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Business is brisk at Las Vegas wedding chapels on Valentine’s Day

At A Little White Chapel in downtown Las Vegas, owner Charolette Richards is gearing up for what she calls, “an exceptionally busy day of weddings.”

More than 100 weddings are booked this Valentine’s Day at the 64-year-old wedding chapel but Richards said she is expecting closer to 200 with drop-in traffic.

“It is recognized as the busiest day of the year in our business,” she said.

Richards said A Little White Chapel offers seven places to get married on its Las Vegas Boulevard property, including five chapels, a gazebo and a drive-thru called the Tunnel of Love.

“We’ll have one minister doing drive-ups and a minister for each chapel,” she said.

“It will be one of our busiest Saturdays because Valentine’s Day doesn’t fall on Saturdays all the time.”

An average of 80,000 weddings happen each year in Las Vegas, according to the Clark County Marriage License Bureau. That works out to about 220 on an average day.

Valentine’s Day blows away the average.

The Clark County Marriage License Bureau, which is open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight at 201 E. Clark St., expects to issue 1,200 to 1,500 licenses over the three-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.

Nearly 1,700 marriage licenses were issued from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15 last year.

Brit Bertino, who has been planning weddings in Las Vegas for the past seven years, said the wedding industry is on the rise, especially since same-sex marriages became legal last October.

“I’m getting more calls,” she said. “Hopefully going forward we’ll have more weddings in Las Vegas.”

Getting married in Las Vegas, Bertino said, has its perks.

“There are so many things for guests to do so couples don’t have to entertain them as compared to getting married at another location,” she said.

“Also, weddings don’t have to be traditional because it’s Las Vegas, which makes planning them fun.”

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 1.6 million people travelled to Las Vegas in 2013 for a wedding, for an estimated nongaming impact of $1.1 billion in the local economy.

Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya said the average couple brings 32 wedding guests with them.

“There are so many things for them to do — spend time outdoors, see a show, go to a nightclub; there’s so much rich entertainment around us, which makes it a fun destination for a wedding,” she said.

“The wedding industry is a great economic engine for Las Vegas.”

Nearly 70 Valentine’s Day weddings are booked at Tropicana Las Vegas and its sister wedding chapel, the Chapel of the Flowers on South Las Vegas Boulevard. This month, both properties will host about 300 weddings.

“February tends to be higher than other months, on average, because it’s the month of romance,” said the Chapel of Flowers representative, Diane Ferraro.

Contact reporter Ann Friedman at afriedman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.

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