The Wedding and Gaming Capital of the world joined together to capture luck in love and money dynamics. This was the biggest wedding day ever for Las Vegas. Planning for this unbelievable date with three 7s began a year in advance. Everyone knew it was going to be huge - ever since the special calendar dates began with 09/09/99. We knew this would be a marriage day that would never be repeated again.
I am the owner of LV Wedding Connection, which is a public relations company for the wedding industry. I represent seven wedding chapels, each with its own niche, as well as the Las Vegas sector for the Nevada Wedding Association, which is a statewide wedding organization funded by the Nevada Commission on Tourism. Therefore, I was right in the thick of this blissful day.
The week started out cool and calm but quickly heated up by the mid-week Fourth of July holiday. The chapels had been preparing for this occasion for a long time: organizing staff, ordering flowers, servicing limousines, charging batteries for camera equipment, setting up makeshift areas due to extreme heat, etc.
I kept busy doing news, radio and magazine interviews. The Las Vegas Monorail had a promotion that I sponsored that entailed having “free” renewal of vows services for the masses at three different times on 07-07-07. This meant having the staging set, floral pieces delivered, collateral materials to handout, etc. Requests were varied. One was to send a minister to a restaurant to marry a couple. Another was to send a photographer to a gold mine for a wedding there. A wedding cake had to be carefully transported. Flowers needed to be delivered. Colleagues were calling for assistance and all these events had to be fulfilled on Saturday, and the inquiries just kept coming in.
On Thursday, I went to the Clark County Courthouse to see how the wedding licensing bureau was handling the huge lines and how long the wait was. I said hello to all of the guests and welcomed them to Nevada. I arrived at 10:30 a.m. and the line was halfway around the block. I visited a bit and knew that Friday would be the crazy day. I left and moved onto the next thing on the endless list and said to myself, “I will come back tomorrow.
” Friday, I had received many calls about what was happening down at the courthouse. I arrived at 2:30 p.m. to see that the line wasn’t outside but instead it was wrapped throughout the inside of the courthouse building. Couples were waiting in line in the air conditioning, and then as they got closer, they were outside for a short period of time. I got in line and waited as if I were a bride and talked to many people along the way. I called my resources on the inside and volunteered my assistance at the Marriage License Bureau.
For the next five hours, I assisted the couples with completing their paperwork. They were so excited when I would call out “Next couple” or “Come on down.” We commented that this was a lot like the television show, "The Price Is Right." I had the opportunity to talk to people from all over the world and noticed as I looked at their drivers’ licenses that many had their birthdays in January. I saw a lot of people from Ohio, Texas, Arizona, California and as far away as Europe. Young people, older folks and just happy couples in love were getting married on 07-07-07. The wait at this time was more than two hours and by the time I left, it was down to about an hour. The courthouse staff was incredible about keeping the line moving and the sheer energy in the air was palpable. I crashed early that night knowing that my Saturday would start very early.
A local PR firm and I were worked together with a local restaurant on a drawing for a win-a-dinner and hotel stay contest. Only couples who got married on 07-07-07 were eligible to enter. I started off at 6 a.m. to meet the restaurant reps, who had burgers and champagne, at the chapel before 7 a.m. and to be ready for the first wedding at 7 a.m. The day was consistently busy as couple after couple got married. People were dressed casually to formal dresses and tuxes, no matter if it was just the bride and groom to parties of 50. There was yet another day of lines at the courthouse, and at the chapels there were many walk-ins who had not pre-scheduled their nuptials.
Almost all the chapels were booked solid; however, the wedding industry always finds a way to accommodate couples in love. Many asked couples to come at the end of the day so as not to compromise all of the pre-scheduled weddings and to stay on time, which was everyone’s greatest challenge. Remember most wedding parties are picked up by the chapel limousines and traffic especially on Saturdays is hard to predict. One accident on a major artery can really cause a problem.
I’m happy to report the majority of the chapels had a great day, stayed on time and completed a record numbers of weddings. It was a prosperous day; however, the chapels also take pride in having satisfied customers who leave with happy memories about their entire wedding experience here in Nevada. Weddings are big business but it isn’t just about the money, they are life-changing experiences for many people.
One good wedding generates tremendous goodwill with tourists returning home and talking about the event. Everyone talks about getting married in Las Vegas. We see it in television shows, movies and even commercials. Chapels have a tall order to fill providing quality services and a memorable time so guests will pass the word along. The chapels have come a long way since the beginning of the practice of getting married in Las Vegas. They have upgraded their facilities with the most updated photo equipment, have larger seating areas, made webcasting available, and some of them actually assist with tours, show tickets, rooms, and all of the wedding amenities you may need in addition to the chapel usage.
We are the wedding capital and it is a huge part of tourism in Nevada. Remember when couples get married, they need a place to stay, to eat, to see shows, take tours, hold bachelorette parties and the list goes on. Therefore, all entities are patronized. Actually all aspects of the tourism industry here are touched by a wedding party: makeup, hair salons, shoe and lingerie stores, etc. We have a big piece of the wedding pie in our great state!
The courthouse issued an excess of 3,700 marriage licenses in three days - but this number still doesn’t reflect how many people tied the knot! That is because vow renewals and commitment services have no required legal documentation and the many licenses that were purchased within the year to be used on this day were not included in the count.
Today, the local wedding industry is in harmony with most companies agreeing there is enough business for everyone. Chapels are working together now as it has become clear to all the players who are fair and ethical, which for the most part that is everyone, that the whole picture blossoms with everyone’s participation and cooperation.
Now we need to start preparing for the next chapter … 08-08-2008. Eight is an infinite number and important to many folks due to this definition. For people who really pay attention to this, an interesting factor is that when you total of all of the numbers, you get 26, which also adds up to eight, therefore creating a double eight …humm. This day will be on a Friday so the wedding community will have another numerological date in history coming around for lovers!