Guidelines

It is important to us that your wedding day is joyful and memorable.  The chapel has approximately 200 weddings annually. The guidelines are designed to ensure an equitable situation for all and to preserve the fabric and integrity of this historic building.

Decorations

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Flowers and Decorations

Your florist has access to the Chapel at your scheduled access times (see your Event License Agreement). Please keep in mind that the arrival and seating of guests also takes place during that time.

All decorations brought in for a wedding must be removed at the end of the ceremony by the florist or assigned family or friend. A sufficient number of people must be provided to help with the placement and removal of decorations during the allotted access and departure times.

Flower arrangements may be placed on the altar. The top of the altar measures eight feet long and 21 inches deep.

Floral arrangements placed on the floor or stands must be stable for wedding members and guests to move among them.

Bows on the ends of pews

Decorations on the end of pews may be added as follows. Flowers may be incorporated in the bows.  The bows may only be attached with ribbon, rubber bands, or elasticized thread.  Arrangements on metal or plastic clips may be used if the clips are wrapped and won't damage the wood.  There are 48 pews (24 per side). The measurement around the end of each pew is 36 inches.  Allow enough extra ribbon for tying. The florist or family must provide sufficient staff or help for the placement and removal of pew decorations within the allotted access and departure times.

Aisle Runner

If an aisle runner is used, it must be 100 feet in length and taped to the floor at both ends.  The couple must designate two people to secure and pull the aisle runner. For safety reasons, plastic aisle runners are not allowed. Aisle runners are to be provided by the couple or their florist and removed following the service.

Unity Candle

The chapel can provide a brass holder for the unity candle. The wedding couple is responsible for providing a unity candle with a base diameter of 2-3 inches and two side candles. Any other type of unity ceremony needs to be approved by the Heinz Chapel office in advance.

Boutonnieres and Corsages

These may be distributed from the desk in the narthex.  It is essential that all boutonnieres and corsages be clearly labeled and that the florist or a family member be present to identify the recipients.

Please note the following is not permissible:

  • Throwing rice, confetti, birdseed, or flower petals (real or artificial) is not allowed inside or outside the Chapel.
  • Pulling children or others in wagons is not allowed.
  • Butterfly, insect or bird releases and sparklers are not permissible on the Chapel or University grounds.
  • Lighted candles, flameless candles and lanterns may not be used on pew ends, in the aisle, or in the processional.
  • Blowing bubbles is not permitted inside the Chapel.
  • Heinz Chapel follows the University of Pittsburgh's Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals Policy
  • Alcoholic beverages, except for wine as part of a religious tradition, are not allowed in Heinz Chapel.

Photography & Videography

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Photography

During the Ceremony

Photos of family members being escorted to their seats and of the wedding processional may be taken from the base of the chancel steps.

Photos of the ceremony may be taken from the following locations:  the ends of the modified front pews, the double doors of the narthex, the left and right side aisles, the center aisle behind the last seated guests, or the gallery.

Photos may be taken from the base of the chancel steps for any of the following:

  • Exchange of vows and rings
  • Lighting of the unity candle
  • Sign of peace/Greeting of the parents
  • Tribute to the Blessed Mother
  • Breaking of the glass

Auxiliary lighting may be used before and after, but is not recommended during the ceremony.

Videography

During the Ceremony

Videography of family members being escorted to their seats and of the wedding processional may be taken from the base of the chancel steps.

Videography of the ceremony may be taken from the following locations:  the ends of the modified front pews, the ambulatory door on the left side of the chancel, the left and right side aisles, the center aisle behind the last seated guests, or the gallery.

Auxiliary lighting may be used before and after, but is not recommended during the ceremony.

Use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) inside the Chapel is NOT permitted. Use of drones on the Chapel grounds must follow the University's Office of Trade Compliance policy.

After the Ceremony

Once the recessional has concluded and your guests have exited the Chapel, you can begin post-wedding photography. A delay in the scheduled ceremony start time or a particularly lengthy ceremony will reduce the amount of time available for photography.   All participants must adhere to the scheduled departure time. Access times are listed on your license agreement and include the Chapel, parking, and grounds of the Chapel.

