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New law has marriage business booming on Coast

MISSISSIPPI  GULF COAST — The marriage business is booming on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast since a state law took effect July 1, eliminating a three-day waiting period and a required blood test for syphilis.

Although Adams County lawmaker Melanie Sojourner sponsored the bill in part to boost Natchez’ antebellum attractions as destination wedding venues, two of the three coastal counties report big increases in applications for marriage licenses , The Sun-Herald reports.

The biggest is in Harrison County, which had more than 100 applications in two weeks. Chief Deputy Circuit Clerk Connie Ladner says that’s more than double the previous average.

Hancock County Circuit Clerk Karen Ruhr said she hasn’t seen a major increase but expects to once Louisiana couples realize they can marry without the 72-hour wait still required in the Bayou State.

“The law is just so new, maybe only the local people are catching on to it,” she said. “As people become more aware of it, you will see our numbers increase.”

Beth Carriere, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, said several casinos and Coast hotels are already marketing themselves as wedding spots for out-of-town visitors.

Jean McGrury, owner of After the Proposal Weddings and Events, said some clients have complained of waiting 10 days for blood test results. The law “brings us into the 21st century,” she said.

Krista Landry and Patrick Huber, brought one-month-old daughter Aubreigh and Krista’s three-year-old son, Kaden Landry, to their wedding last week. They said they wanted to marry before Aubreigh’s birth but waited until July to save cash.

“We really didn’t have the extra money to pay for the blood test,” Krista Huber said.

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