The biggest marriage day each year at the Los Angeles County Clerk's office is Valentine's Day, and like satellite offices throughout Southern California, the Norwalk government building is brimming with brides and grooms annually.
But 12/12/12 is looking like a strong second place for most marriages performed this year at the gray cubicle of love.
A surge of scheduled weddings on 12/12/12 has the Registrar-Clerk opening regional offices Wednesday. Marriages are usually only performed on Fridays, the Registrar-Clerk's office said Monday.
Valentine's Day will remain a bigger day of nuptials simply because walk-ins are allowed, whereas appointments are required Wednesday for 12/12/12.
It's not yet known how many people ultimately are going to book to be married on 12/12/12—the last such calendar line-up this century. The clerk only knows the maximum due to space: 191.
"Couples are encouraged to apply for a marriage license online at www.lavote.net and schedule their ceremony at any of the six ... branch locations after obtaining the license," Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan announced Monday.
Already, 133 couples have made appointments to be married by the Registrar-Clerk—with 53 alone at the main office in Norwalk, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Knox. (Hours and addresses of county clerk regional offices, along with phone numbers, can be found on the attached .pdf).
By close of day Monday, Knox said, here were the wedding bookings:
- East L.A. office: 16 (maxiumum space for 24
- Beverly Hills office: 19 (room for only one more marriage)
- Florence-Firestone office: 6 (room for 19)
- Lancaster office: 0 (room for 13)
- Norwalk main office: 43 (with room for 64)
- Van Nuys office: 19 (with room for 23)
- West L.A. (near LAX): 20 (room for 28)
There's room for only 58 more couples' "I dos" Wednesday on what's thought by some to be a lucky or auspicious day.
A national retailer told Oregon Live he expects more than 7,500 couples in the U.S. to tie the knot Wednesday—a 1,400 percent spike from 12/12/11. In most parts of the country, December is a slow wedding month due to wetter, grayer weather and competition from family holidays and vacations.
The import of 12/12/12 ranges from numerology to number geeks to superstition. Many people seem to believe 12/12/12 is lucky, while others associate it to a coming apocalypse triggered by the end of the Mayan calendar.
Some countries are experiencing a surge in baby deliveries scheduled for 12/12/12, the last time this century that the dates line up identically. (Although, the South China Morning Post quoted a feng shui consultant as saying babies born on the date will be emotional and tense but high achievers).
For those who foresee good fortune in the calendar lining up numerically, but wanted the economy of marriage by the government clerk, some prior years were a strikeout, said Knox.
"What happened on 11/11/11," said Knox, "was that it was a holiday and we were closed."
And 10/10/10? It fell on a Sunday—so the office was also closed. On 9/9/09, there wasn't as much demand for such weddings—only 36 marriages were recorded by the county clerk, Knox said.
On Valentine's Day, an array of couples ranging in age from teens to octegenarians can be found at the clerk's office, in a variety of outfits, from traditional Western wedding wear to what might be called extreme casual.
Most of them bring family and friends to the ceremony, and choose the ceremony for financial reasons, often planning to spend their savings on the after-party reception.
A few wedding parties can be found down the street at the IHOP, clinking coffee mugs and raising syrup bottles to toast the wedded couple. (It is the International House of Pancakes, and they do offer "Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.")
No word if IHOP will be the location of any receptions Wednesday.
Did you get married by a county clerk or justice of the peace, and why? Tell us in comments.