Weddings at the
SIASCONSET UNION CHAPEL

Your marriage is a sacrament – an outward and visible expression of God’s grace in bringing you together and nurturing your love.

The Board of Directors of Siasconset Union Chapel welcomes your inquiry into reserving the Chapel for your wedding. The following information is offered to help you with your planning and to determine your eligibility for booking the Chapel. Please read this information carefully before communicating with the Reservationist, .

By undertaking to be married at the Siasconset Union Chapel, you are choosing to be a part of this Christian community, not merely selecting an event space. Open for worship during an extended summer season, the Chapel has served Protestant and Catholic congregations for nearing 135 years.  Our historic sacred space is characterized by the simplicity of its interior, a straightforward and humble offering to God.

You are invited and encouraged by the Chapel community to seek its support now and in the future, in addition to maintaining close ties to the worship community where you live. One of the most challenging and rewarding of human relationships, marriage, is to be intentionally undertaken in a community of faith.

A wedding is a sacred rite that celebrates your desire to enter into a life-long relationship.  It is the ending of former ways of life and other future possibilities, and establishes a particular pathway into the future – one that you promise to travel together. You make your vows before God and the gathered community of family, friends and the Church, and receive grace and the blessing of God to help you fulfill your vows.

 

Practices and Policies for Weddings in the Chapel

 

Pre-Marital Preparation

Pre-marital preparation is an important part of entering the covenant of marriage. These preparatory meetings may involve matters such as compatibility, sexuality, personal finance, personal histories, family background, communication skills, commitments beyond the marriage, and the Christian theology of marriage. All couples planning to marry at the Chapel will attend pre-marital counseling to enrich their relationship.

The Resident Minister of the Chapel, is responsible for all Protestant marriage celebrations and will assist Protestant couples in achieving this worthy goal; he will begin this discussion on your first contact with him.

Father John M Murray, Pastor of St Mary - Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church, is responsible for all Catholic marriage celebrations. Father Murray may be contacted at or tel. 508.228.0100. The mailing address for St. Mary's - Our Lady of the Isle Church is PO Box 1168, Nantucket, MA 02554. The general email address is .

 

Reserving the Chapel for Weddings

Year-round residents of Nantucket Island, the Siasconset Union Chapel summer worship communities, off-island Nantucket property owners, and those who regularly vacation on Nantucket Island may reserve the Chapel. Although we would like to accommodate every request, we must limit eligibility to those who have a connection to Nantucket and can definitively verify that connection. Any exception to this policy will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Only one wedding per Saturday can be celebrated at the Chapel. The wedding season is limited to the period between Memorial Day in May and Indigenous People’s Day/Columbus Day in October.

Nantucket is a very popular wedding destination and with that comes a high degree of competition for celebration venues.  Contact with the Reservationist ideally comes before or in conjunction with initial contact with wedding vendors.  The Chapel can only place a tentative (unpaid), two-week hold on an available date as a consideration allowing the bride and groom to coordinate their other bookings (e.g., the reception site, rehearsal dinner booking, etc.).

Once an available date for the wedding has been determined, and clergy permission has been obtained, the bridal couple submits the Agreement Form that gives assurance that they have read, understood and will abide by the Chapel’s practices and policies.  The form serves as the contract with the Chapel - reserving the chosen wedding date.  When submitted with payment of the wedding fee, the wedding is considered fully booked.

 

Officiants Eligible to Celebrate Marriage at the Chapel

Religious ceremonies of both the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions are celebrated at the ‘Sconset Chapel. These ceremonies are required to adhere to the rites, rituals and regulations reflective of these faith communities.

The Resident Minister of the Chapel, the Reverend J. Carr Holland III, is responsible for all Protestant marriage celebrations. He should be contacted for approval as soon as the Reservationist affirms availability of the proposed wedding date. Generally, the Resident Minister conducts the wedding ceremony although it is possible, if the couple has a relationship with other clergy, that they may assist or possibly perform the ceremony. This possibility must be included in the initial discussion with Mr. Holland who can then correspond with that clergy person.

Father John Murray, Pastor of St Mary - Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church, is responsible for all Catholic marriage celebrations.  Catholic weddings first must be registered and approved by St. Mary’s (7-9 months prior to the proposed wedding date), and before the reservation for the Chapel is accepted.  Catholic clergy performing or assisting in wedding ceremonies must receive delegation from Father Murray well prior to the date. Please contact Father Murray at frjmmurray@stmarysnantucket.org  or tel. 508.228.0100. The mailing address for St. Mary's - Our Lady of the Isle Church is PO Box 1168, Nantucket, MA 02554. The general email address is .

In the event of participation by either Protestant or Catholic clergy who are licensed outside of Massachusetts, permission to perform weddings must be secured from the Secretary of State of Massachusetts.  It can take months to obtain the necessary paperwork, so you should inform your Officiant of this responsibility.  If Mr. Holland serves as Officiant in a Protestant ceremony, with assistance from non-resident clergy, this licensing may be expedited or unnecessary. 

