VEGAS MYTHS RE-BUSTED: The Accidental Drunken Wedding
Posted on: May 29, 2023, 08:05h.
Last updated on: May 25, 2023, 10:03h.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There will be no “Vegas Myths Busted” entry on Memorial Day. Look for the next new edition on Monday, June 5. Today’s entry originally ran on Nov. 4, 2022.
Kourtney Kardashian has said she was “hot slob kabob” drunk when she married her fiancé, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, at Las Vegas’ One Love Wedding Chapel on April 3. The reality TV star had little to no recall of her happy day, including when she hit the floor in tequila-fueled hysterics after their Elvis-impersonating minister repeatedly called her by her sister Khloe’s name.
This brings to mind a Vegas myth with legs — that waking up accidentally married after a drunken night on the Strip is common. (Warning to fans of “The Hangover”: reading any further may suck the believability out of Ed Helms marrying a kindly hooker after Zach Galifianakis accidentally roofied him.)
“Las Vegas has, for decades, been touted as the marriage capital of the world because of how quick and easy it is to obtain a marriage license,” said Rachel Tygret, an associate attorney specializing in family law at Michaelson Law in Las Vegas. “There’s no blood test required and no waiting period before using that license to get married.”
But marriage licenses aren’t available at wedding chapels, so couples must first travel to a Clark County Marriage License Bureau branch.
The one downtown, open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to midnight, is the closest to most of the chapels.
There, hopeful celebrants must wait, with proper ID and a bank card good for $102, in a line that’s usually sizeable enough to take the buzz off most alcohol highs and the “quick” out of the “quickie wedding” stereotype.
The Sobering Truth
In the eyes of the law, the license is the marriage contract, not the ceremony. So being deemed sober enough to enter a contract at this time is all that matters.
If, once in front of the clerk, one of the applicants appears to be so intoxicated that they are unable to provide the basic information needed to get the marriage license, the clerk can, and must, by bureau policy, refuse to issue the license,” Tygret said.
So, accidental drunken Vegas weddings probably aren’t as much of a thing as “The Hangover” would have you believe. Or “Friends.” Or “My Name is Earl.” Or “That ’70s Show.” Or “Bones.” Or “What Happens in Vegas.”
A Void of Drunken Annulments
Nevada law allows either party to apply to annul a marriage performed in Las Vegas based entirely on a lack of sobriety. Tygret has annulled a great many Las Vegas marriages, and none were for that reason.
I even did one because one of the parties was still married to two other people,” she said.
Drunken Vegas weddings still happen all the time because there’s alcohol around, and it’s Vegas. But they rarely involve blotto tourists who happen to walk by a chapel and decide, why not?
Many wedding chapels in Las Vegas won’t even perform a wedding ceremony if one of the parties is judged to be too drunk,” Tygret said.
Kourtney and Travis’ Vegas wedding was a “pretend” ceremony. Offered by many chapels, this option allows clients to experience the real thing without the legal sting. So, no Clark County marriage license was required or obtained.
The couple had two more weddings after that, anyway. One of them must have involved a marriage license signed while neither of them was a hot slob kabob.
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