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Weddings

Overview

The Mariners Memorial Chapel is a National Memorial honoring men of the Merchant Marine who gave their lives at sea during World Wars I and II in the defense of their country. Permission to use the Chapel for weddings will be granted on a priority basis. It should be remembered that this privilege rests on the assumption that rules for the proper preservation and religious respect of this Memorial will be carefully observed.

Denominational Requirements

Date Availability

The Chapel is available on all weekends throughout the year, except those specified below. Applications for weekday weddings are considered on an individual basis by the Command Chaplain.

Date Restrictions

Wedding dates only will be confirmed one (1) year in advance. Academy functions and closures take precedence over wedding dates. Applications for weddings during Academy academic break periods are considered on an individual basis by the Command Chaplain, and may be disapproved due to lack of staff availability. Weddings will not normally be scheduled on the first weekend of the summer indoctrination period, and on the Saturdays of Parents' (Acceptance) and Homecoming weekends. Wedding times on Graduation Weekend will be reserved for new graduates.

Time Availability

The normal times for weddings on weekends are:

  • Friday - 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM
  • Saturday - 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
  • Sunday - 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM

Requests for other wedding times will be considered individually by the Command Chaplain in accordance with staff availability.

Eligibility

Use of the Mariners Memorial Chapel will be determined as follows:

  • Priority I - Graduating Midshipmen
  • Priority II - Alumni and Academy personnel and their children
  • Priority III - Active or Retired Merchant Mariners and their children
  • Priority IV - Active Duty Military

Usage Fees

Depending upon the ceremony conducted, certain maintenance fees may be imposed. Please contact us directly concerning your particular needs. Government ethics laws prelude payment of fees or personal donations to Academy chaplains and staff. Clergy stole fees (for civilian clergy) are negotiated directly with the clergyperson.

Initial Contact with the Chapel

The bride or groom should make contact as early as possible (at least 6 months in advance) with the Chapel Manager at (516) 773-5305. No other persons, family or friends, may make arrangements unless written arrangements have been made in advance. No weddings will be scheduled more than a year in advance. No other social arrangements should be made prior to a signed contract with the Chapel Wedding Checklist. Catering on Academy grounds is available at Melville Hall.

Religious Requirements

Religious requirements for marriage must be planned before the wedding date is set. The participation by a clergyperson is governed by faith group regulations stipulating religious conditions for marriage such as faith group affiliation, religious background, and marital history. Only clergypersons may determine if they may perform such a service in light of their own faith group’s requirements. Premarital counseling with the couple is required by most clergy before performing a marriage ceremony.

It is recommended that the couple make arrangements with clergy early in their engagement. Justice of the Peace ceremonies or other non-religious ceremonies are not permitted in the Mariners Memorial Chapel. Academy chaplains' priorities for performing weddings are with Midshipmen graduates, alumni, staff, and Active Duty military.

Application

An application may be obtained by contacting the Mariners' Memorial Chapel or you may access it online and print it. View Wedding Application (Requires Adobe Reader). Your application for use of the Chapel will not be complete until we receive: (1) Usage fees; (2) The address and phone number of the clergyperson who has agreed to perform the ceremony; (3) A letter from the clergyperson stating that he/she intends to perform the ceremony. These requirements must be met before the application is finalized and your wedding is scheduled. Be advised that you do not have a confirmed reservation until the completed form is received by the Mariners Memorial Chapel and approved.

Marriage License

The license must be procured in the State of New York at any county town clerk office (except New York City, which is not to be used). Consult the blue pages section in the phone book for the NY TOWN CLERK office nearest you. A 24-hour waiting period is required between from issuance of a license and the ceremony. The license is valid for 60 days. It is advisable to bring the license to the rehearsal prior to the wedding. The officiant must have a valid license in his/her possession to conduct the wedding.

Wedding Rehearsals

If the Chapel will be your rehearsal site, you should reserve the time and date at least three (3) months in advance. For the rehearsal to be of value, the entire wedding party including the clergyperson should attend. Any special time requirements should be made known to the Chapel Manager at time of application.

The Ceremony

The bridal party should be present in the Chapel at least twenty minutes before the ceremony. The downstairs lounge is available for bridal party use before the wedding. All wedding parties are to begin on time and depart the Chapel thirty minutes following the ceremony.

Organist

Wedding music is the responsibility of the wedding couple subject to the oversight of the Command Chaplain. The Chapel Organist makes himself available to support all Mariners' Chapel weddings, and advises the Command Chaplain regarding use of the Chapel organ and other musical instruments. The Chapel Organist is contacted through Mariners' Chapel. Requests to use other musicians must be made to the Command Chaplain early enough to determine whether the performer has the technical and professional competence to use chapel musical instruments. Only appropriate music will be performed. All financial arrangements for musical services are made directly between the organist and the couple.

Flowers, Candles, And Aisle Runners

The Chapel does not provide flowers. Flowers should not be placed on the altars. Two vases of flowers may be placed on the two stands provided. Bouquets or ribbons may be attached to the pews with rubber bands only. Candles for the Main and Portable altars are furnished by the Chapel. Special Ceremony candles (i.e. Unity Candle) should be provided by the bridal party. The Chapel does not supply a runner for the main aisle. If desired, this must be purchased separately and should have a length of 80 feet.

Throwing of Rice, Rose Petals, Etc.

Rice, rose petals, birdseed, confetti, or similar materials are strictly forbidden in or around the Chapel. Please refrain from contributing to environmental hazards and waste such as releasing helium-filled balloons, non-biodegradable decorations, bubble machines, and the like.

Photographers

Photographers must consult officiating clergy as to which pictures are permitted during the processions and ceremony. The ceremony should not be interrupted for "posing" or special effects. Photographers are reminded to be as discrete as possible.

Use Of Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol consumption in or on the grounds of the Chapel, except for sacramental purposes, is prohibited. Catering on Academy grounds is available at Melville Hall.

Military Honors

To receive military honors either the bride or groom must be in uniform. Six or eight ushers are needed for the arch of swords. You are responsible for procuring the swords and sword bearers. You may request military honor support from the Regimental Honor Guard Commander (contact through the Chapel Manager).

Midshipman Assistant

A trained midshipman will be present to assist the wedding party and clergy at the rehearsal and ceremony. The midshipman and the Chapel Manager serve as the Academy's representatives.

Guest Parking and Limousine Service

Automobile parking for guests is provided in the Chapel Parking Area, Collins Place Parking Area, Marvin Lot Parking Area, and along Peabody Drive, Farrell Road and Steamboat Road. Only the vehicles of the bridal party (maximum of two limousines if used) may park in front of the Chapel during the ceremony. Limousine drivers must refrain from sounding their horns on academy grounds.

Arrangements and Point Of Contact

All arrangements will be under the direction of the Command Chaplain or the Chapel Manager, which also applies to clergy. The Chapel Manager and Midshipman Assistant are the representatives of the Academy. Their instructions must be followed. If you need more information, please feel free to write, or call the Mariners' Memorial Chapel at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013