Lee Chapel is a beautiful setting for your wedding, but there are many things to consider when planning your special day in this historic site. Review the following carefully to see if you can comply with our requirements. Our Manager is always happy to answer your questions.
As an auditorium, Lee Chapel does not have an altar, the religious accoutrements or the antechambers of a traditional church. Because of this, as well as the historic nature of the building, there are a few things which you need to consider and plan for very carefully.
Does The Lee Chapel Have A Chaplain Who Can Perform Our Ceremony?
The Lee Chapel is non-denominational and the University does not have an appointed Chaplain affiliated with the Chapel. You must provide your own officiant for your wedding ceremony.
Does The Lee Chapel Provide a Wedding Coordinator?
You are responsible for hiring a wedding coordinator. The Manager is not a professional wedding coordinator and is here to help you only in arranging schedules and guiding you in your planning as it relates to the site. There is one standard set-up for lights and chimes that is used for all weddings. You should not ask the chapel staff to perform duties that relate to the progress of your ceremony; it is their duty to protect the integrity of the site.
Does Lee Chapel Have A Dressing Room For The Bride?
We regret that there are no dressing facilities in Lee Chapel itself, however, there are some options close by:
- Dressing facilities are available at The Morris House located on the front lawn of the campus. Please contact: Chrissy McClure at: 540.458.8781 to make a reservation.
- There is also a dressing area near adjacent to the Women's Restroom in Evans Dining Hall which will work for a small wedding party.
Where May The Groom, Groomsmen and Clergy Wait?
There are no antechambers in the chapel and the museum (including the lower level entrance foyer and the crypt area) is strictly off-limits to the wedding party. However, the groom, groomsmen and clergy may wait in the stairwell or small hall at the foot of the stairs, off the statue chamber area. Folding chairs are available in this space.
May We Schedule An Outdoor Wedding In Front of Lee Chapel?
Lee Chapel does not handle outdoor weddings. If you plan an outdoor wedding, Lee Chapel is not available as a rain site,
If you wish to request the use of an area of the campus for an outdoor wedding, you should contact Steve McAllister, Vice-President for Finance, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-458-8942.
Please note that University policy states:
- The lawn, defined as the space bordered by the Colonnade and Lee Chapel and by the Morris and Red Houses and the Reeves Center and Letcher Avenue, will not be used for events. Difficulty in maintaining the lawn over the years is the driving factor for this guidance. This area should be "picture perfect" as a key visual element of the campus. (NOTE: This means the area directly in front of Lee Chapel is off limits.)
- The area bordered by Washington Street and the walk between the Morris and Red Houses and by the President's House and R.E. Lee Episcopal Church, can be utilized for occasional tented receptions and dinners, assuming that there is a relationship to the University in its use. As an example, a wedding related function for one or more alumni or faculty/staff family would be permissible if it did not conflict with other campus activities and could be supported by our catering and physical plant offices.
What Happens If It Rains?
You need to plan carefully for the event of rain. The foyer in Lee Chapel is extremely small and there are no other waiting areas in the building. Make sure that, at the very least, you have plenty of umbrellas to make the walk from either the parking area, Letcher Avenue or the Morris House, and supply a container or plastic sleeves for the umbrellas.
What Will Lee Chapel Provide For Our Wedding?
We can provide the following for you to create a beautiful church-like setting that will enhance your ceremony:
- One Jacobean-style table measuring 34" H x 47.5 " W x 23.5 " D
- One console table measuring 27.5" H x 48" W x 28.5" D
- One large lectern, original to the 1868 Chapel, measuring 38.5" H x 56" W x 28.5" D
- Two wooden lecterns without mics or lights
- Two black wooden arm chairs with W&L crest
- 1872 Erben organ (visit http://www.taylorandboody.com/organs/washington_and_lee.html for information on its 1998 restoration)
- A piano on the stage
- Pair of white column flower stands near the guide desk
For views of these furnishings, visit Chapel Photos. Please note, that to use these items, you must make arrangements in advance with the Manager. Furniture may not be moved without prior permission.
What Do We Need To Provide For Our Wedding?
You are responsible for providing the following personnel:
- An officiant for your ceremony and wedding vows
- A wedding coordinator for your rehearsal and wedding
- Someone to receive deliveries for your wedding within the hour before your ceremony begins
- Someone to clear all items belonging to the wedding party and guests and to ensure that all trash and debris are removed promptly from the premises
- Musicians (visit Music and Sound for guidelines)
- Photographers or videographers (visit Resources for guidelines)
NOTE: The Manager will note on the wedding checklist the names of those you've designated to these responsibilities. The chapel staff will have this information on the date of your wedding. Please remember that ALL vendors must be on the approved list.
You are responsible for providing the following items:
- Flowers and pew decorations (visit Decorations for guidelines)
- Chuppahs or arches (Due to delivery, installation and pick-up, these decorations require two consecutive reservations, which must be arranged in advance with the Manager.)
- CD or Cassette Player. The Lee Chapel system is inaccessible to the public. You must bring your own stereo; if you choose to use a CD or cassette, you must contact the Manager in advance for information on equipment placement (visit Music and Sound for guidelines).
- Altar cloths, cross, kneeling bench or other religious accoutrements
NOTE: The University assumes no responsibility for rented items. The bride and groom are responsible for returning rented items to the vendor.
Are There Any Restrictions We Need To Know About?
Because of the historic nature of the building and for safety's sake, there are a few restrictions that we must enforce.
- Floral decorations are restricted to the entry doors, foyer and stage area only (visit Decorations for guidelines)
- No aisle runners; the auditorium is fully carpeted and runners are an unnecessary hazard
- Absolutely no lit candles or open flame. We apologize that this includes use of a Unity Candle.
- No rice, birdseed, flower petals (real or silk) or any other items may be thrown in or outside of the Chapel or on University campus. We suggest you consider blowing bubbles outside instead.
- No smoking is permitted anywhere in the Chapel
- Alcohol is strictly prohibited in or outside the Lee Chapel.
- No food or drink of any kind, including bottled water, is allowed anywhere in the chapel. The staff immediately will ask you to take it outside. Bottled water is allowed for the wedding party only.
- No incense or any materials that will leave a lasting odor in the Chapel may be used.
- The white column flower stands must remain near the guide desk.
- All Chapel items, including trash cans, must remain in place.
- The statue chamber will remain closed behind its decorative grill gates and the chamber lights will be turned off; The solid wooden doors may be closed if requested.
- The antique chairs will be removed from the stage and cannot be used under any circumstances.
- The piano must remain in its location under the portrait of George Washington.
- No tents or awnings may be erected outside the chapel or on the Front Lawn
- No amplification is available in the chapel. Acoustics are excellent and microphones usually are not necessary (visit Music & Sound for guidelines).
- After the museum closes, there are no accessible bathrooms in Lee Chapel. The closest restroom facilities are along the Colonnade in Washington, Payne, and Robinson Halls.
May We Have A Receiving Line In The Chapel?
There is, unfortunately, no area in the Lee Chapel that can accommodate a receiving line. Additionally, if there is another wedding or event that follows your ceremony, there will be no time to have a receiving line outside either. We strongly suggest that you plan for this event at your reception.
Where May We Have Our Reception?
The Lee Chapel has no facilities for receptions. However, there are several on-campus options that you may wish to explore. Visit Resources for more information on reception sites and catering services, both on and off campus.