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Chapel staff anticipates record year for weddings

by Sally Carroll | June 9, 2021 at 5:28 a.m.

Cindy Adams is taking multi-tasking to a new level while coordinating a bumper crop of weddings.

Adams works as the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel director. The chapel, located behind Harps on Memorial Drive, is a popular spot for special events.

Approximately 28 weddings -- postponed since last year -- now are on the books. Other brides, who've been waiting to see how the health pandemic scene would transition, are feeling more comfortable and stepping forward, Adams said.

Some brides say family members now have been vaccinated -- and feel more at ease with moving ahead with wedding plans.

Still others are first-time lookers for a special dream wedding at the chapel, she said.

Adams is working with reception venues and photographers, to be as flexible as possible in rescheduling the 28 weddings. She's also prepared to have a number of other weddings at the chapel, known for its beautiful architecture and design by E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings.

"We will definitely have more weddings than last year," Adams said but declined to give an exact total. "We have people calling, people dropping in," she said. "It's definitely been a scurry," she said.

The chapel was built as a tribute to Mildred B. Cooper, wife of John A. Cooper Sr. Built in 1988, the chapel was commissioned by the developer of Bella Vista Village to honor his late wife.

The chapel is open daily to the public, with free admission -- unless closed for a special event or for maintenance. The chapel's unique architecture and scenic surroundings have created a wedding spot with bookings made 18 months in advance. Adams said weddings are scheduled until the end of 2022.

Wedding dreamers are even calling for a reservation for 2023, she said, although bookings are not yet being secured for that time.

"It's gotten a lot busier in the last four weeks," she said.

The chapel can accommodate 120 guests, a number about which brides-to-be are feeling more comfortable.

In the past, the chapel also has been host to several concerts, but the global pandemic put those plans on hold.

Now, chapel staff members are working with community members and musicians who are interested in renewing those plans.

The chapel hosted its very first community concert of the year on Tuesday night, with special guest Garth Smith, concert pianist, she said.

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