A Heavenly Venue - The beauty of the Saint James Chapel offers a heavenly radiance with its gem-like windows, angels, saints, and an altar that is a sacramental image of the banquet table of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Here our hearts are drawn deeply into the nuptial mystery of the One who perfects espousal union – His own body married to His bride – The Church. Your loving response to God in the sacrament of Christian marriage finds a beautiful beginning at Saint James Chapel.
The windows of the chapel have been called “the crown jewels of Chicago’s art treasures” and are similar to the famous stained glass windows at Sainte Chapelle in Paris, France. Their many colors soar over your guests as they contemplate the rest of the chapel’s early French Gothic style. Dedicated on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Archdiocese of Chicago on June 10, 1920, Saint James Chapel was designed by Zachary Taylor Davis and the architecture firm of Gustav Steinbeck of New York. The stained glass was installed by the John J. Kinsella Company of Chicago. The chapel has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. The American Institute of Architects Guide to Chicago has termed the stained glass of the Quigley Chapel "dazzling."
Located at the corner of Rush and Pearson streets in downtown Chicago, the Saint James Chapel is only steps away from the “Magnificent Mile” with its many restaurants, hotels, and sights. The Chapel seats 299 people, is wheelchair accessible, and climate controlled. Assisted hearing devices are available. Parking is available at commercial parking decks adjacent to the Archbishop Quigley Center, the Archdiocese of Chicago office building where the Saint James Chapel is located.
There are many facets to your beautiful St. James Wedding and you have many questions. Where to park? What about flowers? How does my priest from outside of the diocese get delegation and approval of the preparations he has made for our church marriage file? When can we arrive the day of the wedding? How do I arrange the music? Is there a way my friend can sing? Can we take pictures in the courtyard? And many more.
Carol, as the Chapel’s wedding liturgy coordinator, saves the bridal couple and their parents from unneeded apprehension; she saves the pastor from excess time at the rehearsal; and she very often saves everyone from a large degree of confusion. With a Master’s degree in liturgy, she is knowledgeable and can clearly explain sacramental, ritual and liturgical matters as well as chapel policies concerning the use of candles, appropriate music, photography, and floral decor. She has prepared and developed liturgical planning tools and guidelines for your chapel wedding which will be shared at upcoming Q &A sessions.
Carol and our St. James Chapel wedding team are also familiar with the facilities available. They are acquainted with the sound system, know which rooms are the best as bridal preparation rooms and are able to show you the chapel’s wedding provisions (candelabras, kneeling bench, etc.). If requested by your priest, Carol will also run a smooth rehearsal and instruct everyone participating in your liturgy of the options you have carefully selected.
Carol frequently offers Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions conveniently scheduled after selected Saturday morning “Friends of the Windows” chapel tours. You may come to more than one. If desired, private wedding consultations with Carol are available. If your priest or deacon has questions about the file, liturgy or other aspect of your wedding, please have him contact Carol.
Intake and Scheduling
If you have your pastor’s permission to be married at St. James Chapel, reach out regarding our dates and times of availability. You may anticipate a reply within 24–48 hours. We may suggest alternative dates and times close to your desired dates, but please know that availability changes very quickly. Before a date can be confirmed, your pastor must have given his permission for you to be married at St. James Chapel and a celebrant must have agreed to be present for both the rehearsal and wedding. He must also prepare the marriage file, and all chapel and basic music fees must be paid in full.
Carol Leitch Miller, M.A.L.
Wedding Liturgy Coordination
St. James Chapel Music
Address of St. James Chapel
Archbishop Quigley Pastoral Center
835 N. Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Attend a marriage preparation program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago. There are a variety of classes to fit your individual circumstances. Our programs are in English, Spanish or Polish and include Marriage in the Lord Marriage Preparation Sessions on Zoom, In-Person (Day) or In-Person PreCana Weekend Encounters. You can register for any of these here. For more information, please email [email protected] or call 312.534.8351.
Take a premarital inventory. There are two acceptable inventories to choose from, the Catholic Couple Checkup or FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study). Both online inventories help couples learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. Check with your priest or deacon to see which one he wants you to take.
Seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) before the wedding day. This is an important aspect of preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage for Catholic brides and grooms. Consult the bulletin or website at your parish for times for confessions or ask your priest to set up a time that is convenient for you.
Your priest will need to submit a complete marriage file no later than one month prior to your wedding: A baptismal certificate dated within six months of the wedding is to be sub- mitted by each Catholic person to their celebrant. In an interfaith marriage, a baptized non-Catholic is asked to present a record of Baptism, if that is possible. A recently issued Confirmation Certificate is requested, but not required.
A pre-marital questionnaire for both the bride and the groom will be completed by the consulting priest or deacon. Two affidavits affirming each person’s freedom to marry may be required in some cases. The consulting priest or deacon will advise.
Your complete marriage file also contains a certificate from your marriage preparation class, as well as proof of completion of the premarital inventory, which is a copy of the results from the Catholic Couple Checkup or a letter for FOCCUS.
Finally, a marriage license from Cook County, IL is required and is to be presented to the priest or deacon at the time of the rehearsal. Currently, a Cook County license is valid for 60 days from the date of issue and must be obtained at least one day prior to the wedding. For information on obtaining a marriage license, including locations and hours, go to cookcountyclerk.com or contact Cook County Clerk’s Office at 312.603.7790.
Ask your priest to send your COMPLETE marriage file at least one month prior to the celebration to:
Reverend Ramil Fajardo, Rector
St. James Chapel Archbishop Quigley Center
835 N. Rush Street Chicago, IL 60611
In some cases other documents may be required. The consulting priest or deacon will advise and assist in this regard. In order for a priest or deacon to celebrate your wedding who is from outside the Archdiocese of Chicago, a letter of endorsement is required from his local bishop or superior. This letter should be sent to:
Archbishop’s Delegate for Extern
and International Priests
Fee Structure for Weddings at St. James Chapel
$3,500 includes chapel and music fees to be paid when reserving the chapel. Checks should be made out to the Archbishop of Chicago.
If you are taking FOCCUS and One in Christ, the fees are payable at the first meeting of the seminar as directed by the location. Other PreCana program fees can be paid online at familyministries.org or at the door.
Selections of Wedding Readings and Prayers
Your participation in the preparation of the wedding liturgy together with your priest or deacon will draw you more deeply into the contemplative dimension of worship, which includes the sense of awe, reverence and adoration which are fundamental attitudes in our relationship with God. Your priest or deacon will assist you in selecting readings, prayers, and blessings, and other choices for your liturgy. A helpful guide and selection form is available at togetherforlifeonline.com. St James Chapel will request a simple rehearsal planning form to be completed 30 days prior to your wedding.
Music for Your Wedding
The music for your wedding is an important part of making the sacramental celebration of your marriage a beautiful, prayerful and joyful event. St. James Chapel Music will guide you in planning your music and will provide all the vocal and instrumental musicians who will be engaged at the wedding. An organist and cantor are included with the Chapel fee and will be arranged through St. James Chapel Music. Additional musicians can be requested for an additional fee.
The beautiful Catholic tradition of the bride’s offering prayers and flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary after the wedding vows or after communion is welcomed and encouraged. Your florist can furnish a single flower or a small bouquet for the ceremony.
Flowers are a beautiful adornment when carried by the bride and bridesmaids, and worn by the groom, groomsmen, parents, and grandparents.
If you wish to have floral arrangements for the chapel, kindly ask your florist to limit them to either side of the tabernacle.
Flowers or decorations should not be placed in the aisles or on the pews or attached to railings. Flower arrangements and candle stands may not obstruct the liturgical movements of the ceremony. Flowers can never be placed on the altar itself.
Please refrain from dropping petals inside of the chapel during the processional or outside after the wedding.
You may make arrangements for photographs with a photographer and videographer of your choice. Photographs conclude no more than 20 minutes after the Mass.
Priority in the loft is given only to the musicians as they are part of the liturgy. Aisles must remain open for liturgical movement. Photographs are allowed (usually without flash and outside of the sanctuary, below the step) during the liturgy including the procession, the readings, exchange of vows, blessing of rings, kiss of peace, and communion. Please refrain from taking photographs during the consecration, the most sacred part of the Mass.
