Whether it's for the blessing of the so-called "vortex energy" or a simple love of the red-rocked landscape, many couples make Sedona, Arizona, their wedding-day sanctuary. Sedona has only a few chapels, but each one distinguishes itself from the others and has the potential to support an unforgettable wedding ceremony in an inspirational location.
The Tlaquepaque chapel, located within the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village (tlaqsedonaweddings.com) on State Route 179, is a quaint, small chapel reminiscent of what you might find in small Mexican village. The hand-carved pews, white-washed adobe walls, wooden doors and stained-glass windows fittingly highlight the chapel's artisan touch within the village, where artists sell their works ranging from paintings to life-sized sculptures. Sycamore trees, small gardens and Oak Creek are nearby, providing natural inspiration that complements the cobblestoned village's charm. About 30 people can be seated in the pews, with room for about 15 more by placing chairs in the back of the chapel. Renting the chapel will give you 90 minutes, with the first opening at 5:00 p.m., as of July 2011.
Chapel at Sedona Creative Life Center, Cathedral Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross
The chapel at the Sedona Creative Life Center (sedonacreativelife.com) puts a special emphasis on integration with nature. Veering a bit from the Tlaquepaque Chapel, which has a more religious feel to it, the SCLC's chapel promotes a nondenominational atmosphere. The unusual chapel structure features an adobe-style exterior that surrounds a rising glass tower that looks as if the Eiffel Tower and a pyramid coalesced. After passing through the stained-glass doors, you can easily view the red rocks, trees and other foliage that are outside through clear panes of glass that surround the small podium where the to-be-married couple stands. This chapel seats up to 60 people.
Couples looking for even more of an unorthodox setting might choose Cathedral Rock in the Coconino National Forest, which surrounds Sedona. According to "Destination Bride," Cathedral Rock might be the most photographed monument in Arizona, and serves as an outdoor "chapel" where many couples hold their wedding ceremonies. Native American legend says that the first man and woman were formed here, and that the two argued constantly and had to summon divine intervention to keep their marriage alive. While this legend may not be the most romantic story, the area's beauty adds just the inspiring touch that many couples seek.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross (chapeloftheholycross.com), artfully built into a 1,000-foot red rock wall, might be perceived -- and even advertised -- as a place that holds wedding ceremonies, but it really doesn't. For example, although the book "Destination Bride" cites the chapel as a wedding-day option, the chapel's website describes it as an "internationally cherished gift shop" and also as a place that does not permit weddings. The chapel does, however, sell wedding gifts, such as crosses and bells tailored to those of the Catholic faith. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix oversees the chapel's activities.
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