Photography and videography of weddings for third party use such as television programs, advertising, etc. is not permitted.

Music

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The Heinz Chapel pipe organ reflects the magnificence of the building and will enhance the beauty and grandeur of your wedding

with music appropriate to the setting.

Organist

A Chapel organist is available to be at your ceremony to play your chosen processional and recessional marches. The organist, whether used by the wedding couple or not, is provided as part of the Chapel fee.

Rehearsal

A Chapel organist will be present to play the couple’s chosen processional and recessional marches. If the couple will not be using the organ for their ceremony per their Music Form, the organist may not be present for the rehearsal.

Wedding

The Chapel organist will play a 15 minute organ prelude as guests are being seated and 1-2 processional marches. The wedding couple should consult with their officiant regarding the style of music and specific pieces that may be performed.  Many officiants permit only sacred or liturgical music during the ceremony.  At the conclusion of your ceremony the organist will play the recessional march and a short postlude as your guests exit the chapel.

Wedding Marches

Audio samples of the processional and recessional pieces are available on the music selection form . Your choices must be submitted electronically from the website's form at least two months before your wedding date.

Processional Marches
You will need one march for the attendants and one for the principal.  Or, you may elect to have one march for both the attendants and the principal.                                                  

Jeremiah Clarke, Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
John Stanley, Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Prelude (from Te Deum)
André Campra, Rigaudon (from Idomenée)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Ode to Joy
Johann Pachelbel, Canon in D
Jean-Joseph Mouret, Rondeau (from Sinfonie de Fanfares)
Richard Wagner, Wedding Chorus (from Lohengrin) (Principal only)
George Frideric Handel, Overture to the Fireworks Music (Principal only)
George Frideric Handel, "The Rejoicing" (from the Fireworks Music) (Principal only)

Recessional Marches
You will need only one march:

Henry Purcell, Trumpet Tune in C Major
Felix Mendelssohn, Wedding Music (from Midsummer Night's Dream)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Ode to Joy
George Frideric Handel, Hornpipe (from Water Music)
Benedetto Marcello, Psalm 19, "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God"
Charles-Marie Widor, Toccata (from the Fifth Organ Symphony)
Jean-Joseph Mouret, Rondeau (from Sinfonie de Fanfares)
Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Now Thank We All Our God

Prelude and Postlude Music

The organist will select from a variety of fine organ music.  Violin, flute, or other chamber instruments with or without organ accompaniment may be included during the prelude/postlude. See other musicians guidelines below.

Additional Music

In addition to the prelude, processional, recessional, and postlude music, the organist may play other requested selections during the ceremony. These may include hymns, service music, or other pieces. All special music requests must be made at least two months before the wedding date and must be approved by the Heinz Chapel office. Please note that additional organ music requests may be subject to additional fees.

Recorded Music

Permission for recorded music must be made in writing to the Chapel at least two months before the wedding date. The couple is responsible for their own equipment (a laptop with an audio jack or device with blue-tooth capability) and music files and must assign someone to work the equipment. It is recommended that couples using recorded music make an appointment ahead of time to test their equipment with the Chapel sound system.

Other Musicians

Notification to the Chapel of any outside musicians (cantors, wind instruments, strings, etc.) must be made at least two months prior to your wedding. Musicians requesting organ accompaniment should attend the wedding rehearsal or schedule a separate rehearsal time. Practice with additional musicians during the scheduled rehearsal must occur within the allotted rehearsal time. Practice can be arranged at other times based on availability and may be subject to additional fees. Special permission for musicians to access the balcony must be obtained. The Chapel can provide microphones, stands and music stands for musicians, but equipment is limited.

If you have any questions, please email heinzchapel@pitt.edu.

Officiants

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Your Officiant

The chapel is nondenominational and has no clergy on staff. It is the responsibility of the wedding couple to secure an officiant to preside at the ceremony. Religious and civil officiants are welcome. It is crucial that your officiant be aware of the dates and times of the wedding rehearsal and ceremony. Should the officiant fail to be present for the wedding ceremony, there is no one at the chapel who could act as a replacement.

Rehearsal

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Rehearsal Time

Fifty minutes are scheduled for each rehearsal on the day prior to the wedding. Because rehearsals run every 50 minutes, it is important that all participants arrive on time. If a rehearsal begins late, the time allotted must be reduced by that amount. Note that rehearsal times for weddings near a holiday may be different than the schedule. Please check with our office during booking.

What to Expect

Two Chapel Wedding Coordinators will be present to coordinate your rehearsal. Please note that it is the responsibility of the couple and their officiant to to determine the details of the ceremony itself. This must be determined prior to the rehearsal.

The Wedding Ceremony form is due from the couple at least two months before the ceremony. This form will assist our Chapel Wedding Coordinator in facilitating your rehearsal and the day of your ceremony. A Chapel Wedding Coordinator will contact the couple two weeks before the ceremony date to discuss details. At that time the couple should also provide the order of their processional which will facilitate the rehearsal process. The Chapel organist will be present to play the processional and recessional as you practice.

Microphones

Chapel staff will have microphones available for the couple, officiant and any readers during the rehearsal for practice and sounds checks.

Wedding Day

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Access

Please note your access time on your Event License Agreement. This is the start of your reservation for the building, grounds and parking. The access time before your ceremony start time allows the florist, photographer, and videographer time to set up and your guests to be seated. One hour and 15 minutes is allocated for the ceremony and photography. Access times are strictly enforced.

Chapel Address for Invitation Purposes

Heinz Memorial Chapel
University of Pittsburgh
Fifth and Bellefield Avenues
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Chapel Seating

The chapel seats approximately 350 people.


Receiving Lines

Due to their length and timing, receiving lines are not recommended. However, additional access time may be purchased to accommodate a receiving line. Please check with the Chapel office for the availability of adding time increments before or after a ceremony.

Service Animals and Pets

Only service animals are permitted in Heinz Chapel. For further information please see the University of Pittsburgh's Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals Policy.

Wedding Couple Waiting Areas

The Chapel provides separate lounge areas for each of the wedding couple. These areas are available upon access time for your wedding. If you would like more time to use these areas for dressing prior to your ceremony, we recommend you add additional time (if available) before your ceremony. Please contact the Chapel office for more information. The Chapel is not responsible for personal items and valuables. These should be removed from the rooms before the ceremony and kept with family members or friends.

Chapel Personnel

As part of your wedding fee, the Chapel provides two wedding coordinators who will coordinator your rehearsal and wedding time in the Chapel. Approximately two weeks before your date, a Heinz Chapel wedding coordinator will contact you to discuss the details of your wedding and the information you have provided on your Ceremony and Music Forms.

Alcohol, Beverages & Food

Alcohol is NOT permitted in the Chapel except for wine as used during and part of a religious service. Beverages and food (other than communion wafers) are not allowed inside the Chapel. There is a water fountain and bottle refill station located in the lower level of the Chapel.

Wedding Venue Tours

To sign up for a wedding venue tour, please visit our Tours page.

Parking

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Parking

Reserved parking is provided during your access time and is located on the left side of S. Bellefield Avenue between Forbes Avenue and Fifth Avenue. The left hand lane will be closed to traffic and will be dedicated parking for you and your guests. A Pittsburgh Police Officer will be present to direct the parking. Please remind your guests and vendors that this parking is provided only during your access time to the Chapel and grounds. Cars not removed once your access ends, may be ticketed or towed.

Garage and Street Parking

Underground parking is available below Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, 4141 Fifth Avenue. Please check their schedule for potential closures due to special events. Metered street parking is available on streets adjacent to the Chapel. When you park, use the nearby kiosks or smart phone app for details and payment.

Accessible Parking & Access

There are two accessible parking spaces adjacent to the chapel on S. Bellefield Avenue. You must have the designated plate or hang tag to park in the spaces. A level, paved sidewalk leads from the two accessible parking spaces to an automatic door on the north side of the chapel (facing Fifth Avenue).  An elevator provides access to the chapel and an accessible restroom on the lower level.

