Robert Carr Chapel wedding worth wait

Unofficial rule No. 76 for freshman girls at TCU: Book the Robert Carr Chapel now, even if you are not engaged. Finding the groom is the easy part.

The ongoing joke at freshman orientation depicts the mother of a TCU student booking the chapel even before her daughter is engaged. Some truth lies in this joke.

The booking office at the chapel fields 20 calls per day on average regarding booking for upcoming weddings, said Kristi Ingram, booking agent and wedding coordinator for the chapel.

“We have parents booking weddings and refusing to provide the groom’s information because he is not aware of the engagement,” Ingram said. “I came back from Christmas break with over 60 messages, not including e-mails.”

On a personal note, I am getting married at the Robert Carr Chapel in September. When I tell anyone about my wedding plans, they tend to ask a lot of questions about how far in advance I had to book it and how much it cost.

I booked my wedding at the chapel 14 months in advance. My fiancee and I decided on the date based on what was available at the time and lucked into a 6 o’clock time slot.

I chose the chapel because of my love of TCU and the discount offered to students. My fiancee, a Texas A&M alumna, allowed the choice to be made because of the beauty and feel of the chapel.

The average wedding at the chapel is booked eight months in advance, Ingram said. If couples prefer evening weddings, they need to book the wedding at least 14 months in advance. However, June, July and December weddings require additional planning and are booked at least 18 months in advance.

Kayla Alley, TCU alumna class of 1997, booked her wedding 18 months in advance to secure one of the coveted July dates. Alley chose the chapel because of a family connection with it.

“We chose the Robert Carr Chapel because my parents got married there and because my husband and I graduated from TCU,” she said.

The furthest booking on the calendar is for late October 2010, Ingram said. The client booked the date 21 months in advance.

The chapel is available for the weddings of TCU students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees for $775 and $975 for all others. The chapel fees do not include the organist and tower bells. The tower bells concert and chiming of the hour is the signature feature of a wedding at the chapel and costs an additional $300, Ingram said.

The chapel books on average 100 weddings per year and usually holds two weddings per week, Ingram said. Currently, more than 80 clients have reservations scheduled for this year or next year.

Although the chapel is in high demand, it, in my experience thus far, has left nothing to be desired. Where else can you get married in the community that we all know and love and get a discount on it?