Fly on Allegiant — and get married by Elvis?
Allegiant Air boss Maurice “Maury” Gallagher, who’s made a fortune selling cheap plane tickets and a bevy of add-on fees, has entered a new, albeit still low-priced, line of business: Las Vegas weddings.
Gallagher, chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Co., has bought Chapel of the Flowers, a wedding venue on Las Vegas Boulevard less than a mile north of the Strip. His $3.5 million purchase closed Aug. 25, property records show.
He bought the building and is leasing it to the chapel’s operators, Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said. She noted the sale is a personal investment for Gallagher, unrelated to Las Vegas-based Allegiant.
She could not confirm whether Gallagher plans to offer wedding promotions to passengers.
Gallagher made the deal through his Chapel Properties LLC. Property records indicate that he teamed with Donne Kerestic, CEO of wedding planning company Ever After, to buy the chapel.
Gallagher declined through Wheeler to discuss his personal business ventures, and Kerestic could not be reached for comment.
Tyler Foote, one of the sellers, largely declined comment but said Gallagher contacted his group about buying the property. As far as he knows, Gallagher doesn’t own other chapels in town.
Chapel management are staying mum on the deal.
“At this time I am not at liberty to comment on anything,” said Nicole Robertson, director of operations.
The venue, 1717 Las Vegas Blvd. South, is across the street from White Cross Market on a less-than-glamorous stretch of roadside motels, strip clubs, fast-food joints and other wedding chapels.
“Intimate, Elegant, Legendary,” Chapel of the Flowers’ main sign boasts.
With three chapel rooms, a gazebo, a canopied ceremony space and a fleet of limos, the property is wedged between a 7-Eleven and a vacant parcel of land that’s covered with rocks and trash, including empty beer bottles, cigarette packs and fast-food containers.
Wedding prices range from $195 (Simplicity Ceremony, available 9-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday with up to five guests) to $1,995 (Cherish Ceremony, with a 24-rose bridal bouquet, dozens of posed and candid photos and four weeks of extended online viewing). That’s a far cry from the average $13,385 that U.S. couples spent last year for a venue, according to wedding website TheKnot.com.
Gallagher, who owns about 20 percent of Allegiant, doesn't shy away from unorthodox promotions.
Allegiant announced Monday that it teamed with production company Alpine Labs to film the world’s first in-flight game show, “The Game Plane.” It’s set to premiere Saturday and to be syndicated nationally.
On the program — described as part quiz show and part game of chance — Allegiant passengers will compete for prizes such as free vacations to Las Vegas, airfare to Honolulu and Las Vegas show tickets.
Gallagher does not take a base salary at the discount carrier, though he earned $500,000 to $755,000 in annual compensation the past three years, a securities filing shows.
The wedding chapel isn’t his only investment outside the company, either.
He controls auto-racing group GMS Racing LLC, for instance. Formerly known as Gallagher Motorsports, the company fields drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Automobile Racing Club of America Racing Series, according to its website.
Gallagher is poised to pump even more cash into personal projects, too. Last week, he made a $25.24 million windfall selling shares back to Allegiant. The company said the boss would use the fortune “for other ventures he is pursuing personally.”
It did not elaborate.