The Nevada Independent: After COVID slowdown, Las Vegas sees post-shutdown wedding ‘boom’


By Sean Golonka / The Nevada Independent

In a small shop-front chapel in downtown Las Vegas, Renato Garcia is surrounded by masked loved ones taking cell phone photos, waiting for the person he will marry.

Janae Frazier, wearing a floor-length dress and a sunflower crown, meets Garcia in front of the chapel. After exchanging their vows, the newlyweds join the nearly 5 million other couples who tied the knot in Las Vegas.

It’s a joyful moment. But for Arnold Garcia, owner of the Love Story Wedding Chapel, where Frazier and Garcia got married, the past year and a half have been full of roadblocks as the COVID-19 pandemic turned the wedding industry upside down.

With shop closings closing chapels and capacity constraints limiting large gatherings, many weddings were postponed or canceled while other ceremonies were held online or scaled down significantly.

“I think that’s essential – maybe not the big meetings and everything else – but people … are losing their jobs,” Garcia said. “They need their spouse for insurance and their spouse to make decisions for them.”

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