Destination I Do

The Heart of the Ozarks

Words by Carolyn Steere
Photos courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

“Luxury meets Mother Nature” is the perfect way to describe Big Cedar Lodge, the premier wilderness resort located in Ridgedale, Missouri.

In 1987, Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, purchased Big Cedar Lodge overlooking the exquisite Table Rock Lake with the vision of creating a place where others could capture the wonder of his own childhood memories. Since then the vision has expanded to include nearby Top of the Rock, a mountaintop golf paradise, and Dogwood Canyon, a pristine 10,000-acre nature preserve. Modern amenities coupled with cozy guest cabins, lodges and cottages, romantic wedding chapels, spacious lawns with outstanding lake and mountain views, ample event space and activities-galore make this an outstanding choice for a family-oriented destination wedding.

If walking down the aisle of a charming wedding chapel and exchanging vows with a breathtaking view as a backdrop is your vision, there are a number of picturesque settings for you including chapels on the Big Cedar property or nearby Top of the Rock and Dogwood Canyon. Each is as charming as the last. One truly unique feature is the Civil War Era Cabin which has been repurposed by Amish craftsmen for a romantic post-wedding experience.

The property offers you and your guests everything right at your fingertips; whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or looking to be pampered. The new 18,000 square-foot spa will feature treatments to indulge, while those seeking adventure can enjoy bass fishing (what else?!), water sports, horseback riding or exploring one of the newly discovered caves along the Lost Canyon Nature Trail. The golfers in the group will be in for a real treat at the Jack Nicklaus signature course, Top of the Rock, or the Tom Fazio course, Buffalo Ridge. An evening lake cruise on the Lady Liberty or campfire wagon ride are perfect for times when you want to gather your wedding guests together.

Four conveniently located restaurants at Big Cedar provide variety and dining at Top of the Rock is an experience not to be missed for its culinary excellence, unique ambiance and outstanding views.

Stunning natural rock formations, waterfalls and covered Amish bridges enhance the charm of this destination wedding venue or honeymoon hideaway…a vision becoming reality and a perfect place to start your life together.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2015 issue. You can order a copy here.

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