Frequently Asked Questions

How do I request a reservation for a wedding or blessing ceremony?
Please see Reserving the Chapel at left.

When is the chapel available?
The chapel is in constant demand during the academic year (from September 1 through May 31) for on campus religious services and events so, if you are interested in reserving the chapel, please plan no longer than one year in advance. Note: During the academic year, University activities take precedence over private ceremonies.

The chapel is not available during the following times of the year:
    Holy Week (these dates vary each year)
    Brown Spring Weekend (third weekend in April; please call to confirm)
    Memorial Day Weekend ( Brown University Commencement)
    Brown Parents' Weekend (please check University calendar for dates)
    Thanksgiving Weekend
    Christmas Eve, December 24, through New Year's Day, January 1

During the academic year ceremonies can take place at most any time on Saturdays but only from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays, due to regularly scheduled worship services in the chapel.

How do I arrange for a clergy person or licensed official to perform the service or can I invite my own officiant?
Manning Chapel is an interfaith house of worship. All Christian clergy, rabbis, imams, and other ordained or licensed individuals may perform weddings. However, you must check to make sure the clergy person performing this service is in good standing with their faith and has a valid license. Clergy should review the regulations of the state of Rhode Island and their local religious authority.

Couples often have a clergy person or other religious official in mind as the officiant for their service. OCRL only needs to know the name of that person and that they are fully licensed to perform this service. Please know that we cannot accept your reservation as complete without the name of your officiant.

Roman Catholics intending to be married in Manning Chapel should contact Angela Howard-McParland, Director of the Brown-RISD Catholic Community, after the reservation has been made with OCRL. She can be reached at angela_howard-mcparland@brown.edu; achm@brown.edu; or catholic@brown.edu.

The chaplains of the University may be available to officiate at the ceremonies of Brown University community members. You'll find a listing of University chaplains here and may contact the chaplain directly via e-mail.

Most important, please keep in mind that some religious faiths have guidelines for counseling prior to the wedding service. You must abide by those strictly in consultation with your clergy person or licensed officiant.

Note: The officiant must be secured at the time the reservation is submitted to OCRL. The officiant's full name, address, phone number, and affiliation are necessary for the reservation to be complete. Visiting clergy must provide their own vestments and any other liturgical needs, such as chuppah, manvarai, eucharist or communion vessels, wine, and bread.

What denominational regulations need to be satisfied when using the Chapel?
All visiting clergy should inquire with their local denomination or faith about performing a service at Manning Chapel. Specifically, Roman Catholic clergy need to consult with Angela Howard-McParland (see above) after the reservation has been confirmed.

Licensed officials need to read Rhode Island 's requirements for performing wedding ceremonies in this state.

What licenses are required when having my wedding in Rhode Island?
The Rhode Island state government has published a guide to the legal requirements for those marrying in the state. Please refer to it for all information about obtaining a marriage license, cost of the license, and other related information. This guide also gives very clear guidelines about who can perform a marriage in the state. Read this document carefully as you plan your wedding and complete the OCRL wedding application.

You may obtain your marriage license from:
Providence City Registrar
Providence City Hall, Room 104
25 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903
401. 421.7740, ext. 213

How do I arrange for an organist or other instrumentalists or vocalists for the ceremony?
It is the custom in many churches and chapels for the in-residence organist to play for the service. That individual has the “organ bench” so to speak and,
as such, has the first right of refusal for playing the service. The same custom applies to Manning Chapel, which follows the policies of the American Guild of Organists. Mark Steinbach is an acclaimed musician and educator at Brown and holds the position of University organist. He can be available, depending on his schedule, to perform weddings and can consult on all music matters, instrumental or vocal, while preparing your service.

Please contact Dr. Steinbach at mark_steinbach@brown.edu for permission to use the “organ bench” or to request his services. When contacting him, please mark clearly in the subject line of your email: “Request for Wedding” with the date.

If you do not have a specific musician in mind and Dr. Steinbach cannot play for the service, he can provide names of local musicians whom you can contact, or he will guide you to the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

The chapel's Mason and Hamlin pipe organ, which sits in a loft, was refurbished in 1959 and was executed by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois. In addition to the organ, the chapel has a full grand piano.

What fees are involved in using the chapel?
The wedding reservation fees are listed below and reserves the chapel for one-and-one-half-hours on the day of the rehearsal and for three hours on the day of the service. THE FEE MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH YOUR APPLICATION.

Brown University Undergraduate, Graduate and Medical Students
$250

Brown University Faculty/Staff/Alumni or Immediate Family
 $600

Non-University Affiliation
$1,500

Additional fees to keep in mind
It is customary to pay a fee to the officiant. This is determined between you and that individual.

