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Will Seven Be the Lucky Number for Las Vegas Newlyweds?

In Las Vegas you roll the dice and hope they come up seven: on Saturday thousands of newlyweds-to-be will descend on this desert city to gamble that the lucky number holds the key to marital bliss.

In the wedding capital of the world, couples are lining up to get married on Saturday, July 7, 2007 -- 7/7/7 -- placing their bets on future domestic tranquility and happiness.

In small chapels that have hosted weddings for decades and at large glitzy resorts where nearby gamblers are sweating and shouting as they watch the dice tumble, thousands will tie the knot.

"This is the busiest I've been in my 49 years in this business. This is our magical, maniacal, historical moment of love," said Charlotte Richards, owner of the famous Little White Chapel.

An estimated record 3,000 couples have applied for marriage licenses in Clark County on Saturday, cramming the schedule at the 40 or so chapels across the city that offer bargain-basement, legally-binding weddings.

Never slow to spot a marketing opportunity, the city's main venues are making the most of the calendar quirk.

The Mandalay Bay Hotel is offering a "777 Beach Extravaganza" package that includes a ceremony on Mandalay Bay Beach, champagne toast, a concert featuring K.C. and the Sunshine Band, a catered reception with complimentary bar, a photo of the bride and groom and a souvenir gift bag.

The cost? 1,777 dollars, naturally.

The rush to wed on Saturday is also prompting many resorts and chapels to expand hours and operations.

There are 77 weddings scheduled for the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, three times the usual number for any given day, so the hotel is expanding the hours of its three on-site wedding locations.

At Paris Las Vegas, meanwhile, the main chapel is fully booked with 35 weddings, so the resort will perform a mass wedding for 14 couples in the evening in concert ed convention area space.

And at The Flamingo Las Vegas, a seventh on-site wedding venue has been added to accommodate the 77 scheduled weddings for that day.

"We wanted our couples to be extra lucky in marriage," said Kris Labuda, manager of the Flamingo Garden Chapel. "This date represents good fortune and will be life-changing for so many people."

At the non-resort locations, the little chapels which Vegas is famous for, there is plenty of action.

More than 100 weddings are planned at the popular Chapel of the Flowers.

At the Little White Chapel the schedule was filled with 460 weddings, with more possible.

"We can't make any more reservations but we will take walk-ins and drive-ups, and fit them in when we can," owner Richards said.

The reasons couples say they want this wedding date is divided evenly between those who say the number seven is lucky, and those who say it has religious connotations for them, Richards says.

To help boost profits and provide mementos for their guests, the Little White Chapel is selling t-shirts, coffee mugs and other items made especially for this day.

Virginia Valdez, 57, is at last tying the knot with Stanley, her boyfriend of 10 years.

The California couple decided on July 7 partially because they thought it would be a memorable anniversary date, and partly because they happened to be leaving Las Vegas later that day, anyway.

"We've joked about getting married on this day, but it's definitely going to be special," Valdez said.

"It's kind of neat, especially with all the hype about this date. When I go to work on Monday, everybody will make a big deal out of it."

The couple plans a 7:45 a.m. wedding, then a drive back to California.

"That way we can get out of the desert before the car overheats," she said.


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