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Going to the Ivy League Chapel for Same-Sex Marriage

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Tuesday Oct 18, 2011
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NEW YORK, NY - On her 1972 debut album, Bette Midler sang "Chapel of Love," which subsequently became one of those LGBT anthems invariably heard during Pride marches and celebrations. The only problem was, until recently, there weren’t so many chapels willing and able to celebrate same-sex marriage.

Now, with the state of New York’s historic legislation from the summer of 2011, chapels around the city and state are throwing open their doors to the LGBT community.

Remember how you used to find yourself as the token same-sex couple at your friends’ weddings? Remember how you used to stand as the newlyweds came down the aisle - and how you’d turn to your partner and think, "Someday, we’re going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married."


That day is here - and one of Columbia University’s most distinctive buildings, St. Paul’s Chapel, wants to help you celebrate your wedding. Maybe you didn’t receive an Ivy League diploma, but now you can get married at an Ivy League chapel.

One of the first buildings to be designated an historic landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, St. Paul’s Chapel is an stunning amalgam of Renaissance, Gothic, and Byzantine architecture, complete with John La Farge stained glass windows and Gustavino tile vaulting.


Completed in 1907, the chapel was the first campus building not designed by McKim, Mead, and White and was recently designated "Columbia’s most outstanding building" by the "Eyewitness Travel Guide to New York."

An architectural gem, with original furnishings including an Aeolian Skinner organ, St. Paul’s Chapel easily accommodates a diverse spectrum of cultural, religious, family and individual traditions.


Each year, about sixty couples get married at St. Paul’s Chapel. Weddings at St. Paul’s may be traditional, secular, interfaith, same-sex, non-religious, civil, or spiritual. Couples are encouraged to make the ceremony their own by inviting a clergy member or officiant of their choosing to conduct their wedding in St. Paul’s Chapel. The addition of a string quartet, a jazz trio, or an opera singer makes a wedding at St. Paul’s particularly memorable.

With imagination, creativity, and personal values as a guide, couples are able to develop wedding ceremonies that are uniquely personal. Whether it’s a wedding for 400 guests or something as intimate as the couple with two witnesses, St. Paul’s Chapel is ready to welcome you for your walk down the aisle.


For inquires about weddings in St. Paul’s Chapel please call: 212.854.6242.

LINK: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/earl/chapel.html

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A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.

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