To Draw Tourists, City Tarts Up Its Quickie Weddings

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Part of the charm of city hall weddings is that they are a little shabby, with peeling paint, fluorescent lights, and the bored clerk stamping and stapling documents as he reads, "I now pronounce (click foonf) you man and wife (click chunk)." But the city needs tourists more than it needs traditions, so it has tricked out its wedding facilities. From the Times description -- "chandeliers, bronze counters and shiny marble columns" -- the wedding chamber sounds like an Italian restaurant, but the facility's first groom, Carlos Sanchez, found it "really romantic" and his bride found it "lavish." New York spent $12 million (!) to make its marital services competitive with those of Las Vegas, the current drunk-pregnant-emergency wedding capital of the world, in hopes of stealing market share. We hope soon all our government functions will be redesigned to accomodate tourists ("Register your car New York style at the Department of Motor Vehicles Experience, sponsored by Chevrolet and Pepsi!"), leaving us actual citizens in a state of blissful anarchy.


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