Recessional with Chuppah
Photograph by Julia Wade Photography
Photo by Waterhouse Studios, 2015
Dick and Norma White Wedding, 1965
Photograph courtesy of Duke Chapel
Weddings are an important part of the Duke University Chapel. Approximately 6,000 couples have been married in the Chapel since Marion Noell Lyon, grandniece of James B. Duke, exchanged vows in the Chapel's first nuptials on April 8, 1933. Here are a few fun facts about weddings:
- Length of the Chapel's center aisle: 50 yards (half the length of a football field!)
- Average number of weddings hosted each year: 76.
- Seating capacity of Duke Chapel: 1,453. Average wedding size in 2015: 132 guests.
- Most popular reception site: The Washington Duke Inn.
- Number of nights one couple spent sleeping on the Chapel lawn to reserve a July 2016 wedding slot: 6.
- Approximate number of ceremonies directed by Blanche Williams, the Chapel's lead wedding director, since 2005: 550.
- Number of people who visited the Chapel in 2014: 243,362. Approximately 10,000-11,000 were wedding guests.
- Total cost of a Chapel wedding: $2,100. Discounted to $1,600 for hourly-paid Duke employees.
- The Chapel welcomes same-sex marriages and weddings of any faith. In 2015, we hosted Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Hindu ceremonies.
- Eligibility criteria: In order to schedule a wedding at Duke Chapel, either the bride, the groom, or one of their parents or grandparents must be a current, full-time Duke student; a graduate of Duke University; or a current, full-time Duke employee. In 2013, eligibility was extended to current members of the Board of Trustees and to faculty and staff who retired from Duke after 15 or more years' continuous service to the University, and to their children and grandchildren.