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Arkansas is home to some incredible wedding venues – charming churches and chapels that are not only pretty, but also rich in history. Imagine saying your vows surrounded by nature in a quaint chapel or embracing the grandeur of a historic church. Whether you are into rustic vibes or timeless elegance, Arkansas has it all. With wedding season just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about that dream venue. These spaces book up fast, so a bit of advanced planning can ensure you snag the perfect spot for your special day.
Thorncrown Chapel was built by renowned architect E. Fay Jones and is nestled in a quiet wooded area in Eureka Springs. Constructed of wood, native stone and over 6,000 square feet of glass, the magnificent space blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors.
The chapel is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March through Dec., except when closed for private events. Visit the Thorncrown Chapel website for more information.
Another of E. Fay Jones’s majestic creations, John A. Cooper, Sr., commissioned the chapel to honor his late wife Mildred’s love for nature and God. Built of steel and glass, the design blends seamlessly with the surrounding forest and offers views of nearby Lake Norwood during winter.
The chapel is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily unless it is closed for a private event. Visit their website for more information.
At first glance, Anthony Chapel is strikingly similar to those designed by E. Fay Jones, but this chapel was built in 2006 and was designed by Maurice Jennings and David McKee, associates of Jones. The six-story structure is built of massive pine beams, stone and over ten thousand square feet of glass. The chapel has been named one of the “coolest places to get married.”
Anthony Chapel is located at Garven Woodland Gardens during their operating hours and can be reserved for private events.
The Smyrna Methodist Church, built in 1854, claims the title of the oldest documented church building in the state. Its weathered wood-frame exterior, adorned with gables, diamond-cut shingles and a quaint belfry, is a quintessential testament to pioneer times. The church was falling into disrepair in the 1990s when it was donated to the city of Searcy, and a restoration was overseen by the White County Historical Society.
Searcy hosts several community events in the church each year, and it’s available to rent for private events. Visit their website for more information.
The Chapel of the Transfiguration at Camp Mitchell on Petit Jean Mountain was built in 1955. The architecture uniquely blends Gothic Revival with the natural Ozark surroundings. Its open-air design, with exposed beams and soaring arches, captures the vibrant hues of the Arkansas landscape as it overlooks the Ada Valley. Today, the Chapel remains a cherished landmark, echoing with the voices of generations past and present, a testament to faith, hope, and the enduring power of nature.
The chapel and other camp facilities are available for weddings, retreats, and other private events. View their webpage for more information.
Originally known as the Broomfield Church, the chapel was built by local community members in the late 1800s and served as a church, a school and a local gathering place. The structure fell into disrepair and was renovated around 2010. The church now serves as one of Arkansas’s most popular wedding venues but still maintains its original charm.
The chapel, as well as other facilities on the grounds, are available for rent. Visit the Dragonfly Farms website to learn more.
Built as a wedding venue in 2012, St. John’s Chapel is a stone and wood haven nestled beside a gurgling creek. Its straightforward design is classy and timeless, while the tranquil creekside setting fosters a connection with nature. St. John’s Capel is a picturesque backdrop for an outdoor wedding and provides a traditional setting for an indoor wedding.
Visit the facilities website for availability and more information.
Built in the early 1900s by Richard Kerens, United States Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church was officially dedicated in 1909. The church has a unique design, inspired by the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and is well known for being the only church that is entered through the bell tower. The rotunda boasts a chandelier with over 7500 crystals.
St. Elizabeth’s can be used for weddings of those of the Catholic faith. Guided tours of the grounds are also available. Visit the St. Elizabeth’s website for more information.
Here’s to discovering the perfect backdrop for your love story amid the enchanting settings that Arkansas has to offer. Happy planning, and may your wedding day be filled with joy, love, and the magic of these wonderful churches and chapels.
Cover photo Aug. 2016 Photo of the Week by Lola Hall
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