Branson, the Live Music Capital of the World, offers way more than music. Bridal parties love the scenic settings, outdoor adventures and mountain hospitality. Now, mountain destination weddings are eighty six minutes away thanks to Southwest Airlines’ new nonstop flights from Houston Hobby to Branson Missouri.
An unbelievable 10,000-acre nature park recently opened to rave reviews.
Park owner John Morris, (Bass Pro Shop fame), enhanced the natural beauty of the canyon to create jaw dropping scenes. Spring fed creeks are crystal clear and filled with giant rainbow trout. Canyon cliffs have been power washed to reveal color and depth in the layers of limestone and Amish craftsmen were brought in to build bridges and the Hope Wilderness Chapel by hand, no power tools needed. Herds of buffalo, elk and Texas longhorns add additional excitement. The man who turned sporting goods stores into vacation destinations has worked his magic once again, on a bigger scale.
Ceremonies can take place in the Hope Wilderness Chapel, a rustic log cabin elevated over a small waterfall fed lake, or at numerous outdoor sites. Thunder Falls, a 60 foot natural waterfall, should be named Unity Falls. It starts as 2 streams; they join halfway down the cliff creating one stronger body as the couple says I do. If you want to be married where the buffalo roam, the staff at Dogwood Canyon can make it happen, complete with horse drawn carriages, chuck wagon receptions and linen covered tables.
The Showboat Branson Belle
Table Rock Lake is nestled amid the Ozark Mountains just south of Branson. Surrounding mountains and big blue sky reflect off pristine waters, as you tie the knot aboard The Showboat Branson Belle, queen of this beautiful lake. Nearly 300 feet long and 80 feet wide, the Branson Belle is the largest ship ever built for a landlocked lake. Inside you’ll find ornate staircases, polished wood and a large theater where 700 of your closest family and friends can witness your ceremony. Outside are expansive decks and great views. You can even have an intimate ceremony in the pilot house.
The Showboat Branson Belle’s dinner cruises are fine dining experiences. You can charter the entire experience for your wedding including three-course meals and variety show.
The Chateau on the Lake
The impressive castle is visible miles away, perched high on a hill overlooking Table Rock Lake. The AAA four diamond resort features European style service and luxury. Various outdoor settings are available for sunset ceremonies as well as the Great Hall which seats up to 2000 guests. The 14,000 square foot Spa Chateau is ready to serve the bridal party with signature treatments and relaxing environments. On-site wedding coordinators can handle the details from set up to meals and music. The Branson entertainment strip is less than 10 minutes from the hotel offering nonstop live entertainment and museums.
Silver Dollar City
The view from the pews in the Wilderness Chapel is the woods of the Ozark Mountains. The historic 1800’s building has hosted nuptial ceremonies for generations. Now renovated and climate controlled, it will host generations more. The only difference is, today’s brides walk out the front door into one of America’s premier amusement parks, Silver Dollar City.
Wedding parties can take advantage of Silver Dollar City’s resources. Complete wedding planning services, catering, reception facilities and all the family entertainment options throughout the park- 30 rides, 40 live daily shows and 60 craftsman shops. The immaculate grounds are a giant playground for guests before or after the ceremony.
Saying “I Do” to the Ozarks is easy, affordable and memorable. And, don’t forget to visit the strip for some live music!
By Tom Flynn
Photography provided by the author