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Terms & Conditions

1. Approved Use

The Wren Chapel may be reserved for the weddings of William & Mary students, alumni, current faculty and staff, and the children of anyone in those groups. It is not necessary for both people getting married to have a W&M affiliation.

2. Responsibility

Wedding parties will be required to sign a copy of the Terms & Conditions indicating that they understand our policies when they sign the contract that reserves space in the Sir Christopher Wren Building. The signatory on the contract — including the terms and conditions — will be responsible for all wedding-related activities in the Wren Building and may be held financially liable for charges required to repair or replace damaged furnishings, floors, walls, doors, windows, or bricks should anyone associated with the wedding be found to be at fault or negligent.

3. Scheduling

Weddings are booked for 2-hour time blocks. All activities relating to the wedding including decorating, the ceremony, photography, and clean up must be accomplished within this 2-hour period. At busy times of the year, other events may be scheduled immediately before or after your reserved time.

For weddings that end before 5:00 p.m., the wedding party must vacate the space upon termination of the reserved time block even if the room is not scheduled for any succeeding events. The space will be opened and made accessible for the general public and tour guides.

A 1-hour time block is also scheduled for the rehearsal, usually the afternoon or evening preceding the wedding.

4. Building Facilities

The Wren Building is a historic structure which is still used for W&M classes, guided tours and various special events. There are no facilities suitable for use as dressing rooms, and there is no waiting room for the bride. While the Wren Building staff will ensure that the wedding ceremony is not disturbed, the contract will only guarantee exclusive use of the Wren Chapel. 

Wedding parties should be aware that they will be sharing the building with members of the W&M community and visitors. For that reason, they will not be granted exclusive use of any other part of the building.

No food or beverages may be brought into the Wren Building or onto the grounds by members of the wedding party or wedding guests.

4a) Capacity

The capacity of the Wren Chapel is limited to 120 guests, and for purposes of comfort, safety, and compliance with fire codes, occupancy capacities are strictly enforced. This capacity does not include members of the wedding party who would be standing near the altar; it does include all guests and musicians. Fire and safety regulations prohibit the use of extra chairs in the aisle.  

4b) Electrical

Electrical service in the Chapel is somewhat limited. Please contact [[weddings]] if you anticipate using electrical outlets.

4c) Lighting

The Chapel is lighted by an antique chandelier and concealed lights in the window sills. The antique chandelier in the Chapel is electrified and equipped with a dimmer as are the concealed window lights. The Chapel lighting was designed so that its color and intensity are appropriate for a historic interior. This means that on a cloudy day or during an evening wedding the Chapel will be adequately illuminated but not blazing with light. If you are planning an evening ceremony, you can make an appointment to see the Chapel after dark.

4d) Accessibility

A ramp on the south side of the Wren Building provides access to the rooms on the first floor. There is one step just inside the east door to the Chapel, and there are two additional steps farther inside the Chapel between the altar area and the pews. Please contact [[weddings]] if anyone in your party will need special assistance of any sort.

4e) Restrooms

Wedding parties and their guests will have access to a single-stall, all-gender restroom on the first floor.  The restroom is located in the North wing across from the Great Hall and is handicap accessible.

4f) Climate Control: Heating & Air-Conditioning

The Wren Building is well-heated in the winter and fully air-conditioned during the summer. It is extremely important that doors and windows remain closed as much as possible. The Wren Building houses many valuable antiques which require special care. Fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity can be damaging. Therefore, the amount of time exterior doors are open, including the Chapel doors, must be kept to a minimum. Having a receiving line or guest book at the Chapel door is discouraged because these activities generally result in longer periods of time with the door open.

5. Wedding Coordination

The Wren Building does not provide a wedding coordinator. [[weddings]] will be your primary point of contact for booking the venue and answering any questions you have about using the space. A Wren Building Superintendent will be available at the rehearsal and at the wedding to unlock doors, light candles and offer logistical support.

5a) Officiants

The Chapel is non-denominational and has no chaplain. Wedding parties are responsible for finding and scheduling an officiant to perform the ceremony.

