Wedding chapels in Tahoe not overwhelmed

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - Tahoe wedding chapels were seeing only a trickle of couples planning to tie the knot for the new year, despite the attention being given to a new millennium.

Blame for the lower-than-expected turnout has been variously cast upon Y2K fears, high costs and lack of availability.

The Wedding Chapel at Harveys Resort & Casino had scheduled few New Year's Eve wedding reservations, according to co-owner Ron Sayed.

"Without having the amenities that we need, which are reception space and rooms, we're doing a very normal business," Sayed said earlier in the week. "With the combination of the two, I'll be home by 7."

Areas normally used for receptions at Harveys had been taken up by New Year's Eve parties. Hotel rooms also sold out, partly thanks to a decrease in prices after potential guests balked at the high room rates.

Other chapels in South Lake Tahoe also saw a typical number of couples tying the knot on New Year's Eve.

"We have the normal New Year's Eve weddings planned," said CaroleAnne Johnson of Fantasy Inn Weddings. "Some are caught up in the moment or want the tax advantage."

What is unusual, she said, is the amount of married couples who plan to renew their vows for the millennium. "Normally, people do that on their wedding date," she said.

The one lucky couple who got to recite their vows at the magical strike of midnight reserved the spot back in June.

While current wedding reservations seem about average, Johnson expected a few more couples staying at the Fantasy Inn to "get caught up in the moment" and make last-minute plans.

While the number of people getting wed on New Year's Eve may not be setting any records, there is another trend this year - New Year's Day weddings.

Lisa Ei of Hornblower Cruises said that cruise weddings are running higher in number for today, the first day of the millennium.

"Maybe the higher-end price (for the cruise during the New Year's Eve party) was too much to include a wedding," Ei said. "We did have inquiries."

"I think 2000 will probably be a real busy wedding year. Inquiries and calls have started (for spring and summer and February) weddings."


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