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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 are planning a trip to Las Vegas and I was doing a little research, when I came across this article about the Candlelight Wedding Chapel. We were married at the chapel on Dec 2, 1989. I was hoping to get a "photo-op" in front of the sign during our visit. Can someone tell me if the sign is at the museum?
March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
My husband and I got married at this chapel in 1994....we took our kids to see the museum so they can see the place were mommy and daddy got married...I would love to renew my vows there at our 25th anniversary
My wife and I married at the Church in April 1998. One of our nieces who was with us at the time, decided to look it up when she visited (after her own marriage) a couple of years ago, to find the church had been moved (and saved).
Thanks to all foresighted people involved - coming from the UK we understand the value of heritage.
Will visit ourselves when next in US (probably next year-20th Anniversary)
March 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Joughin
My husband and I were married at this chapel on 04-28-1979. we have been
Together every since and more in love​ then ever. We rise five children. And now​ have 13 grandchildren. This chapel means the beginning of a beautiful
Life. Thank you
Mr and Mrs K Wilson
April 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Wilson
Was sad when I discovered the chapel was gone from the strip. So glad to see that it has been restored and is at the museum. My husband and I were married here March 25th 1994. After our wedding my grandmother informed me that she and my step grandfather were married here as well Dec 6, 1961. She went home and got her post card from 1961 and sent it to me.
April 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLuDeanne Guenther
I was stationed at China Lake ,Cal. in 1980. At that time, I went home for Recruiting Duty for the Navy, and got engaged to my now husband. We were engaged only 2 months, and I could not live without him. My home town at the time was in Ill. were he also lived. I was suppose to have a big wedding when I got out, but, I also would not live with him until we got married. So I called him up and asked him ""lets get married"". Without any hesitation, he packed his car and drove down to China Lake were I was Stationed. I had to get permission to get married, and we drove to Las Vegas and we picked Candlelight Wedding Chapel. Our whole wedding including flowers, and we got a cassette tape was $95.00. I remember how while holding hands, the tears running down my eyes, and I froze , and couldn't let go. We were pronounced husband and wife 37 years ago this August. I remember the Pastor saying first saying putting God first in your life. And yes that is what we have done.We never had a Honeymoon because the Military gave me the 2 days to go and come back, and then I had to request a name change.We are though so happy to here that they moved and kept the Chapel. We keep saying and have said on one of our Anniversaries we will come and see and be able to see it again.Thank you for preserving were we started our journey of happiness . God Bless all who has shared there memories.
July 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBob and Diane Schaefer
Genau vor 30 Jahren (11.Aug.1987) sind wir mit einem kleinen, einmotorigen Flugzeug aus Deutschland über den Atlantik nach Las Vegas geflogen um in dieser tollen, kleinen Kirche zu heiraten. Inzwischen haben wir drei erwachsene "Kinder". Zwölf Jahre später habe ich mit meiner Tochter dem "Ort des Geschehens" nochmal einen kleinen Besuch abgestattet :-)). Es verbinden mich nur positive und unwiederbringliche Gedanken mit dieser Kirche.
My husband and I eloped ,we were married at the Candlelight chapel on April 2, 1978 we are now getting ready to celebrate our 40 wedding anniversary in April I was looking forward to surprising him to renew our vows I'm glad to see that it was restored .sorry that it's no longer available for weddings
August 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Cole
My husband & I were married there 25 years ago on 08-24-1992. So happy it is still in existence. He was there this past weekend and someone said it was torn down. I googled and found this article. Praying it is still there..he missed seeing it while there. Many couples have been married there...we were told Elvis was married there once..not for sure..Please keep the history..loved the chapel & everyone was so nice.
September 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDixie & Ron
My husband and I were married at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel 11-18-1984 by Rev.Deloras Gilster. We were happily narried for 30 years. We made many trips to Vegas and visited "our" chapel, so we were very sad when we saw it was gone. He passed away 3 yrs ago and I spend many hours thinking about hin and our special times together. It is now 2017 and I was surprised to find that they had actually taken our chapel to it's new site at the museum. Can't wait to visit it again. Thanks very much for the preservation of a little chpel that meant so much to many.
October 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Nelson
Got married there on November 24,1977. It was Thanksgiving night and we have been giving thanks now for 40 years. Lol. I love Las Vegas and hope to visit the museum the next time there.

Gretchen and Charles Johnson
November 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen Johnson
I was married there in February 2001. Although we divorced almost 5 yrs later, I never really thought to find out where the chapel went. Yesterday I went to the clark county museum in Henderson and thought is that it. After some research yes it was it. Glad it didn't just disappear
December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterParis Dunton
My wife and I were married in this church July 22, 1968. I was 18 and my wife was 19. We drove to Las Vegas in our 1966 VW bug with our best friends Jerry and Sharon. No AC then. We moved to Henderson NV 5 years ago and will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary next year. Exciting to find the church at the Clark County Museum.
December 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHarold Meteer

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