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Candlelight Wedding Chapel restored!




The Candlelight Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip


From the Las Vegas Sun:

It survived a tricky journey across town, required more than $250,000 in renovation, including a new steeple, scavenged furnishings and electrical rewiring.

But when you’re a 1966 wedding chapel — old by Las Vegas standards — and you have a few stories to tell, somebody’s bound to love you.

That’s pretty much how it unfolded for the Candlelight Wedding Chapel, a quaint, free-standing churchlike structure with steep roof lines that sat four decades on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Originally Little Church of the West Algiers and then All Religions Wedding Chapel, it was the first chapel with an 800 number and limo service. It married so many couples daily that a side door was installed to usher out fresh newlyweds so they wouldn’t bump into wedding parties making their formal procession down the aisle.

When its land was sold to the Fontainebleau project, the chapel sat empty until its former operator, Gordon Gust, scooped it up and gave it to the Clark County Museum.

On Saturday the chapel officially becomes a new exhibit on the museum’s Heritage Street and opens to the public with a party, complete with live music, wedding cake and photo ops for couples who were married at the chapel.

“It’s one of those things you don’t think of as history, but it’s important here,” says Mark Hall-Patton, administrator of the Clark County Museum. “Five percent of all marriages in the United States are held in Clark County. That’s one out of 20 marriages.”

Grants from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors’ Authority and the Nevada Cultural Affairs Commission paid for the renovation, a project of the county’s 2009 Centennial celebration.

It arrived at the museum in 2007. Renovation began in May.

The Candlelight Wedding Chapel when it arrived at the Clark County Museum


The chapel is decorated to its latest incarnation (white), rather than its previous red exterior, paneled walls and red carpet. Its original pews and organ are gone and replaced with a piano and benches rescued from the county courthouse, resized and refinished.

Its large neon sign, which was added later, is across town at the Neon Museum.

Hall-Patton says museum staff had its eyes on the chapel for 10 years, identifying it as a building the museum would like to own if it ever became available. The museum is home to Heritage Street, a tree-lined gravel road hidden from Boulder Highway and flanked with rescued historic homes, a railroad depot and a print shop.

Visitors can sit on the wooden rocking chairs on the porch of the Beckley House and tour homes, each decked out to its era, each with its own nooks and crannies. They’re adorned at Christmastime and welcome trick-or-treaters on Halloween. (For Saturday’s party, the Clark County Museum Guild will serve cookies, with recipes specific to each home’s era.)

The railroad depot, taken to the site in 1976, was the first building to arrive. The oldest home is a railroad cottage (circa 1911-1914) awaiting renovation.

The chapel, inspired in design by the Little Church of the West, is its youngest structure. Celebrities married there include Bette Midler, Michael Caine, Whoopi Goldberg and Barry White.

“When we look at a building, we look at it from a standpoint that we could use it to best teach that part of our history,” he says. “In 1931 Nevada liberated both divorces and weddings. Reno got divorces. We became the wedding capital.”

Candlelight Wedding Chapel being restored


Special thanks to Joel Rosales at leavinglv.net and Allen Sandquist for letting us these images.

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Reader Comments (173)

