Las Vegas is traditionally a quickie wedding destination, but for several couples who landed in Sin City on Wednesday to tie the knot, their marriage licenses were in hand before they left the airport.
One couple went on a dinner date in September and were engaged later that month. Another met dancing in Palm Springs in 1985, began a courtship five years later and agreed to marry only 10 days ago.
They were two of the 24 soon-to-be newlyweds drawn for one reason or another Wednesday to Clark County’s pop-up marriage license office at McCarran International Airport. Located in the airport’s Terminal 1 baggage claim area, near carousel 5, the temporary setup returned for its second year following a successful pilot run and is open through Saturday.
Dennis Jones and Tandra Ingram traveled Wednesday from South Carolina, while Jay Shade and his imminent bride, TC, flew in from Phoenix. Both couples planned to marry on Valentine’s Day.
Ingram, 56, was walking to baggage claim with her wedding gown bag when a county employee “waved us down,” she said. Neither Ingram nor Jones were aware beforehand they could skip the trip downtown to the Marriage License Bureau.
“It was spontaneous, an act of God,” Jones, 59, said.
But the other couple had scheduled within their travel plans the stop to the temporary office, which was decorated with hearts on the back wall and red ribbon along the counter where sat a chocolate candy tray.
TC and Jay Shade, both in their 70s, said they began dating in 1990 and, after he proposed at the beginning of the month, they were youthfully embracing making it official.
“We’re just laughing and giggling for the last two weeks, because none of our friends or relatives know about this, and so we are eloping at our age,” TC said. “Isn’t this beautiful? And we’re beautifully in love.”
The wait was far less for Jones and Ingram, who met in late 2017 after Jones, who regularly visits Charleston for the Lowcountry Jazz Festival, stayed in property owned by Ingram.
The two then-acquaintances went out to dinner five months ago “and the rest is history,” he said.
Despite the longer-tenured relationship, TC said she and her beau still treat each other as if the courtship is new and pay particular mind to avoid fighting.
“And now we’re going to get married and we’re not going to quarrel,” TC said. “We’re just going to be sweethearts forever, isn’t that lovely?”
“For Valentine’s Day, for all married couples,” Shade followed, “that’s a great philosophy.”
Licensed to wed
The pop-up marriage license office at McCarran International Airport will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday. Call the Marriage License Bureau at 702-671-0600 for details.
Last year, 180 certificates were issued during nine days at McCarran, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.
County Clerk Lynn Goya said the plan is to expedite the process for couples flying into the city for a marriage license.
The county says it issues about 80,000 licenses annually, which cost $77 a piece, and more than 1,500 are issued in the days leading up to and including Valentine’s Day — more than twice as many issued during a non-holiday period.