According to Los Angeles County data collected before the Covid-19 pandemic hit as reported in the Los Angeles Times, more than 250 couples got married on Valentine’s Day 2020 at registrar-recorder’s offices throughout the county. Thousands got married elsewhere.
In fact, according to a Los Angeles Times study, between 2008 and 2018, more than 7,000 couples who got marriage licenses in Los Angeles County got married on Valentine’s Day; it was by far the most common day for weddings — four times more popular than the average day.
But with the clerk’s offices only open remotely, appointments are hard to come by. Valentine’s Day is only 10 days away, so what options do couples have?
Alan Katz is the presiding officiant of Long Beach’s Cute Little Wedding Chapel and his venue, located at 3740 Atlantic Ave., is performing ceremonies every half hour on Valentine's Day.
Each couple will get a marriage license, wedding ceremony and a pair of roses. Couples can have up to four guests in the outdoor location.
The Cute Little Wedding Chapel is a special agency for the Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office and it is authorized to issue marriage licenses to couples getting married in California.
“It was a lengthy process to get the okay from the county clerk,” Katz said. “Earlier last year, when everything closed down, I put together a coalition of wedding chapels and gave the clerk’s office a 10-point program on why they should reopen.”
Katz’s chapel has been conducting weddings throughout the pandemic, performing ceremonies within the guidance of state orders like enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols between each appointment and guests wearing masks and social distancing.
Katz’s company now performs more than 1,500 weddings every year, but he got his start just doing a favor for a friend.
“In 2003, my friend was getting married and he asked me to perform his wedding ceremony,” he said. “You’re the actor, you marry us.
“And 6,000 weddings later, here I am.”
Katz went to Wilson High School and took a few semesters of classes at Long Beach City College when he studied marketing. But being a performer was his passion.
“I’ve had a singing telegram business,” he said. “I was on the ‘Gong Show' at 16. I was on six times and got gonged six times.”
After his successful ceremony for his friend, Katz said so many guests came up to him and commented it was the best wedding ceremony they had ever seen, he decided to put up a wedding website.
“I started booking ceremonies right and left as people liked my style of doing wedding ceremonies differently,” Katz said. “Soon I was booked up and needed others to refer weddings to, so I added to my team and got bigger and busier.”
Katz is a cancer survivor; he had thyroid cancer and he says winning that battle has made him what he is today: “I decided I’m not leaving earth without making an impression.”
He gives away free weddings to the Wish Upon a Wedding Foundation. Last year, he offered $14 weddings on Valentine’s Day.
“Most people who do what I do are clergy people and don’t perform,” Katz said. “I take both skills and do something unique because this is a fun and romantic experience. We are more like a Vegas chapel in a way. I’ll be wearing my red heart jacket on Valentine’s Day. I want to make people laugh.”
Katz has made appearances on the “Kelly Clarkson Show,” “Inside Edition,” “Spouse House,” and “Ninety Day Fiancé,” to name a few.
“I never imagined this would be my life’s work,” said Katz, who has dressed up as Elvis and other characters to perform wedding vows. “I want the couples to have as much fun as I’m having.”
Katz said some wedding appointments on Valentine’s Day are still available. For more information, call the chapel at 562-435-4000. The Valentine’s Day package is $409. During the week, the ceremony, certificate and license is $359 and beach weddings range in cost from $395 to $2,500.
Note: This story was updated to show that Valentine's Day wedding information was taken from a Los Angeles Times story.