Video: The luckiest day? Some say 07.07.07

Alison
By Allison Linn Senior writer
msnbc.com
updated 7/2/2007 6:16:33 PM ET 2007-07-02T22:16:33

After Pamela Yager found the man of her dreams, of course she wanted the wedding of a lifetime.

For Yager, that meant holding the ceremony at 7 p.m. on July 7, 2007. And it meant  stretching the celebration over the course of seven events. If things work out, Yager, a comedian and party planner, may even end up with 77 guests at her high-end New Orleans shindig.

Although she never considered seven to be her lucky number before now, Yager admits she’s kind of gotten into the spirit of things.

“I’m planning on having seven husbands,” she jokes.

Every bride likes to think they are unique, and Yager’s lavish fete is sure to be talked about for years to come. But her choice of a wedding date is far from unusual — in fact, even Yager herself knows two other couples who are getting married that day.

July 7, 2007 is definitely going to be a lucky day — if you’re in the wedding or gambling business, that is. Companies ranging from caterers to casinos are gearing up for an influx of business from those seeking to take advantage of what is thought to be an auspicious day.

The idea of lucky numbers can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Still, it’s not entirely clear how seven emerged as an especially lucky number in Western culture, said Underwood Dudley, a retired mathematics professor from DePauw University and author of “Numerology: Or What Pythagoras Wrought.”

“It’s just part of the way humans are wired, I suppose. Humans need religion and they need numbers,” he said.

Richard Markel, director of the Association for Wedding Professionals International, is expecting between 75,000 and 80,000 weddings to take place on Saturday, July 7 — 25 to 30 percent more than normal for a Saturday in July. Wedding Web site The Knot said 38,000 of its members are reporting a July 7 wedding, compared with about 12,000 on average for a Saturday in July.

Some Las Vegas hotspots also expect 07-07-07 to be a big day for gamblers who are feeling lucky. After all, you can use three sevens to make 21 in Black Jack, and some slot machines come up 7-7-7 for a jackpot.

“We fully expect, because of various people’s beliefs or suspicions, that we will be busy,” said Scott Voeller, vice president of marketing Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

But at Mandalay Bay and elsewhere, the rush to wed appears to be the hottest trend for July 7, 2007. Wedding venues, florists and caterers are working overtime to accommodate the excessive number of brides, with some scheduling weddings from the crack of dawn to the wee hours of the night, and many having to turn brides away.

Markel has heard of weddings being squeezed in at such odd hours as 12:07 a.m. and 7:07 a.m. He’s also hearing from unusual locations, such as zoos, who are getting wedding bookings because other venues are already filled up. Demand is so great that Markel even set up a Web site listing places that can still accommodate weddings on that day.

Even Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has gotten into the act, with plans to host seven weddings in its stores on July 7.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority expects 07-07-07 to be one of the busiest wedding days ever — and that’s saying something in a city known for quickie weddings.

Little Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas will host 110 weddings on July 7, starting at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 11:59 p.m. That’s more than double the 40 to 50 weddings they would normally host.

In order to keep the 30-minute ceremonies running on schedule at its various chapels, the venue has been calling brides daily, said Whitney Lloyd, director of sales and marketing. The biggest problem: finding enough staff to handle the onslaught.

“We’re bringing in reinforcements, but that has been difficult because every other place is bringing in reinforcements,” Lloyd said.

With all the added work, Lloyd said it’s not clear how profitable the day will be for the chapel. Photo and DVD sales are often the major moneymakers for her venue, and they won’t know for several days whether the 07-07-07 couples will decide to splurge on those items as well.

The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Las Vegas has booked three weddings on July 7 and could take more — except that the hotel can’t find any vendors available to supply flowers, take pictures or even perform the ceremony. Spokeswoman Katie Conway said it’s frustrating to have to turn couples away, especially since the height of summer is not usually prime time for weddings in the Nevada desert getaway.

“That’s the phenomonal part of it. Who would want to get married in the middle of July outside in Vegas?” she said.

The Ritz-Carlton itself also will be sold out, and room rates are running about 15 percent higher than normal for the time period. However, no one has yet taken the hotel up on a “Seven Ways of Wonderment” package selling for $7,707.

Mandalay Bay’s Voeller said it’s not unusual for his hotel to sell out on a July weekend, but earlier-than-usual bookings allowed them to make more money than normal. To accommodate interest in tying the knot on July 7, Mandalay Bay also is holding a group wedding for as many as 200 couples — plus two guests for each. The cost: $1,077.07 per couple.

The Bellagio Hotel and Casino, also in Las Vegas, has booked 13 weddings for July 7, compared with three to five on a typical Saturday in July. It’s also charging a $500 premium for the lowest-price wedding, which would normally cost $3,900. Other packages can cost up to $15,000.

“We are fully booked from 7 a.m. all the way through 1 a.m. on Sunday morning,” said Cindy Lipkint, assistant manager of the hotel’s wedding chapel.

Hoping to attract those who want to gamble on lucky No. 7 — but not necessarily on marriage — Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group has created a special drink for its Las Vegas restaurants called the “Strawberry Hardway,” a reference to the fact that using three sevens to get 21 in Black Jack is considered the hard way.

And at Paris Las Vegas’ Le Burger Brasserie, guests can choose a $777 dinner featuring a Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger and a bottle of Rose Dom Perignon champagne.

Wedding planners, bartenders and Black Jack dealers may get a break after midnight on July 7, but not for long.  Some are gearing up for another day considered lucky in Asian cultures: Aug. 8, 2008.

“Oh, we’re already getting calls,” said Conway, of the Ritz-Carlton.

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