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US couples make beeline for 777 wedding date

(AFP) / 15 March 2007

WASHINGTON - Thousands of starry-eyed couples across the United States will be tying the knot on July 7 this year, hoping the almost numerically perfect 7/7/07 combination will prove a perfect match.

Wedding CardWedding planners, hotel operators and travel agencies are reporting record numbers of reservations and are struggling to meet the demand for that day, which also falls on a Saturday.

“We have over 31,000 weddings planned for that day when typically on a Saturday in July, the most popular month for weddings, we have about 12,000 weddings taking place,” Kathleen Murray, deputy editor of the theknot.com, a wedding planning site, told AFP.

“This is the biggest day I’ve seen in recent years,” she added.

Nicole Hendrickson, 24, of the eastern state of Massachusetts, said she decided to become a “7/7/07 bride” for the fun of it and in the hope that her future husband would never forget their wedding anniversary.

“I knew I wanted to get married on a Saturday and triple sevens are lucky so this is the perfect match,” she said. “And it’s definitely going to help him (her fiance) so he won’t have any excuses to forget the date.”

Las Vegas, the country’s gambling mecca and one of the top destinations for weddings, is bracing for an onslaught of couples wanting to walk down the aisle on July 7, and wedding chapels across the city are planning to open extra hours that day to accommodate demand, officials said.

One of them, Graceland Wedding Chapel, is already solidly booked and will be open from 8:00 am to midnight with a ceremony taking place every 15 minutes.

“People gravitate toward any date like this that is memorable and of course, this being a gaming city, 777 has connotations of good luck,” said Erika Pope of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Center. “I think people will be delighted to say they got married on 777 in Las Vegas.”

Several hotel chains are offering special deals that weekend, including the Ritz-Carlton, which is promoting “Lucky 7’s Packages” priced at 7,707 dollarsor 777 dollars (5,830 or 587 euros).

Being superstitious

“We are averaging two to six calls per week regarding potential weddings for July 7,” said Marina Nicola, a spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas.

She said two weddings were already booked for that day at the hotel.

JoAnn Gregoli, a New York wedding planner, said she had agreed to handle two weddings on the weekend of July 7 and had turned down several other requests.

“You hear from everyone in the business that the day is booked,” Gregoli said. “It’s just a matter of people being superstitious and it’s a good luck number and an easy one to remember.”

She said one of the two couples she is working with has decided to incorporate the date in just about every aspect of their wedding with seven people seated at each table, seven lottery tickets offered each guest for good luck, seven bridesmaids and groomsmen and seven red or white roses for each floral arrangement.

“Everything is going to be seven,” Gregoli chuckled.

Leslie Lorenz, 24, a graphic designer from the southeastern state of Florida, said even though she and her fiance picked July 7 as their wedding date two years ago they were still having trouble finding a DJ and florist for the big day.

“We thought it would be kind of fun, but it’s become more of a hassle than it’s worth because a lot of the vendors are booked,” she said.

Murray advised prospective spouses who still haven’t booked their wedding venue for July 7 to remain open-minded as it is unlikely they will find any availability at this point.

“You shouldn’t let the date ruin your day,” she said. “Just go with another choice and try to find creative means to make it work.”



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