Vegas weddings abound as numbers align on 9-9-09
Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS – Two years after Las Vegas chapels hit the wedding date jackpot with lucky sevens, it’s all eyes on the nines for 9-9-09.
Wedding officials in Sin City and elsewhere staged a marathon set of nuptials and vow renewals on Wednesday during what was anticipated to be of the busiest days of the year – the quirky date of Sept. 9, 2009, or 9-9-09.
Jessica Skrutvold of Las Vegas said she and her husband-to-be Chad Lyons were expecting nine guests for their 9 p.m. wedding, which coincidentally celebrates her favorite number.
“The easiest day for my poor memory to remember was 9-9-09, and we’ve been doing everything last-minute ever since,” said the 31-year-old who works for a local insurance agency. “It was easy, and both of us can remember it and never forget.”
Skrutvold called to book a chapel in March and found the only open slots were for 8:30 or 9 that night.
“We took the most obvious choice,” she said.
Tony Thompson and his new wife Lisa of New York exchanged vows before life-sized figurines of Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez during a short ceremony at 9:09 a.m. at the Madame Tussauds wax museum on the Las Vegas Strip. They were joined near a small stage by four couples renewing vows and an officiant – nine people total.
“It seems like the whole town is celebrating, like we walked into this big celebration,” Tony Thompson, 53, said. “It’s like totally out of the ordinary, everybody’s getting married.”
Chapels were steadily booked throughout the day from the Strip to downtown. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman planned to renew vows with his wife Carolyn in an evening ceremony conducted by an Elvis Presley impersonator at the Fremont Street Experience.
Another 99 couples were waiting until 9:09 p.m. for a shared ceremony in the observation deck at the Stratosphere Tower. Each paid $99 for their wedding package.
Spokeswoman Whitney Lloyd said Chapel of the Flowers booked 70 ceremonies for Wednesday, compared with 12 on Sept. 9 last year. She said three 9 a.m. slots were booked at least a year ago – an eternity by Las Vegas standards.
“Grooms love it, because they’ll definitely remember their wedding day,” Lloyd said.
Employees normally off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the marriage services division of the Clark County clerk’s office were called in to help quickly distribute licenses.
Marriage Services Supervisor Mariah Consiglieri said 637 licenses were issued on Tuesday, a boost from the average of 262 per day but far from the 1,623 issued on Aug. 6, 2007, in anticipation of 7-7-07. Another 975 licenses were issued on Aug. 7 that year – a Saturday.
Weddings have declined steadily in Las Vegas since 2004, when roughly 128,000 couples were married. About 96,000 couples were married in Las Vegas last year, and officials expect fewer than that for 2009.
In Hollywood, the day was lucky for at least nine couples who won a 99 Cents Only Stores promotion in which they paid only 99 cents to be wed in the company’s Hollywood store on 9-9-09. For their 99 cents, the nine lucky brides received wedding gowns made of T-shirts, table cloths and other items sold at 99 Cent stores.
After exchanging their vows in Aisle 9, the brides and their husbands were to be treated to a reception inside the store. They were also being awarded honeymoon packages worth a good deal more than 99 cents, including a hotel stay, dinner and professional wedding photos.
In Burlington, Vermont, Magic Hat Brewery – makers of an ale called No. 9 – seized on the date for an open-air party on the city’s Church Street Marketplace pedestrian mall.
The planned “No.9tacular,” starting at 6 p.m., was to include drink specials, dance show, laser light show, karaoke and a Guitar Hero Challenge – all leading up to a 9 p.m. toast, according to “Nine-ologist” Krissy Leonard, a spokeswoman for the brewer.
Associated Press Writers John Rogers in Los Angeles, John Curran in Montpelier, Vermont, and Sara Kugler in New York contributed to this report.