Las Vegas (AFP) – The Las Vegas airport has given new meaning to rushing to make a connection, offering quickie wedding licenses for lovebirds desperate to get hitched on Valentine’s Day.
Clark County, the authority that administers Sin City’s weddings, has opened a pop-up marriage license bureau by a baggage carousel at McCarran International Airport.
On Saturday a steady stream of couples arrived at the office — open through February 17 — to get their marriages off the ground without all the fuss.
“I’m really excited that they actually did this, because it’s a lot more stress having to come through the airport, then get to the county clerk’s office, wait in line,” said Stefanie, of Dallas, Texas, who was marrying partner Kisha.
“So this was really painless and really quick. So, very convenient.”
The US desert oasis known for all-night gambling, extravagant shows and no-holds-barred boozing has for decades also been a magnet for couples from around the world looking to tie the knot quickly and cheaply — the kitschier the ceremony, the better.
The pop-up office’s $77 licenses are good for all of Vegas’s famous venues, including the Cannabis Chapel, Elvis Chapel, Chapel in the Clouds and the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.
The wedding industry contributes more than $2 billion annually to the local economy and Clark County issues about 80,000 licenses a year — more than any other office in the country.
Around 1,500 of those are issued for Valentine’s — about double the rate for a normal day — with more than one in every 25 US marriages taking place in Vegas.
Al and Gail Murphy, from Alberta, in Canada, were among the customers taking advantage of the office Saturday.
“It was super convenient to have this set up here, the marriage license bureau,” said Gail, proudly brandishing a white package emblazoned with red hearts containing the document.
“And I love the envelope,” she said. “We’re all set up. We just have to go have fun and show up on the day.”
Valentine’s is expected to be particularly busy this year as it comes two days before the Lunar New Year, celebrated by China and other Asian countries. For Americans, the date marks the start of the President’s Day long weekend.
Excited Brandi, from Houston, Texas, clutched her intended husband-to-be, Jeff, as she revealed that she hadn’t slept for two days.
“I’ve been trying to sleep, and I just lay there wide awake,” she told AFP. “I don’t know, I’ve known this guy like 20 years. I don’t know why I feel like I just met him I guess. But it’s awesome, I’m very happy.”