Eloping in Vegas at the Sure Thing Chapel

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Introduction

In this episode of the Run Away Together podcast, I chatted with Victoria, who is one of the co-owners of the Sure Thing Chapel in Las Vegas. We talk about things like what it’s like eloping in Vegas at Sure Thing Chapel, how far in advance people should book, the types of packages they offer, and also just some general tips for eloping in Vegas.

Victoria shares a couple of her favorite spots. She’s lived in Vegas for 10 years. She shared with me some lesser known hot spots that she frequents and that she really enjoys.

I know that some people might imagine getting married or eloping in Vegas as a kind of cheesy and an outdated approach. However, I do not think that this option of getting married at the Sure Thing Chapel is cheesy. It’s a very chic and well-decorated, minimalistic space. Her Instagram is what prompted me to reach out to her, because the aesthetic was so good. I really wanted to learn more about what the Sure Thing Chapel was and how it got its start.

Without further ado, here is our conversation!

Victoria: My name is Victoria Hogan. I’m one of the owners of the Sure Thing Chapel. I own it with two of my best friends: Amy Lee, who is a wedding photographer in Las Vegas and Holly Vaughn, who is actually our female Elvis impersonator. Having been in the wedding industry for quite some time now, it felt as if the chapel market was lacking in a more minimal and updated approach. A little under a year ago we actually opened on Valentine’s Day! We put together the Sure Thing Chapel, and we feel that it’s kind of filling a gap in the market that Vegas hasn’t seen ever. We just kind wanted to see what we could bring to the table.

Katie: I like what you said about the sort of minimalistic approach because that’s what stood out to me. Your Instagram looks really pretty by the way! And I just love the aesthetic of the space. Which if you haven’t seen it, I would kind of describe it as kind of very light and bright, with clean lines. You can opt for a little flower arrangement here or there. But other than that it’s a very sort of sleek, simple backdrop. How’d you come up with the design?

Victoria: We’re all really interested in design in general and as a concept. So we really love mid-century design, Scandinavian design. Anything that sort of pares back necessity and just kind of helps us highlight a couple. Because really and truly you don’t need a whole lot, and we really wanted to focus on their love and being in the moment. The floral arrangements sometimes mimic a Japanese Wabi Sabi style, where there are a few components that you can tell that a lot of thought was put into it. That’s kind of how we wanted to just approach the entire chapel because we don’t want our couples to feel rushed when they visit. We want them to feel that they’re getting plenty of time to kind of be in the moment, and just soak it all up instead of moving them in and out like some of the other chapels do.

Katie: I’m wondering where in Vegas the chapel is located. Is it right on the strip?

Victoria: Sure Thing Chapel is located on Fremont Street. It’s actually part of a bigger revitalization project that’s going on. Most of the time when you think Fremont Street, you think the Fremont street experience and sort of the area with all of the large casinos and bars. But East Fremont, if you go down a little bit farther, there’s actually a more sort of local side with some smaller bars and some shopping. We’re in a strip that has one of my favorite local coffee shops, called PublicUs.

And we are sandwiched in between the downtown vintage barber shop and a tattoo shop. I think that unless you were to venture a little bit farther walking distance, you might not notice it. But right now the city is undertaking a huge project to bring out a lot of neon that has been taken down over the years, as to hopefully drive a little bit more traffic all the way down Freemont Street.

Katie: That’s cool! I’ve never been to Fremont Street. I guess I’ve only ever seen the traditional main Vegas strip, but I would love to venture outside of that area sometime. Maybe next time.

Victoria: Especially if you like vintage casinos and more of an old school Vegas feeling, then it’s definitely the place to be.

The Experience

Katie: What is the experience like of coming to the Sure Thing Chapel? Do people need to plan this far in advance? Can they just come to Vegas and walk right in, or how does that work?

Victoria: Booking a wedding with a Sure Thing Chapel can be done very easily online. We have a group of packages that range from extremely simple to a little bit more elaborate. So even if you wanted to get married the same day, you could go on our website to the date and time and then book it directly that way. As far as the legalities of it, the only thing that you would need to do is go to the Marriage Bureau and pick up your marriage license.

And then upon arrival, we would greet you. We always like to take a couple of quick Polaroid photos so they can develop during your ceremony and you can see them when you’re getting ready to leave. We have a little record player. We have a few records to choose from. We also encourage couples to bring their own if they have one that’s special for them. Sometimes the option of getting an organist our couples will choose. That’s been really fun and just the right amount of kitsch for us that we’ve been able to bring to these ceremonies. And yeah, it’s very short and sweet. Very much just to the point and not a whole lot of frills.

Katie: I like this word kitsch. I think that’s like a British word, but I don’t know, maybe that’s where it originated? You’ve added a little bit of quirkiness without going overboard. When I think of getting married in Vegas, the first thing that comes to mind is kind of an outdated chapel. But this is definitely not that. Where’d you get the organ player? Is that a vintage piece?

