Going to the Chapel

So, what am I doing this week??  Finishing up the first in my Elizabethan mystery series (hopefully out next year from NAL! I also have a new pseudonym–Amanda Carmack…). Enjoying the fall weather.  Planning my Halloween costume.  And realizing that my wedding is only about nine weeks away!

In very timely fashion, one of my favorite blogs, The Order of Sartorial Splendor (which documents royal fashions and is tons of fun) is having a countdown of readers’ favorite royal wedding gowns.  So far they are only at #9, since #10 was a two-way tie, and I am really looking forward to seeing what’s on the list.  (I do love #9, Lady Sarah Chatto!  Her mother, Princess Margaret, had my #1 favorite royal wedding look of all)

My own wedding will be considerably less grand than a royal affair, but hopefully it will still be elegant and romantic!  I have my dress, my shoes, my veil (my mom’s veil, which she wore at her wedding 40 years ago!), music planned, dinner menu set.  I’m most excited about the venue, the historic Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe.  It was built in 1873 by an order of French nuns for their girls’ school.  The architect, Antoine Mouly from Paris, had worked on a recent renovation of the amazingly gorgeous St. Chapelle (I mean it–if you have not seen this place, put it on your bucket list asap!) and suggested they model the chapel after that church.  The stone was quarried from around Santa Fe, but the stained glass windows came all the way from Paris, to New Orleans via ship, barge to St. Louis, then wagon to Santa Fe.  It has a beautiful, elaborate Gothic altar and lovely statues, but its most distinctive feature is the Miraculous Staircase.  (You can see its history on their website, which has lots of nice pics as well)

I love the history and beauty of this place, and it’s so special to me since I’ve been visiting it since I was a child and we lived in New Mexico.  I came up with several wedding ideas, but in the end this was the only one for me!  Since Westminster Abbey didn’t work out…  (plus my dress will look great there, LOL)

See more about St. Chapelle here

Where did you get married?  If you could do it again, would it be someplace different?  Where is your “dream wedding” location??

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Louisa Cornell
9 years ago

The chapel you’ve chosen is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see the photos from your wedding!

I was married in the college chapel where I attended undergraduate school. The chapel is in Jewett Hall, a pre-Civil War hall at Judson College. I actually chose the location for the beautiful formal parlors where we held the reception, the double marble staircase going up to the chapel and most important, the brand new Flentrop pipe organ. All of the music for my wedding was special, but the recessional was the Toccata from Widor’s Symphony for Organ. It is an awesome piece and only a handmade Flentrop shipped directly from Holland and assembled by hand by someone who was a third generation organ builder can do that piece justice!

Diane Gaston
9 years ago

I was married at our local church, a place much too modern for me, although it did go well with the shaggy hair of the groom and groomsmen.

Your chapel looks absolutely PERFECT, Amanda! I can so see you there.

Susanna Fraser
9 years ago

What a beautiful chapel! I’d love it for that staircase alone.

I was married at what by Seattle standards is an old church–it was built circa 1920. It’s a lovely building, though, with this high wooden ceiling that always reminded me a bit of an upturned ship’s hull.

But as for my dream wedding site, when I lived in England in 1997-98, and had just started dating my now-husband (another American volunteer in the same program), I took a day trip to Bath. When I entered the Assembly Rooms, they apologized that one area was roped off because they were preparing for a wedding that evening. I squeaked out something like, “You can get MARRIED, here?!” Next thing I knew a catering manager was pushing flyers on me even as I protested that I didn’t even have a fiance, and, besides, as they could doubtless hear from my accent, I was American, as was my boyfriend who was by no means a fiance, so I’d probably get married in America, if I got married at all, which I had no immediate intentions or prospects for so doing. But if I had infinite money and my wedding to do over again, I might have it there and fly everyone over.

Elena Greene
9 years ago

Gorgeous chapel, but now that song is running through my head again. They play it a lot in my husband’s water exercise class, which is mostly folks who were young when that song came out… Please make it stop!


We got married at a local garden center that has a lily pond, bridge and gardens in the back for the purpose. Since we came from different faiths and were married by a Unitarian Universalist minister (and have since gone UU), it worked to have a beautiful and neutral location.

A dream wedding site would be Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders. Very beautiful with Robert Adam interiors. And they do weddings.

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

LOL, Susanna! If I had unlimited funds and time, I would also love Bath. (or the Brighton Pavilion)…

9 years ago

I’ve been to weddings in churches, synagogues, backyards, historic houses, the chapel at Princeton University, a barn in a vineyard, and miscellaneous other locations and I’ve loved them all. I think the chapel for Amanda’s wedding is beautiful and romantic, and I’m sure the wedding will be all things good.

On another topic but put here because I know Amanda loves costumes is that she (and everyone else) should go to the Hillwood Museum exhibit called Pret a Papier. An artist has recreated historic clothing entirely out of paper, and the outfits are stunning. The museum is in Washington, DC, and if you can’t get there in person, go to their website: hillwoodmuseum.org.