We’re delighted that you’re considering holding your ceremony at Duke Chapel.
Please read the sections below, in full. We look forward to celebrating with you!
Information and Policies
If you’re interested in scheduling a wedding at Duke Chapel, please begin your correspondence by using the wedding inquiry form.
The Chapel welcomes same-sex weddings and weddings of any faith or no faith. Duke students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds are invited to request a wedding for themselves or for their children in Duke Chapel.
Please be sure to thoroughly read the wedding policies before making a reservation. Once the reservation form and contract is completed and returned to the Chapel along with payment of the deposit due, it becomes a binding contract of acceptance to the terms and conditions noted in the Chapel policies documents.
General inquiries, including questions about scheduling and eligibility, may be directed to the wedding coordinator.
Please direct questions regarding musical selections to the Chapel organist. The organist is available for approval of additional musicians, including vocal soloists, as well as to make sure that requested music selections will meet Chapel guidelines.
If you’re interested in live-streaming your ceremony online to long-distance loved ones and friends, please contact Chapel media no less than six weeks before your wedding date. Please be mindful that, unlike the organist and the wedding director, this is an optional service that is not included in the overall price of a Chapel wedding.
Frequently Asked Questions
As many couples look forward to starting their future lives together, the Chapel, of course, is looking forward to being there for you. We continue to offer available wedding dates a year in advance on the first business day of the month. For example, on Monday, May 3, 2021, you may sign up for dates in May 2022. We are receiving requests for dates only by emails to the wedding coordinator. The email request cannot be “sent” until 8:30 a.m. EDT on the day of the sign-ups. (Emails with a time stamp prior to 8:30 a.m. EDT will be moved to the end of the list.) The email requests should contain the names of couple to be wed and their contact information. The email should also list the couple’s top three choices for wedding dates and times. The wedding coordinator will respond to requests in the order in which the emails are received. The wedding coordinator’s email reply to each couple will confirm the selected date and time. The wedding coordinator will then email each couple a reservation contract with a ten-day hold for the date and time. Signed contracts should be scanned and emailed to the Wedding Coordinator. Deposits checks would then need to be sent to the Chapel via US Postal Service regular mail. Do not send next day via UPS, or Fed Ex. No in-person delivery is permitted.
Note: The available dates and times for weddings in a given month will be announced a week prior to the sign-up day for that month. For example, the available dates and times for May 2022 will be announced on April 26, 2021. When the available dates and times for a month are ready to be announced, you may request them by emailing the wedding coordinator.
Who is eligible to be married at the Chapel?
In order to schedule a wedding, blessing ceremony, or reaffirmation of wedding vows, one member of the couple, or one of their parents or grandparents should be a current full-time Duke student, a graduate of Duke University, or a current full-time Duke employee.
Effective June 1, 2013, the Chapel extended wedding eligibility to current members of the Board of Trustees and to faculty and staff who retired from Duke after fifteen or more years of continuous service to the university, and to their children and grandchildren.
We would be eternally grateful if you could make an exception, just this once...?
Although Duke Chapel is a special place for many people outside the university community, the Chapel regrets that it cannot make exceptions to its eligibility policies.
Can I get married on a Friday?
Unfortunately, no. The Chapel hosts a variety of worship, concert, and University events during the week, and for this reason weddings can be scheduled on Saturdays only. Occasionally, a single Sunday wedding may be offered, but the Chapel's ability to do so varies according the academic and liturgical calendars.
For more information on scheduling, please see page 4 of the policies manual.
Do I need to sign up in person?
We are not doing in-person wedding sign-ups until further notice. Please see the answer above.
When can I sign up?
Weddings can be booked only one year in advance of the wedding month, and sign-ups begin at the Chapel at 8:30 a.m. on the first business day on or after the first of the month. For example, the reservation book for June 2019 weddings opened on Friday, June 1, 2018. Sign-ups for December 2019 weddings began on Monday, December 3, 2018 because the first two days of the month fell on a weekend.
As noted above, if you are interested in reserving a wedding date in person on the first day of sign-ups, it is essential that you contact the wedding coordinator at least a week beforehand. If you're unsure when sign-ups begin for your wedding month, please contact the wedding coordinator for that also.
Of course, you are also welcome to sign up after the first day of sign-ups on a particular month. Simply email the wedding coordinator for a list of dates and times that are still available.
I just got engaged, and my fiancé and I would like to get married in February 2022. But it’s already March 2021! Is it too late to sign up?
Not necessarily. Please don’t hesitate to ask! Although many couples sign up twelve months in advance, ceremonies may be scheduled as late as six weeks before the wedding day. Simply call or email the wedding coordinator, and they will be happy to tell you which dates and times are still available for a particular month (such as July) or season (such as summer or fall).
Please, rest assured that many couples make reservations weeks or months after the official sign-up days at the beginning of each month. If you’re flexible with the date and time of your wedding, chances are that you will be able to be scheduled in.
Can my family minister officiate at my wedding?
Yes, please! Couples are encouraged to invite the ministers of their “home” congregations to perform their wedding ceremonies in the Chapel. However, if your minister is not available to perform your wedding ceremony, a list of officiants who may be able to preside over your ceremony is available on page 13 of the policies manual.
Please note that, in order to perform a wedding in Duke University Chapel, your officiant should be recognized by the laws of the State of North Carolina.
What about engagement and wedding portraits? Can I have these taken at the Chapel, too?
Yes, you can! We do, however, require a Duke affiliation: only Chapel couples, current full-time Duke students, current full-time Duke employees, and Duke graduates can request to have wedding or engagement portraits taken on the Chapel grounds. Happily, even if you’re not having your wedding at the Chapel, if you meet one of those requirements you are more than welcome to have your engagement or wedding portraits taken here.
In addition to an affiliation with Duke, we also require an appointment on the Chapel calendar, primarily to make sure that the shoot doesn’t interfere with events happening elsewhere in the Chapel or on the Chapel grounds. Before arriving, please email the wedding coordinator to discuss the schedule and reserve a time. This is important!
Note, too, that we don’t permit photos inside the Chapel except on Chapel couples’ wedding days, so your wedding or engagement shoot would need to be outside in the arcades only. We also don’t offer dressing facilities, so you’ll need to arrive fully dressed and prepped.
Planning Your Wedding Music
If you’re interested in exploring musical options for your wedding, please visit the Chapel’s Wedding Music Playlist.
The grand, timeless architecture of Duke Chapel rewards music that is equally grand and timeless, both in composition and execution. To this end, the Chapel organist stands ready to help you craft a ceremony befitting the soaring nobility of the Chapel space. Couples are asked to carefully read and consider the following material before consulting with the organist or contracting any musicians.
What kind of music sounds best in the Chapel?
The organs in the Chapel are some of the finest in the country, and the building itself was designed to enhance the sounds of the organ. Thus classical music that is led from the organ, such as that composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, is most effective in the acoustics of the Chapel.
The Chapel organist maintains a playlist of suggested wedding music, which couples are encouraged to listen through before their music consultations. The Chapel also welcomes the inclusion of congregational hymns in your ceremony. If desired, the Chapel organist is happy to recommend selections that are specifically appropriate for marriage.
What will the music sound like in the Chapel?
As a full-time member of the Chapel staff, the Chapel organist is intimately familiar with the Chapel’s unique instruments and acoustics. He is pleased to provide you with the highest standard of musical excellence for your special day, and the music you select will sound beautiful and glorious for your ceremony.