The 1966 Candlelight Wedding Chapel, formerly located just north of the Riviera Hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard, will re-open with a free gala celebration at the Clark County Museum, 1830 S. Boulder Highway in Henderson, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14.
The event is planned as a historic block party featuring live music and wedding cake. The chapel wedding exhibit will be open for self-guided tours. Couples who were married at the Candlelight Chapel (or under its previous name, the All Religions Wedding Chapel) and who bring their marriage certificates can have a free souvenir photo taken in front of the chapel. The Paul Ringenbach Trio will perform jazz and pop standards of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“The Candlelight Wedding Chapel restoration saves a unique piece of Clark County history for the enjoyment and education of our residents,” said Commissioner Steve Sisolak. “The wedding industry is an important part of our tourism heritage, and this building, with the new historical exhibit inside, will demonstrate first hand this part of our shared history.”
The houses on Heritage Street will be decorated for the holidays with lights, ornaments and historic artifacts for each time period represented by the different houses. The Clark County Museum Guild will serve as hostesses with refreshments at each stop along the street.
The Museum Store will offer a 10-percent discount for one night only for holiday shopping. The store features books, jewelry and handmade Native American art and pottery. Free souvenirs of the Clark County Centennial will be given away while supplies last. Souvenirs include the limited-edition centennial commemorative pin and copies of the centennial history of the Clark County Commission. Author Angela C. Moor will be on hand to autograph the 186-page book.
The Candlelight Wedding Chapel opened in 1966 just north of the Riviera Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip next to the Algiers Hotel. Several years later, the chapel changed ownership and the name was changed to the Candlelight Wedding Chapel. The Candlelight Chapel was one of only two free-standing wedding chapels on the Las Vegas Strip – the other one being the 1942 Little Church of the West, now across from Mandalay Bay.
Some of the celebrities who were married at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel include Bette Midler and her husband, artist Martin Von Haselberg; Michael Caine and Shakira Baksh; Whoopi Goldberg, Barry White and Clayton Moore, also known as The Lone Ranger.
The Candlelight closed in 2003 when the property owner sold the land to the Fontainebleu project. The chapel sat closed, threatened with demolition, until Gordon Gust, who had operated the business for 33 years, purchased the building and donated it to Clark County. The chapel was moved to the Clark County Museum in 2007.
Grants from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors’ Authority and the Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs paid for the renovation, which was planned as a major project of Clark County’s 2009 Centennial celebration.
Clark County was officially formed on July 1, 1909, out of what had been Lincoln County and is named for railroad baron William Andrews Clark. The city of Las Vegas, which includes downtown and the area north of the Strip, was incorporated two years later in 1911. Those interested in additional information on Clark County’s Centennial celebrations can visit the Web site at www.accessclarkcounty.com/100 or call (702) 455-7955.
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