Lake of the Ozarks’ Best Wedding Venues
Pro (photographer) tips on where to capture your commitments
By Alan Wohlgemut, Lighter Focus Photography
When people think of having a destination wedding, they may not think of the Midwest—they should. In the middle of Missouri is Lake of the Ozarks, a unique area on a huge lake’s shores, with a coastline of sheer cliffs and tall oak trees.
The scenery is just part of the benefit of getting married here. Wedding venues in Lake of the Ozarks have amenities to accommodate every type of nuptial. That might seem like a bold statement, but I’ve seen it. As a wedding photographer, I’ve snapped everything from hundreds of friends and family from all over the country partying on a rooftop overlooking the lake at The Lodge of the Four Seasons, to an intimate beach ceremony by the water, sand between toes while the sun sets at Tan-Tar-A Resort.
The photographs are gorgeous, if I do say so myself.
If you’re thinking about holding a wedding in Lake of the Ozarks, I’ve picked up a couple tricks from my career. Each venue has unique features that contribute to a bride and groom’s most memorable day of their life—and the photos that capture it forever.
The Lodge of Four Seasons is a large resort that simultaneously accommodates all your guests while still giving you a private and intimate setting. Some of the best locations for a ceremony include grassy areas overlooking the main channel of the lake—especially at sunset when the warm light reflects off the water behind the couple, making for perfect lighting! It truly is romantic. From up on the rooftop at The Lodge of Four Seasons, which can be used for your reception, look out over the resort and the lake and watch the last rays of sunlight go down over the trees. This is a great feature for me as a photographer, as I always try to snap sunset pictures of the bride and groom. Plus, I can capture that moment without leaving the reception, which keeps the bride and groom with their guests. As the moon rises, twinkling strands of glowing lights make you feel like you’re in a starry world of your own— ideal for the first dance.
If your dream is to get married right on the water in the sand, Tan-Tar-A Resort would be my first recommendation. The beach area is set up so the bride and groom are just a few feet from the water—a small sea wall, only a few feet high, keeps everyone dry as waves lap against it. Dip your toes into the lake while jumping into a lifelong commitment. Also, all your pictures will have a lovely water backdrop as you get married on your own little beach. Tan-Tar-A also has many other ceremony locations both indoor and outdoor, including Sunset Point, which is exactly what you might expect—beautiful and romantic. It puts you right near the water as well, but has the added bonus of the sun setting behind you as you exchange your vows on pebble concrete jutting into the lake.
Mallard Point Resort is a one-of-a-kind location for a ceremony, located on a peninsula that extends out into the middle of the lake. It’s only a few hundred feet each way, so you have space to fit your guests, but the water all around gives the feeling of your own private island. It makes for stunning pictures, as almost every direction will have light sparkling off the water in the background. You can also treat your guests to a wedding like no other when you follow your ceremony at Mallard Point with a reception at Camden on the Lake Resort.
Both locations have docks that are deep enough for the Celebration Cruise yacht to dock, meaning your guests can park at Camden on the Lake and then get shuttled over to Mallard Point Resort on a cruise ship! After the ceremony, everyone can enjoy drinks on the boat as you head back to Camden on the Lake to party late into the night. And when it’s all over, you and your guests don’t even have to leave the building—stay the night in one of the many incredible hotel rooms for the ultimate in convenience! Many guests have done this at the weddings I’ve done at Camden on the Lake, making for some of the most lively and memorable reception parties I’ve seen!
Though the water is ever-popular, Lake of the Ozarks has plenty of other great venues. Seven Springs Winery has the feeling of exclusivity by allowing you to have a whole vineyard to yourself. Get married in a pavilion surrounded by grapevines that offer excellent photo opportunities for you to create memories that will last a lifetime. And the fun doesn’t stop after dark, either. Treat your guests, or surprise your new spouse, with a fireworks show at the reception to make your wedding the most memorable one of the year.
Another top location for weddings at Lake of the Ozarks is the Old Kinderhook Golf Resort. The venue offers an absolutely stunning golf resort as a backdrop to your wedding that is very well manicured, so everywhere you go is a great spot for pictures. Old Kinderhook also has a new on-site hotel that can be used to accommodate your guests on the property, making logistics for your wedding day a breeze! This is huge for having a wedding day run smoothly, from my experience. Also new: guests at a winter wedding could go for a romantic skate on the ice rink during the reception! There is even an outdoor fireplace beside the ice rink, and one of the indoor reception halls is just a few feet away so you don’t have to worry about being out in the cold too long, either.
I live right in the middle of the Lake of the Ozarks and, I have to say, it’s not just a fun place to work, it’s also a fun place to play! I enjoy my work here as the venues and weddings are lovely and always offer something new to photograph. And I enjoy living here because there is such a variety of things to do for entertainment. The fun isn’t just about the wedding day—consider inviting your guests to make a vacation out of it by staying a little longer before or after the wedding day to enjoy some of the many activities the lake has to offer, including golf at some of the best courses in the country, watersports, jetskiing, a sunset dinner cruise, horseback riding, cave exploring, hiking around old castle ruins, shopping at an outlet mall, live music at many of the restaurants and much more! It’s no wonder that Lake of the Ozarks was voted “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation” by USA Today’s 10Best.
Whatever you’re dreaming of for your perfect wedding, Lake of the Ozarks can easily accommodate you and your guests on your special day.
Explore Lake of the Ozarks lodging for you and your wedding guests.