Officiants may be granted access to the Sacristy for dawning vestments.

6. Music

Wedding parties are welcome to play live or pre-recorded music during their 2-hour reserved time block. The type of music played should be congruent with the dignity and historic-charm of the building.

6a) Chapel Organ

The Wren Chapel houses an antique organ which may be used for weddings. The Chapel organ, which is on loan to William & Mary from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, is a valuable eighteenth-century instrument uniquely suited to the space. Wedding parties planning to incorporate the Chapel organ into their ceremony must use a Foundation-approved organist. Arrangements for consultations, rehearsals with other musicians, etc. should be made directly with the organist. All organists on the list charge comparable fees. It is suggested that you arrange for your organist to be present at your rehearsal.

6b) Other Types of Live Music

Wedding parties are welcome to bring in musicians and vocalists for their ceremony. Any instruments brought in must be easily portable and may only be brought in during the 2-hour reserved time block. Bringing in musicians and vocalists will decrease the number of seats available to your other guests.

6c) Pre-Recorded Music

Wedding parties may opt to play pre-recorded music in lieu of hiring organists, musicians, or vocalists. The Wren Chapel is not equipped with any speakers or audio equipment. Wedding parties must provide their own equipment. The acoustics of the Wren Chapel are such that even a small, wireless speaker can produce enough sound to be heard throughout the room.  

Learn more about music in the Chapel.

7. Decorations

To preserve the architectural finishes of the Chapel, nothing may be taped, tacked, stapled, nailed, or otherwise affixed to the walls, floors, doors, windows, or pews; items may not be hung from the wall sconces. Articles necessary for the celebration of a religious service may, of course, be used.

Following the service, all ring boxes, flower wrappings, programs, and other such items must be immediately removed from the sacristy and Chapel. All decorations must be removed from the Chapel at the conclusion of the service, including items placed in the Chapel by florists.

7a) Flowers

The only floral decorations permitted are free-standing altar table arrangements. Flowers may not rest or lean against any of the paneling. Containers holding floral arrangements should be leak-proof and be handled with care to avoid breakage or spilling.

Flower petals and runners may not be used on the slate floor of the aisle because of the danger of slipping.

7b) Candles

Candles for the candlesticks on the altar will be provided by, and lit and extinguished by the building staff. A unity candle arrangement may be used, but those candles must be placed on the altar table and must be dripless and white or off-white in color. Standing candelabra may not be used in the Chapel. Use of the wall sconces is not permitted. Candles may not be carried when lit.

Learn more about the use of unity candles.

7c) Religious Items & the Sacristy

Vestments, books, and most of the sacred vessels stored in the sacristy are the property of campus religious groups and are not available for use by others without permission of the owners.

7d) Other Decor

Bows may be attached to pews with ribbons.

Helium balloons are not permitted anywhere inside the Wren Building. 

The throwing of rice, birdseed, etc. is not permitted inside or outside the Chapel.

The pulpit and items in the altar area may not be moved without the prior approval of University Events. 

Learn more about decorations and furnishings in the Chapel.

8. Parking

William & Mary cannot guarantee parking for cars of the wedding party or their guests. Outside of working hours (after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturday and Sunday), we recommend that you direct your guests to the Plant Parking Lot behind the Campus Center. Other parking may be available in the Colonial Williamsburg pay lot in the first block of Francis Street. Street parking is sometimes available on Richmond Road adjacent to the campus.

On the day of your wedding and if it is a Saturday or Sunday, a few parking spaces will be reserved for your use in Legacy Circle on Jamestown Road adjacent to Jefferson Hall. Wedding parties should understand that W&M does not have weekend staff to enforce these parking reservations and you may find a reserved space already occupied.

8a) Driving on Campus

Driving cars, trucks, and vans is strictly prohibited on brick sidewalks and W&M grounds. Exceptions to this policy will be limited in nature and must be approved in advance by the building director.

8b) Horse-Drawn Carriages

Wedding parties may opt to hire a horse-drawn carriage to either drop them off or pick them up from the Wren Building on their wedding day. Use of carriages must be approved by University Events.