Find out how to get married in the chapel – just in case Valentine’s Day has you thinking ahead.
Up to seventy couples a year marry at Rollins’ Knowles Memorial Chapel. Couples can bring their own minister or priest and must pay $750 for the use of the chapel. The bride or groom must be Rollins alumni, Rollins faculty, or the child of one to be eligible to use the chapel. “They did discuss it with the president as to open it up and he said no,” Administrative Assistant of the chapel Joanne Granberry says. “And most alum like that idea.”
“As soon as we got engaged I knew that the Knowles Chapel was the place for me,” says Andrea Farrell, who graduated from Rollins in 1998. “It is nice to think about something which has been around for so many years and designed in that European style and I was so proud of graduating from Rollins. Then I thought it’s something only few people can do. So it was perfect.”
Farrell married her husband James in April 2002 after having been together for ten years. “It was very easy,” Farrell says. “We called and they had the date available, the time we wanted, they sent the paperwork and we filled it out.” She would definitely choose the historical Memorial Knowles Chapel again if she had to. “The only thing I would change is maybe the dress.”
“I would definitely book as far out as possible that you can get the date and the time you want,” Farrell recommends. But the rumor that couples have to book four years in advance is definitely not true: “We don’t book more than a year in advance because I have to get the college schedule first,” says Granberry.
“I wish they would talk to me first,” she says about students spreading the rumor. “I said to one girl: ‘You still going to be with him in three years?” Granberry says and laughs. The chapel is quite traditional and doesn’t allow extraordinary ceremonies. For example: the music has to be classical music. “One couple asked me if they can take their little dog down in a wagon,” Granberry says. “I said no. You want to have that at the reception – go crazy, but not at the ceremony.”
But the chapel does allow all kinds of mixture weddings and customs. They have already had Catholic-Protestant, Baha’i, Jewish, Christian, and Seventh-Day Adventist weddings. “We had a gentleman who played ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bagpipes,” Farrell says. “It was just absolutely beautiful.” Granberry helps at the rehearsals and represents Rollins at the ceremonies.
Granberry, who calls herself a wedding coordinator, has assisted in several hundred weddings in the past 35 years. She has experienced all kinds of last minute cancellations, panic moments and family issues. According to her, the average age of the couples marrying at the chapel is about 27. Most fall under the category of alumni. The majority of weddings take place from April to July and from October to November. Three weddings per day is the maximum Rollins will hold.