Wedding Policies

For reservations, information, and policy clarifications, please call the Chapel Office, (315) 781-3671. 

The chapel is available for religious wedding ceremonies during the summer term for members of the HWS community, defined as students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and the children and grandchildren of the same.  In keeping with the laws of the State of New York and the canons of the Episcopal Church, couples may be married in St. John’s Chapel without regard to gender, provided that at least one member of the couple has been baptized. 

Couples are encouraged to select their preferred wedding officiant so long as the officiant is regularly ordained or otherwise appropriately designated by a recognized religious community. The officiant need not be an Episcopal priest. The Chaplain of the Colleges may be available to officiate at the ceremony. Inquiries should be made at least six months prior to the ceremony. 

The Wedding Policies and Reservation Form (PDF) must be submitted as soon as possible and acknowledgment of the completed form confirmed by the Chaplain’s office before your reservation is considered definite.  

The proper designation for the location of the wedding in a wedding invitation: 

St. John's Chapel 
Hobart and William Smith Colleges 
South Main Street 
Geneva, NY


  • John’s Chapel is available for religious funeral services for members of the HWS community, defined as students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae and the partners/spouses of the same.
  • Families desiring to hold services in St. John’s Chapel should contact the Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Engagement prior to setting a date and time for the service. Particular times of the academic year such as orientation or commencement may necessitate that the Burial Rite be held at a time other than these significant events in the life of the Colleges.
  • The chapel organist, MaryAnn Hamilton, has the right of first refusal for the service. Other musicians and vocalists may take part when agreed to by the chapel organist. The chapel organist fee should be paid prior to or on the date of the service.
  • Flowers are not recommended for the Burial Rite, with the exception of two arrangements for the altar stands.
  • Funerals in St. John’s Chapel will have the casket closed for a full body funeral. The funeral pall will be placed on the body or cremains as is the tradition of The Episcopal Church.
  • The service should follow an outline of either The Book of Common Prayer or an approved alternate liturgy of The Episcopal Church.
  • Fraternal or sorority rites, or other rites should precede the Burial Rite at a different time, preferably at a vigil or wake. They are not to be included in the Burial Rite proper.
  • The service will be followed by the committal at a Geneva, NY cemetery or one within a 20-mile radius of the Chapel. If the committal is to occur outside of this radius, the committal is at the Chaplain’s discretion.
  • A donation is requested for the use of the Chapel and for the services of the Office for Spiritual Engagement staff. This should be made payable to St. John’s Chapel.
  • Programs may be printed by the family. Programs printed by the Colleges will be paid for by the family. All programs must be reviewed and approved by the Chaplain prior to printing.
  • The Chaplain may make exceptions to the Funeral Policy for pastoral reasons in particular contexts.