Back in the 60s when my parents were dating, they had one of those "where are we going with this?" discussions. It was a Friday. They were at work, or on their way to work, or something. Dad was a photographer at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here in California. Mom was a reporter.
My father made it clear that his intention was to marry her, but that he was wary of a church wedding.
"Well, why don't we elope then?" my mom asked.
"I think I'd prefer that," says Dad.
"So, what would stop us from driving to Vegas and getting married then?"
"Well," Dad thought for a second, "I guess nothing."
"What's stopping us from doing that, say... tonight?"
He nods. "Nothing I can think of."
And that was the proposal.
As my mom now recalls, "We decided to get married on a Friday, bought rings on our lunch hour, drove there after work, and got married at City Hall."
They were married during the late shift, which cost an extra $25.
Two days later they hit the road, married in the Clark County Courthouse, and drove back to southern California to report the news to my grandparents. Yowza.
Fast forward to 2011. Vegas is still home to quick weddings. And 30 other states now allow couples to marry without a waiting period. In fact, over the last few weeks, New Jersey legislators have been trying to eliminate their three-day waiting period that's in place for couples wanting to marry in that state. After all, no waiting period would mean they could charge more for a marriage license and could boost Atlantic City as a wedding destination comparable to Las Vegas. The bill passed in both the state's House and Senate assemblies, but just last week Governor Chris Christie rejected the bill. Sorry Jersey Boys. Looks like you'll have to wait 72 hours before tying the knot there!
Here's a list of the 20 states (plus DC) where you'll have to wait a few days if you're feeling on the verge of instant nuptials: