Elizabeth Kazura of Maumee and Bryan Lowe of Sylvania chose 8/8/08 for their wedding date. Today's alignment of eights also has been popular for class reunions and with lottery players. In China, where the number eight is considered lucky, the Olympic Games' opening ceremony will start at 8:08 p.m. China Standard Time. (THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON) <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/video.gif> <b><font color=red>VIDEO</b></font color=red>: <a href=" http://video.ap.org/vws/search/aspx/ap.aspx?t=s1179103307915&p=ENAPoffbeat_ENAPoffbeat&g=0808dv_australia_weddings&f=ohtol " target="_blank "><b>Lucky 8 Date Draws Couples to the Altar</b></a>
Brandon Hornyak wanted a wedding date that was easy to remember. Bethany Nahm's lucky number was eight.
And so the ideal day to exchange eternal vows seemed obvious, Mr. Hornyak said: August 8, 2008, or 8/08/08.
But when the Toledo couple began calling banquet halls in the city 18 months ago, they soon realized their idea was not as novel as they'd thought.
"A lot of the halls we liked were booked on that Friday," said Mr. Hornyak, 28. "Initially, we were disappointed."
Although summer weddings are frequently scheduled for Saturdays, representatives from several local banquet halls said the alignment of eights made today a popular day to tie the knot.
Ms. Nahm, 23, is not alone in her affinity for the number eight. In Chinese culture, eight is considered particularly propitious. When "eight" is pronounced in Cantonese and Mandarin, it is phonetically similar to the word meaning "prosperity."
"It sounds almost like good luck, be happy, be rich," said Jiquan Chen, president of the Chinese Association of Greater Toledo.
In fact, today will elicit many good luck prayers for another reason: At precisely 8:08 p.m. China Standard Time (8:08 a.m. Toledo time), opening ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics will begin.
The triple eights have also drawn fortune-seekers to invest in lottery tickets containing what they hope will be a lucky digit.
"We've come close to selling out of that number already," Steven Ozbay of Ray's Party Store in Toledo said yesterday.
In addition to engaged couples, others also have been drawn to the date. The Ottawa Hills High School class of 1958 is having its 50th reunion today and tomorrow.
"We knew that we wanted to have it around this time, and the numbers lining up was just too great a coincidence," said Diane Bernstein, a member of the class.
Mr. Hornyak and Ms. Nahm ultimately settled on marrying a day later than they initially planned, which will be tomorrow.
But in the Toledo area, some popular wedding venues and businesses found themselves inundated with requests for ceremonies for today.
"When we opened up our books, it finally dawned on us why everybody wanted this date," said Patty Toneff, programs and services manager for the Toledo Botanical Garden.
Mike Brice, owner of Mike Brice Photography in Toledo, said he has been booked for today for about a year.
"I turned down about a dozen weddings," he said.
Despite the popularity of 8/08/08, last year's triple digit date - 7/07/07 - is still the clear frontrunner.
According to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, more than 20,000 couples registered online for Aug. 8, 2008 weddings. Last year, 70,000 couples registered for weddings on July 7, 2007.
For Brian Lowe and Elizabeth Kazura, the idea of an 8/8/08 wedding did not stem from superstition - it simply began as a joke.
"We thought of it because everyone got married on 7/7/07," Mr. Lowe said. "When we found out it landed on a Friday, we decided to go with it."
Mr. Lowe of Sylvania and Ms. Kazura of Maumee will be married tonight at the Toledo Botanical Garden.
So as thousands of couples head down the aisle and the Olympic games commence in a glittering constellation of fireworks, will the triple eights prove auspicious?
"I hope so," Ms. Kazura said. "But we'll never forget our anniversary."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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