Guest Celebrant Practices and Policies


Obtaining the Marriage License

Each couple must personally secure a marriage license and bring said license to the wedding rehearsal.  Licenses may be applied for at the Town Hall closest to your residence in Massachusetts or at the Nantucket Town Clerk’s office  [16 Broad Street, Nantucket MA 02554, First Floor; Telephone: 508.228.7217]. More information is available at https://nantucket-ma.gov/1838/Marriage-Intentions. Licenses are valid for 60 days once issued and must be obtained no fewer than 3 business days before the rehearsal. 

The Officiant signs the marriage license immediately after the service, and using a stamped, addressed envelope, will return it to the office of issuance to validate the marriage.


Responsibility for Coordination and Communication between the Wedding Participants and the Chapel

The Wedding Hospitality Coordinator,, provides assistance for weddings that take place in the Chapel and she should be contacted as soon as your reservation is accepted.  Catholic weddings rehearsals and ceremonies are managed by the Catholic Wedding Coordinator,

The wedding coordinator, be it Barbara Bispham for Protestant weddings or Bee Gonnella for Catholic weddings, will assist the Officiant, musician, florist, photographer, and videographer along with the wedding party, to ensure that the rehearsal and wedding proceed according to plan.  She will arrive well before the rehearsal and at least one hour before the wedding to prepare the Chapel.

The Wedding Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Bispham,  should be contacted at least one month prior to the wedding to re-confirm:

  • Date and time of rehearsal and wedding.
  • Names and contact information for the couple.
  • Name and contact information of the Officiant (if not from the Chapel or St. Mary’s).
  • Agreement with Music Director regarding musical selections and musicians.
  • Name and telephone number of florist.
  • Name and telephone number of photographer and/or videographer.
  • If applicable, confirmation of receipt of $300 check for a digital copy of livestream recording of the wedding ceremony - sent to the bride's email address.
  • Any other special details.

If you are using the services of an outside wedding planner, please note that his or her responsibilities do not include arrangements of the details for religious ceremonies inside the Chapel.  The wedding planner may accompany you to the rehearsal or the wedding, but may not participate.  The Officiant will be assisted as needed by the Wedding Coordinator at both the rehearsal and the ceremony.


Music

All music chosen for the ceremony should conform to the spiritual nature of the service. Hymns, sacred music and selections from the classical repertoire are appropriate. Broadway, pop and country music are not permitted.

It is customary that Mollie Glazer, the Musician in Residence, provides music for all Protestant ceremonies.  If unavailable, she will provide an appropriate substitute. If the Musician in Residence is available and you wish to use someone else, the customary fee must still be paid to the Musician in Residence directly.  

Music for Catholic ceremonies should be arranged through the office at St. Mary’s Church. stmarys@stmarysnantucket.org.

The Chapel has a beautiful baby grand Steinway piano as its main instrument for all services; there is no organ.  If you wish to have additional musicians, the Musician in Residence for your service will arrange for them on your behalf, informing you of all musical fees and payment deadlines.

If a couple wishes to have a friend or relative contribute music to the ceremony, it is necessary to coordinate with the Minister in Residence or St. Mary’s, and the Musician in Residence. All music choices are to be in keeping with our traditions and approved in advance by the Musician in Residence and the Minister for the ceremony.


Photography and Videography Practices and Policies

Photography (flashless only) and videography should be as unobtrusive as possible so as to respect the dignity of the religious ceremony.  Therefore, after the bride has walked down the aisle, photographers and videographers may station themselves one step in from the side doors and from the rear of the Chapel, no farther forward than the last five benches from the main entrance. Only one photographer and one videographer are allowed, together with one assistant, respectively.

At no time during the ceremony may pictures be taken alongside the participants, nor from the Sanctuary or Vestry doorway, other than as outlined above from the side doors.  The Officiant may have other restrictions.

Please know the celebrant is willing to be available immediately following the service if there is a need to repose missed shots.  Please inform him prior to the service if you anticipate the need. 

Please ask your guests to refrain from using flash photography and to be as discreet as possible. Amateur photography should not interfere with the work of the professionals you have engaged.

The Chapel offers live streaming of all activity at the Altar daily (7am to 7pm) during the season. Any ceremony held in the sanctuary may be viewed live (EST) via computer or other devices by going to the Chapel's website at www.sconsetchapel.org.

We can also offer to have any ceremony or event recorded with a link for distribution to family and friends. The fee for a wedding recording is $300.  You may order the optional recording at the time you return the Wedding Agreement, but no later than one month prior to the wedding to ensure timely arrangement of the recording.

Photographer/Videographer Practices and Policies


Flowers and Floral Arranging

Simplicity is highly valued and has a long tradition in the Chapel.  The florist may provide two floral arrangements, one on either end of the upper altar shelf.    An arrangement on the small vestibule table is optional but recommended.  Pew markers are permitted on the ends of the benches, but it should be noted that no tape, tacks, wire or water may be used.  Aisle runners are not permitted and flower petals may not to be strewn down the aisle.

