Vegas Wedding Chapel History
As the Original Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, We Have a Long History of Happy Couples
We’ve been consistently voted Best of Las Vegas for wedding chapels.
From the moment you step into our beautifully decorated wedding chapel you will feel the warmth, charm and welcoming that, over the years, countless couples have experienced.
Opened in 1940, Its Beauty and Charm Continue Today
In Las Vegas, where old and original are often times replaced by new and larger – this very special wedding chapel on the world famous Las Vegas Strip has stood the test of time. The Historical Landmark Wee Kirk o’ the Heather Wedding Chapel -Creating Lasting Memories for over 70 years of Las Vegas Weddings.
Some things you can always count on – tradition that lasts!
The Wee Kirk is still the Vegas Wedding Chapel where countless couples and families choose to be married or renew their wedding vows. Over the years we have been honored to be a part of SO MANY PRECIOUS MOMENTS 40, 50, and 60 year renewals. All having originally been married at our famous Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.
Although most of our couples are starting their journey together, there are many occasions when couples come to renew their wedding vows and relive once again, the joy of their original wedding day. Many couples choose our chapel because they originally exchanged their vows here and now want to renew that commitment. Some have family members who were married here and want to continue the love and tradition that is the Wee Kirk O’ the Heather.
Wee Kirk has many 2nd and 3rd generation weddings and even 4th generation weddings!
All having been married at our famous Wee Kirk o’the Heather wedding chapel!
The Wee Kirk stands as a living testament to the love shared by hundreds of thousands of couples from all over the world. So, whether you are just starting out together or whether you are renewing your original vows of love, make Las Vegas’ Wee Kirk o’ the Heather your wedding chapel in Las Vegas.
Vegas Wedding Chapel History – How It All Began…
With the beginning of the 1940’s, a new image for Las Vegas merged-the silver screen, radio, and later television, as well as people from all walks of life, began treks to Las Vegas to “tie the knot.” Originally, this was mainly due to the fact that Nevada’s laws were more lax than most places in the country, where blood tests and waiting periods were the norm. Not so here! It took, and still does, some form of identification, the fee for the marriage license, a minister, a place to get married, and last (but most importantly) two willing souls to say “I Do.” A need for places to perform these ceremonies quickly developed and thus began the Vegas wedding chapel business.
Two of the very first wedding chapels to open in Las Vegas were the Hitching Post (now closed) and Wee Kirk o’the Heather. Both were opened in 1940 and soon afterwards, other chapels began to spring up near downtown and eventually out on the Strip to meet the demand for weddings. Another of Las Vegas’ most famous chapels, The Little Church of the West, opened two years later (in 1942) “way out” on the Strip.
The Wee Kirk o’the Heather, which in Scottish means “The Little Chapel of the Lucky Flowers,” and is Las Vegas’ oldest continually operating wedding chapel. Perhaps the proximity to the marriage license bureau. Perhaps the friendliness of the owners. Perhaps the fantastic customer service. Regardless of the reason, over the years, the Wee Kirk has survived the test of time. Once or twice a month, a couple will return to renew their vows after 50 or more years. The same is true of those married 40 or more years. They come, reminisce, take pictures, and tell stories of their own “special day” so many years ago. When they are gone, the people at the Wee Kirk o’ the Heather are elated to see the happiness that they and this wedding chapel have been such a part of.
Sometimes, a chapel in Las Vegas plays a big role in a families’ on-going history. Couples will come to get married where “mom and dad” or “grandma and granddad” got married. Occasionally, one or two generations will return with the soon-to-be-wed couple to the chapel where they were married to witness the joining of yet another generation.
Many movies have shown, or featured, Las Vegas wedding chapels over the years. Sundance Film Festival Award Winner – “Paper Hearts” and we were featured in “Intolerable Cruelty” with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Wee Kirk o’ the Heather appeared in the movie “Fools Rush In”. Many segments of several other recent movies have been shot at this location. Additionally, we are featured in many Las Vegas Travel related shows and commercials including the Visa Olympics commercial. If you’re portraying a Vegas wedding chapel, why not show them in the original chapel in – the city of love and marriage.
Each year, more and more people come from all over the world to get married in Las Vegas. Marriages in Vegas range from simple “I do’s” to elaborate weddings with a multitude of guests. They can be interesting, entertaining, and even the bizarre. A variety of look-alike celebrities are available, and of course the King himself, Elvis Presley, will come out of hiding to sing to the bride and groom and wish them a long and happy life together.
Celebrities Continue to Venture to the “Wedding Capitol of the World”
Following is a partial list of personalities who have exchanged “I do’s.” Some have lasted; while alas, others have failed. There are no statistics, but love still brings them to wedding chapels in Las Vegas to “tie the knot.”
Of all the Vegas weddings none would be publicized as widely, or be alas famous as the one that took place in room 246 of the Aladdin Hotel on May 1, 1967. On this day, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, wed Priscilla Beaulieu. Almost everyone knows the story of their marriage and subsequent break-up, but the story of Elvis’ wedding doesn’t end there.
Shortly before his death, Elvis again intended to get married in Las Vegas again. On a sunny afternoon, a call came in to the Wee Kirk O’ the Heather Wedding Chapel from none other than Colonel Tom Parker. It seems Elvis, and his live-in girlfriend Ginger, wanted to get married at the chapel that evening. Arrangements were made and Colonel Parker, along with the entire “Memphis Mafia,” showed up for the ceremony. Elvis, however, never made it to the chapel. He called and said they were going back to Memphis instead; Of course that marriage was never to happen. Elvis passed away just a few months later.
People from all parts of the world flock to Las Vegas daily to exchange their vows in the Wedding Capital of the World. For young or old, rich or poor, Las Vegas continues to be ‘the’ place to get married.
Celebrities Who Have Been Married In Las Vegas
- Kirk Douglas and Ann Buydens (1954)
- Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl (1954)
- Rita Hayworth and Dick Haymes (1954)
- Joan Crawford and Alfred Steele (1955)
- Carol Channing and Charles F. Lowe (1956)
- Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme (1957)
- Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (1958)
- Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker (1962)
- Betty White and Allen Ludden (1963)
- Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim (1965)
- Xavier Gugat and Charo (1966)
- Ann-Margaret and Roger Smith (1967)
- Leslie Ann Warren and Jon Peters (1967)
- Wayne Newton and Elaine Okamura (1968)
- George Hamilton and Alana Collins (1972)
- David Cassidy and Kay Lenz (1977)
- Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford
- Dean Martin
- Ricki Lake
- Ernest Borgnine
- Jon Bon Jovi
- Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls)
- Billy Martin (New York Yankees)
- Judy Garland
- Bo Derek
- Beverly DiAngelo