Dear Engaged Couple—I wrote about the chapel at Trump vineyard in an earlier blog. Since then I have had the opportunity to actually officiate there. In this blog I intend to give you more information about this holy place as well as a heads up as to the challenges the chapel presents, even as it offers a most spiritual setting for your nuptials.
First you should know that the chapel, as also the extensive tract of land upon which it sits, and a nearby award-winning vineyard, was once owned by Patricia Kluge. She was wife of the now deceased magnate John Kluge.
Patricia and John were divorced and she subsequently married William Moses. Together they owned these properties until 2011, when Patricia and William were forced into bankruptcy. Patricia Kluge’s vineyard, once valued at 75 million, was bought by the Trump family for 6.5 million. Eventually the home and the chapel also came into Trump’s possession.
The chapel is lovely to behold. Breathtaking is the adjective that immediately comes to mind. It IS that. The day of the wedding at which I officiated, guests’ eyes widened upon entering. and more than a few offered a “Wow,” or “Whew!” Angelic, full of light, spiritual, are other appropriate descriptors. As you can derive from the pictures, the sanctuary is filled with light, thanks to the sanctuary’s many windows.
It is also attractively decorated in pastel colors which lend to the lightness of the place. On the ceiling is a mural of life in Virginia—spiritualized. That is, Mother Mary and the Christ Child comprise the center medallion, but scenes from the Virginia countryside decorate the edges of said mural. Cliimbing a narrow, steep staircase from the foyer (or narthex) up to the balcony one discovers a piano keyboard and an extremely small pipe organ. Taking another set of steep steps from the foyer down to the basement, one discovers a small room, and some locked doors leading to what I am told, is a mausoleum. It is the final resting place for several Kluge family members
Yes, this is definitely a place of worship. Again, a most spiritual setting. Ok. That’s some of what I know about the Chapel, which comes highly recommended by me, as a fitting place to exchange your wedding vows. HOWEVER, the place does have its challenges. It is good to be aware of these so that you, your wedding planner and your officiant can work around these. I will list these in order of importance:
1. Parking. There is little in the way of parking at the chapel. The staff at Trump Vineyard recommends that the couple hire a bus for transporting guests to and from the site. Trump provides the bus, but for a price. Make sure this added expense fits with your budget.
2. Size. The chapel holds 80 people, tightly. There are chairs which can be lined up in front of the rows of pews, but that makes for a logistical nightmare for bridal party entrances and exits. No more than three guests might fit comfortably in the balcony.
3. Restrooms—or the lack thereof. You may want to advertise this fact. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it would be appropriate to add a note about this at the very bottom of the wedding invitation: “Please note, there are no restrooms in the chapel.”
4. Directions. There is parking space for a very few cars, at the chapel itself (see #1 above). You might want these to be available for the musician, the officiant, the wedding planner, and perhaps guests who have disabilities that prohibit them from climbing on and off a bus with ease. However, the chapel is not on GPS and Trump Vineyard does not have signage directing traffic to the site. Best then, to provide directions to anyone who will be parking there.
If you would like to tour the chapel for yourself, give Patrick Butler, Trump’s event planner, a phone call. He can be reached at 434-977-8895.
That’s it. All in all, it’ a small list of challenges. On the plus side, no need of a sound system since the space is small and the acoustics are fine. No need for much in the way of decorations,, either. The chapel is gorgeous as is. There are two musical instruments already in place (the pump organ and the electric keyboard). An able musician would need only a half hour or so to familiarize himself with those. Finally, although the chapel stands alone at the top of a hill, but the perfect venue for your wedding reception is located just at the bottom of that same hill—Trump Vineyard. Some might call this a perfect set up. I do.
Your Wedding Preacher for Hire