even in a place that feels, honestly, rather love-less right now.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: BEN STANSALL / Getty

Temp. checks at the chapel

An adorable, petite Japanese woman named Maria greeted us at the front door with a thermometer. “I’m your minister. I’m also taking your temperature,” she said. I guess ministers have the extra job of playing nurse now, too! Maria met her husband on Match.com while still living in Japan and moved to Las Vegas for him eight years ago, and gushes still about how handsome he is. We LOVED Maria! Plastic shields separated us from the more permanent staff – Maria is freelance (is that a thing for ministers?), and comes in when she’s booked.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Alexander Ryumin / Getty

We didn’t have to wear masks

We, the bride and groom, were not required to wear masks to get married. I guess we were “bad” for a moment there. But it was just us two, our minister, and photographer, and we all kept our distance. We had our families watching on Zoom, and it was hard enough for them to hear our vows without masks on, let alone with masks on. So that was a risk we took, but guests are more than welcome to get married wearing masks should they choose.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Mnt Chay Thas Mali / EyeEm / Getty

We Zoomed in the families

Since it was just us, we threw a staff member $20 to hold our phone for the 15-minute ceremony, so our families could watch on Zoom. There was nothing smooth or formal about this. I had to let everyone into the “waiting room” on Zoom and do a soundcheck, so they all saw me before I walked down the aisle – no mystery around how the bride looked there! Then I just propped the camera in a corner for them to all stare at some pretty stained-glass windows for another 10 minutes until we were all ready to begin. My husband had to press play and stop on the song we’d chosen, himself. It was really all pretty bumpy and quirky.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: Westend61 / Getty

Silence their cameras

I’m telling you, when people are watching your wedding on Zoom, they do not remain nearly as silent as they do when they are physically present for your wedding. I could hear little comments. Laughter. A sink running at one point. Family, I love you, but y’all were a bit loud during my ceremony! Anyways, word to the wise, mute your Zoom attendees if you have a Zoom wedding.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: SDI Productions / Getty

Then that, was that

There is a weirdness when it’s over, because you don’t want to just shut down the meeting. All of your loved ones are on there, and they want to chat. But, also, you need to move onto signing paperwork, paying out the chapel staff, and getting your photos taken. So, as the host, I just had to say to everyone on Zoom “Thank you for watching! Signing off now!” I hit “end meeting,” and it went dark for them all. No cocktail hour or reception over Zoom.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: GoodLifeStudio / Getty

The simplicity was wonderful

I can’t tell you how nice it was that, for the hours leading up to my nuptials, all I had to worry about was taking a shower, dressing myself, having a mimosa with my honey, and taking the dog for a quick walk (she was in attendance at the wedding). I didn’t have to deal with some wedding planner letting me know that the ceremony area was too sunny and the umbrellas hadn’t yet been delivered or the DJ had the wrong playlist or some guest had some special demand. All I had to think about was my experience (and my husband’s). Aaah. Such a relief.

getting married during the pandemic

Source: PeopleImages / Getty

We feel we got away with one

Under normal circumstances – if there wasn’t a pandemic—we never would have gotten away with getting married like this. Both of our moms would have insisted on a big, fancy, formal wedding. We never wanted that. I hesitate to say anything good is coming from this tense time in history but it did provide us with this rare little window of time in which we were able to sneak away, get married on our terms, and nobody could get mad at us. Honestly, our families were happy to have an uplifting event to celebrate during these otherwise dark times. And I’m now off the hook forever picking out flower arrangements or sampling $12 puff pastries.

TRENDING ON MADAMENOIRE
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN