Wedding Party Protocols and Use Agreement Updated August 2017

Thank you for choosing the University Chapel as the site for your wedding. The Associate Director and Museums staff will do everything we can to see that your wedding goes smoothly. Because the Chapel is an historic building (listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings), every effort must be made to safeguard the building. Your agreement to comply with the following protocols will help to insure the survival of this historic site for future generations.

Facility Use

  • Only the Chapel auditorium is available for weddings; the Museum is off limits to the wedding party, guests, officiant, and vendors. All arrangements for the rehearsal and wedding ceremony must be made by the bride with the Museums office.
  • Vendors: Arrangements for all vendors must be made directly between the wedding party and the vendor. All vendors (florists, photographers/videographers, musicians, and wedding director) must be on the approved vendors list or, if you request a vendor not already on the approved list, approved by the Associate Director in advance specifically for your wedding, The "Wedding Vendor information Form" found on our website must be returned to the office 90 days prior to the wedding. The Associate Director has the authority and discretion to approve/disapprove any vendor.
  • Dressing and Restrooms: There are NO dressing facilities available in the Chapel. After museum hours, there is no access to the restrooms, since they are located within the museum area. Please check with the Wedding Coordinator for suggestions about dressing facilities.
  • Statue Chamber: Gates will remain locked and closed during all weddings and rehearsals. The solid wooden doors will remain open unless a request is made that they be closed. The antique chairs normally on display in the statue chamber will under no circumstances be used for weddings.
  • Piano: The piano must remain in its position at the left of the stage. Any movement of this instrument must be made by permission of the Associate Director, but it cannot be removed from the stage. The large lectern will be moved to the right side of the stage, against the side wall. It may not be removed completely from the stage.
  • Balcony: The balcony is off limits to guests. Only the musicians and photographers/videographers may access the balcony. The ropes should remain up to keep guests off the stairs after the musician(s) access the balcony.
  • Decorations: No tape may be used on the pews or elsewhere in the Chapel. All decorations must be confined to the stage area, except to mark reserved pews. No decorations are allowed in the windows, on the columns, or hanging from the balcony. No strewing of petals (real or silk) rice, birdseed, or any other material is permitted inside or outside the chapel. No ladders, stepstools, chairs, or similar items for use in decorating may be brought into the Chapel.
  • Clean Up: Prior arrangements must be made for the prompt removal of all items brought into the Chapel for the ceremony. Please instruct the florist to remove any debris left in the aisles and on the stage. Any clean-up that is necessary is the responsibility of the wedding party. The Chapel must be left in a clean and orderly condition, ready to receive public visitors. All clean-up must be completed within the 1.5 hours from the time the service begins.
  • University Chapel Staff: A public safety officer and a Museums staff person are assigned to each wedding. If you have questions, please direct the question to the chapel staff wedding attendant.
  • Photography and Videotaping: Arrangements for photography, including video, during the ceremony should first be discussed with the ceremony officiant. Locations for set-up for both still photography and video must be cleared in advance by the Associate Director or the Wedding Coordinator. It is preferred that wedding party use photographers/videographers on the local approved vendor list, as these individuals are very familiar with the Chapel protocols and layout; however, brides may request to have the Associate Director or Wedding Coordinator approve another individual/firm approved for their wedding, which is within the discretion of the Associate Director. Approval must take place before the day of the wedding. Please see our website for more details.
    • Where Photographs May Be Taken
      • Prior to the Ceremony - Photos of the groom, groomsmen and parents may be taken at any time on the Chapel grounds or inside on the auditorium stage during the one hour period before the ceremony. There will be no access to the museum in the lower level for this purpose.
      • Prior to the Ceremony - Photos of the bride, bridesmaids and parents may be taken in Washington Hall or on the Chapel grounds at any time.
      • During the Ceremony - Speak with the officiant as to his/her preferences regarding photography and videotaping. Many clergy have restrictions on this.
      • After the Ceremony - The two and one-half (2 and ½) hours scheduled for weddings allows sufficient time for posed photographs of the wedding party after the ceremony. Please note: a delay in starting a ceremony or having a particularly lengthy ceremony will reduce the amount of time available for photography. Bear this in mind and alert the photographer. A penalty fee will be charged if a wedding party goes beyond its reserved time (see Fees).
    • Videotaping: If clergy approves, ceremonies may be videotaped. All video must be done with a stationary camera and with existing lighting only; the best location for this is in the balcony. Neither the Museums Office nor the University AV department is available to do video or audio recordings of weddings.
    • Restrictions on Photography and Videotaping Equipment: Equipment must be limited to cameras, built-in or attached flash, and a tripod. NO ladders or portable lights may be brought into the Chapel. The balcony is open for use by approved photographers and videographers ONLY.


  • No candles, incense or open flames are allowed.
  • No food or beverage is permitted in the Chapel. Bottled water is permitted for the wedding party only.
  • Alcohol is strictly prohibited in or outside the Chapel.
  • No smoking in the Chapel.


Weddings are limited to a 2.5 hour timeslot on the wedding day and must occur on the hour. During heavy visitation periods available times are more restricted. Use of the site for the wedding preparations, service and clean-up must occur during the 2.5 hour timeslot. NO ONE affiliated with the wedding may arrive at the chapel prior to the hour immediately preceding the service.

A one hour rehearsal is permitted the evening prior to the wedding. Rehearsals are scheduled on the hour and must be scheduled after the chapel closes to public visitors. Additional rehearsal time for musicians is available upon request.


The fee for the use of the chapel is $1,500.00 for residents of Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, $2000.00 for persons residing outside of that local area, and $1000.00 for those affiliated with the University. Payment is due within thirty (30) days of making the reservation in order to confirm the reservation. If the Chapel is not vacated within the proscribed time limit, a penalty fee of $100.00 will be charged and collected before the wedding party departs.

Please note that a sales tax of 5.3% will be applied to the rental fee for each group listed in the wedding reservation form (effective March 4, 2019).

Both Museums and Public Safety staff must be present for all weddings held in the Chapel. Those staff fees are included in the wedding fee. Please make the check payable to Washington and Lee University and mail it to the Associate Director, Museums at Washington and Lee University, 204 N. Main Street, Lexington, VA 24450.

Responsibility for Damages and Requirement for Insurance

The person(s) signing this Use Agreement is/are responsible for all damages to the property of Washington and Lee University, including the University Chapel site and all items contained therein, resulting from the use of the Chapel for this wedding, whether caused by a member of the wedding party, a family member or guest, or any vendor. Washington and Lee University requires that the person signing this Use Agreement have insurance coverage available by an endorsement on his/her homeowner's policy providing coverage for any loss/damage caused to the property of Washington and Lee University as a result of the wedding. If the person(s) signing this Use Agreement does not have a homeowner's policy affording such coverage, the University reserves the right to require that a special event policy be procured to cover the time period of the wedding.

If you have questions or concerns, please discuss them with the manager prior to completing the reservation process.

Please sign and date the linked PDF document and return to the Associate Director, Museums at Washington and Lee Unversity, 204 N. Main Street, Lexington, VA 24450.

By signing, you agree that you have read and understand all of the above rules and protocols governing the use of the University Chapel for weddings. You further agree that all parties and vendors associated with this wedding will comply with the rules as stated above and understand that you are responsible for any loss or damage caused by the wedding party, family or guests, and/or vendors. You understand that disregard of the rules and protocols and/or the authority of the Manager may result in the immediate cancellation of the wedding.