Mark Steinbach, University organist, requires a fee* to discuss the music with a couple, play for the wedding rehearsal, and play the actual service. If you use another organist or other musicians, you are responsible for working out those fees.

A Facilities employee can be available during your service to run the handicap-accessible chairlift.  The fee for this is included in your reservation fee.

How long can I have use of the Chapel on the day of my service?
Typically, the chapel is available for an hour and a half wedding rehearsal and for a three-hour block of time to set up for the service, the service itself, and for clean-up. Specific arrangements may be made with Bijaya Karanjit at OCRL, when planning your service. Please be aware that any additional time may result in an increase in the chapel fee.

What furniture and decorations are available in the Chapel and what decorations may I use?
The chapel is in the Greco-Revival style, typical of the 1820s and 1830s. In many respects, it reflects the simplicity typical of its religious style of the Baptists, who founded Brown University. Filled with light even on cloudy days, the chapel is an ideal setting for many who wish to be married. Because of its clean style and understated decoration, it offers interesting opportunities for wedding decorations. Please note that nothing can be taped, stapled or nailed to any surface in the chapel. Any damage which results from failure to abide by this rule will be the responsibility of the couple.

Some basic facts about the Chapel

  • Construction: Stone
  • Building dimensions: 90 feet in length and 42 feet in width including the portico that faces Prospect Street. Chapel dimensions, 64 feet in length, 38 feet in wide, and about 25 feet in height.
  • Chapel location in Manning Hall: Second Floor
  • Access to Chapel: A double flight of stairs leads to the second floor from the building's vestibule on the portico side facing Prospect Street.
  • Handicap-accessibility: The building is accessible via a ramp on the portico side of the building and the chapel via a chair lift to the second floor. A Brown Facilities employee can be on hand to run the chair lift if arrangements are made in advance.
  • Aisle Length: Aisle length is 53 feet; a service runner should be 50 feet.
  • Seating: The chapel holds 200, 13 pews on each side of the building.
  • Pews are traditional with kneelers and are stationary.
  • Altar, lectern, and pulpit are available and are stationary.
  • A prie-dieu for the couple to kneel on is available.
  • Use of Rice or Confetti: When the couple leaves Manning Chapel, the use of rice, confetti or bird seed is strictly prohibited.
  • Organ/Piano: The chapel's Mason and Hamlin pipe organ, which sits in a loft, was refurbished in 1959 and was executed by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland , Illinois. In addition to the organ, the chapel has a full grand piano.
  • Restrooms are located on both the first and second floor of the building.
  • Additional Facilities Fees: If the chapel is not returned to its original condition after a service, the couple will be charged for any damage or additional Facilities clean-up fees.

How do I order flowers and how are they delivered to the Chapel?
You are responsible for ordering flowers and all other decorations for your wedding. In addition, you are responsible for the actual decorating of the chapel and removing all decorations after the service. It is wise therefore to designate someone to make sure it is decorated to your satisfaction, and then to make sure that the chapel is restored to its original state after the service. This is important for two reasons: religious services go on constantly throughout the academic year, and it is very likely that a regularly scheduled service may will follow your wedding. Also, OCRL incurs a fee if Facilities must clean up debris and decorations from such a service; we therefore have to pass that fee on to the couple.

When you have selected your florist, please advise him/her that deliveries begin one hour prior to the beginning of your service and that the florist should enter the chapel through the Prospect Street entrance ONLY.

What audio equipment is available in the Chapel and what arrangements must be made to use it?
Acoustically, the chapel is one of the best buildings in Providence, and amplification is usually not necessary. If microphones and amplification are requested, additional charges will be assessed and payment must be made in advance.

What about the use of limousines on the College Green, and where can my guests park?

Parking in the city of Providence is limited at times. Limousines for the wedding party are permitted to come onto the College Green and to deliver the wedding party or disabled members of the family. To do this, arrangements must be made with Brown's Public Safety Office for permission, and they will provide instructions on how to enter the College Green the day of your service. Please contact Bijaya Karanjit at OCRL to have the office assist you in making these arrangements.

Public metered parking is available for your guests on Prospect, Waterman, Thayer, and George Streets on the periphery of the Green. (Note: On Saturdays and Sundays parking in the city of Providence is free.) A few handicap parking places are available on Prospect and Waterman Streets, but these are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Parking in Brown University lots is prohibited unless prior arrangements are made with Brown University 's Transportation Office. Please contact them at 401.863.3157.