9/9/09: A Memorable Wedding Date

Those getting married on Sept. 9, 2009, are unlikely to forget their anniversary. That could be one reason why chapels in Reno, Nev., and Las Vegas are doing a booming business Wednesday. Pat Simpson, co-owner of the Arch of Reno Wedding Chapel, says they usually have five to 10 weddings midweek, but are expecting more than 19.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

I'm Melissa Block with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

And it is 9/9/09 today, which means the chapels of love are full. The Arch of Reno Wedding Chapel is among those promoting today as an important date for unity with this message: See how many 9's you can accumulate. Earlier today, I spoke with Pat Simpson, the chapel's owner, and she said it is indeed a busy day.

Ms. PAT SIMPSON (Owner, Arch of Reno Wedding Chapel): Well, interestingly, we have 19 reservations, and we expect probably about half as many walk-ins.

BLOCK: Okay. And compared to a typical day, that's unusual?

Ms. SIMPSON: That's very unusual. A typical midweek day would be five to 10 weddings.

BLOCK: We should explain that you're speaking with us right now from the courthouse in Reno. Is that right?

Ms. SIMPSON: That is correct. The Washoe County Courthouse is where the Marriage License Bureau is. And I am currently standing here waiting for our third couple.

BLOCK: So you can - in Nevada, you can get a license, get married on the same day. And you're helping them, basically, that you bring them to get the license and then take them back to the chapel to tie the knot.

Ms. SIMPSON: That is correct, yes. In Nevada, the Marriage License Bureau is open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to midnight.

BLOCK: And what's the scene like there? Is it really busy?

Ms. SIMPSON: Moderately busy. It'll start picking up and getting extremely busy midday and it will stay busy through the night. We have weddings scheduled up through 10 p.m. We expect to be open until midnight tonight.

BLOCK: Oh, you do? You'll extend your hours?

Ms. SIMPSON: Yes, we will extend our hours.

BLOCK: Do you figure there would be a lot of people trying to sneak in just under the wire, get there before midnight so they could have 9/9/09?

Ms. SIMPSON: We think so. Currently, we have a 10 p.m. reservation. So we know we'll be open at least until 11.

BLOCK: Well, Ms. Simpson, explain, please, why this date is tempting for people. What's the appeal of 9/9/09?

Ms. SIMPSON: Well, it just tells me that people feel something special about numbers that come up that are unusual. We have experienced this type of volume in 08/08/08 and 07/07/07, and it seems to be coming to be more popular as the years go on.

BLOCK: Is there a special deal if you wanted to get married today, on 9/9/09?

Ms. SIMPSON: We are always running special deals.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: I see.

Ms. SIMPSON: We are promoting some of our merchandise on the ninth. For instance, garters, $9.99. Everybody needs a garter for their wedding.

BLOCK: Well, Pat Simpson, thanks for talking to us on 9/9/09. Appreciate it.

Ms. SIMPSON: You're welcome.

BLOCK: Pat Simpson is the owner of the Arch of Reno Wedding Chapel in Reno, Nevada, where there's been a surge in couples getting married on 9/9/09.

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