Happy 10th! Or is It?

The daffodil: the flower of choice, representing happiness, on 10-year wedding anniversaries. Photo by: robynejay

Anyone who has made it to their tenth wedding anniversary knows what an important milestone it is.  After working through traditional symbols of having walked down the aisle – paper for the first year, cotton for the second, leather for the third, etc., you’ve reached tin and aluminum.  Congratulations!

Although these metals don’t represent romance or love, they are pliable and durable, qualities needed for a successful relationship.

Julia Roberts has these features in abundance.  She has been a leading lady since Mystic Pizza in 1988.  Although not her first marriage, she tied the knot with cameraman Danny Moder on July 4, 2002 when she gathered friends and family to her New Mexico ranch to celebrate the holiday and participate in the surprise ceremony.  They are still together with reason to mark the date.

Liza Minnelli had no such concerns about privacy when she married event producer David Gest on March 16, 2002.  It was a spectacle followed by an extravagant party for an intimate gathering of 850 of their closest friends and family. The excitement lasted for months.  Too bad that the marriage was over in 2003 when Gest sued Minnelli for damages he alleged she had inflicted upon him.  Their legal battles continued for years.

Paul McCartney never asked Heather Mills to sign a prenup before their 2002 wedding because he was in love.  When he filed for divorce citing “unreasonable behavior” in 2006, she vowed to fight back.  While she was awarded less that a fifth of what she asked, a $48 million dollar settlement can soothe the soul.

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey became a pop culture phenomenon when their October 26, 2002 nuptials led to their starring on MTV’s reality television program Newlyweds.  But making the relationship work was much more difficult than winning the hearts and minds of their followers, Jessica having many more fans than Nick.  When she filed for divorce in 2005, she asked the court not to award spousal support.

Nicholas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley won’t be celebrating together this year either.  Her throwing her $65,000 engagement ring overboard shortly before their August 10th Hawaiian wedding should have been a cue that it wouldn’t work out. Their on-again/off-again relationship ended just 107 days after it began.

It’s not easy being married to a celebrity.  It’s not easy being married period.  But Gwen Stefani and fellow musician Gavin Rossdale will celebrate their 10th anniversary in September, possibly because they keep their relationship out of the media.  Best wishes to them.  And daffodils to all you lovebirds who have made it work!

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


70 Years Ago in Las Vegas: Little Church of the West

Roy Rogers would still feel comfortable at the Little Church of the West seventy years after he ushered at the first wedding held there.  Although the buckskins draping the windows have been replaced with lace and brocade curtains, the small chapel still exudes a rustic charm reminiscent of pioneer days on the range.

The historic building was originally part of the Western theme park at the Last Frontier Hotel.  It is an exact, half-size replica of a church built in a California mining town in 1849, right down to its shingled roof, redwood interior walls, and nineteenth century hanging lamps long since converted from gas to electricity.  To the right of the entrance there is an antique Davenport desk circa 1860 atop of which a desk lamp with a green glass shade emits an antique, golden glow.  Across the aisle, as modern needs dictate, there is video recording equipment.  The hardwood benches look just as uncomfortable as they have always been, but Las Vegas wedding ceremonies rarely last long enough for that to make a difference.

As Las Vegas casinos and hotels have gotten bigger and condominiums have taken over any empty space, the Little Church of the West has been forced to move three times. Today it is located past Mandalay Bay, so far south it is almost off the Strip.  Yet this location affords it an attractive setting surrounded by green grass and trees, enough land for an outdoor gazebo, and plenty of guest parking.  Presumably, the traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard fifty feet away can’t be heard when the chapel doors are closed.

It wasn’t the first place to welcome out of town guests looking for a place to tie the knot.  That honor goes to The Wedding Chapel at 513 South Fifth Avenue, before Las Vegas Boulevard was so named, in 1933.  It was the residence of the Reverend J.D. Foster, the man behind the idea.  Offering convenience, Foster promised in an interview, “We [will] never close.”

Today, contrary to popular belief, most chapels are not open 24 hours a day seven days a week. Even on weekends, most of the freestanding ones lock their doors at midnight, if not earlier.  The Little Church of the West is no exception.  Business just isn’t what it used to be.   But the chapel accepts reservations for every half hour from 8 AM to 11:30 PM.   Don’t be late, or you’ll miss the 20-minute ceremony.

To put you in the mood – for fooling around or getting serious – listen to Mark Nevin sing “This Little Church,” on his music video, a collage of wedding scenes, movie clips, and singing nuns.  It’s corny, but classic Vegas:

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved