Unusual Missouri Wedding Venues – Married in a Cave?

Lake of the Ozarks Is Unique Location For Weddings

Couples looking for an unusual wedding location enjoy Bridal Cave in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, one of the 5,000 caves in Missouri, also known as The Cave State.

Bridal Cave in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks received its name from Native American folklore that a tells of an Osage princess who married her Prince Buffalo in this very cave hundreds of years ago. The first modern wedding was held in the room known as the Bridal Chapel on June 1, 1949.

The cave is popular for first and second-time brides, and those renewing their vows, look for a unique wedding location. About 100 weddings a year are performed in the stalagmite dripping dampness of Bridal Cave and because of its location, wedding attire ranges from formal to casual to outrageous.

Many visitors to Bridal Cave come via private watercraft to the dock about 100 feet below the entrance to the cave. One couple arrived by boat, planning to marry in just their swimsuits until the minister insisted upon some form of the cover-up of the bikini. T-shirts from the gift shop solved the dilemma.

Wedding Ceremonies in Bridal Cave

A large pipe organ drapeolite, a type of cave formation, adorns the Bridal Chapel room of the cave. About 25 feet high and 60 feet wide, the formation is lit during tours and weddings to enhance the shades of red, white, blue-green, and gray present in the rocks. The room is large enough for about 100 guests to stand during the service. All wedding guests are admitted to the cave free of charge. The natural acoustics of the room enrich the echo of accompanying music, which, unless otherwise arranged, is provided on a CD or tape player.

The majority of weddings at Bridal Cave take place in the summer, which can be uncomfortably hot and humid in mid-Missouri. But temperatures inside the cave remain a constant 60-degrees, a much more pleasant temperature for formal wear. However, because the cave is still growing through seeping rainwater, it is also damp. Long dresses with trains are sure to get muddy. And no need to worry about bats invading the wedding. They don’t hang out in this particular cave.

Everyone married at Bridal Cave receives a lifetime pass to the cave.

Unique Wedding Venue

Any number of accommodations can be and have been made for couples wanting to create a unique setting for their vows. One couple wanted to be married in the cave sitting on their Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The bike wouldn’t fit through the narrow opening leading to the Bridal Chapel, so groomsmen worked a better part of the day dismantling and re-assembling the bike before the pipe organ backdrop.

The paved pathway into the Bridal Chapel makes a dramatic entrance for brides and at about 36 inches causes few problems for most brides, members of the wedding party or guests. However, one bride wore a large Southern Bell hoop skirt and no matter what angle she tilted the hoop, she could not fit through the opening. The solution: The groom, minister and guests left the cave, she undressed, slipped the hoop through on its side, and re-dressed in the Bridal Chapel. The groom and guests then walked in with the accompanying music. After the ceremony, everyone left, the bride undressed, slipped through sideways and dressed again on the other side.

Reception opportunities are abundant throughout the lake region, although somewhat limited at the cave site. Two outdoor patios overlook the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks and the colorful hills beyond. All food and drinks must be catered in. The reception area is wheelchair accessible, but unfortunately, the natural structure of the cave prohibits the Bridal Chapel from being accessible to those persons with mobility impairments.

Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks

The Lake of the Ozarks is exactly a two and one-half hour drive from Missouri’s two largest cities and their airports, St. Louis and Kansas City. The lake area is a popular vacation destination for travelers across the country, including many Midwesterners who have second homes along the 1,150 miles of shoreline. The Lake is host to some of the top fishing and golfing in the Midwest. In addition to an abundance of water activities, other recreations such as horseback riding, tennis, hiking, and bird watching draw thousands of visitors all year long. The lake is also well-known for outlet shopping and country music shows.

Bridal Cave is located at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks near the town of Camdenton. Call 573-346-2676.

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