Get ready for boom in Las Vegas wedding business

It’s about to get busy in the Las Vegas wedding business.

At Vegas Weddings on South Third Street, officials earlier this week prepared for a rush of nuptials following a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Nevada’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. In fact, the marriage outfit brought in four extra ministers.

Alas, the celebrations would have to wait a little longer while the last of the legalities were resolved.

The inevitable change comes as a relief to marketing director Ann Parsons, who in recent years has received plenty of inquiries from gays and lesbians about the definition of marriage in Nevada.

The wedding business already generates more than $500 million annually in Nevada and has been a substantial contributor to the economy since the days the state gained a national reputation as the land of quickie hitches and divorces. These days the practitioners call it “matrimonial tourism.”

“It’s much greater than you would ever think,” Parsons says.

For minister Heidi Walls, the court’s decision is ushering in a new era of acceptance that also figures to be good for business.

“Love is our business — and making couples happy,” she says. “To witness that change, especially because it is such a change in Nevada, we’re watching history being made. And we definitely want to be part of it.”

POLITICAL FUTBOL: A funny thing happened on the way to the soccer stadium.

After months of wrangling over the level of taxpayer participation that would be considered acceptable for the $200 million project proposed by The Cordish Cos. and Findlay Sports &Entertainment, members of the City Council last week appeared downright startled over the announcement by the developers that they’d invest an additional $250 million into the project in commercial construction.

That is, if the proposed financial term sheet was approved and they were allowed to go forward and lobby for a Major League Soccer expansion team.

Give a little, get a little: Get it?

In a matter of a few months the developers have gone from a term sheet calling for a majority of taxpayer-backed financing, to the possibility of a $50 million public contribution with millions more in infrastructure investment.

The council on Wednesday eventually allowed the developers to go forward, but with the understanding that no public funds would be used. None.

And then, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman presiding, the council managed to do something else: include that proposed $250 million sweetener into the deal.

But according to the wording of the motion, the council’s vote approved “the term sheet with instruction to work toward the elimination of public funds prior to the final dda (disposition and development agreement) being brought back in December and negotiate the dda with that in mind and to include the commitment of Cordish to invest an additional $250 million into the dda.”

So the public will not have to finance any aspect of the $200 million stadium, and the developer will promise to add $250 million to the overall project?

Maybe that’s a deal even City Councilman Bob Beers, the stadium proposal’s staunchest critic, can live with.

MEDICAL RETIREMENTS: Yet another allegedly shady former Metro officer who left the department with a “medical retirement” is in the news accused of doing something sleazy. When will it ever end?

This time it’s former Detective Scott Friedman, a 14-year veteran, who finds himself accused in U.S. District Court of ripping off a local physician, Dr. Tali Arik, of $1.2 million in connection with a phony real estate investment.

Thanks to his medical retirement, Friedman was able to duck out of duty early and collect a healthy monthly check for life.

Maybe it will help him pay for his defense.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Whatever became of plans for a new “Mob Attraction” from the thoroughly litigated Mob Experience creator Jay Bloom? … At Bonanza Gifts, “the World’s Largest Gift Shop,” owner Lynn Morris is proud to say her place is slightly larger than the store at the Vatican. It reminds me that whether you’re a sinner or a saint, everyone wants a souvenir.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.

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