The celebration of the sacrament of Marriage is something dear, treasured, and historically significant at the Church of the Transfiguration. All weddings performed at Transfiguration use the Book of Common Prayer, which includes the passage that marriage is to be entered into “reverently, deliberately, and in accordance to God’s Holy Word.” Although Transfiguration has always shared a liberal policy of inclusion with regard to weddings, there is an expectation that wedding parties will honor and respect the traditions and guidelines of the church.
Weddings at Transfiguration
The church acquired fame in the mid 20th century for the thousands of weddings it hosted. Every Saturday in the 1930s and 40s—and often on weekdays—couples would gather in the garden, awaiting their turn to be married in the Holy Family Chapel. The Rector in that era would marry as many as seven couples a day.
We hear from those couples to this day as part of our Little Family community. We send out several newsletters to them each year and a card goes to all those married here on their anniversaries.
Tucked behind a lovely English garden with a fountain, Transfiguration is a neo-Gothic church rich with architectural detail. There are two spaces in which you may choose to be married:
The Holy Family Chapel is a quaint room paneled with dark wood that seats up to 50 people and is appropriate for smaller weddings. The altar piece is a painted depiction of the betrothal of Mary and Joseph. It is in the Holy Family Chapel that thousands of couples in the post-war years became married, making the Little Church famous for weddings.
The Main Church is a larger, more opulent space that houses our magnificent C.B. Fisk organ and will seat up to 350 people, making it ideal for a traditional wedding. The church interior is composed of deep mahogany pews and ceiling beams and lined with colorful stained glass windows. Gilded paint decorates the walls at the altar, and the aisles are made of mosaic marble tile.
You are invited to come to the church for a visit and see which space best suits you. The chapel is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:40 am until 5:10 pm (or the close of Evening Prayers). The main church is open on Sundays after the 11:00 am Mass. If Sunday is not convenient, contact the parish office during the business week and schedule a time for the church to be unlocked for your viewing. The office number is 212 684-6770.
The tradition of openness at Transfiguration continues to this day—there are just a few requirements for marriage at Transfiguration. The national canons of the Episcopal Church require that either the bride or groom be a baptized Christian, and that the couple partake in pre-marital meetings with the Rector. Divorced persons are welcome to remarry in the Episcopal Church. The Rector must obtain permission from the Episcopal Bishop of New York to perform the marriage, a simple process that involves a few sheets of paperwork and proof of divorce.
You do not need to be a member of Transfiguration to be married here, though you are most welcome to join us on any Sunday. You do not need to be a resident of New York City (or even of the United States). Since we are an Episcopal Church, we use the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage in the Book of Common Prayer as the liturgy.
The first step to planning a wedding at Transfiguration is to email our Parish Administrator with your specific request (your names, the dates and times you are interested in having your wedding here). Questions about the liturgy, scheduling, fees, obtaining a marriage license, music, flowers and other questions about the service, will be answered by a member of the clergy. We look forward to hearing from you! The Parish Administrator's email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Little Church's Little Blog
January 15, 2018