Wedding Chapel Love Story
While the Chapel in the Pines marks the happiest day in the lives of countless couples, for Howard and Donna Petersen, it marks their happiest years together.
When Howard constructed the original chapel in 1994, it wasn’t intended to be a place of matrimony so much as it was a 30th wedding anniversary gift for his wife, Donna. Little by little, however, as Howard gleamed its last-minute features, more and more couples showed up at the foot of the chapel steps in hopes of exchanging vows.
Although Donna initially dreamt up the idea behind the chapel, it was Howard who arranged construction so that the chapel’s completion would fall a month before their anniversary date on April 27, 1994. Practically all by himself in his moments of spare time, he built the chapel from the ground up, transforming what once existed as the origins of a dairy farm into a new era of sheer wedding bliss over a mere six months. The first wedding ceremony debuted on March 4, a day after the chapel construction was completed.
As Howard puts it, “I may have built it. I may own it. But it belongs to all the young couples who have used it for their vows.”Today, after well over 1000 wedding ceremonies joining couples from all over the world, Donna and Howard stand in awe of their surroundings. No matter their accomplishments, the two insist the Chapel in the Pines has always been and will always be about the people.
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