After the Wedding
Please refrain from throwing items such as confetti, rice, birdseed, rose petals and other objects. Also, please refrain from releasing balloons, doves, or butterflies. Sparklers and all fireworks are banned in the city of Chicago, please refrain from lighting them or any fireworks after the wedding. Bubbles or bells are allowed. Please reserve your special toast for the reception. No alcoholic beverages, including champagne, are to be brought into the Archbishop Quigley Center.
The St. James Chapel’s sacristy collection holds chalices, patents, altar linens, hosts, communion wine, vestments, and a Ritual Book. Kneelers are available for the wedding couple, best man and maid of honor.
Support from Chapel Staff
The wedding coordinator, Carol Miller, or a substitute will be present for the rehearsal and the wedding itself to assist you. Carol will also help to coordinate the procession, lectors, gift bearers, seating, and the various other aspects of the liturgy. Any guidance you can give the couple beforehand about these things would be appreciated. There will also be a housekeeper and two (2) security guards on hand to assist you and the wedding party.
The couple must complete a premarital inventory, either the Catholic Couple Checkup (available at familyministries.org) or FOCCUS. Both can be discussed with a coach.
It is the priest’s responsibility to prepare the marriage file, which contains sacramental records and all necessary affidavits. The celebrating priest or deacon should collect all these documents and send or hand deliver them at least one month prior to the celebration to:
Reverend Ramil Fajardo, Rector
St. James Chapel
Archbishop Quigley Center
835 N. Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
A baptismal certificate dated within six months of the wedding is to be submitted by each Catholic person. In an interfaith marriage, a baptized non-Catholic is asked to present a record of Baptism, if that is possible. A recently issued Confirmation Certificate is requested, but not required.
Two affidavits affirming each person’s freedom to marry may be required in some cases. This may be determined after completion of the premarital inventory and consultation with you or an assisting deacon.
The couple is required to obtain a Cook County, IL marriage certificate and present it to you at the time of the rehearsal or before.
Permission to Celebrate
If a priest or deacon is from outside the Archdiocese of Chicago, a letter of endorsement is required from his local bishop. This letter should be sent to:
Archbishop’s Delegate for Externs
and International Priests
Rehearsals (one half-hour) and weddings (one hour) start and end on time.
Saturday at 12:30, 3 and 5:15 p.m.
No weddings are celebrated on Sunday
Enhanced time, music, larger preparation areas for weddings that include stylists, and courtyard photography are available for our Grand Weddings. Request a consultation with Carol for more details.
The Friday prior to the wedding at 4, 5 or 6 p.m.
Private Preparation Spaces for the Bride and Groom
We provide separate preparation spaces for the bride and groom along with their bridal parties prior to the ceremony for all weddings. The areas include seating and private restrooms apart from the guests. With our arrangement, it is possible to avoid seeing one another prior to your wedding if desired. Please arrive fully dressed.
Once You Become Engaged
Contact your parish to schedule a meeting with a priest to establish a date that he is available to celebrate your wedding at St. James Chapel, counsel you and prepare your canonical file, and establish your freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.
Contact the chapel intake coordinator to establish a date and time with the chapel.
Make the fee payment as described by the intake coordinator.
As Soon as Possible
Attend a marriage preparation program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago (Pre Cana, etc.) and provide completion certificate to your celebrant.
Complete a premarital inventory (Catholic Couple Checkup or FOCCUS) and provide completion certificate to your celebrant.
Request two affidavits each affirming your freedom to marry and provide to your celebrant.
Complete premarital questionnaires with celebrant for both bride and groom.
No More than 6 Months before Your Wedding
Request and submit baptismal certificates to your celebrant.
At Least 90 Days Prior to Wedding
Attend a Wedding Q&A session to help plan the liturgy for your ceremony.
90 Days Prior to Wedding
Receive and work on Wedding Rehearsal and Music Selection forms.
60 Days Prior to WeddingObtain a marriage license from Cook County, IL: cookcountyclerk.com or 312.603.7790
30 Days Prior to Wedding
Submit Wedding Rehearsal and Music Selection forms.
Celebrant must submit canonical marriage file.
Week of Your WeddingSeek the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession).