You might not remember this but in 2004, Britney Spears was making some questionable decisions and we weren't hating on her for it. She was a young pop star at the height of her career with a ton of money, enough to fly her childhood friend, a guy named Jason Alexander, from Louisiana on a private jet to meet her in Vegas.
One thing lead to another and they ended up at a Vegas wedding chapel exchanging “I dos” until they woke up the next day and shared the news with Britney’s team and family who were obviously not happy especially with the whole not having a prenup thing and her being Britney fucking Spears. The marriage was annulled and not many people talk about this weird saga in pop culture history.
This is that holy sanctuary, Vegas's Little White Wedding Chapel, on the Strip.
What’s so amazing is you can actually get married at this chapel and have yourself a wild pop star wedding!!! Just like Britney or Frank Sinatra & Mia Farrow or Eva Longoria & some dude we don’t know or Bruce Willis & Demi Moore. Or a build your own wedding because they have options (and tuxes, dresses, hats, flowers and props to help make your dream wedding a reality). It’s honestly up to you because it’s your party.
In all seriousness, there is a charm to a shotgun wedding, rebelling against the traditional mainstream idea of a holy union and going with a Vegas shindig. Wedding days have become sources of anxiety, filled with these unnecessary stressors that have been months and years in the works that take attention away from the main reason you are throwing the party to begin with: for love. It’s fun to not worry and to make memories in one of the many famous spaces in this city.
The history of Vegas chapels is like the history of Vegas itself: improvised and impulse. Vegas chapels appear to have popped up sometime in the '40s when the valley and Nevada were growing. With stricter marriage laws elsewhere in the country, there was an appeal to the chapels in Vegas for a quick marriage. Nevada also had some of the loosest divorce laws in the country, so you could move to Vegas, get divorced and get re-married, all in one trip. The demand continued to grow in the '50s, which is when this Little White Chapel popped up.
Celebrities and Hollywood, being so close to Vegas and being infamous for making terrible decisions, have continued to push the appeal. Places like The Little White Chapel marry about 80 couples a day, some renewing vows and some for the first time, according to house photographer Al.
Whatever it is, there’s definitely a quaint, nostalgic feeling of love in these chapels. People might joke about a cheesy Elvis wedding, but nothing about a Vegas chapel seems to spell "doomed" for couples, at least not any more so than other factors plaguing relationships in 2018. No matter where the marriage begins, divorce is inevitable if the people aren't right for one another or don't have their shit together. At least Vegas sounds cool if you have to pay a divorce lawyer.
Thank you to A Little White Chapel.
1301 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89104
All photos taken with a Hasselblad 500 series on Kodak Portra 400 by Samantha Keller.