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Blues and Jazz. St. Louis-style barbecue. And yes, the Ozarks. These—among many others—make Missouri a top travel destination. Make no mistake, Missouri is beautiful. And there are several places where flashes of its beauty magically shine through.

And while the towering Ozarks add to Missouri’s jaw-dropping scenery, Missouri is more than the Ozarks. Aside from nature’s artwork above Missouri’s dark gray soil, Missouri has over 6,000 caves perhaps justly meriting the moniker “The Cave State.”

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One of these caves, the Missouri Bridal Cave, is a site where lovers get the unusual chance to exchange vows and get married underground. In this article, we show what travelers need to know about Missouri’s Bridal Cave—where love is sealed in a surrounding of exciting gloom. Let’s dive in.

The Interesting Story Of Missouri’s Bridal Cave

Billed as one of America’s most scenic caves, the history of Missouri’s Bridal Cave—mirrors one of Shakespeare's most tragic love dramas—Romeo and Juliet. Truth, we’re told, is stranger than fiction.

And the story of this cave, if not a legend as some argue, is a surreal confirmation. Centuries ago, the region where this cave lies, was occupied by the Osage people, an American Indian tribe whose ancestral domain extended to parts of Oklahoma.

Related: 13 Honeymoon Spots That Could End The Marriage (12 That'll Kickstart A Family).

A chief of one of Osage’s subtribes had a son called Conwee. With time, and as with all men with beating hearts, the cupid’s arrow came striking.

The object of Conwee’s love was a lady called Wasena, also a daughter of a chief—though of a different Osage subtribe. This chief lived on the northern sides of the Osage River, an easy stroll from the junction of the Niangua.

Conwee wanted Wasena for a wife. But it’s a paradox of life that love is seldom mutual. And according to the story, Wassena spurned all Conwee’s advances. Even Wasena’s father, having known of Conwee’s intentions, was decidedly opposed to the idea.

Not to be discouraged, Conwee one day left his place of abode at Ha Ha Tonka, and with some of his men, crossed the Osage. He would then kidnap Wasena and a companion she had, a lady called Irona.

The Story Had A Tragic End, But Not All Love Was Lost

Having accomplished his intentions, Conwee hastily made his way back under the cover of nighttime darkness. But he never went as far, or as quickly, as he would have wanted.

With the morning sun about to break out in the east, Conwee needed some temporary place of shelter to hide his love captive, and Irona, the unlucky victim.

That place was a cave, now the famous Missouri Bridal Cave. But tragedy lay ahead.

In an unguarded moment, Wasena wriggled herself away from her captors, frantically ran to an edge of a nearby cliff, and with her captors in hot pursuit—jumped over the cliff to her heartrending death.

The cliff where Wasena jumped from is today known as “Lovers’ Leap.” The fate of Irona, Wasena’s unlucky companion, would turn out amazingly different. She had long admired Conwee’s brother, and when the mourning period lapsed, they got married.

They chose the cave where she had been held captive, as the site of their marriage rites. As of today, over four thousand couples have followed in their footsteps.

Related: 10 Reasons To Visit Missouri (You Hadn't Thought Of)

Here’s What To Know About Weddings Inside Missouri’s Bridal Cave

With colorful stalactites hanging on the cave’s roof, Missouri’s Bridal Cave, is, for a wedding location, delightfully off-the-beaten-track. For those hard-pressed with time, the good news is wedding ceremonies at Missouri Bridal Cave can take place any time of the year.

  • Where Is Missouri Bridal Cave Located? The physical address of Missouri Bridal Cave is 526 Bridal Cave Rd, Camdenton, MO 65020, United States.
  • How Much Does It Cost To Have A Wedding At Missouri Bridal Cave? Missouri Bridal Cave offers two wedding packages. The Sweetheart Special goes for $495 while Romance To Remember goes for $695.

While some caves can get uncomfortably hot and humid, or swing to low, chilly levels—the temperatures at Missouri Bridal Cave are always a pleasant 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it’s important to note that occasionally, the cave’s walls may be slightly damp. But that’s really nothing to spoil a party, or even to worry about.

Before any wedding ceremony can be conducted, the management of the Bridal Cave will require a valid Missouri marriage license.

For those who don’t want to get out of the house in flowing white gowns that would announce to the world their intentions, there’s a private place at the park to dress in upon arrival.

For decorations of the wedding site as well as photography, the management provides both a full-service florist and an experienced photographer.

One last thing: there’s a chapel inside the cave that can accommodate 50 guests. And for a bigger number, an outdoor pavilion overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks can seat up to 80. That’s it.

Missouri Bridal Cave provides a wedding experience that’s almost unequaled—all steeped in fascinating history that is both tragic and fortuitous.