$14 and a happily ever altar: Angelenos tie the knot on Valentine’s Day


Couples, including Kurt Hereen and Jonna Gundt, lined up as early as 8 a.m. to get married at the Cute Little Wedding Chapel in Long Beach. Photo by Malorie McCall/KCRW.

Since early this morning, lovebirds have been tying to knot at the Cute Little Wedding Chapel in Long Beach, all for the sweet price of $14. 

Self-proclaimed celebrity wedding officiant Alan Katz is heading up the ceremonies, which are each five to 10 minutes long, and spread out every 30 minutes. Today, he’s decked out in a bright red blazer embellished with white hearts and a matching tie. 

Normally, the chapel charges about $400 for a wedding ceremony, making Katz’s marriage marathon a romantic steal. 

“I always thought Valentine's Day was the biggest ripoff day of all days, filled with love. And I'd said, you know what? We're so successful that we decided that on Valentine's Day, where everybody was jacking things up, that we would do just the opposite,” Katz says.

Alan Katz is the self-proclaimed celebrity wedding officiant at the Cute Little Wedding Chapel. Photo by Malorie McCall/KCRW. 

Shaz Shaukat and Barbara Stone were the first in line to share their vows. They’ve been together for five years, and say getting married at The Cute Little Wedding Chapel was both a romantic gesture and a great deal. “We’ll have a bigger celebration later on,” notes Stone. “I’m glad that today was just the two of us. It was more intimate.

Stone grabbed her floor-length embroidered and beaded dress off the rack at David’s Bridal the day before. Katz provided a last-minute bouquet, and in just a few minutes, they were hitched. Then they headed back to work.

Barbara Stone and Shaz Shaukat were Alan Katz’s first wedding of the morning. Photo by Malorie McCall/KCRW

Kurt Hereen and Jonna Gundt traveled to Long Beach from Redondo Beach in a stretch limo today, and they brought along their two puppies, dressed in a tutu and a tux. 

“She’s from Sweden. I'm from the United States. We met each other at the gym in June, and ever since we first met each other, I knew that I wanted to be with her. … Her visa came to an end. So we decided that we were going to be married so that we could be together for the rest of our lives.” 

Kurt Hereen and Jonna Gundt traveled to Long Beach from Redondo Beach in a stretch limo to tie the knot at the Cute Little Wedding Chapel in Long Beach. Photo by Giuliana Mayo/KCRW. 

Hereen and Gundt brought some of their chosen family along, including Malin Vindahl, who is also Gundt’s boss.

“[Jonna’s] family can’t be here. I’m like the American mom and the American dad. Nobody is really here, family,” Vindahl says.

Katie Reitberg and Dominic Redwater got married with family (and pup) in tow. Photo by Malorie McCall/KCRW.

Other couples got married with family in tow. That includes Katie Reitberg and Dominic Redwater. They’ve been together since high school and had a big wedding planned, until Reitberg got pregnant. She brought her mom, Julia Urbanski.

“I’m excited for her, of course, this is my only child, and it’s going to be my first grandbaby too. So super excited,” Urbanski says. “I think they’re a great couple. They’ve lived together for four years, almost, now. So they’ve gone through it and realized it’s still going to work out. So happy for them. I’m excited to see my grandbaby the most though.”

Photo by Malorie McCall/KCRW.