One of my favorite places to take friends that who me in Tahoe is Virginia City, Nevada. Virginia City isn’t quite hidden, but it is a weird, wacky, and somewhat wild-like gem of a city that really encompasses the Wild West. Whether you are just visiting the Reno/Tahoe area, or you are a couple looking to elope or get married somewhere kitschy, Virginia City may be for you!  It’s got history, rough and dare I say–somewhat charming streets, and the wide expanse of the mountains of Nevada at its edges.  If Western kitsch, is your jam, then Virginia City is the perfect backdrop for your elopement or microwedding.  If you want to elope in Virginia City, I’ve got a few of the best locations for your ceremony, some essential tips, and great photos from Erika and Weston’s last-minute Virginia City elopement for ya!

Why Elope in Virginia City?

As Mark Twain might say, Virginia City is the place where history comes alive. I don’t think that anyone actually said that, but you can imagine they did.  Virginia City is originally a mining town during the Gold Rush. Fun fact: most of Lake Tahoe was clear-cut to provide lumber for the Virginia City mining industry. Today, it’s feels like a city lost in time – steeped in 19th-century history and filled with historical buildings and landmarks. There are wooden boardwalks, a ton of brick, and iconic structures like the Fourth Ward School Museum. For a photographer, romping around Virginia City for portraits like I did with my clients Erika and Weston is an absolute dream!  We only made it 3 blocks the day I was with them because there was something that I fond inspiring every 10 feet!

Step to the edge of main street and there are absolutely stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.  The vibe is exceedingly relaxed – you can’t NOT feel at ease in a town that sells taffy and has a saloon every other door.

Where to Elope in Virginia City

  • The Silverland Inn boasts an absolute stunning overlook and a gazebo for both elopements and microweddings. Erika and Weston were wed here and held a small intimate reception in the downstairs historic bar.
  • St. Mary in the Mountains Church: This beautiful and historic Catholic church is one of the oldest in Nevada.
  • The Silver Queen Hotel: A historic hotel with a rich past.
  • Piper’s Opera House: This historic venue has been a cultural hub since the 19th century. Bonus points for a preacher packing a pistol.
  • Gold Hill: Warm and inviting, this is just down the road from Virginia City, offering the convenience of being close but a bit more of a remote and intimate setting.
  • The Comstock Cemetery: Halloween ceremony anyone?  Anyone?

Legal Requirements for Eloping in Virginia City

Eloping in Virginia City is relatively straightforward. You can get a marraige license in the state of Nevada up to one year before your ceremony but you must also have your ceremony performed.  The fee is as of 2024 is $85.  Both parties must be present in order to purchase a marriage license which you can pick up at the county clerk office in Virginia City itself or in nearby Carson City, NV.  While you CAN get your license early, there is no waiting period in NV. Get married on the same day if you want to! God bless Nevada!

Step 2: You’re going to need an officiant that is authorized to perform marriages in the state of Nevada.  You can check their status at the Nevada Marriage Officiant Public Search.

TL:DR? Eloping in Virginia City offers a unique and unforgettable experience – historical charm, epic views, and a kitschy western atmosphere. Looking to really up the ante? Hold it on the same weekend as the infamous Virginia City Camel Races. Don’t forget to hit the iconic Bucket of Blood Saloon or pop into a ghost tour.  You won’t regret it!