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Email Author: Ellen Hopkins
Story Posted: 2/9/2005 07:48 pm

Chapel alternatives

You’ve decided you want a simple wedding, just the two of you, and perhaps a few close friends. Reno/Tahoe is your chosen destination, but you’re not really sure a wedding chapel is exactly the right venue. You’d prefer something a bit more private, a bit more elegant. Are there alternatives to the downtown chapels? Yes.

Surrounded by secluded park-like grounds, with a pond and waterfall, is the lovely Victorian-era Chism House. Built in Reno in 1880, the brick home has been completely restored and awaits your private ceremony. The marble fireplace in the main room is the favored location, but there also is a music/sunroom, complete with a grand piano for your wedding march. The owners work with wedding professionals to provide all the extras you might desire. Information: 322-5455.

In Carson City, the Bliss Mansion Bed & Breakfast also is pleased to accommodate your wedding ceremony. Located on a quiet avenue, across from the Governor’s Mansion, the stunning Bliss Mansion was built in 1879 by railroad tycoon Duane Bliss. As a setting for your wedding, it is reminiscent of a time when Carson City’s finest gathered for garden parties and formal teas. As an added incentive, you can stay overnight (or several nights) in one of the mansion’s beautifully appointed suites. Information:

Farther south, in Genoa, is the Genoa House Inn. Newspaperman A.C. Pratt built this Victorian-style bed and breakfast in 1872. The quaint B & B hosts intimate weddings in the parlor, on the porch or in the garden. Information:

Officiate Debra Mehringer will travel from her Carson City home to Genoa. In addition to the Genoa House Inn, she often performs ceremonies at the Orchard House, Genoa’s first bed and breakfast. The property, which has been the private residence of the same family for five generations, specializes in outdoor and garden weddings.

Still another favorite location in the history-draped town is the Genoa Community Church. Built in 1910, after a fire destroyed the original building, the church has served local congregations ever since. The church may be rented and serves as an ideal “Old West” setting for a small wedding. Information: 775-782-8696.

Two miles from downtown Reno, at the foot of the Sierra on the Truckee River, is Wildflower Village. This unique facility is located on six private acres and is home to two art galleries, a bed and breakfast, hostel and the Wildflower Wedding Chapel. The chapel here has a unique gallery-like setting. Complete with beautiful stained glass panels and fine art, it has the feel of a country church rather than a wedding chapel. Information:

Located 17 miles west of Lake Tahoe, on Highway 50, the Strawberry Lodge carries you back to a simpler time. Surrounded by the best of the Sierra — tall pines, steep granite cliffs and river cascades — the lodge is a historic Pony Express Stop, and a lovely setting for a quiet mountain wedding. Choose from several venues, including a riverside gazebo, circular deck, spacious ballroom or Old World fireplace. A minister is available on site; bring your wedding license with you. Information:

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Chism House - Photo Courtesy of

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The new chapel in town

If a chapel wedding is exactly what you’re after, what kind are you looking for? A small room with a simple white altar? Something ornate and church-like? Or perhaps one that’s unusual and distinctive?

There’s a new wedding chapel in town, and it gives you a choice of four different venues, all in a single location. The Antique Angel Wedding Chapel is across the Truckee River from the county courthouse in Reno.

Choice one: The Victorian Grace Chapel is an intimate room, with limited seating and a refined air. Muted colors and soft lighting add definite hints of romance.

Choice two: The Lonesome Dove Western Chapel offers a real taste of the Old West, with barn wood, wagon wheels and Southwestern-style trimmings. This is a fun option for a smaller affair, custom-made for a Victorian lace dress and a tuxedo, made handsome with a Stetson.

Choice three: The Tuscany Chapel carries you back to the Old World, with hanging greenery over arches and columns. This is a much bigger room, but if it’s available, you can choose it for just the two of you, or a large wedding party.

Choice four: Go all out with a ceremony in the Victorian Garden Chapel. This large room brings the outdoors inside with lots of greenery and the gentle sound of water bubbling in a fountain. The chapel can accommodate more than 100 guests but, again, you may choose it for a smaller wedding party.

Packages start at $75 and include the chapel of your choice, minister, witness and music. Flowers and other accessories are available at additional cost. Your license is available at the nearby courthouse, from 8 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week. Just be sure to bring your picture I.D. Information: