SIASCONSET UNION CHAPEL
WEDDING CUSTOMARY

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


What Is Marriage?

The Christian tradition affirms that the bond and covenant of marriage were established by God in creation and our Lord Jesus Christ endorsed this manner of life by His presence at the first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and His Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

One of the most challenging and rewarding of human relationships, marriage is meant to be lived out in a community of faith. By choosing to be married at the Siasconset Union Chapel, you have chosen to be a part of this Christian community. 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.


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. It is anticipated that all couples 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 Marcel H. Bouchard, Pastor of St Mary - Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church, is responsible for all Catholic marriage celebrations. Father Bouchard 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 .


Guidelines & Policies for
Weddings in the Chapel


Who May Reserve 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.


Who May Officiate at Chapel Weddings?

The Siasconset Union Chapel is an ecumenical, interdenominational Christian congregation. Religious ceremonies of both the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions are celebrated. 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 and he should be contacted as soon as your wedding date is approved by the Reservationist. 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 Marcel H. Bouchard, 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 before the reservation for the Chapel is accepted.  Catholic clergy performing or assisting in wedding ceremonies must receive delegation from Father Bouchard well prior to the date. Please contact Father Bouchard  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 .

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 several weeks 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. 


How Do We Obtain the Marriage License?

It is the responsibility of the couple to obtain the marriage license which must be brought to the wedding rehearsal.  You may obtain a license 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.]  The office is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Applicants should arrive before 3:30 pm.  There is a three-day waiting period in Massachusetts although this waiting period may be avoided through a court order, with an additional fee attached.  Licenses are valid for 60 days once issued.  The marriage license will be signed by the Officiant immediately after the service and a stamped, addressed envelope should be provided since the signed license must be returned to its office of issuance.


Who Is Responsible for Coordination and Communication between the Wedding Participants and the Chapel?

The Wedding Hospitality Coordinator,, provides assistance for all weddings that take place in the Chapel and she should be contacted as soon as your reservation is accepted.  There are some aspects of Catholic weddings, as noted, that are additionally handled by the Catholic Wedding Coordinator,  .  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 Hospitality Coordinator at both the rehearsal and the ceremony.

The Wedding Hospitality Coordinator will coordinate the Officiant, Resident Musician, florist and photographer, along with the wedding party, to ensure that the rehearsal and wedding proceed according to plan.  She will arrive at least half an hour before the rehearsal and at least one hour before the wedding to prepare the Chapel.

The Wedding Hospitality Coordinator should be contacted approximately one month prior to the wedding to confirm:

  • Date and time of rehearsal and wedding.
  • Names and contact information for the couple.
  • Name of the Officiant and contact information for the Officiant, if assisting and not from the Chapel.
  • Agreement with Music Director regarding musical selections and musicians.
  • Name and telephone number of florist.
  • Name and telephone number of photographer.
  • Name and telephone of videographer.
  • If applicable, confirmation of receipt of $300 check for a digital copy of livestream recording of the wedding ceremony, to be sent to the bride's email address within two weeks of the wedding date.
  • Any other special details, as needed.


What Are the Financial Obligations in Connection with the Wedding Ceremony?

Protestant Wedding Fees

The fee for weddings at the Chapel is $4000 for Protestant weddings which will be an inclusive fee, covering the use of the Chapel, the honorarium for the minister of The Siasconset Union Chapel and the bell ringing service. For those who qualify as outlined above, $2,000 is due when you return the signed Wedding Acceptance document. The date will be reserved upon receipt of the signed acknowledgement of these guidelines and receipt of the $2,000 non-refundable deposit. The balance of $2,000 is due three months before the ceremony. Checks should be made out to "The Siasconset Union Chapel," indicating on the memo line the names of the couple, the date, and "Wedding Deposit" or "Balance." All mail should be addressed to:

Siasconset Union Chapel
P.O Box 400
Siasconset, MA 02564

For wedding music, the Musician in Residence for Protestant ceremonies is . Costs and music specifics should be discussed with her directly.

Catholic Wedding Fees

For Catholic weddings the fee is $3500 for the use of the Chapel and the bell ringing service. The celebrants honorarium for the Catholic weddings will be separately arranged by the wedding party and should be discussed directly with St. Mary's Church.

For wedding music, the Musician in Residence for Catholic ceremonies is . Costs and music specifics should be discussed with her directly.

 

Flowers and Photography

You may arrange for your own florist and photographer and inform the Wedding Hospitality Coordinator as soon as possible of your choices.


What Are the Music Guidelines?

All weddings at the Siasconset Union Chapel are ceremonies of worship honoring God.  To this end, all music chosen for the ceremony should conform to the spiritual nature of the service.  Sacred music and selections from the classical repertoire that promote a sense of meditation and spiritual thought are appropriate to the ceremony, as are hymns.   Songs from Broadway shows and those from pop and country charts generally are not permitted at the Chapel, subject to the discretion of the Officiant.

