LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Love is always in the air throughout the world’s wedding capital, and the month of February historically proves that. As the Las Vegas Valley grows, so does its multi-billion-dollar wedding industry.
From the marriage license bureau in Downtown Las Vegas to the bureau pop-up inside Harry Reid International Airport, thousands of people are expecting to get their license and say “I do” throughout the month of love.
Shweta Dar, the supervisor at the famous Little White Wedding Chapel, is preparing for local, out-of-state, and international travelers heading their way.
“Sometimes we have bookings like two years in advance for this day,” Dar said inside the chapel Thursday morning. “We’re expecting a lot of walk-ins because we’re getting these calls, ‘every 15 minutes we are checking on your website and everything is full.’”
Little Church of the West, the oldest Clark County chapel, marked the valley’s rise to the wedding capital of the world in the 1940s.
Nearly a century later, it has grown to a $2.5 billion dollar industry, according to a Clark County representative. Leading up to Valentine’s Day and the day itself, 1,500 marriage licenses on average are given out in Clark County, they add.
Vegas Wedding Chamber President, Little Church of the West Minister and Elvis Impersonator Brian Mills, said the valley’s growth marries well with the industry.
“(People are) like, ‘we’re here for a Raiders game, let’s go down and get married,” Mills said inside the historic structure Thursday afternoon. “People can come here, they can have an entire wedding and a reception, and have entertainment, and have attractions. Now they can go to sporting events, all different thing that Vegas offers can be included in with weddings.”
However, these weddings come with a price tag, both on Valentine’s Day or other special dates this month, like 2-2-23 and 2-23-23. Several chapels, like Little White Wedding Chapel and Little Church of the West, say they keep the same price year-round.
For Little White Wedding Chapel, prices range from just under $100 to over ten times that.
“The most would be about $800 to $1,000 per wedding because they have Elvis, they have the chapel, they purchase just all the merchandise,” Dar said.
Still, it’s a fraction of the price of doing it somewhere else.
“Our slow season has now progressively gotten less and less because people are just coming here for other things and deciding to get married while they’re here,” Mills said.
Vow renewals, he adds, are also a big driver of business during February.
Friday, 2-3-23, Dar says 80 weddings are already scheduled. That does not include expected walk-ins she says they “always” accommodate. Valentine’s Day itself, she expects up to 200 weddings within the 12 hours they’re open.
She adds “the Elvises are ready.”
In Clark County, a representative said February typically sees twice the number of marriage licenses given out than non-holiday months.
The most popular date last year was 2-2-22, Mills said. Clark County adds “There were 79,279 licenses issued in 2022, the highest since 2016 when 81,325 licenses were handed out.”