February 13, 2004
Carr Chapel presents ideal atmosphere for weddings
minutes before a ceremony starts, guests start filing
into the chapel accompanied by a joyous melody from the
The bride and groom are in their respective dressing rooms
with their close family and friends preparing for their
As time ticks by, the chapel slowly fills as the last
of the guests arrive.
Mothers and fathers give their last loving advice and
praise to their children who are about to embark on a
The groom and his groomsmen line at the front of the chapel
waiting for the big moment.
Bridesmaids make their way up the aisle. A fussy flower
girl throws rose petals down for the bride.
Then it starts.
The Bridal Chorus begins.
The bride takes a deep breath and begins her journey down
Approximately 80 to 90 weddings similar to this one are
held in Robert Carr Chapel, on campus, spread out over
40 weekends throughout the year, says Ed McMahon, wedding
coordinator at TCU. In June, three weddings a weekend
are held, and every other month only two weddings a weekend
Since 1953 there have been around 2,400 weddings and Emmet
Smith, the wedding music director, has played the organ
at most of the weddings.
Its the most beautiful place in Fort Worth
to get married, Smith said.
About half of the people married at the Chapel are children
of faculty and staff, students or former students, McMahon
said. The other half are people from around the community.
The Chapel is a particular consideration for many couples
because it seats 275 people, McMahon said.
There are not a lot of places in town that can do
that, he said.
It seats the right number of people for most weddings,
That depends on the size of the people, of course,
he continued. A small wedding with 85 people still
looks good in there, its not lost.
Although there are big churches around town that seat
between two and three thousand guests, the smaller chapels
at those churches only seat 100 people, McMahon said.
There are only three or four places in town that meet
the medium size wedding capacity.
Besides the practical reasons for using the Chapel, it
also has a magnetism that draws people into its design.
It is a pretty place; light and airy, McMahon
Another pull to the Chapel is there are no denomination
requirements, McMahon said.
Its not his or hers. Its a common or
impartial meeting ground, he said.
The only disadvantage would be for people with bad
taste, Smith said. I can think of no disadvantage,
it has everything. Everything is perfection.
The Chapel is inexpensive compared to other places around
Fort Worth to get married, Smith said. Faculty, staff,
students and trustees can rent the Chapel for $100. Alumni
The Chapel is booked about at least a year in advance,
Most often people get engaged at holidays, Christmas,
New Years Eve or Valentines Day, so they start
thinking a year from that point, he said.
Brides book the chapel up to two and a half years before
their actual wedding, Smith said. If an alumna wants to
book the chapel closer to her wedding date she is often
out of luck because the Chapel is already booked, he said.
The sad thing is the brides that book so far ahead
often dont materialize, Smith said. Money
seems to be no item. They seem to give up their money
they pay in advance.
Smith said the couples that dont show up will book
several churches at the same time and wait until they
know how many people will show up then go with the church
that best accommodates them.
In a years time we might have 80 weddings
on the books and end up having 55 weddings, Smith
May through August tend to be the busiest for the Chapel.
McMahon said these months are popular because its
when people have natural breaks in their lives. The couples
may graduate in May then they usually have a natural break
because they dont have a job yet or are starting
graduate school the next year, he said.
Its a tradition to be a June bride, which also contributes
to couples getting married during that month, McMahon
Vows have been made by the bride and groom and tears flowed
from many sets of eyes.
The newly married couple is presented to their guest.
They now begin the journey back down the aisle and to
the beginning of a new life.