LAS VEGAS - â€” Matthew and Christi Zenner started planning their wedding in their home state of Washington, yet it didnâ€™t take long for them to call it quits. All of the mandatory arrangements â€” from the place to the guest list â€” shortly became too overwhelming, Christi Zenner said.
Her husband, Matthew Zenner, asserted they switched plans and booked a Las Vegas wedding instead for a quick, effortless destination wedding.
â€œWhen youâ€™re thinking about a low-maintenance, stress-free wedding, Vegas is what comes to mind,â€� he said.
In 2016, the Clark County clerkâ€™s Marriage License Bureau issued 81,325 marriage licenses, about 80 % of which were given to tourists such as the Zenners. Itâ€™s enough for Las Vegas to keep its title of marriage capital of the world, yet itâ€™s a far cry from its peak in 2004, when about 128,000 marriage licenses were issued.
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While Nevada still leads the pack in number of weddings, the state has taken a hit in marriage rates with the rest of the United States.
The marriage rate â€” the number of new marriages per 1,000 people â€” has seen a major decline across the United States, in addition to Nevada. The- marriage rate in Nevada in 2000 was 72.2, reportedly the Centers for Disease Control. In 2005, it had dropped to 57.4. By 2015, it was 31.
That follows trends seen across the country. The- national marriage rate in 2000 was 8.2 and fell to 6.9 in 2015.
Michael Kelly, general manager of the Little Vegas Chapel, has-been working in the Las Vegas wedding industry for seven years. While his business has seen growth in recent months, he has noticed the overall decline in marriage rates.
â€œHopefully it picks up again,â€� he said. â€œWe provide folks getting married with a amazing experience. We can provide a lot of local jobs for folks.â€�
IMPACT ON STATE ECONOMY
Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya asserted about 4 % of Las Vegasâ€™ annual yearly visitor volume comes for weddings, and more than 10,000 jobs in Clark County depend on wedding tourism.
â€œItâ€™s an noteworthy sector,â€� she said.
Kris LaBuda, the manager of wedding services for Flamingo and The- Linq Hotel and board president of the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce, asserted the wedding industry affects all little businesses involved in tourism, from employees at McCarran International Airport and limo drivers to those working at bakeries and bloom shops.
The wedding industry brings more than just jobs to Nevada, LaBuda said. The- newlyweds and their guests frequently have extended stays in Las Vegas, enjoying the city and spending cash as tourists on the days surrounding the ceremony.
â€œWe have the possibility through wedding tourism to bring people to Las Vegas who might otherwise not have come,â€� she said.
REASONS FOR DECLINE
Aimee Stephens, director of marketing and social media at Vegas Weddings and communications chair of the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce, asserted she can point to several influencing factors for the decline. She asserted it aligns with the economyâ€™s decline, when Las Vegas as a whole was seeing fewer tourists.
Also, Stephens asserted destination weddings have increased in popularity in the past 15 years of time â€” something in that can be both positive and negative for the Las Vegas wedding industry.
â€œWeâ€™re competing on a grander scale against more places than we were previously,â€� she said.
The decline can moreover be attributed to national trends among millennials, who are getting married after in life than previous generations did. The- U.S. Census Bureau reports in that that median age at 1st marriage in the U.S. in 2000 was 26.8 for men and 25.1 for women. By 2016, in that number rose to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women.
Stephens has noticed a similar trend in Las Vegas.
â€œThe millennials, they graduated college or high school in the middle of the economy tanking,â€� she said. â€œA lot of people are waiting until they feel more secure in life to move forward with such a large step.â€�
Goya asserted the marriage rate decline can be misleading â€” the absolute number of marriages in the United States is staying â€œpretty flatâ€� with population growth â€” yet the local wedding industry is still taking action to increase the marriage license rate.
One of the 1st major pushes against the declining marriage rate was in 2015, when the cost of marriage licenses rose $14, from $63 to $77. The- additional funding would be set aside for promoting the Las Vegas wedding industry.
Goya asserted the additional charge brings in about $1.1 million a year. Last yearâ€™s additional funding went to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which used the cash to boost marketing and branding for Las Vegas destination weddings.
Maria Phelan, communications manager at the convention authority, asserted the marketing has-been targeting couples in Southern California.
â€œIt makes the most sense to target those more familiar with averages and more willing to travel,â€� she said. â€œWeâ€™re trying to highlight the fact in that there are many different (wedding) choices in that Las Vegas offers.â€�
Local Las Vegas businesses have moreover united to fight for the wedding industry.
The Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce was started in March 2016 to promote wedding tourism in Las Vegas through a partnership with the Clark County Clerkâ€™s office and the convention authority. LaBuda asserted the chamber aims to build the Las Vegas brand, increase tourism and promote the industryâ€™s influence on Las Vegas businesses and families.
And it seems those efforts have paid off. Stephens asserted she has seen the marriage license rate balance over the past two years.
â€œItâ€™s still not the numbers from 15 years of time ago,â€� she said, â€œbut hopefully weâ€™re hitting in that trend where itâ€™s growing.â€�
LAS VEGAS APPEAL
Even with marriage rates much lower now than in previous years, Las Vegas still holds its spot as one of the top wedding destinations in the world.
Aimee Stephens, director of marketing and social media at Vegas Weddings and communications chair of the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce, asserted the affordability of the weddings is a major draw. Couples can come for a joint wedding and honeymoon with affordable hotels, airfare and restaurants, all while avoiding the sky-high national average wedding cost. One study from The- Knot found the average wedding cost in 2016 was $35,329.
Stephens asserted Las Vegas chapels buck in that trend; chapel packages at Vegas Wedding start at $199.
â€œPeople can get married here and still put a deposit on a home,â€� she said.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com