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Goin' to the Chapel

Q. Can you recommend some great, cute chapels in Oregon?

A. So you’ve determined you’re goin’ to the chapel and you’re gonna get married? We can’t promise birds will sing or the sun will shine, but we have scoped out the state to find a few cute chapels of love worth singing praise. Couples wanting to wed in an old-fashioned churchy setting often choose small, country chapels because of their sweet details inside and out. Picture pretty white churches with steeples, sunlight streaming through stained-glass windows and row upon row of carved wooden benches with just enough room to hold your closest loved ones.

“People love the look of a traditional chapel,” said Marilyn Nash, proprietress of Angelina’s Canby Pioneer Chapel (or “Little White Chapel”), situated just 25 miles south of Portland. “There aren’t a lot of them, and they need to be very unique. People think of chapels as being very traditional and romantic, which is probably every little girl’s dream.”

With its green lawns, intimate space and charming features, the Canby Pioneer Chapel has such a perfect storybook setting it’s even hosted a storybook wedding—literally. A few years back, Disneyworld’s Cinderella and The Beast actors were married here, where they marched down the aisle to the tune of “Beauty and the Beast.” “It was so darn cute,” Nash said. “We’ve had some phenomenal weddings here.” Disney characters aside, this Victorian country church is about as perfect as it comes for creating a quaint, small-town wedding somewhat close to the city.

About the same distance from Portland, you can find similar churchbell charm at Bell Tower Chapel in Boring. This newly restored church was built in the late 1800s, and in spite of the town’s name, there is nothing boring about the chapel’s striking cathedral ceilings and elaborate chandeliers.

In Portland proper, Oaks Pioneer Church in Sellwood is a wedding favorite for its historic past and scenic park setting overlooking the Willamette River. Built in 1851 and relocated to the edge of Sellwood Park in 1961 (and right around the corner from the delightfully vintage Oaks Park Amusement Park), about 400 couples say their “I do’s” at this chapel each year.

Another great “country chapel” right in Portland is Brooks Hill Historic Church, which is perched atop Skyline Boulevard on a hill overlooking the western valley and coast range. Just 20 minutes from downtown Portland, the view from the pretty chapel’s stained-glass windows includes sprawling fields and a cute red barn.

To find that cute chapel from your childhood dreams in other parts of the state, we recommend calling the chamber of commerce in your desired destination. Many wedding sites may bill themselves as a “country wedding chapel” when in reality you’re met with a modern building, theater seating and tacky carpet. And that’s no happy ending for your storybook wedding.

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