John Foulk, 69, has been uniting happy brides and grooms for 33 years at the Silver Bells Wedding Chapel, the little yellow chapel squished between bigger buildings on Virginia Street in downtown Reno. He started performing weddings when he was 17 years old. Foulk says the most fulfilling part of his job is getting to talk to people about Jesus. He loves talking to people in general, which makes him a perfect candidate for issuing wedding rings (one for $35 or two for $60) and other wedding amenities to the soon-to-be newlyweds.
What is the most unusual wedding you’ve seen here?
I guess one that stands out the most was one Halloween, a couple of young people came in and they had spider webs painted all over their faces and colored hair, and it just was kind of weird. But they were real sweet kids. And then I’ve seen a few, I don’t know what you’d call them, the ones that have their weird spiked hair and stuff like that.
How many people usually are in the wedding parties?
We’ve had as high as 65 people in here for weddings, but our real capacity is about 35. Probably the average wedding is about 15 people. Valentine’s Day, we have several appointments.
Is Valentine’s Day the most popular day for weddings?
Probably the most popular, especially because it’s on Saturday this year. It’s still a very popular day. It’s Lover’s Day. If your boyfriend asked you to get married on Valentine’s Day, you’d probably be happy and say ‘Oh yeah.’
Have you ever married any famous couples here?
Yeah. I performed a wedding for Ted Nugent. We had, not George Liberace, but his brother married. I’ve married several football players. One of the quarterbacks for the 49ers, Puckett, I did his wedding. And Betty Jo of Petticoat Junction.
Do you have any kind of combo deals for the wedding parties?
We rent gowns and tuxes. Like I tell people, we have everything except the bride and groom. We have video, all the flowers and unity candles. Everything that is really needed for the wedding, including the rings.
How much would all of that run?
Probably right around $300. Very seldom does a wedding run over $350. The average wedding is only about $140.
What are your favorite types of weddings?
A bride and groom.
How does your business in Reno compare to the drive-through and Elvis ministers of Vegas?
Well, we don’t have the drive-through. I don’t know of anybody who has an Elvis impersonator. We try to accommodate people.
Have you ever done an Elvis impersonator wedding?
Are you thinking of maybe adding one to the list?
Well, that might be. I’ve got a stepson who loves to sing. I thought about giving him an outfit.