Las Vegas brides and grooms who, for whatever reason, can't be bothered to stumble down to the nearest Elvis Chapel, now have a new option for getting hitched: a minister-equipped van that comes to them and weds them curbside (weather permitting) in 10 minutes. Cost: $99.
The Las Vegas Wedding Wagon is the brainchild of Andy Gonzalez and James Cass ("Reverend Andy" and "Reverend James"), two refugees from the corporate world who say they got the idea last year. They performed their first Wedding Wagon wedding just last week and have so far married four couples.
Gonzalez says that when the two entrepreneurs did their market research, they were happily surprised to see that 7,000 to 9,000 weddings get performed in Vegas every month.
"We both saw the potential," he says. "There could be real money here."
The market, though, was crowded: There were Elvis weddings. There were stripper weddings. There were drive-thru weddings. What new wrinkle could they bring?
A mobile, we-deliver wedding would be novel, they thought. Gonzalez says they looked into whether they could get a business license for such a service, and into what kind of vehicle might be right. But, as they remained undecided whether to proceed, they were given a sign:
"The Hangover Bus," Gonzalez says. "We were saying, 'Should we pull the trigger?' and then we saw that story about the Hangover Bus. When we saw that, we said 'Anything is possible'."
He refers to media coverage given another new mobile service, Hangover Heaven: a bus that drives up and down the Strip offering intravenous hangover cures to people in need.
Only one hurdle remained: The two had to be ordained. They acquired their authority as ministers, he says, via the Internet, through American Marriage Ministries.
Gonzalez is a little vague about the Wedding Wagon's denomination.
"We're kind of non-denominational," he says. "We did a wedding Friday for a couple who wanted an Apache prayer added."
Asked if there's anybody the Wagon cannot or will not marry, the Gonzalez says both he and Clark County draw the line at first cousins.
As for how far he will travel to service a client: "All the way down to Boulder City, where the Dam is, and out into Red Rock Canyon."
What of the future? Might they branch out into, say, drive-by christenings or the administration of last rites?
"We joked about our starting a 'briss-bus,'" he says. "But that maybe would be going too far."
He says he and Cass will be earning as much as they made in the corporate world, when and if they are routinely marrying four-to-six couples a day or more.
"We've got so little overhead," he explains. "We're not a brick-and-mortar chapel."