Bethania Church - Weddings
Vesterheim’s Bethania Church is a lovely site to hold a wedding—whether it’s an authentic Norwegian one, a traditional American one, or a modern one. Each year couples choose this historic, quaint venue to exchange their vows and celebrate their lives together.
Vesterheim also has a replica of a traditional Norwegian bridal crown available to rent for weddings. See below for more information.
The Bethania Church was built in 1903 near Northwood, North Dakota, to serve a Norwegian-American farming community. The church architecture is typical of those that served rural Lutheran communities in the early twentieth century. The furnishings are original, including an altarpiece by pioneer woodworker Østen Pladsen and an altar painting by immigrant painter August Klagstad. Disbanding in 1988, the congregation gave Vesterheim the chancel furnishings by Pladsen and Klagstad. Vesterheim purchased the pews, other original furnishings, and the building. It was moved to Decorah in 1992. In 1994 the church was opened as a part of Vesterheim’s Open Air Division.
The church is fully climate controlled.
The historic main level of the church can seat approximately 75 to 80 people.
The lower level of the church includes a complete kitchen and can seat up to 54 people at round tables in a spacious dining area.
The church is equipped with a lift for accessibility.
- Museum member rate
- Downstairs (+ kitchen) only $100
Entire church/upstairs $175
After Hours* $25/hour
- Non-Member rate
- Downstairs (+ kitchen) only $150
Entire church/upstairs $225
After Hours* $25/hour
“*“After hours is anything outside of museum hours, e.g. later than 5 p.m. $25/hr fee is in addition to rental price.
Please email Jocelyn Bruening, or call (563) 382-9681 for more information or to reserve the space.
Bridal Crown to Rent for Weddings
Vesterheim’s rental bridal crown is a copy of an historic one in the museum’s collections. The original was made in Trondheim in the early 1800s from silver-plated copper. The copy is sterling silver and the diamond-shaped dangles are gold-plated silver. The crown is 5 inches tall, 5 inches wide at the bottom and flares to 7 1/2 inches at the top. Also included are ribbons of multi-color brocade. Traditionally these stream down the back and two can be used to tie on the crown. The crown may also be attached by being set on a firm bun on top of the head. Vesterheim usually sends the crown three weeks before the wedding so the bride can create her hairstyle and practice walking in the crown.
Cost to rent the crown is $100. Vesterheim requires a separate check for $500 as a security deposit. The deposit check will be returned after the crown is returned in good condition. Borrowers must also pay for insured round-trip shipping unless they transport it by hand. Borrowers are required to sign a loan form to show they accept responsibility and will cover the insurance ($1,000) value while in their possession.
For information or to make a reservation, email Laurann Gilbertson, Chief Curator, or contact her at Vesterheim Museum, 502 W. Water St., Decorah, IA 52101, or 563-382-9681.