Monday, July 2, 2007

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Donel Hardy and John Allison figure they must be a very lucky couple indeed.

They met seven years ago, went on their first date on Sept. 7, and then found out they and Miss Hardy’s daughter, Kelli, all share the same birthday — July 7.

“He pulled out his driver’s license because I didn’t believe him,” said Miss Hardy, 40.

They live at an elevation above 7,000 feet in Mammoth, Calif., and their post office box number is numbered in the 70s.

So it was not a stretch when they settled on a wedding date and a lucky place to get married — July 7, 2007, in Las Vegas.

“The odds of it happening just are phenomenal,” said Mr. Allison, 28.

The couple is among thousands looking to get lucky in love that are expected to flock to Las Vegas to tie the knot Saturday on a very propitious date — 7-7-07 — which comes along only once a century.

Nationwide, marriage planners report an overwhelming demand by couples to say their vows on July 7. Churches are booked, limos are in short supply, and cake makers expect to be very busy.

Las Vegas casinos and the city’s many wedding chapels are going to extra lengths to cash in on the Triple 7 jackpot, and some megaresorts are full of brides and grooms to be.

More than 60 couples are to be wed Saturday in a mass ceremonies at Mandalay Bay and Caesars Palace hotel-casinos. The Flamingo has scheduled 77 back-to-back weddings, running virtually nonstop from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The Venetian opened up a second bridge location to hold weddings and trimmed its gondola-ride rites to 30 minutes to squeeze more people in.

“Within the first 15 minutes, we had completely sold out of our bridge location, which was a hotel record,” wedding services manager Darlene Wilson said.

Many people assign luck to numbers simply to make themselves feel better about things they can’t control, said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and author of “Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling.”

“A lot of it is self-justifying the need to find patterns in what are otherwise random events,” he said. “People don’t like that idea, that stuff just happens and that there’s no rhyme or reason.”

While some brides and grooms are seeking to have better luck on their second, or even third, time around, it takes more than just good fortune to make marriages work. A little sense of destiny, however, doesn’t hurt.

Scott Celestino, a Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. employee, took out a license plate “3SEVENS” when he got engaged to co-worker Svetlana Vaysman two years ago. Their ages are seven years apart, and she arrived in 1992 from Russia on July 7.

“This has just been kind of lucky for both of us since we moved here,” Mr. Celestino said.

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