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The wedding boom is real, and Las Vegas leads the way

Published Wednesday, Aug. 4th, 2021

Couples are flocking to Vegas to get married this season. Will the trend continue with mask mandates back in place? 


Las Vegas wedding officiants have seen it all, but this year they’re seeing it all in record time, too. Tens of thousands of couples are heading to the unofficial elopement capital of the country to get married fast, while COVID restrictions in their own states change daily. 


But will the trend continue now that state-wide mask mandates are back in place? 


An average of 340 people got married every single day in Vegas in June. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly 10,000 weddings in one month. With July not far behind and August booking up fast, the city is seeing double the number of weddings it did last year, even outpacing its pre-pandemic records (details via NPR).


There are three big reasons why: Vegas lifted all COVID restrictions (temporarily) on June 1st, making it a popular destination for couples still navigating shifting guidelines at home. More Americans got vaccinated, allowing for safer travel with friends and family. And the iconic Vegas elopement -- quick, affordable, and minimum hassle with maximum quirk -- is incredibly appealing to couples who have been waiting for months (some for over a year) to marry. 


In fact, Vegas-style weddings are so popular right now that wedding officiants and venues elsewhere in the country are stepping up to meet demand, with new Vegas-inspired micro chapels, one-day all-inclusive micro wedding pop-ups, small group weddings, elopement packages, and more mobile officiant services.


Elopements of all kinds are trending everywhere… thanks to Vegas! 


But with a mask mandate back in place in Nevada following last week’s updated CDC guidance and the State’s Declaration of Emergency Directive 047, some industry folks worry that the business rebound won’t last. They're concerned that large scheduled events, like the upcoming Bridal Spectacular Wedding Expo, will suffer if couples and vendors decide to pull out at the last minute. 


“I know I have a vendor who’s been very vocal that they’re afraid people are going to start to cancel fall weddings now, because nobody wants to get married wearing a mask,” Laura Covington, Vice President of the Bridal Spectacular expo, told FOX5


Those fears aren’t unfounded: The Bridal Spectacular Wedding Expo has already been rescheduled four times over the past year and a half, and it’s not alone. Hundreds of wedding expos and thousands of large-scale weddings were postponed in 2020.


Which brings us back to elopements: 


When couples elope, they don’t have to worry about a venue shutting down, or what changes the next month will bring… They’re already married! Elopements don’t even require a professional wedding officiant -- friends and family members can conduct fun, intimate ceremonies anywhere after they’re ordained. Backyards, parks, and even favorite cafes can serve as spontaneous wedding venues. 


It’s why we expect the elopement trend to last. In Vegas, definitely, and all over the country, too. We predict the wedding industry will continue to change and adapt, long after the pandemic has ended, with increasing emphasis on small, intimate gatherings. 


Viva Las Vegas, viva love, and viva elopements! 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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