Accessibility

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Accessible Parking & Access

There are two accessible parking spaces adjacent to the chapel on S. Bellefield Avenue. You must have the designated plate or hang tag to park in the spaces. A level, paved sidewalk leads from the two accessible parking spaces to an automatic door on the north side of the chapel (facing Fifth Avenue).  An elevator provides access to the chapel and an accessible restroom on the lower level.

Assistive Listening System

Assistive Listening System is available to amplify the Chapel's audio sound system. Devices include portable receiver and earphones (you can also use your own earphones.) The Chapel also has Integrated Neck Loops for individuals with telecoil-equipped hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Sustainability

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Sustainable Event Guide

Looking to incorporate some sustainable practices into your wedding? Check out Pitt's Sustainable Event Guide for easy-to-implement suggestions.

Unplugged Ceremony Sign

One less thing for you to print and then discard! Couples can request to use the Chapel's Unplugged Ceremony Sign on their Ceremony Form. A picture of the sign is there too.

Vase Reuse

If you don't want to take your bouquet vases with you, the Chapel will coordinate with area florists so that they are reused rather than discarded.

Green Office

Heinz Chapel is committed to sustainability behind-the-scenes and has a Green Office designation at the University of Pittsburgh.

Rescheduling & Cancellations

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A confirmed wedding can be rescheduled no more than one time. If the rescheduling takes place within 180 days of the ceremony, there will be a $250 handling fee.


If you cancel within 30 days of your reservation payment date, you can receive a refund minus a $250 handling fee. Any cancellations made after 30 days are non-refundable. To cancel, email the Chapel office at heinzchapel@pitt.edu.

Decorations

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The decorating guidelines are based on past experience and are designed to protect the chapel structure and ensure an equitable situation for all who schedule weddings in the building.

  • Your florist has access to the chapel 45 minutes prior to the scheduled ceremony time.  Please keep in mind that the arrival and seating of guests also takes place during that time.
  • All decorations brought in for a wedding must be removed at the end of the ceremony.
  • The florist must provide sufficient staff for the placement and removal of decorations within the allotted access and departure times.
You or your florist may provide any or all of the following decorations:

Altar flowers

The top of the altar measures eight feet long and 21 inches deep.

Bows on the ends of pews

Flowers may be incorporated in the bows.  The bows may only be attached with ribbon, rubber bands, or elasticized thread.  Arrangements on metal or plastic clips may be used if the clips are wrapped.  There are 48 pews (24 per side). The measurement around the end of each pew is 36 inches.  Allow enough extra ribbon for tying.

Aisle Runner

If an aisle runner is used, it must be 100 feet in length.  For safety reasons, plastic aisle runners are not allowed.

Unity Candle

The chapel can provide a brass holder.

Only wax candles are allowed for a Unity Ceremony at Heinz Chapel.  Wine, sand, chemicals, beer, oil or grains are not permitted.  Alcoholic beverages, except for traditional communion wine, are not allowed at wedding ceremonies in Heinz Chapel.

Candelabra

Two floor candelabra may be used in the chancel area.  The use of dripless or mechanical candles is strongly recommended.

Boutonnieres and Corsages

These may be distributed from the desk in the narthex.  It is essential that all boutonnieres and corsages be clearly labeled and that the florist or a family member be present to identify the recipients.

Please note:

  • Throwing rice, confetti, birdseed, or flower petals is not allowed.
  • Lighted candles may not be used on pew ends, in the aisle, or in the procession.

Photography & Videography

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Photography During the Ceremony

Photos of family members being escorted to their seats and of the wedding processional may be taken from the base of the chancel steps.

Photos of the ceremony may be taken from the following locations:  the ends of the modified front pews, the double doors of the narthex, the left and right side aisles, the center aisle behind the last seated guests, or the gallery.

Photos may be taken from the base of the chancel steps for any of the following:

  • Exchange of vows and rings
  • Lighting of the unity candle
  • Sign of peace/Greeting of the parents
  • Tribute to the Blessed Mother
  • Breaking of the glass

Videography During the Ceremony

Videography of family members being escorted to their seats and of the wedding processional may be taken from the base of the chancel steps.

