Vegas Closes the Door on Wee-Hour Weddings Starting August 30, couples going to get hitched in Las Vegas will have to get marriage licenses during normal business hours -- normal for Las Vegas, anyway. The county has decided to shut down the marriage license bureau from midnight to 8 A.M. to save money.
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Vegas Closes the Door on Wee-Hour Weddings

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Vegas Closes the Door on Wee-Hour Weddings

Vegas Closes the Door on Wee-Hour Weddings

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From Atlantic City to Las Vegas, where local officials hope to save public money by cutting back the hours of a public service office: the wedding license bureau. Las Vegas, of course, is a noted - some would say notorious -destination for wedding planners in a big hurry. The county issues licenses all day and night and people use them. Britney Spears got married on an overnight fling a couple of years ago; it didn't last. Starting next week, the option is no longer going to be available; the license bureau will close at midnight and not re-open until eight the next morning.

We're joined by Charolette Richards. She's been the owner of the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas for almost 50 years. It's open all day and all night, too. Ms. Richards, are you going to say open all night even when the license bureau shuts down?

Ms. CHAROLETTE RICHARDS (Owner, Little White Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas): Yes, we are. We will still maintain our record of being open 24/7. You know, this is Las Vegas; Las Vegas is known as a 24-hour city. And Las Vegas is also known as the marriage capital of the world, and I think that a lot of people choose to come here to be married because of that.

CHADWICK: Ms. Richards, I guess the local people there say that they don't issue all that many licenses between the hours of midnight and eight so this would be a way to cut back and save a little bit of money.

Ms. RICHARDS: I'm not city hall and I can't make these decisions, however I am going to be affected by it. Even if it is a 4 percent, that 4 percent is what I can live on also.

CHADWICK: Ms. Richards, I wonder if, you know, a counselor might not suggest that anyone who wants a wedding license between the hours of midnight and eight o'clock in the morning probably shouldn't get one.

Ms. RICHARDS: Why is that?

CHADWICK: Well, you know, think of the divorce rate in America.

Ms. RICHARDS: You know, I don't think about divorce. You know, I am not the judge of anyone's destiny. My ceremonies, along with the rest of the ministers that work here, we are dedicated to the service of God and the service of these people to make sure when they leave here they really know that they're married. Yes, and there was an exception: Britney Spears did get married at the Little White Chapel.

CHADWICK: She did.

Ms. RICHARDS: And I'm sorry that that didn't last, but again I cannot predict anyone's destiny or future.

CHADWICK: Are you worried about Las Vegas' reputation as a fun place?

Ms. RICHARDS: Well, Las Vegas is my home and I do everything that I can as a citizen and as a minister. I walk down the streets of Las Vegas - with security of course - encouraging the girls of the night to straighten up their life. I even have a home for them. My (unintelligible) is to give, and I don't expect to receive. But I do love to give to the people that come and request my services of getting married and then trying to encourage them to live a better life.

CHADWICK: Charolette Richards of the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Starting next Friday, you will no longer be able to get a marriage license overnight in the city. But if you have a license issued during normal business hours, you can get married at the Little White Wedding Chapel; it'll still be open. Ms. Richards, thank you.

Ms. RICHARDS: Thank you, and God be with you and bless you.

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