Full Circle: Weddings at the Wren Chapel

Not even a winter storm could stop Jan and Ashley Chaloupka from holding their dream wedding in the historic Wren Chapel on the campus of the College of William & Mary. While airport closures and icy roads prevented almost 20 guests from attending.

“The Wren Building was covered in a fresh dusting of powder-white snow. As the sun setover the Wren, the snow glistened in the low light and we got the winter wonderland wedding of our dreams. Wren looked like something out of a fairy tale,” said Chaloupka.

Situated behind the Lord Botetourt statue that faces Merchant Square, Wren Chapel has been the site of weddings since 1860. Kimberly Renner, associate director of the historic campus, books up to 80 weddings each year.

“The most we can do on one day is four,” shared Renner. “We’re doing more summerweddings now that they’re trendy.”

She said Wren Chapel is a dream venue for most couples, but it only hosts brides and grooms affiliated with the college.

“You have to have a W&M connection; be an alum or the child of an alum, or be a faculty or staff member or the child of a faculty or staff member,” said Renner. “We have the alumni rule for a reason, because if we didn’t we wouldn’t have the chapel available for W&M family weddings or the array of College events that occur there.”

For Chaloupka, who earned her bachelor of arts in Elementary Education and Hispanic Studies in 2005, traveling from Colorado to marry at Wren Chapel was her first and only choice.

“The heavy wooden doors, the creaky second step up to the altar, the rich, warm lighting, the intimate arrangement of the pews, and the way the pipe organ bounced chords from Pachelbel’s Canon in D throughout the chapel…there are few places in Williamsburg that have a history and character as rich as the Wren Building,” she  said.

“The Wren Chapel is romantic. It is magical.”

Story and photos courtesy of and originally published in The Local Scoop