We were married in the Candlelight 10 July 2003 and plan to come back on our 10th anniversary next year. So very glad I checked the web as our first stop was going to visit the Candlelight - now we are going to head off to the museum - just a shame we won't be able to to re-new our vowels there. Thanks for looking after this wonderful place, And yes we are still very married and happy along with a beautiful daughter.
April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn and Susan
April 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMARGARET & GWYN CHIVERS
My husband & I were married 22 yrs ago, right before he went to Gulf War, thankfully he made it back. rev Delores married us, it was the best day of my life. I got the giggles, and somehow she kept a straight face. Thanks for reserving this special place for so many people.
April 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer
Me and my wife got married at Candlelight Wedding Chapel on September 11, 1993. On June 11, me and my wife flew to Las Vegas and we were looking for the Chapel but we could not find it. So we called our oldest son to give us the exact location of the Wedding Chapel and we could not find it. And finally he called us back and told us the Chapel has been restored and preserved and we don't know where exactly, so i gave him my email to get a little more information about the Chapel.
May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian V.Muresan
Me and my wife were married there on Aug 18, 2001. A few years ago we were trying to plan a trip and i came across something about the chapel being run down and in the process of being moved. Now that the kids are getting a little older, we might try making our way back down there and check it out. Glad to see that somebody was willing to get it moved. People ask me and my wife if we ever regret getting married in Vegas and we answer with a big "NO".
June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerrick
my husband and i were married in the candlelight chapel in feb 1980. loved that little place. we got married with my boss and his wife. my boss's relative owned it and really treated us fine. my son and his new bride are in vegas right now on honeymoon and he was trying to find it so he could visit it but he couldn't find it. googled it and where it said it should be they're are building something huge. i googled it and came up with this site. how happy was i to find that it was saved instead of being torn down for progress. if my husband and i ever get a chance to return to las vegas we will definitely have to go and see it.
June 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermelea
So pleased the chapel has found a new home. My Husband and I were married in 1999 and returned with our 2 children in 2009 to show them where we were married.
Sad when we thought the chapel had gone forever, happy to find out it has been moved and renovated.
Now planning another visit to Vegas to show the kids.
We were married there in December of 1988 and are glad you saved this in a museum setting. Good job Clark County. The photo really brings back good memories.
July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid & Mary
We love this little wedding chapel. We eloped to Vegas in 1979. We were married in the Candlelight Wedding Chapel on March 24, 1979. We have been happily married for over 33 years. We had hoped to renew our vows at the Candlelight on our 35th wedding anniversary. I guess we will now have to make other plans, however, it is so great to learn that this chapel is forever memorialized in a museum...much like us! lol
note: our families did not approve of us getting married, said we were too young, etc,. We both knew what we were doing...we loved each other then and still love each other today! Our love is Infinity!!! Thank you Candlelight.
July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPenny Heller
Still have tears in my eyes. My husband, Jason & I were married at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel, September 19, 2004. Rev. Noble James Hamilton Jr. Married us. Having a Las Vegas wedding was everything we expected and more! The Chapel made it very special for us! This September we will be celebrating 8 years and we were thinking of visiting the chapel and renewing our vows! Sad to hear it moved, and we won't be able to renew our vows! But happy it has been restored and it's in good hands! Many great memories of The Candlelight Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas! :)
August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer LaLone
I am so glad it has been restored. the last time we were in Vegas we couldn't find it and thought it had just been replaced. My husband and I were married there Nov. 8, 1975. Now I can share a picture of it with my grandkids..
August 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterToni
We got married at this eye-catching little chapel on Las Vegas Strip on this very day 10 years ago. I was saddened to see this chapel disappear on one of our visits to Las Vegas. As I was updating my facebook and looking for a picture to post on my status, I came across with this website. I am so thrilled to find out that "our" little Chapel is being restored. Thank you, thank you, thank you... Now we can visit it once more as we are going back to Las Vegas this weekend to celebrate! Yipee!
August 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFred & Donna C.
My dad and step mom got married here in Sept 2002...they lent me and my sister their wedding video to watch and we cant find it anywhere...is there anyway or does anyone know if theres a chance of getting a copy of it? thanks
September 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
We married here june 1994. Las Vegas was much different then. The last time we've been there, 2005, the chapel was fenced out, surrounded by streets and a parking lot. It's nice and surprising to know it's in a museum now. Being Italian I usually feel the museum is inside the church.
October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGianni Rusconi
LOVE all the chapel memories... My husband and I were married at The Candlelight Wedding Chapel on Oct 24th, 2002... We always wanted to go back for our 10th anniversary and were disappointed to find out today that it isn't there anymore BUT VERY HAPPY to hear that it has been restored and is still in the area... Looking forward to our visit and our very special memories!!! <3
October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebra Kennedy-Johnson
My wife Tracey and I were married at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel on February 29, 2004 on Leap Year Day, of course! We have been together now for nearly nine years. I am glad to see that the Chapel lives on and so does our love! When we renew our vows we will have to stop by and visit it!

Good memories!

Mark and Tracey
November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark Anthony Anderson
We were married there on Valentine's day 2/14/1997 at 3:00 AM in the morning. The early morning hour was the only opening in the chapel I could get as Valentine's day is so busy for Vegas weddings. Stood in line 2 hours to get our license. We fell in love with Vegas and returned every year through 2008. We found out later that friend's of ours also got married in the chapel a number of years before us. Quite the coincidence.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid & Erika
We married there on 4-2-97. Im so glad to see it was renovated. :)
January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterToni
We are from Holland en we've married at 28-6-1999 when we visite Las Vegas, we're still happy together
January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAb Gijsen
We got married @ Candlelight in august 1987 - Married by Rev. Richard W. Andrews. It is impossible to see clear on the document in what kind of religion :-) We see only : Unity Church of the De..... Please help us - someone who knows about the religion. Thanks an best greetings from Switzerland, Jürgen.
E-mail : j.becker@sunrise.ch

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