Victoria: It is. We actually lucked out and we found it on Craigslist from a local person that was getting rid of a few pieces in his collection. And you know, it’s kind of organ that your grandmother would play like at the house. So it’s nothing that’s too embellished or flashy. But we do love it very much. It’s got a very kind of funky sound.

Katie: And from what I remember on the website, the packages range from kind of a 15 minute in and out thing to closer to maybe an hour, if you want the time to take pictures in the space. What is the most popular option?

Victoria: Somewhere in the middle. But honestly it kind of just ranges from how many guests someone might be bringing with them. But you know, anywhere from the 15 minute ceremony, just kind of getting in and getting out, to the ceremony that has a floral arrangement and 15 extra minutes. Just a little bit more time to kind of snap a couple more photos. And Elvis has been quite popular as well. She is also an add on.

Katie: Does she sing or would she be an officiant, or what’s her part in the day?

Victoria: She is the officiant or she could just come along and sing if you didn’t want the Elvis ceremony. Her Elvis ceremony is very funny, and we just love her take on Elvis. And there’s not really that many female Elvis officiants. She might be one of the only ones actually. A lot of our same sex couples really adore her, I think for that reason too. Her costume is very well done and…she’s just a ham.

Marriage Licenses

Katie: I love that. So kind of going back to the logistics of getting married in Las Vegas…do you have people coming from out of the country? Or are they mostly from the US?

Victoria: As far as the legal stuff for anyone coming from all of the world, I would say that Vegas is probably the easiest place to get that taken care of. So that’s never really been anything that’s difficult for our clients. But I would say that 90% of our clientele are not from Las Vegas. We do occasionally get some clients that do live here, which we love that because it does happen, you know, more rarely than others. But we get clients from all over the world.

Katie: Do you provide any assistance with how to do the Marriage Bureau stuff? Or is it pretty easy to figure out with just some Googling?

Victoria: We have a link on our website that goes directly to the Marriage Bureau website page. You know, obviously if they have any questions we’re here to help. But for the most part, they can fill out the application online before they even come to Las Vegas. So once they get to the Bureau they can just pick up their papers and it usually takes about 20 minutes.

Katie: Okay, cool. Have you noticed that there’s a specific type of couple that tends to walk through your door, in terms of personality or things that they like to do? Anything like that?

Victoria: We definitely get couples that are somewhat private. You know, they don’t feel comfortable being in front of a group of 200 people. We get couples that are sort of rock ‘n roll, and want to do things their own way. “Don’t care what anyone says” type of attitude. And we do get a lot of variations of that, but it tends to be kind of an artistic couple or someone who appreciates vintage design. Those are a lot of the themes that we noticed.

Katie: Yeah, that makes sense. And even though technically it’s eloping, are there people who want to bring in a few family and friends with them?

Victoria: Occasionally. We try to keep that to a minimum. For the most part, it’s usually just the couple.

Vegas Hidden Gems

Katie: You mentioned earlier that you were from Las Vegas, so I’m wondering if there’s something fun to do in Vegas that’s maybe not super well known, like a Vegas best kept secret or just something fun that couples could do aside from gambling or having a cocktail somewhere?

Victoria: Absolutely. I’ve actually lived here for almost 10 years now. There is a Pinball Hall of Fame that has the largest collection of all sorts of pinball machines. It’s one of my favorite places to go.

Katie: Oh that’s fun! I’ve never heard of that. Can you take pictures and all these places?

Victoria: Absolutely. That’s fine. And also the Neon Museum is really fun too. It’s kind of like our neon boneyard, as they have nicknamed it.

Katie: And is this all close to the Sure Thing Chapel?

Victoria: The Neon Museum is very close. The Pinball Hall of Fame is probably about 15 minutes. And you know, honestly some of the older casinos, like I love how weird and funky Circus Circus is. It has shows on the hour. Every hour they’ll do a circus act that you can go and watch for free, which I love. So those would be like my top three.

Katie: Those are great. Do you have any tips for people eloping in Vegas that we haven’t discussed yet?

Victoria: I would say, maybe not just Vegas, but my tip in general is to do the wedding for you. I think that especially since it’s such a small event, if you want to get your hair and makeup done, to kind of pamper yourself, you should! And picking out a really nice restaurant to sort of commemorate the day. And really just take the day to have fun and do things that maybe you normally wouldn’t do on a regular day.

And you know, Las Vegas wants the tourism and they want people to be here. So typically in these industries, everyone is really welcoming. And if you’re staying in hotels, tell them it’s your wedding because they might upgrade your room!

Katie: Good point. Do you have a recommendations for things like a favorite restaurant or hotel?

Victoria: My favorite restaurant is very unassuming, and might not even notice it if you drove by it. It’s called Pamplemousse, and it’s a French restaurant. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in Las Vegas that Frank Sinatra used to go. And it’s in little tiny house. Everything is pink on the inside. It’s by far one of my favorite Vegas hidden gems. It’s so cute.

Katie: I’m definitely going to look that up.

Victoria: As far as my favorite hotel, I’d say if you wanted something modern I would go with Cosmopolitan or possibly even Nomad Hotel. Or if you want to go vintage Vegas, I really love the Golden Nugget. They have some really fun like two story suites with a giant jacuzzi that I’ve had couples stay at and said it was just really fun and such a nice throwback.

Pop-Up Weddings in the Desert

Katie: I’d love to spend a little bit of time chatting about your other business, Flora Pop. So if you want to tell us about the areas that you serve and just what that’s all about!

Victoria: So Flora Pop is a mobile pop-up wedding venue. I have a little vintage 1950’s teardrop trailer that’s my mobile chapel of sorts. I pop it up in whatever location my couples have decided. I serve champagne and donuts out of it. Typically, I cater more to elopements with just a couple, but with my pop-up set up, I can serve up to 15 people.

And we go to places like Valley Fire…There’s an area outside Boulder City that has a dry lake bed. There are some areas near Lee Canyon that have Joshua trees. I also actually go to Joshua tree, California and places like Palm Springs. I have a little bit of flexibility since it’s completely mobile. So usually drive within a 6 hour radius of Vegas.

Katie: Wow, that’s so fun! Yeah, I was wondering how far Palm Springs and that area is from Vegas. It is about 6 hours?

Victoria: It’s about 4 hours to to Palm Springs and it’s about 3 1/2 to Joshua tree. It’s not bad at all. I mean Joshua tree is one of my favorite spots to go to go, ever.

Katie: And then you said that you officiate those weddings?

Victoria: Yes. I officiate those weddings. Holly, the female Elvis, she will officiate as Holly or Elvis. I have a few other officiants that work with me and we, you know, just on any given weekend or weekday. All three or four of us might be working or I might be working. It just kinda depends on the day. But we can kind of spread out and do multiple elopements.

Katie: Amazing. So you’re usually staying around California and Nevada?

Victoria: Yes. Sometimes Arizona. I’ve been to Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell. That was really fun. I’ve gotten inquiries for Sedona; I’ve been to Sedona a few times. We try to accommodate what we can.

What Time of Year Should We Plan on Eloping in Vegas?

Katie: I’m curious, obviously it gets very hot in Vegas and the California desert. Is there an ideal time of year that couples should aim for?

Victoria: I would say, obviously spring: March, April, sometimes early on into May it’s still pretty comfortable. Then fall anytime after Halloween it usually starts to cool down. But honestly we do weddings year round. A lot of European couples take their holidays over summer breaks. So we kind of endure the heat. I’m used to it, so I like the heat! I always just try to give my couples recommendations as far as bringing extra water and sunscreen, and stuff like that.

Katie: So today is April 29th. What’s the weather like in Vegas today?

Victoria: Yeah, it’s actually warm. Let me look. It is 97 today!

Katie: Wow. That is pretty warm.

Victoria: It is very hot. It’s getting up there. Last year about this time, we actually had very mild weather up until about middle of June, which sort of shock for all of us. I am noticing the temperatures seem to be maybe going down next week. We’ll see.

Katie: And I think a lot of people don’t realize that at night, if you go in the winter, that temperatures can drop down pretty low in the desert. I don’t know about Vegas, but I’m just thinking about Joshua tree and some of those desert cities. But I think, yeah, I think you’re right about just kind of sticking to spring and fall, but it’s possible any time of year, really.

Victoria: I love winter weddings here actually. They’re pretty mild, and it doesn’t get quite as cold at night as some of the other desert cities that you mentioned. But I love a good winter wedding, with like a coat and a long dress. It’s fun.

Follow Along on Instagram

Katie: Cool. Well thank you Victoria. I would love if you could share how people can find you online.

Victoria: You can find Flora Pop at @florapopshop on Instagram and @surethingchapel on Instagram. Both of those handles have our websites.

Katie: And I noticed that on surethingchapel.com, it was very easy to just book straight away. You could see what dates were available; you choose your package, everything can be done really simply online. So definitely check that out if you’re interested in possibly getting married in Vegas!

Closing Remarks

After speaking with Victoria, I’m totally convinced that eloping in Vegas would be a unique, fun, and artsy way to get married. Not to mention there would be incredible photos. I’m also convinced that there’s no better place elope in Las Vegas than the Sure Thing Chapel in terms of simplicity and lovely aesthetics (and awesome people running the joint). Crossing my fingers that I’ll photograph an elopement here one day! If you’re considering eloping in Vegas, I’d love to hear from you! Reach out via my contact form here. I look forward to serving you!

WORK WITH ME

Katie photographs elopements and intimate weddings. She is located in Los Angeles and is available for travel worldwide.