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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)

I was hoping they were going to be still operational after the move. So sad to know no one will be married in this wonderful little chapel.
March 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCFernq
We were married at the Candlelight on 09/22/1990. At the time we lived in Long Beach, Ca and had no family out west as we were from Ky so Las Vegas seemed like the ideal place to go. I have never forgotten how special that day was and 22 happy years later I am glad that others loved it enough to save from ruin. Thank You!
April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTess and Tim
Becca and I married there in Oct. 2 1990 .The best trip I ever made. I wanted to celebrate it there again a few years ago. But it wa sin ruins. Now i see the chapel is alive again and need to start saving up for our trip.
April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Mackavage
i proposed to my wife in front of the chapel on Oct 2nd 1998..I love this little chapel
April 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjim plemon
Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.
April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElectrician Las Vegas
My husband and I were married at the chapel on July 21, 1995. After we told our families where to meet us for the wedding both sets of our parents told us they were married at the candlelight chapel as well. It has always held a special place in our hearts. When I read that it had been moved I as so upset. I just read this story today and I know that we will take our children to see where their grandparents and parents were married the next time we go to Las Vegas.
May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
It's been almost 30yrs for my late husband & I...decided to make a trip out to see LV & of course Candlelight (where we got married)...memories : )
June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersandy
My husband and I were married at the chapel on January 27, 1987. We drove from Los Angeles late at night on the 26th, just a whim. We didn't arrive until about 2am, and there were almost no rooms available anywhere. We ended up getting a room with two twin beds at the Frontier. We hardly slept, and took plunge first thing in the morning. It's bittersweet, to think the chapel isn't there anymore.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie
Wow, nothing like being a part of history. I was married in this wonderful chapel to my best friend in May 1975...which happens to still be my best friend.
June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuze Kurtovich
My husband and I were married in the Chaple in Oct.Just got to Vegas and it was gone. My heart sank. I then found out It was moved I'm going there to see it. Thanks Linda
July 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
My husband and I were married at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel in 1985 and again in 1999. We thought about re-visiting again and we are sad that there are no more weddings there. We are happy that the chapel has been preserved! We actually came across this site because we had to order extra copies of our marriage certificate and thought we could get one from the chapel....well at least we have the one original in the folder with the picture of the chapel! Glad we chose Candlelight and now our memories, along with thousands of others, are part of LV history.
August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCA travellers
We got married in the Candlelight Wedding Chapel 20 years ago today, August 14th, 1993! Walking down memory lane we saw the story of the chapel being moved and renovated. Now we know where we will spend our 25th. Viva Las Vegas!
August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn and Shannon
My parents were married here Dec 10 1977. My husband and I were married there May 29,2004. My dad had passed the previous year and unable to walk me down the aisle. But being married standing in the exact spot that he had stood all those years prior comforted me incredibly. I can't wait to take our children there when we visit for our 10 year anniversary
August 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoni C
I was married there on January 14, 1997. Dolores performed the ceremony. Ray was the limo driver. (And we are still married.)
September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSludge
Today Sept. 14, 2013, we celebrate our 33rd Wedding anniversary. we got married at candlelight Wedding chapel Las Vegas by Richard Gilster II.
Our son was in Las Vegas a Few weeks ago and Told us, that the chapel is not there animore.
So I googled it and found all the News.
September 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara and Ulrich Dohle
Billie and I were married at The Candlelight Wedding Chapel March 27, 1984. We would really like to go back this March for our 30th anniversary. That would be so cool.
October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul & Billie Miller
We got married there almost 15 years ago on February 28, 1999. We plan to celebrate our anniversary this year in Las Vegas and im sooo excited to revisit this chapel very soon. I thought for years this chapel was just torn down and gone, so happy to hear its been restored and still there!
January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy & Cristal Wood
We got married there 19yrs ago today. Hope to one day soon visit the Chapel in it's new location.
January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharon & Robb
My husband and I were married here Dec 3, 1994. We had a party of 13 including friends and family from Newmarket, ON Canada. I was looking forward to going back there next week during a work conference and seeing it again.... lucky I found this! But glad to see its still exists and has so many fond memories for so many like my husband and I. Thanks for sharing!
February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne
We got married in December 1983. We have so many pictures of the original chapel. We even took our three children to Vegas to see the place where their mom & dad got married. After 30 years of marriage it brings in a lot of memories.we are glad that the chapel has been restored. Thanks once again for restoring this chapel.
February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUzma & Saleem

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