The altar flower arrangements should be left, in their original containers, for Sunday morning worship services (from June through mid-September). They may be picked up at noon on Sunday should you wish to return for them. 

The central feature of the Chapel are the Altar and Cross which hangs above it. Altar flowers should be considered an offering to God, drawing those in the congregation’s eyes to the Altar and Cross. Flowers may not block any portion of the Cross’ visibility.

Please note these measurements to ensure floral arrangements best serve this purpose. Each of two arrangements flank the lower portion of the Cross and rest on and within the retable (shelf behind the altar.) As the retable is just 62” long and 9” deep, the maximum height of each arrangement is 28”. Recommended width is 18-20” for the arrangements to be centered on each side of the retable. Larger, and they will need to move off center so as not to impede the Cross. Each arrangement should be designed to be flush with the Chapel wall (behind the Altar) without tipping forward off the retable.

Florist Practices and Policies


The Rehearsal and day of the Wedding

The time and day of the rehearsal for Protestants should be made with our reservationist, Mary Will. Catholic rehearsals should be scheduled directly with Bee Gonnella. Bee Gonnella.  It is a vital part of preparation for the wedding and usually lasts about an hour.  Every effort should be made to have all members of the wedding party, parents, and the readers in attendance and on time for the rehearsal.

On the day of the wedding, ushers and groomsmen must be ready to escort guests at least 30 minutes before the ceremony. If you would like programs for your wedding guests, these are the responsibility of the couple.  Immediately after the wedding, please have someone remove all personal belongings and extra programs from all areas used.

The Chapel’s maximum capacity is 180 people and the local fire code is strictly enforced.  The Chapel is not air-conditioned. The furniture - piano, benches and kneelers, may not be moved.


A Note on Conduct:

The consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or drug usage will not be allowed either before the wedding rehearsal or the wedding ceremony, whether in the Chapel or on its grounds. Likewise, no food, beverages, or smoking of any kind are allowed either inside the Chapel or on its grounds. 

You as a couple, and your families, are responsible for explaining these standards of conduct to your wedding party and friends.

Any drinking or drug usage prior to coming to the Chapel for the rehearsal or the wedding may result in the cancellation of the service.  The Officiant may not legally marry a couple if either person has been drinking.


Financial Obligations in Connection with the Wedding Ceremony

Protestant Wedding Fees

The fee for Protestant weddings at the Chapel is $4,500, inclusive of usage of the Chapel, the bell ringing service and Minister in Residence’s honorarium for couple’s pre-marital preparation and performance of wedding.

Mollie Glazer, the Musician in Residence for the Protestant weddings, should be contacted directly to discuss the specifics of music pricing. 

Catholic Wedding Fees

The fee for Catholic Weddings at the Chapel is $3500 for the use of the Chapel and the bell ringer service. Payment goes directly to the Chapel.  The honorarium for the Officiant of the Catholic wedding needs to be separately arranged by the wedding party and should be discussed directly with St Mary’s Church.

Call the St. Mary’s church office directly (508-228-0100) for information regarding the booking of music and its costs.

Payment:

Checks should made out to “The Siasconset Union Chapel” indicating on the memo line the name of the couple, the date, and wedding payment. The check, Wedding Agreement and all other mail should be addressed to:

Siasconset Union Chapel
Box 400
Siasconset, MA 02564

An email copy of the Agreement should also be sent to the Reservationist, Mary Will.

The date will be reserved upon receipt of the signed Agreement and full payment. In the event of cancellation of the date, $2,000 is non refundable. The remainder will be refunded if notice of cancellation is received at least ninety days in advance of the wedding date.


And, finally,

These policies and practices conform to the ecclesiastical traditions of the Siasconset Union Chapel since its inception in 1883.  They are in compliance with both sacred and secular authority and reflect the spirit and wishes of the members and clergy of the faith communities who make up the Chapel.

If your wedding vision complies with what is explained under Weddings at the Chapel, and you accept these conditions, please print, sign and return the Agreement, to Mary Will at marylwill@comcast.net and to the Siasconset Union Chapel, P.O. Box 400, Siasconset, MA 02564.



Wedding Agreement
Photographer/Videographer Practices and Policies
Florist Practices and Policies
Guest Celebrant Practices and Policies


Contacts


Chapel Reservationist

Mary Will
(978) 621 5940

Resident Minister

The Reverend J. Carr Holland III
During the Chapel season, he may be reached at the Chapel Rectory at
P.O. Box 400
Siasconset, MA 02564
(508) 257.6616

Off-season, he may be reached at (973) 699-1629 or by email.

Wedding Hospitality Coordinator

Barbara Bispham
(508) 257-4478 This telephone is only operative during the Chapel season.

Catholic Wedding Coordinator

Bee Gonnella
(508) 221-1883

Resident Musician, Protestant

Mollie Glazer
(508) 325-5935

Resident Musician, Catholic

St Marys Church
(508) 228-0100