Videography of the ceremony may be taken from the following locations:  the ends of the modified front pews, the ambulatory door on the left side of the chancel, the left and right side aisles, the center aisle behind the last seated guests, or the gallery.

Auxiliary lighting may be used before and after, but not during, the ceremony.

After the Ceremony

One hour is allocated for the ceremony and photography.  A delay in the scheduled start time or a particularly lengthy ceremony will reduce the amount of time available for photography and videography.   All participants must adhere to the scheduled departure time.

Photography and videography of weddings for third party use such as television programs, advertising, etc. is not permitted.

Music

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The Heinz Chapel pipe organ reflects the magnificence of the building and will enhance the beauty and grandeur of your wedding with music appropriate to the setting.

Rehearsal

A Chapel organist will be at your rehearsal to play your chosen processional and recessional marches, finalize placement of all music for your ceremony, and rehearse with any additional musicians, if needed.

Wedding

The organist will play a 15 minute organ prelude as guests are being seated, the processional march, and any music you have requested during the ceremony.  The wedding couple should consult with their officiant regarding the style of music and specific pieces that may be performed.  Many officiants permit only sacred or liturgical music during the ceremony.  At the conclusion of your ceremony the organist will play the recessional march and a short postlude as your guests exit the chapel.

Wedding Marches

Audio samples of the processional and recessional pieces are available on the music selection form and you may submit your choices electronically from the website.  A trumpet may be used with some of the marches.  If you elect to include a trumpet, the trumpeter should attend the wedding rehearsal.

Processional Marches

You will need one march for the attendants and one for the principal.  Or, you may elect to have        one march for both the attendants and the principal.                                                  

Jeremiah Clarke, Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
John Stanley, Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Prelude (from Te Deum)
André Campra, Rigaudon (from Idomenée)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Ode to Joy
Johann Pachelbel, Canon in D
Jean-Joseph Mouret, Rondeau (from Sinfonie de Fanfares)
Richard Wagner, Wedding Chorus (from Lohengrin) (Principal only)
George Frideric Handel, Overture to the Fireworks Music (Principal only)
George Frideric Handel, "The Rejoicing" (from the Fireworks Music) (Principal only)

Recessional Marches

You will need only one march:

Henry Purcell, Trumpet Tune in C Major
Felix Mendelssohn, Wedding Music (from Midsummer Night's Dream)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Ode to Joy
George Frideric Handel, Hornpipe (from Water Music)
Benedetto Marcello, Psalm 19, "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God"
Charles-Marie Widor, Toccata (from the Fifth Organ Symphony)
Jean-Joseph Mouret, Rondeau (from Sinfonie de Fanfares)
Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Now Thank We All Our God

Prelude and Postlude Music

The organist will select from a variety of fine organ music.  Violin, flute, or other chamber instruments with or without organ accompaniment may be included during the prelude/postlude. The organist will not play transcriptions of piano or orchestral works or popular contemporary tunes.

Other Musicians

Vocalists and instrumentalists are welcome at Heinz Chapel.  The wedding couple should make arrangements directly with any additional musicians they wish to include.  Those requiring organ accompaniment need to attend the wedding rehearsal and should provide complete and legible sheet music, in advance, to the organist.  During the ceremony a limit of three musical selections is advised.

Recorded music is not permitted in the chapel.

If you wish to discuss any of the above please call the Heinz Chapel office, 412-624-4157, to speak with one of our wedding coordinators.

Officiants

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Your Officiant

The chapel is nondenominational and has no clergy on staff. It is the responsibility of the wedding couple to secure an officiant to preside at the ceremony. Clergy of religious denominations recognized by the University of Pittsburgh’s Association of Chaplains are welcome, as are civil officiants.

It is crucial that your officiant be aware of the dates and times of the wedding rehearsal and ceremony. Should the officiant fail to be present for the wedding ceremony, there is no one at the chapel who could act as a replacement and your ceremony would have to be cancelled.