Weddings

Qualifications

Marriage at the Chapel of the Cross can be considered if any of the following conditions exists:

  • One of the persons getting married or their parents are communicants of the parish or regularly worship here;
  • The couple is in the process of joining the Chapel of the Cross;
  • One of the persons getting married is an active Episcopalian and there are compelling reasons for the wedding to take place in Chapel Hill. A recommendation from the home rector is required.

These conditions do not automatically ensure a wedding at the Chapel of the Cross. No presumption should be made until after a meeting with one of the clergy. The Book of Common Prayer requires that at least one of the parties be a baptized Christian.

For those previously married and divorced, the permission of the diocesan bishop must be obtained by the priest who will officiate at this wedding. If one of the parties has been divorced more than once, the bishop requires professional counseling for the couple and that at least a year has passed since the final divorce decree was granted.

Process

  • The couple reads this brochure thoroughly and, if appropriate, makes an appointment with a priest on the parish staff to discuss their intentions.
  • No wedding date can be set until the couple has met with a parish priest. Six to eight months before the wedding is the recommended time for making initial inquiry.
  • The minimum requirement is 90 days.

Pre-marital Instruction

The priest who will officiate at the wedding is responsible for determining that the couple has been properly instructed about the nature, meaning and purpose of Holy Matrimony. This instruction is usually accomplished in several counseling sessions.

  • The parish holds weekend Preparation for Marriage Workshops twice yearly to supplement the individual sessions.
  • Attendance at one of these workshops is expected.
  • For logistic and future pastoral purposes, it is desirable that couples living in another location do a significant part of their counseling with a priest of their parish who will inform the officiant when this process is complete.

Wedding

  • A wedding is a service of public worship and should, therefore, be planned in consideration of other worship services and activities of the parish.
  • The wedding date will be finalized only after the couple has met with the parish priest who will officiate at the service.
  • Weddings are not customary on Sundays or during Lent.
  • Weddings must be scheduled at least three hours apart between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Liturgy

  • The Book of Common Prayer is the standard for weddings at the Chapel of the Cross.
  • One of the parish clergy officiates at the service.
  • If the couple desires, a priest from another parish or a minister of another denomination may assist. The invitation to assist will be issued by the officiating priest.
  • The wedding service should be planned to ensure maximum participation by the congregation. It is desirable for lay persons to read the lessons (except for the Gospel at a Eucharist) and to lead the prayers.

The Wedding Coordinator

  • The Wedding Coordinator assists the clergy and staff at the Chapel of the Cross in planning and coordinating preparations for all weddings taking place at the Chapel of the Cross or performed by the Chapel of the Cross clergy outside of our facility.
  • She confers with wedding couples to make them aware of policies and fees for weddings at the Chapel of the Cross; to act as liaison for couples with the clergy, organist/choirmaster, publications editor, altar guild flower chairperson, photographer and/or videographer; and to insure timely compliance with the requirements for licenses, permissions and fees.
  • She will be present at the rehearsal and wedding.

Please contact the church office directly first to inquire about your wedding (919-929-2193) and a wedding coordinator will be assigned to you.

Wedding Coordinators:

Music

Arrangements for music should be made with the organist/choirmaster of the parish whose approval is required for all music and musicians used in the service. The couple should contact him three months prior to the wedding. The selections of music should follow the standards for music in a public worship service.

  • It is expected that the organist or his designee will provide the music.
  • The organ may be augmented by other instruments, if desired. Such arrangements, including the hiring of other musicians, need to be made by the organist.
  • Solo vocal music is not customary, but may be considered. This should also be approved by the organist.
  • Music is not required for a wedding ceremony.

Flowers

All wedding flowers are arranged by members of the Altar Guild in the two altar vases. An additional arrangement may be placed under the window in the church’s tower room. No other stationary flowers or decorations are used.

  • A couple may choose to provide special honorarium wedding flowers for a fee of $75.00 for the chapel and $125.00 for the church. These are coordinated through University Florist. This option allows the couple some choice of flower color and includes commemoration of the wedding in the Sunday service bulletin.
  • Couples who require specific flowers may also select flowers from a florist of her choice and at her expense. In many cases, the florist of choice may be University Florist in Chapel Hill. This option also includes commemoration of the wedding in the Sunday service bulletin.
  • In all cases, the wedding flowers are to be left on the altar, not used for a reception or other purpose. After use on Sunday, flowers are taken in small bouquets to the sick.
  • When using a florist other than University Florist, the following information should be provided to the couple’s chosen florist:
    • All flowers should be delivered in buckets as loose , long stems (approximately 24 inches)
    • Flowers should be delivered by 3:00 p.m. on Friday for Saturday morning weddings
    • Flowers should be delivered by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday for Saturday afternoon or Sunday weddings
    • Quantity of loose flowers needed for two altar vases:
      • 10-12 spike flowers
      • at least 10 core flowers
      • ample quantity of filler type flowers
      • moderate amount of greenery
      • Avoid the colors of blue/violet/ purple since they really do not show up in the arrangements

