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New York City Creates it's First "Las Vegas-Style" Wedding Chapel

By. Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway

Watch out Las Vegas!

New York City is officially throwing its (groom's) hat and (a wedding veil) into the ring and taking on Las Vegas to compete as a the top spot for destination weddings.

For years, the office of the Marriage Bureau in the New York City Clerks Office in lower Manhattan has offered dingy, unromantic little room as their "wedding chapel." There, couples would line up in the dozens to get hitched for $27 dollars (up from $5 dollars as of 20 years ago).

Despite the lack of pizzazz, it has it's own kind of offbeat charm, and couples and entire families have been spotted (especially Fridays) waiting for their number to be called and to be ushered into the tiny chapel for a ceremony so short they'd take a breath and it would be over.

Officials have called in the same decorator who decorated New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's town house. He's been given the task of designing a more "romantic" space, something that will be a little more appealing to brides and grooms, especially those coming from out of town to tie the knot here.

New York's Mayor Bloomberg said this month that this transformation comes on the heel of years of complaints from people who think the existing chapel is too bureaucratic and businesslike. In fact, it's been driving couples away.

"It is dehumanizing," said Bloomberg. "it is anything but the kind of environment you would want for a happy day for two people."

In New York, there is a 24 hour waiting period from the time you receive the license to the moment you can officially be pronounced husband and wife. Once they get their license, many couples here plan big weddings, or small ones, outside of "City Hall." The City wants to change that.

At the moment, brides and grooms have to go through a metal detector at the landmark Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street and head up to the second floor to sign in and get a number (like at the bakery).

The creation of a real, Las-Vegas style wedding chapel is intended to transform the environment into one that is romantic and elegant. Reports are that the entire marriage bureau will be moved to another city-owned building.

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