Molly Fruetel doesn't know whether getting married on 7/7/07 will bring her and her fiance, Patrick Fritzel, good luck. She hopes it does.
But she does know there's at least one advantage to getting married today.
"Everybody keeps joking Patrick won't forget our anniversary date," Fruetel says.
Viewed as a good-luck charm by some and a novelty as others, today is proving to be a popular date for weddings nationwide.
Fruetel and Fritzel, who both live in Lawrence, are tying the knot in Naples, Fla. She says they didn't choose the date specifically because of 7/7/07.
"We wanted something in early July," Fruetel says. "Once we realized it was 7/7/07, we thought it was cool."
Things worked out even better when she was able to reserve the hotel where they wanted to get married - despite the popular date.
"They were saying it would be hard to get some photographers, but we were really surprised," she says. "It worked out perfectly."
Lots of knots
Wedding experts say today may become the most popular wedding day ever.
Out of 1.1 million couples registered on the wedding site The Knot, 38,000 are getting married on triple-7 Saturday, according to a recent survey. That's more than three times the average number (12,000) of weddings on any given Saturday in July, said Cathleen Murray, The Knot's deputy editor.
"Couples are very superstitious," Murray said. "So many of them are definitely drawn to the date because in Western culture 7 is a lucky number and three of them means a jackpot."
Those planning weddings today include "Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria and her fiance, San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker.
There are, of course, other reasons why couples would gravitate to that date. July is a popular month for weddings because of the weather, and this year July 7 falls on a Saturday, making it convenient for guests. Still, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - the next 7-7-07 won't come around for another 100 years.
Businesses are hoping to hit the jackpot, too. Hotels, catering halls, bridal shops and wedding consultants have been rolling out triple-7 wedding packages and beefing up inventory and staff to accommodate the demand.
Even Wal-Mart and Six Flags are getting in on the act: Each is hosting wedding ceremonies for seven couples on the day.
But couples looking for quickie weddings in Las Vegas should forget it. Virtually every venue for July 7, 2007, has been booked solid for weeks, industry experts say.
More than 60 couples are to be wed 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.
The last big rush like this was Sept. 9, 1999.
Why the seven heaven?
While some brides and grooms are seeking to have better luck on their second, or even third time around, experts say it takes more than just good fortune to make marriages work.
A little sense of destiny, however, doesn't hurt.
"It's kind of something that's shared that will never ever, ever happen again in their lifetime," said Temple University psychologist Frank Farley. "Maybe that alone can cement it a little bit. Because they can say, 'We started off in a totally unique moment in the history of the world. And we've got to make it work."'
Astrologers say the stars aren't auspiciously aligned for the date. While lovelorn Venus is in sunny Leo, the moon, which governs emotions, will be in the bad-tempered Aries part of the sky.
"It is kind of a mishmash astrologically," said Eugene, Ore.-based astrologer Marti Goodban. "My experience with events like that is it depends on the two individuals."
Kileen Kapri-Kohn, a Henderson, Nev.-based psychic adviser, suggests actions, rather than dates, are a better predictor of fortunes than the stars.
"I'm a really firm believer in that we co-create our reality," she said. "A lot of people are using this date as an excuse to make a change, or do something that's going to be memorable."
While the origin of the notion that sevens are lucky is unclear, historians point to biblical references, and to the lunar month of 28 days, or four weeks of seven days each. There are seven deadly sins, but also seven virtues. The Earth was created in six days, and God rested on the seventh, according to the Bible.
In the precursor to craps, a medieval game known as hazard, seven is the most common number when throwing two cubical dice. It still is with craps, but the number can be good or bad, depending on how one bets. Three sevens usually marks a slot machine jackpot.
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, 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."
He noted that in many Asian cultures, four is considered unlucky, because phonetically, it sounds like "death." Eight in Mandarin Chinese sounds like "fa," or getting rich.
Couples aren't the only ones taking advantage of the 7/7/07 date.
Lawrence resident Jordan Mitchell also remember the day forever. He's turning 21 today.
His parents are celebrating with a giant sign outside their home that says: "Honk for Jordan's Lucky 7 Birthday." It also says, "7/7/07=21."
"It's going to be great," he says. "I'm hoping the lucky sevens will help me have good luck all my life."