July 5, 2007 — -- From tying the knot or hitting the slots, on 7/7/07, a lot of people are hoping to get lucky.
And if Pythagoras were still around, he probably would be too. The mathematician decreed the number seven lucky in ancient Greece, cementing in Western culture a belief that also reigns in Asia and the Middle East.
Wedding-planning Web site TheKnot.com has had 38,000 couples register 7/7/07 as their wedding date -- more than triple the number of couples getting married on any other day of the year.
"That concentration will make it the single largest wedding day in American history," said Carley Roney, founder and editor of TheKnot.com.
For those in the hospitality and wedding-planning industries, that means a deluge of requests from couples willing to pull out all the stops for a No. 7-studded ceremony.
Roney said overwhelmed bakers have hired extra staff to meet the demand for wedding cakes. Nearly all the Ritz-Carlton hotels in the country have multiple weddings booked for 7/7/07; some have been booked for years. Fitting with the date and its popularity, the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel on Waikiki Beach has seven weddings slated for Saturday.
And for the bride and groom who want a 7/7/07 wedding at a prime location, money is often no object: Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl said one couple offered a hotel $75,000 to bump another wedding for theirs (the offer was politely declined).
The seven obsession doesn't end with the date. Many brides and grooms are bucking tradition to incorporate the number into their wedding as much as possible, including having the ceremony at 7 p.m., serving a seven-course meal, having seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen, and making sure the bridal suite has a No. 7 on the door.
"We have one couple in Grand Caymen that's getting married at seven minutes after 7 p.m. on a 7-mile beach," Deuschl said.
Virginia teacher Jen Ratliff, who gets married in Arlington Saturday, thought about serving No. 7-shaped cookies at her ceremony. She secured her venue almost two years ago to make sure she and her fiancé, legislative analyst Marshall Rogers, would be able to wed in an outdoor area overlooking Washington, D.C.
"After he popped the question I kind of turned to the calendar and said, 'Oh look, how about 7/7/07?'" Ratliff said. "Once I saw the date I figured it would be popular, so I thought it should get on it."
If 7/7/07 fever has swept the country, no place is as hot as Las Vegas, Nev., where thousands of gamblers will try their luck Saturday. A Caesars Palace spokesperson said the hotel and casino's more than 3,000 rooms have been booked for months. In addition to jackpot hopefuls, Caesars will welcome brides and grooms for a mass wedding ceremony at, of course, 7 p.m.
Down the strip, the Bellagio hotel and casino will host 13 weddings back-to-back. Wolfgang Puck is honoring the date by serving a signature 7/7/07 cocktail -- the Strawberry Hardway, named after the blackjack deal of three No. 7 cards -- in his Las Vegas restaurants.
Manan Shah, a New York City investment banker, is flying to Las Vegas for 7/7/07. He's bracing for crowds and hoping to win.
"I think the roulette table is going to see a lot more action than it would normally," he said. "I'm going to be there, and yeah, I'll include seven in my numbers."
But while those in the casinos might win big, according to Ellin Dodge, numerologist and author of "Numerology Has Your Number," 7/7/07 actually isn't an ideal day to get married. If anything, it's unlucky.
"Numerologically, it's considered a day for freedom, restlessness, gambling and doing things unconventionally -- weddings are a convention," she said. "It's a day when plans are made to be broken. But if you can handle thing not going according to schedule, like the best man showing up late, then OK."
As an alternative, Dodge suggested 7/8/07, which numerologists consider a fortuitous day for long-term commitment. She admitted it doesn't have quite the same ring.
Whether or not brides, grooms and gamblers get lucky, the businesses catering to them certainly will, and they're looking to cash in again before 7/7/77. Hotels are already getting requests for next year's sought-after date, considered even more fortuitous than 7/7/07 in Asian cultures.
"We're waiting for 8/8/08, which people are already booking," the Ritz-Carlton's Deuschl said. "That's going to be even bigger than this one."