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The Short Version: Some lovers say they’d go to hell and back for one another. Well, a trip to Hell isn’t such a bad idea if you’re in Michigan and looking for some dateworthy entertainment. Hell is a charming township in Livingston County where couples can grab a bite to eat, play putt-putt golf, and maybe even tie the knot. Hell’s Chapel of Love offers an affordable and intimate wedding venue, and it’s popular among couples who are hell-bent on saying “I do” without spending a fortune.
A Michigan township called Hell offers a quirky and romantic getaway where people of all backgrounds can make some great memories on the campgrounds, at the saloon, or in the small chapel.
Some newcomers may not know what to expect when they enter Hell, but they’re soon blown away by its fun-loving atmosphere and good-natured people.
“I thought, ‘Hell can’t be too bad if they sell ice cream,'” recalled one Hell resident about her first visit. “I absolutely fell in love with the town and the people here.”
Couples can have a hell of a time exploring the sights of this quaint area in Michigan. They can hang out at the Hell Hole bar, rent a canoe or kayak for the day, and put a lock on a bridge over Hell Creek River. Visitors also enjoy going to the post office and sending a postcard from Hell to people back home.
One of Hell’s main attractions is the small chapel where couples can have an inexpensive wedding or vow renewal service. The local officiants can conduct ceremonies that touch people’s hearts as well as their funny bones.
“One of our favorite sayings is ‘A marriage that begins in Hell has nowhere else to go but up.’” said Reverend Vonn, who has been working as an officiant at Hell’s Chapel for 12 years. “Weddings in Hell are really beautiful. We’re a tongue-in-cheek kind of place, but the beauty of the ceremony always comes out.”
Many Michiganders know Hell as a “dam good” destination for taking pictures, grabbing souvenirs, and heading on an outdoor adventure. The community is located on the dam connecting a chain of lakes, and it is close by to many campgrounds.
This town is no hellhole — unless you’re talking about the gastropub down the street — and it sees thousands of visitors every week.
Hell is a hot vacation spot for bikers, road racers, horseback riders, campers, and daytrippers, so you’ll see people of all types hanging out here. Couples on a date can start on a sweet note by heading to Screams, a souvenir shop and ice cream parlor with specialty sundaes and ice cream flavors.
Any guest who can finish off the Gravedigger Sundae, which includes a pound of ice cream with “droppings” shaped like a dead body, will receive an honorary death certificate from Hell.
Many outdoorsy folks stop by Hell for refreshments before they go kayaking, canoeing, or camping. This fun destination is surrounded by a chain of seven lakes and plenty of wooded parks for camping or picnicking.
Playing miniature golf is one of the more popular daytime date activities in town. Couples can go putt-putt golfing on a handicap-accessible golf course for only $6. The course includes many hellish decorations and jokes about the city’s name.
Plus, the Screams souvenir shop gives visitors a chance to become Mayor of Hell for the day (or for the hour). This honor includes ownership of 1 square inch of land in Hell, and a proclamation certificate confirming the holder served as Mayor of Hell and was impeached. The full-term mayor receives horns, a T-shirt, a mug, a badge, a wallet card, and dirt from Hell.
“My fiancé made me Mayor of Hell (for a day), and it was such a cool and hilarious experience,” said Jodie in a Facebook review. “I was impeached, but certainly it was necessary as I required the whole town only drink Busch Light.”
Over the years, Hell has become a popular wedding destination for couples of all ages and backgrounds. It has a small chapel that comfortably seats 12 people. The grey and burgundy decorations make it look like something out of “The Phantom of the Opera,” and it appeals to couples with a dark side.
Hell’s Chapel of Love is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. They’ll arrange a wedding at the witching hour under a full moon, and they can also offer a quickie service on a sunny afternoon — it’s all up to the couples to decide when the time is right.
Holidays are particularly popular for weddings and vow renewals in Hell. The chapel’s team typically hosts dozens of ceremonies on Valentine’s Day and Halloween. And on Leap Day weekend in 2020, they had over 50 couples saying “I do.”
It costs $125 to rent the chapel for the hour, and Reverend Vonn’s fee as an officiant is $106.66. Newlyweds must obtain their marriage license at the Livingston County courthouse. No paperwork is needed for a vow renewal or commitment service.
Many joyful tears have been shed at Hell’s Chapel of Love. It may seem hokey on the surface, but the ceremonies are no joke. The officiants know how to keep things short and sweet, and they encourage newlyweds to speak from the heart and have fun with it.
Hell’s Chapel of Love can fit up to 30 people standing (some may have to look in from the open doors), but outdoor weddings are available for upward of 150 people. Catering services are offered by the Hell Hole restaurant next door to the chapel.
Reverend Vonn has been an officiant at Hell’s Chapel of Love for over 12 years, and she told us that each wedding or vow renewal ceremony is unique. She makes an effort to get to know the couples and offer her assistance during the planning process so they have a helluva wedding experience.
“I’m always there, just a text away, to answer any questions,” she told us. “I want their day to be as easy and beautiful as it can be.”
Hell isn’t just for sinners. This vacation destination welcomes anyone looking to make great memories with their loved ones. Some couples go to Hell to tie the knot, and others come just for the hell of it. Whatever their intentions, it’s always a treat to explore the humorously themed attractions of this small town.
Plus, the beautiful outdoor scenery makes Hell a perfect rallying point for hikers, bikers, and campers exploring Michigan’s state parks.
As a lakeside getaway, Hell can certainly fan the flame of romance and provide a wonderful backdrop for an adventurous date or an unforgettable wedding day.
“I try to make their day memorable,” Reverend Vonn told us. “Here in Hell, we love making people happy. We love love.”