“You’ll need to use your imagination,” Victoria Hogan says. “We’re not ready yet.”
It doesn’t take much. Sure Thing—the Downtown wedding chapel created by Hogan and her partners Holly Rae Vaughn and Amy Hybarger, just a few door away from PublicUs café—has what those in the real estate game call “good bones.” It’s an airy space with an exposed-beam ceiling and a polished concrete floor, as modern as they come. A handsome midcentury sofa unit sits a few feet from a 1970s-vintage organ; across the room is an installation by local artist Zet Gold, resembling a miniature cityscape. Throw in some chairs, flowers, maybe an Elvis—a role Vaughn plays, by the by, with conspicuous style and verve—and you could easily get married here, right this second.
But work will continue, right up through the grand opening on Valentine’s Day. In Sure Thing, Hogan, the founder of Flora Pop—a pop-up wedding (and “elopement”) service that operates out of a vintage-style teardrop camper Hogan built herself—intends to provide a comfort level beyond that of other Vegas chapels. Flora Pop has married couples on rooftops, in alleys and in open desert. Hogan provides the flowers and conducts the ceremony, while Vaughn, also an officiant, stands ready in the aforementioned Elvis jumpsuit. Flora Pop offers a focused, personal, soulful ceremony. Sure Thing just moves it inside.
“We want to focus on experiences,” Hogan says, “versus …”
“… just getting people in and out,” Vaughn finishes. “We’ve seen how the other chapels operate, as if no one is special.”
Sure Thing satisfies the requirements the principals have for a chapel in which they themselves would like to get married: It’s intimate, it’s non-traditional and it shows the care and flourish of true artists. (By the way, Hogan is a superb photographer, and Vaughn founded Battle Born Pins; it almost seems an effort for these two not to turn around and create something awesome.) It’s also largely stress-free: You can book Sure Thing online (surethingchapel.com) for the flat rate of $450 per half-hour, with add-ons (an organist, Vaughn’s Elvis) just a couple clicks away. You’re even allowed to bring in your own photographer, which is all but unheard of in Vegas.
There’s more to the Flora Pop/Sure Thing story than can be said here. For example: Hogan is also the officiant at Taco Bell’s chapel on the Strip, and one of Sure Thing’s pre-opening events was a Dunkin’ pop-up, with donut bouquets and the whole works. (“I don’t know how I became the fast-food wedding officiant, but it’s who I am,” Hogan says.) Ultimately, their mission is perhaps best summed up like this: “We’re creative people,” Vaughn says. “This place is an outlet for us to challenge ourselves: How do we get more weird?”
“And how do we get more weird people to hang out with us?” Hogan says, laughing. The answer, naturally, is by offering a sure thing. –Geoff Carter
A whirlwind tour of Las Vegas' most famous wedding chapels
CHAPEL OF THE FLOWERS 1717 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-735-4331
Married there: Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra (yes, to each other)
Onscreen: TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and 90 Day Fiancé; Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood music videos; Good Morning America
Did you know? Couples can take pick of four chapels, a gazebo or even the Grand Canyon.
GRACELAND WEDDING CHAPEL 619 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-382-0091
Married there: Jon Bon Jovi, Aaron Neville, Rob Zombie, Billy Ray Cyrus (renewed vows), Andie MacDowell (renewed vows).
Onscreen: Fools Rush In, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Amazing Race, The Prophet
Did you know? It's believed to be the first Vegas chapel to have ceremonies performed by Elvis impersonators.
LITTLE CHURCH OF THE WEST 4617 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-739-7971
Married there: Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton; Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere; Judy Garland; Metallica’s Lars Ulrich; Redd Foxx, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher; Zsa Zsa Gabor; Dudley Moore.
Onscreen: Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret wed there in 1964’s Viva Las Vegas.
Did you know? It’s the only free-standing chapel on the Strip (the rest are Downtown).
A LITTLE WHITE WEDDING CHAPEL 1301 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-382-5943
Married there: Britney Spears, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jordan, Paul Newman, Joan Collins, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Eva Longoria, Pamela Anderson, Sinéad O’Connor.
Onscreen: Friends, The Real World: Las Vegas (2011)
Did you know? It has a drive-thru Tunnel of Love.
WEE KIRK O' THE HEATHER 231 Las Vegas Boulevard S., 702-382-9830
Year built: 1925 (open since 1940)
Married there: “We don’t give that information out,” a chapel worker says. Boo.
Onscreen: The Hangover, Intolerable Cruelty.
Did you know? It bills itself as “Las Vegas’ oldest continually operating wedding chapel.” –C. Moon Reed