Quickie Las Vegas Wedding Industry Just Isn’t Pulling In Couples Like It Used To

While running off to Sin City to get married by an Elvis impersonator used to evoke a certain spontaneous glamor and excitement, Las Vegas wedding chapels are more likely to be lonesome tonight than they have in the past, as those in the industry say quickie wedding customers just aren’t crowding their doors anymore.

The number of Vegas weddings has been dropping over the last decade: In 2014 there were 128,000 Vegas weddings, while in 2014 there were only 81,000, reports the AFP. This, despite the fact that Clark County’s marriage license office is open until midnight every day, even on holidays.

“The wedding business here in Las Vegas has fallen off since 2004. We haven’t had ups and downs, and ups and downs — it’s just been a consistent drop every year,” says the pastor at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. “You know, people don’t have as much money anymore because the economy here isn’t that good.”

Kitschy and quick used to be the height of cool — from Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in the 1950s to Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie, or Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman somewhat more recently. And who could forget Britney Spears’ 55-hour wedding to whatsisface? Yes, we remember those people, but nowadays, we don’t really want to get married like them. Many of those Sin City celebrity unions didn’t end up lasting long, taking the shine off a quickie, kitschy Vegas wedding even more.

That, and movies like The Hangover — a madcap bro comedy involving multiple levels of intoxication with various substances and wildly impossible scenarios involving improbable characters and also Mike Tyson — which you might think would add to the city’s appeal for fans of Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and the gang, have given the city a wild reputation, one Clark County clerk told the AFP.

“One of the misconceptions over the past few years is that people only come here when they are drunk and they get married last-minute, and that’s just not true. That makes great movies but that’s just not true,” says Goya.

It’s not all bad news for you Elvis impersonators out there: Las Vegas is still the No. 1 destination for weddings in the U.S., and now that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, it could see even more customers flocking to those quickie chapels.

To lure couples (and their money) back to the city, Las Vegas is launching a publicity campaign to put the shine back on the apple, with a focus on tourists coming in from out of the country. It could be a tough fight though, considering to make a splash in the wedding world these days you need to plan an elaborate song-and-dance worthy of a viral video, or at the very least, get hitched in the frozen food section at Costco.

Wedding bells growing quieter in Las Vegas [AFP]

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