It has long been said that God can be most readily found in nature. For many couples hoping to get married in Eureka Springs, no place makes that more apparent than Thorncrown Chapel. Called one of the finest religious spaces of modern times, the stunning glass chapel gives guests unparalleled views of the Ozark hills and nature surrounding it. Brides and grooms looking for a place to begin their spiritual union will find lots to love in this celebrated location, where the venue resides in perfect harmony with the natural world enveloping it.
Thorncrown Chapel was almost the wedding venue that never was. Jim Reed originally purchased the property outside Eureka Springs with the hopes of building a home post-retirement. However, visitors kept accessing the property to take in the breathtaking view of the Ozark hills. From there, the idea for the chapel took root. Partnering with noted architect E. Fay Jones on the design, Thornecrown opened to the public in 1980. Since that time it’s hosted countless weddings and won numerous awards. These include the American Institute of Architects Design of the Year Award and the AIA’s prestigious 25 Year Award. It has also been featured on shows such as NBC Nightly News and the 700 Club.
When asked how to best describe the design of Thorncrown, Mr. Jones simply called it, “an Ozark gothic.” Like much of his previous work, the chapel draws inspiration from cathedrals in the early 1400s, specifically the Sainte Chappelle in Paris. Mr. Jones wanted Thorncrown to have the same open and airy feel that the Sainte boasts, while incorporating elements native to Northwest Arkansas.
In order to make the chapel feel organic to its surroundings, it was designed with structural elements that could be carried by two men through the forest. It was also created almost entirely with natural resources, primarily pressure treated pine. The flagstone floor was chosen specifically to mimic the rock found throughout the area. 425 glass windows form the chapel’s walls, allowing the changing seasons outside to be enjoyed undisturbed.
Thorncrown’s architecture utilizes the changing light, seasons, shadows, and reflections to create one of a kind views; no visit to the chapel will be exactly the same. Depending on the time of day, the shadows from the trusses create a network of crosses surrounding the building in its entirety.
Thorncrown is one of the few venues in the state to offer a full-time minister on staff to conduct your wedding. Couples can also bring in their own pastor, if they prefer. The chapel itself holds up to 100 guests, making it perfect for a more intimate ceremony with close friends and family.
The chapel was designed with exceptional acoustics. The staff encourage brides to take full advantage of this, whether it’s through a string quartet or recorded hymns. Thorncrown offers a grand piano, as well as a state-of-the-art soundsystem, all included in the reservation price. Brides will also have access to a small office space with full length mirror prior to the ceremony, perfect for last minute touch ups to your look.
While floral arrangements and decorations are allowed, they must be approved by Thorncrown’s staff prior to your ceremony. Aisle runners and asparagus ferns are strictly prohibited.
Renting Thorncrown for your ceremony does not include reception space. But not to worry, Eureka Springs has many great local options, such as the amazing Crescent Hotel, who would be happy to host your celebration. This charming city in the hills also offeres a wide number of hotels, as well as bed and breakfasts, meaning guests can explore more of what makes this historic town so special.
Out of respect for the wildlife on the property, bird seed is only allowed to be thrown in the parking lot. Flower girls are required to throw only real or silk blooms.
Thorncrown does require that all ceremonies be scripturally based, and adhere to their published by-laws. Couples are encouraged to call the Thorncrown office with any questions they have regarding this requirement before booking the venue.
A two hour Saturday rental of Thorncrown will cost $1295. Those looking to get married on Sunday-Thursday will find additional cost savings. A one and one half hour reservation will only cost $950. Rehearsal time is not included in the package, but can be scheduled for an additional $500.
You don’t need to be hosting a full scale wedding to utilize Thorncrown as a venue. Couples seeking to elope in the Natural State can rent the chapel for only $500, granting them one hour in the space Monday thru Thursday.
Prospective couples interested in booking the award-winning Thorncrown Chapel for their ceremony can fill out the form below. The chapel is also open for visiting hours on a regular basis as well as for Sunday Services.
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