All Bets Are Off: Quickie Vegas Weddings Are Dwindling

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It certainly lacks the pomp of a royal wedding. All you have to do is sign a marriage license, which costs $60 a pop. You can even have a drive-thru wedding and get it over with quickly. But due to the worst recession in decades, couples are hesitating going to Sin City to say, ‘I do.’

In 2010, only 91,890 marriage licenses were issued at Nevada’s Clark County, down from 128,250 in 2004. “If you don’t have a stable job, it’s hard to say, ‘Let’s get married and start a family,’” says Diana Alba, clerk of Clark County told Bloomberg Businessweek.

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The county’s revenues collected through issuing marriage licenses have dropped by $2 million since its peak in 2004. The number of visitors to Las Vegas alone has dropped to 37.2 million last year, down from 39.2 million two years before.

Even for the lovebirds who decide to get married, splurging on the wedding is the last thing on their minds. The owner of Renta-Dress & Tux Shop in Las Vegas told the magazine she was forced to restock with cheaper gowns after seeing the business drop by 15%.

To make up for the income loss, the chapels now targeting husbands and wives looking to renew their vows or same-sex couples who can’t legally get married in the state. Little White Wedding Chapel, one of more than 90 Vegas wedding chapels, gets “a handful of calls each week” asking about the non-traditional ceremonies, Charolette Richards told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Just because there is a decline in marriage certificates, there isn’t a decline in love,” said Richards, who married Bruce Willis and Demi Moore in 1987 and, more recently, Britney Spears and Joan Collins at her chapel.

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