While more people can legally marry than ever before, it seems that fewer are choosing to do so.

In 2000, the marriage rate (number of marriages per 1000 people) was 8.2.  In 2015, it was just 6.9.

And nowhere is the marriage decline more painful than Las Vegas, where you can still purchase a $79 ceremony, including chapel, minister, wedding coordinator and studio portrait, and getting hitched is a major industry.

Photo courtesy Viva Las Vegas Weddings.

According to an article that ran in the August 26 Las Vegas Review-Journal, the annual number of marriage licenses issued in Clark County dropped from a high of 128,000 in 2004 to 81,325 in 2016.

That’s bad news in an area with more than 10,000 jobs dependent on wedding tourism.

In the interest of preserving those 10,000 U.S. jobs (before they get shipped off to Mexico) I’d like to encourage you to plan your next wedding in the Neon and Kitsch Capital of the World. A little research produced the following offerings.

On the high end, Viva Las Vegas Weddings advertises a variety of chapels to suit the most discriminating taste. In addition to the Main Chapel, the Gazebo Chapel and the Garden Chapel, there is the Doo Wop Chapel that simulates a ’50s diner and the Elvis and Priscilla Chapel that includes a replica of the gates at Graceland.

Also there are 33 themed wedding packages featuring everything from zombies to Michael Jackson, Liberace, Superman, Star Trek and Alice Cooper look-alikes.

Bargain hunters might prefer the Wedding Chapel of Las Vegas, which lists a $199.99 special that includes music, photography, a DVD of the ceremony and temporary use of a bridal bouquet and boutonniere.

My personal favorite may be The Roving Reverend, a mobile wedding service.  The good reverend will marry you presumably in any location — in front of the fake Eifel Tower, the fake Trevi Fountain, the fake Egyptian Pyramid or the very real, four-story M&M store.

Can’t make up your mind?  Check Trip Advisor, which lists 36 different wedding chapels, complete with rankings and reviews.

Remember, 10,000 wedding workers are depending on you.

Do you have a Vegas wedding memory?  Please share.

Photo courtesy Viva Las Vegas Weddings.
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