It is customary that the Musician in Residence provides music for all ceremonies.  If the Musician in Residence is unavailable, she will provide an appropriate substitute.  You may suggest a musician, but he or she must be approved by the Music Director.  We ask all couples, visiting clergy and musicians to respect our guidelines on this issue.

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. The relevant fees and payment deadlines for the Musician in Residence as well as additional musicians should be discussed with her.

If a couple wishes to have a friend or relative contribute music to the ceremony, this will need the approval of the Officiant and the Musician in Residence in order to include that music as part of the ceremony.

If the Musician in Residence is available and you wish to use someone else, the customary fee is to still be paid to the Musician in Residence. This fee is to be paid directly to her when the final payment to the Chapel is made. All music choices are to be in keeping with our traditions and approved in advance by the Musician in Residence and the Minister.


What Are the Photography Guidelines?

We are pleased to announce that we now have live streaming from the chapel daily from 7am to 7pm during the season.  This allows any ceremony held there to be viewed live from anywhere in the world via computer iPad or iPhone. simply by going to the Chapel's website at www.sconsetchapel.org. We also can offer to have any ceremony or event recorded and the recording sent via email link for distribution to family and friends as a permanent remembrance of the occasion. The fee for a  wedding recording is $300. There is a form included with our wedding package that must be completed in advance to insure timely arrangement of the recording  if you wish  to have one  made.

We expect your guests and any professional photographers and videographers to respect the religious nature of wedding ceremony.

Photography 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.

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.

Note for Professionals:

               
  • Flashless photography only is allowed.
  • Only one photographer and one videographer are allowed, together with one  assistant, respectively.

Please ask your guests not to use flash photography, so as not to interfere with the professional photographer, and to be as discreet as possible.


What Are the Guidelines for Wedding Flowers and Appointments?

Simplicity is highly valued and has a long tradition in the Chapel.  We anticipate that the florist will provide two floral arrangements, one on either end of the altar table.    An arrangement on the small vestibule table is optional but recommended.  Small arrangements (pew markers) are also permitted on the ends of the benches but it should be noted that neither tape nor tacks may be used.  Any additional flowers must be approved by the Wedding Hospitality Coordinator at least one month before the wedding. Aisle runners are not permitted and flower petals are not to be strewn down the aisle. Two candles are usually allowed for your ceremony with the understanding that you should provide the candles and their holders.

The altar and vestibule flower arrangements should be left in the Chapel for Sunday morning worship services from June through mid-September but may be picked up at noon on Sunday should you wish to return for them.  Any other flower arrangements should be removed.


What Should We Know about the Rehearsal and the Day of the Wedding?

The time and day of the rehearsal for Protestant weddings can be chosen by the bride, within the confines of the Chapel's availability, and scheduled with our reservationist, Elaine Boehm, as part of the planning process. The time of rehearsals for Catholics should be made directly with Bee Gonella. It is a vital part of preparation for the wedding and usually lasts about an hour.  It involves walking the entire wedding party through the ceremony.  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.

The Wedding Hospitality Coordinator will be available for every rehearsal and wedding to assist the clergy and wedding party with any logistical or other issues.  For Catholic weddings, Bee Gonnella, the Catholic Wedding Coordinator, will also be present to handle the actual rehearsal and wedding procedures. The Chapel’s maximum capacity is 180 people and the local fire code is strictly enforced.  The Chapel is not air-conditioned. Neither the piano nor benches should be moved.

On the day of the wedding, ushers and groomsmen must be ready to escort guests at least 20-30 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 by the wedding party.


A Note on Conduct:

The consumption of alcoholic beverages will not be allowed either before the wedding rehearsal or the wedding ceremony, whether in the Chapel or on its grounds. Likewise, no food or beverages of any kind are allowed either inside the Chapel or on its grounds.  Smoking is also not allowed either in the Chapel or on the grounds.  You as a couple, and your families, are responsible for explaining these standards of conduct to your wedding party and friends.

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


In Summation

The guidelines outlined in this Wedding Customary conform to the ecclesiastical traditions of the Siasconset Union Chapel from its inception in 1883 and are in compliance with both sacred and secular authority. They reflect the spirit and wishes of the members and clergy of the faith communities who make up the Chapel.

If your vision of your wedding complies with these guidelines and you accept their conditions, please print, sign and return the Acceptance, to Elaine Boehm, at the address below.

Siasconset Union Chapel
PO  Box 400             
Siasconset, MA 02564



Wedding Customary Guidelines Acceptance
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View contact information and directions


Contacts


Chapel Reservationist

Elaine Boehm
(508) 257-9868

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

Diane Lehman
(508) 325-0636