Service Leaflet

  • A bulletin listing the order of the service and the participants may be used.
  • The parish office will ordinarily print the leaflet.
  • A bulletin form will be completed with the officiating priest.
  • The parish publications assistant should be consulted no later than 2 weeks before the ceremony about format and proofing of the service leaflet. Please download and complete this form to expedite the design process.
  • If the service leaflet is to be printed elsewhere, a draft should be submitted to the priest officiating at the wedding before the leaflet is printed.

Photography

  • Photography is not permitted during the service except for one or two time exposures taken from the back of the church or chapel by the professional photographer.
  • Relatives and friends should be reminded of this policy.
  • Photographs may be scheduled before or after the service for a period of 20-30 minutes.
  • Photography sessions should be completed 40 minutes prior to the service.
  • The service may be video-taped if permission of the officiating priest has been obtained in advance. There are a limited number of locations for video cameras that will not interfere with the nature of the worship service.
  • The couple is responsible for informing photographers of these policies.

Rehearsal

  • The rehearsal is led by the officiating priest with the assistance of the parish’s wedding coordinator.
  • It is usually held the day before the wedding and should begin promptly at the appointed hour.
  • Everyone with a specific role in the service is expected to attend.

Receptions

The Chapel of the Cross offers event and meeting space for rental in its parish house for member parties and receptions, benevolent or civic nonprofit groups, University faculty and staff groups, and for-profit organizations.

As a general rule, wedding receptions must be linked with a wedding taking place at the Chapel of the Cross.  The wedding ceremony itself is handled by one of our wedding coordinators.  If you would like to hold your reception here, you must clear the date through the building use coordinator or the chief administrator and sign a separate contract.  We require the use of an approved caterer with liability insurance and ABC licenses.  The caterer or florist for the reception will help you plan your event including rentals and the diagram of the space.

For full policies and rental fees, see the attached Rental Policies for Catered Events.

Parking

  • The parish parking lot, including the semi-circular drive, is available for wedding parking.
  • Spaces reserved for the parish staff should be respected.
  • If a wedding is scheduled for a university football game day, it may be necessary to “buy” the parking lot. Proceeds from game day parking are used to generate funds for the Student Mission Fund.

Housekeeping

The members of the wedding party and guests are responsible for seeing that all rooms used in the parish house are left in clean and orderly condition.

License

  • The wedding license is obtained from the Orange County Court House in Hillsborough, NC, or from any other North Carolina county seat.
  • For information about license requirements, call the Register of Deeds at (919) 967-9251.
  • The license (and fees) should be delivered to the parish office at least the Monday prior to the wedding.

Costs

A thank-offering is made to the discretionary fund of the staff priest who officiates at the wedding. The amount should be a tithe of the total cost of the wedding and reception or a minimum of $500.00.

  • The organist’s fee is $250. If arrangement of, or rehearsal with, instrumentalists or soloists is required, the fee is increased.
  • The parish wedding fee is $300.00

Separate checks, made out to the Chapel of the Cross, should be written for each of the costs. They should be labeled with the names of the couple and the cost being covered. Examples of memo-line notations are listed below:

  • Smith/Jones wedding, Priest’s discretionary fund
  • Smith/Jones wedding, Organist’s fee
  • Smith/Jones wedding, Parish wedding fee
  • Smith/Jones wedding, Parish flower fee (when applicable)

Checks are due in the parish office at the time the wedding license is delivered.

No one should be discouraged from planning a wedding at the Chapel of the Cross because of financial reasons. Please discuss financial arrangements with the clergy.

Checklist

  • Parish wedding coordinator consulted
  • Organist consulted
  • License obtained
  • Marriage counseling and Preparation for Marriage Workshop completed.
  • Other wedding participants notified of customs of the Chapel of the Cross, and date and time of wedding and rehearsal
  • Service leaflet information delivered two weeks prior to wedding date and proofed no later than Monday before the wedding.
  • License and fees delivered to parish office at least the Monday prior to the wedding.