'I do, I do!': Free Valentine's Day promotion invites couples to renew their wedding vows deep down in Missouri's Bridal Cave


       This was a highlight of my 2014 travel year and a similar experience could be yours in 2015:
         Last April, in Lake of the Ozarks, MO, my husband and I descended into Bridal Cave where we celebrated our 41st anniversary by saying “I do,” once again, before a small group of friends.
       Against a backdrop of natural rock formations, including a pipe organ of stalactites, we renewed our vows in a ceremony that we wrote ourselves, just as we did back in 1973 in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit before the blue jean-clad Justin Ravitz, the late Recorders Court judge.
       Back then, I wore a ’70s-era black-and-white mini-dress, Steve sported long hair and a polyester suit, his seven siblings watched the ceremony from the jury box and we spent our honeymoon night in the Pontchartrain Hotel. This time, in Camdenton, MO, we stayed at the Inn at Harbour Ridge in a renovated barn suite called “Roll in the Hay.” Yes, after more than four decades of wedded bliss, it helps if you can retain a sense of humor.
Bridal Cave, located midway between Kansas City and St. Louis and one of the top attractions in Lake of the Ozarks, was among the “unique wedding venues” featured in 2013 in Glamour Magazine’s “10 Crazy, Awesome, and Unexpected Places to Say ‘I Do.’” It has been the setting for some 2,800 weddings and vow renewals since 1949.
         And now, thanks to an upcoming Valentine’s Day promotion, you have a chance to share the experience this year: On Sunday, Feb. 8, Bridal Cave will host free wedding vow renewal ceremonies from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participating couples  will receive fresh flowers, a downloadable portrait, a goodie bag and a free lifetime pass to the cave. Nearly 150 couples retied their knot  last year.
         It’s a way to take your relationship – and your travels — to a whole new level: deep underground.
         And it could be the start of many memorable travel adventures in 2015.
Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and