Business

The Vegas Chapels Are Open, and Waiting

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For couples looking for a quickie wedding or a quirky wedding, Las Vegas is ready.

On some days, the line wraps around the block at the city’s famous Marriage License Bureau – where the engaged couple only need photo identification and a $ 77 fee.

The office was closed for six weeks at the start of the pandemic, but since it reopened in late April, licenses have been issued seven days a week, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to midnight. This license is your ticket to a legal marriage in one of the city’s dozen chapels that offer fast, budget-conscious services in themed settings from elegant to rococo.

“In a way, Vegas is set for this,” said Lynn Marie Goya, the clerk in Clark County, Nevada, of the security restrictions and other social changes the virus has brought about. The city’s neon chapels are filled with standalone rooms and private nooks for small ceremonies that can be quickly cleaned up between bookings. And they come with all of the wedding essentials – flowers, a photographer, props, and even rings – for those who want to buy everything from a single source. Some venues offer drive-through ceremonies and video streams of the events for friends and family.

Despite its popularity, the city’s wedding trade, like many other industries, has suffered this year from the slowdown in tourism and the stalemate caused by the virus. The loss of the normal flood of international visitors to the city has particularly hurt. Ms. Goya’s office had issued just over 50,000 licenses by the end of November this year, a decrease of 24 percent compared to the previous year’s figure in the same period.

But those in the business see glimmers of hope. October was the busiest month ever for Vegas Weddings, said Melody Willis-Williams, the venue’s general manager.

“There are couples who have already planned two or three weddings and can’t stand the pain of telling everyone and planning again. So they say, ‘Enough, let’s go to Vegas,’ ”Ms. Willis-Williams said. “As things go, people don’t want to wait to express their love.”

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