I don’t consider myself a religious person. My family has never joined hands and “given thanks” at the dinner table. We’ve never piled into the family’s Toyota and dutifully headed off to Mass on a Sunday morning. In fact, the only time I stepped foot inside a church during my childhood was to witness my Catholic-raised bestie perform her communion (and to be honest, it was the lure of free bread that really got me). But just like I’m able to appreciate others’ beliefs, I’m also able to appreciate the sheer beauty of a place of worship. It’s not hard to understand why couples flock to these awe-inspiring buildings to tie the knot, regardless of their religious affiliation.
From the elaborate architecture to the overwhelming sense of significance, chapels (commonly recognised as the subordinate to churches) tend to take our breath away – especially when complemented by a bride, a groom and a string quartet.
So if you’re after inspo for the perfect wedding venue (or just globetrotting the world ticking off bucket list items) take a moment to appreciate the magnificence of these beautiful chapels – some large, some small – but all so wonderfully unique.
And hey, you might even score some free bread.
1. Chapel of St. Michael’s Church, Hallstatt, Austria
A little bit eery and whole lot fascinating, the precisely-named, “Bone House” (Beinhaus) in the chapel of St. Michael’s Church in Hallstatt is a must-see. With over 1200 decorated skulls on display, you’ll be forgiven for being momentarily distracted—but exit the dimly-lit basement and you’ll be faced with rolling views of the mountains, lake and town below.
A photo posted by Go!Tour (@go_tour) on
2. Church of the Good Shepherd, Fairlie, New Zealand
Right on the shores of Lake Tekapo, this little chapel built from durable stone and oak, stands as a memorial to the pioneers of Mackenzie. With the surroundings left in their natural state, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time whilst visiting this pristine part of the world.
3. All Saints Chapel, Hamilton Island, Australia
Right in our very own backyard (well, more like the fancy neighbour’s backyard with the huge swimming pool) you’ll find this idyllic little chapel, nestled amongst the lush gardens overlooking Catseye Bay. For tropical weddings, it doesn’t get much better than this.
4. Thorncrown Chapel, Arkansas, USA
The brainchild of a retired schoolteacher, this awe-inspiring glass chapel boasts 425 windows and is enveloped by the verdant forest of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A winner of numerous architectural awards, Thorncrown allows its guests to get in touch with their spirituality and feel completely at one with nature—whilst still enjoying the pleasure of air-con. Pure. Bliss.
A photo posted by @melodiestraughan on
5. Chapel of the Holy Cross, Arizona, USA
In a remarkable display of nature and architecture coming together, this chapel resembles a piece of art. Built into the red rock of Sedona, Arizona, the Roman Catholic chapel was inspired by the Empire State Building and boasts a universal appeal thanks to its striking feat in design.
6. Chapel in Valleacerón, Almadén, Spain
Like a UFO that’s been abandoned by its intergalactic owners, this astonishing piece of architecture contrasts dramatically with the rural landscape on which it sits. There’s a remarkable curiosity about this angular building, which was designed to mimic the lines of a “box fold”. It’s the relationship the chapel has with the surrounding land that will absolutely take your breath away.
7. Holy Trinity Chapel, Antarctica
Okay, so the depths of freezing Antarctica may not be on your bucket list (especially heading into an Aussie winter) but if you happen to find yourself mixing with the polar bears, you must check out this magnificent little chapel. Built in Russia in the 90s, the Siberian Pine chapel was transported all the way to King George Island via supply ship, and is now manned by volunteer priests year-round. Only one couple ever has been married here. Care to be the second?
Antarctic sights :: faith A photo posted by Si Pham (@sidoesnyc) on
8. Chapel On The Rock, Colorado, USA
Despite some recent setbacks—including a fire and a flood—this breathtaking chapel that sits atop a massive granite rock, continues to act as a sacred place of worship for locals and visitors alike (including Pope John Paul II in 1993). Just as much a part of the landscape as the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, the chapel is adorned with Giacomo-Mussner statues and Franz Mayer stained glass, and is a definite must-see Colorado sight.
9. St. Nicholas Chapel, Georgioupolis, Crete
A “World’s Most Beautiful Chapels” list wouldn’t be complete without this little gem, and it’s easy to see why. Located about 100 metres out into the Sea of Crete, this extraordinary little chapel was originally built as a guardian for sailors and fishermen, though now is mainly admired by enthusiastic tourists. The whitewashed building against the sparkling azure sea showcases Greek architecture at its best and serves as the perfect setting for a romantic holiday union.
A photo posted by Birte (@birtemf) on
10. The Yosemite Valley Chapel, Yosemite Valley, USA
Located in the heart of Yosemite National Park and surrounded by spectacular cliffs, beautiful meadows and the impressive Yosemite Falls, this gorgeous little chapel is the oldest structure in Yosemite Valley. With its quaint, New England-style architecture and spectacular natural setting, you won’t find a more scenic venue to tie the knot.
Featured image by thinboyfatter