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By the numbers: Vegas chapels prepare as couples eye quirky date to get married on New Year’s Eve

Las Vegas Chapels

December 18, 2023

By: Grace Da Rocha | Las Vegas Sun

An exterior view at Little Vegas Chapel, East Imperial Avenue and Third Street, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.

As lead photographer at the Little Vegas Chapel, Elmer Turcios-Arriaza has seen — and captured pictures — of everything.

From wedding veils catching fire during a ceremony to Elvis-enthusiast couples, Turcios-Arriaza’s five years at the chapel in Las Vegas’ Arts District has given him years’ worth of memories from the ceremonies he’s photographed.

And this New Year’s Eve, he’s expecting to see even more cute and quirky marriages as couples flock to the city for the special 12/31/23 date — which has the rare numerical sequence of 1-2-3-1-2-3.

“New Year’s has always been a very popular date, (and) it’s already a really big party here in Vegas, may as well just get married,” Turcios-Arriaza said. “It’s just a lot of people liking the story that they get to tell afterwards (of) we got married in Vegas, there was fireworks, we get to party afterwards and it’s a great date.”

The Little Vegas Chapel is “filling out very, very quickly” for wedding ceremonies on New Year’s Eve, with Turcios-Arriaza saying it “was one of the most coveted spots this year.”

They’re not the only chapel around expecting a long list of marriages before the ball drops at midnight.

At A Little White Wedding Chapel, supervisor Shweta Dar said they typically receives 80 to 100 couples a day during the spring and summer, but only 15 to 20 in their offseason — lasting from November to January.

These special dates can draw hundreds of couples to the chapel at 1301 South Las Vegas Blvd., even during these slow periods, Dar said.

Diana Moran, head minister at A Little White Wedding Chapel, believes this New Year’s Eve is “going to be off the charts” because of its special date having numerical significance. They had begun receiving calls inquiring about marriage ceremonies on New Year’s Eve in February, Moran and Dar said.

Even Clark County expects an influx of couples yearning to get married. The county said Wednesday it will open a pop-up marriage license bureau from Dec. 26-31 at Harry Reid International Airport.

This is the fifth time the county clerk’s office is opening a temporary bureau at the airport, according to the county. A bureau was set up this year for couples looking to get married on or around Valentine’s Day.

“Couples love the special numbers,” said Lynn Marie Goya, the Clark County clerk. “A lot of couples that come in like that whole crowd feeling, like in the movies where they do the proposal or the kiss in the stadium or in the big crowds; that excitement is here in the marriage license bureau on those special days, so couples actually really enjoy that festive atmosphere that other couples are there with them and they’re a part of a bigger scene.”

Moran said with a laugh that she even got married on a special date — July 4, 2007, or 0-7-0-4-0-7 — so her husband wouldn’t forget their wedding anniversary.

Goya said that July 7, 2007 — or, 0-7-0-7-0-7 — remains the highest number of weddings done in one day with almost 4,500 ceremonies completed. Coming in second is Nov. 11, 2011, or 1-1-1-1-1-1, with 3,125 ceremonies in one day.

And last year on Feb. 2, the county saw 2,331 weddings for the 0-2-0-2-2-2 sequence.

Valentine’s Day, of course, holds half the top 20 spots for most wedding ceremonies, Goya noted, as Las Vegas has always been a popular wedding destination.

Roughly 4% of the annual visitor volume to Las Vegas is for a wedding, and last year, Clark County issued just under 80,000 wedding licenses, Goya said. The office in August 2022 celebrated issuing its 5 millionth wedding license since its establishment in 1909, Goya said.

Goya leads the county’s marriage license bureau, office that doles out and processes all marriage applications filed in Clark County.

Through the years, she’s seen thousands of people from Las Vegas, across the country and around the world apply to tie the knot here in one of the dozens of chapels around Las Vegas.

It’s no wonder why the city is regarded as the “wedding capital of the world,” and has held that title since the 1950s, said Goya.

“People love Vegas and all the things that Vegas has to offer … but the county has been working hard, almost since its founding, to make it really simple, easy and stress-free for couples to come here,” Goya said.

Local chapels are ready for the rush.

Love Story Wedding Chapel at 628 South Las Vegas Blvd., will be offer two specially priced packages — the $123 New Year’s Nuptials and $321 New Year’s Celebration — for those wanting to wed around the new year.

Vegas Weddings has also created a “Celebrate 123123” package for $2,024, where five couples will get to walk down the aisle right before midnight. It comes with several benefits, including a wedding planner and coordinator, marriage license, transportation and consultation, photo shoot and commemorative glass flutes from the cider toast.

Turcios-Arriaza said that the Little Vegas Chapel won’t have any special packages, but they’re still expecting double the number of ceremonies as last year. There was a ceremony done around every 20 minutes last year on Dec. 31, he explained, because the day — regardless of sequence — is popular for marriages.

Prices for wedding packages at the Little Vegas Chapel range from $75 to $777. Their first wedding this year is expected to take place at 10 a.m., and they’re set to be busy up to their last ceremony at midnight.

Turcios-Arriaza suggests people looking to get married book their slot now and make the process easier by having all their paperwork for the county completed.

From Dec. 26 through Dec. 31, couples can pick up their paperwork at the pop-up bureau in Terminal 1 near baggage claim from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Couples who visit this location will also receive an exclusive New Year’s Eve-themed keepsake for their wedding ceremony, the county said.

The bureau’s main office at 201 East Clark St. is also open from 8 a.m. to midnight every day for couples to grab their marriage license.

“I really would like to see our new year be kicked off in the most positive way possible, and what better way than with young love,” Turcios-Arriaza said. “We are always available for anybody that wants to come in and perform their wedding commitment ceremony or any event that they want – just give us a call and we’ll figure it out.”