Thursday, November 1, 2007

Love Vegas Style

I'm getting married in the slammer...
The Yellow Pages in the Las Vegas Embarq phone directory list 15, count 'em, 15 pages of wedding chapels. Hotels have wedding specials and lovers of all ilks drive, fly, and are otherwise transported via cloud nine or Cupid's arrow for the purpose of pursuing wedded bliss. Despite the fact that nearly 50% of the lovers will terminate their nuptials at some point, they just keep on a comin'. I wonder how many of the weddings are recycled non-first-timers? But that's another story for another time.
Today we're going to discuss the state of the chapels seeking to assist in the state of matrimony. Weddings in Las Vegas have become big business - well, weddings everywhere have become big business. I have a friend in California who shelled out over a hundred grand to marry off his heir. Martha Stewart and other TV shows boost the image showing super-sized weddings and the bashes that surround them. In Boston there is the annual running of the fiances during which brides-to-be stomp on each other to buy discounted wedding gowns. But in Las Vegas, it is easy, get your license (the line for the wedding license is no where near as difficult to navigate as the one for a drivers license) and then fight your way through the hawkers trying to entice you to do the ceremony at their chapel.
Most chapels follow the rules, which are much like the rules of papparazi - push, shout, intimidate, and otherwise intrude on the lives of the ready-to-tie-the-knot group. And that group is a large one - 112,000 couples each year - nearly a quarter million people come to the Valley of the Dollars to get hitched. Most of the hawkers are, (uh, do we say this diplomatically) temporary workers in who reside in less than temporary housing. Their activities often lead to spirited diatribe and they sometimes, figuratively speaking, write checks that their bosses companies can't cash. The "agents" have been accused of being tattooed, boozing ex-cons who work by the day, hour, or minute.
Take the not-so-aptly named Garden of Love, for example, which recently lost its license - not to get married, but to do business, because they had become, in the words of Metro Police, a public nuisance. The Garden, not unlike other chapels promoised love in a limo, love sanctioned by Elvis and lots of love in general, but according to complaints from discontented lovestruck customers, the Garden of Love ceremonies either did not happen or became the wedding from Hell. Many of the brides and grooms did get "married" only to lated discover that their documents had been signed by somebody who wasn't there! Oh, my, had Elvis left the building?
Some of the fiancees have become so irate at the process that they've been arrested. Oh well, no love in the garden? As one cab driver used to tell his fares, "I can have you wedded and bedded and back on the plane in two and a half hours." Not sure if the time schedule is still possible given Las Vegas traffic, but he can still try - at the Wee Kirk O the Heather or the Little White Chapel or the Chapel of the Bells or any of the others in the 15 Yellow Pages. And if things don't work out there are 237 pages of listings for attorneys in the same Yellow Pages.
Dr. Forgot

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