As the internet has so keenly pointed out— we’re back in the 90s.
Low cut jeans are in, we’re wearing scrunchies and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are back together. And, I should add, not only is this nostalgic power couple together— but they’re actually married. Let that be the lesson to anyone mourning a former fling: maybe the one that got away isn’t so far away after all.
Back to business— Ben and Jen got married in Las Vegas on July 17th, allegedly barely making the midnight cutoff for weddings at the chapel. Okay, night owls, get it!
This celebrity wedding came on the heels of Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker tying the knot in Las Vegas in April.
Even if you’re not into pop culture, isn’t this enough to make you ask yourself: why Vegas? Sure, Vegas is a fun wedding destination, but celebrity royalty could get married anywhere in the whole wide world. Why is Vegas so popular?
Longtime lawyer to the stars, Alphonse Provinziano, has an answer: and no, it’s not that celebrities are pumped to tie the knot in front of Elvis impersonators. Provinziano argues, it actually has more to do with Nevada’s lax state laws on marriage.
I do, Uncle Sam!
Interestingly, as journalist Stevie Wilson points out, before Nevada was a wedding destination, it was a divorce destination. During the Great Depression, divorce was a difficult and long procedure in many parts of America. Arguably, not a lot has changed, but I digress.
In the 1930s, the Nevada state government saw divorce as a potential new income stream for the state— essentially, the idea was to spur a new kind of tourism: divorce tourism. And it worked! Actress Rita Hayworth, General Douglas MacArthur and painter Norman Rockwell all traveled to Nevada to get their divorces.
This plan worked so well for the state, that government officials decided to expand this strategy and make it easier for couples to get married in Nevada. Not only would that mean attracting more visitors, but let’s be honest: it also meant that Nevada would become less of a bummer. Wedding tourism sounds so much better than divorce tourism, right?
Initially, getting married in Nevada was easier than other states for two major reasons: first, the state did not require a blood test before getting married, and second, marriage licenses were issued the same day they were requested. So instead of having to wait, say, 90 days like other states, couples could decide to get married and if they got swept-up enough (or, let’s face it, drunk enough), could go to Nevada and get married that very same day.
Provinziano argues that quick turnaround times on marriage licenses attracts celebrities because it allows A-listers to pull off speedy, surprise weddings before the tabloids can catch wind of their plans. I think there’s some truth to the point about Vegas and the press. These Californian couples like Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker have a hard time going anywhere in Los Angeles without being caught on camera. If they want privacy on their special day, Las Vegas is a short flight from Los Angeles, and with a less aggressive paparazzi presence.
My two cents?
I would complicate Provinziano’s argument; while it is true that Nevada used to have a big edge over other states in terms of quick marriages, other states have since caught up. In fact, there are now 31 states where you can get a marriage license same-day, so celebrity couples (and non-famous couples!) likely aren’t seeking out Vegas for speedy paperwork alone.
I would argue Vegas’ popularity is more of an issue of branding. There is a decades-long rich history of uber famous celebrities having cool ceremonies in Vegas. Despite the fact getting married in a place that calls itself “Sin City” is a little uninspiring, there is something cool about getting married in Vegas.
A traditional wedding can be super expensive, and there are lots of capital-intensive wedding conventions that no one really cares about… and that you may not even want. A quick and casual marriage in Vegas says: “Hey, I’m going to reject all of the pomp and circumstance around this wedding, because it’s not the wedding that matters, it’s the marriage— and a marriage license obtained in Nevada is just as legit as a marriage license in any other city!” Lots of cool couples have chosen this path: David Harbour and Lily Allen, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg, Jason Alexander and Britney Spears have all been married in Vegas— even if it’s only a 55 hour marriage, like in the case of Britney and Jason, who, yes, were married for a total of 55 hours before getting it annulled. Not that those 55 hours didn’t apparently mean a whole lot to at least Jason, who was caught trespassing on Britney’s property on the day she was supposed to marry her now-husband Sam Asghari, but that’s a topic for a different article…
Here’s my advice, love birds:
For you non-Nevada residents, if Vegas is a potential location for your dream wedding— excellent! I hope I get the invite! Just don’t choose Nevada because you think it’s the easiest and cheapest place to tie the knot— there is likely to be a place just as cost-effective as Sin City, in your state.
Leave a Reply