With the first step inside the doors of Pequot Chapel, you’ll know immediately that this is a special place. That stunning first glimpse of three magnificent stained-glass windows at the end of a long aisle, carpeted in royal red, is only the beginning.
The chapel is located on Montauk Avenue in the heart of the Pequot Colony Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1872 by Henry S. Crocker, the non-sectarian carpenter-gothic style chapel has been a wedding site for many years—most likely from the beginning, according to wedding liaison Marilyn Percy.
“This is a beautiful place to get married,” she says. “Those windows make such a perfect backdrop for the ceremony.”
The windows in the chancel aren’t the only works of art in this chapel. Two glorious Tiffany stained-glass windows adorn one wall of the south transept. Louis Comfort Tiffany was a regular summer visitor to the Pequot House, a local historic resort hotel. The chapel is also graced by several other round stained-glass windows above the various doors.
A large pipe organ sits to the right of the altar and is available for use in any wedding, if desired. “The sound in here is wonderful because of the ceilings,” says Marilyn. “And we have wonderful speakers at the back of the chapel.” If organ music isn’t the bride’s choice, she may bring in whatever she wants. For one Coast Guard wedding, the music was provided by a six piece ensemble.
Marilyn says, “We’ve had all kinds of weddings here. We had a motorcycle entourage where the bride and her attendants arrived on motorcycles. Then the married couple left on a motorcycle. We’ve also had brides arrive in a horse-drawn buggy.” She laughs. “Anything goes here.”
As the chapel’s wedding liaisons, Marilyn and her assistant, Deb Butler, are available to help wherever needed. They often pin boutonnieres on the groomsmen, or help the bride’s attendants with corsages or wristlets. If the bride needs help with decorating the chapel, or anything else, they only need to ask.
The history of the building isn’t the only unique thing about Pequot Chapel—sometimes two and three generations of brides have walked down this aisle. It is a family tradition for many New Londoners. Marilyn steps into the foyer. “Another special tradition here is the bell.” She pulls the rope and a lovely sound rings out. “We ring the bell at the moment the two are pronounced man and wife.”
The chapel is by no means small; it will comfortably seat 250 people. Brides may use their own minister, or there is an available list of local ministers who’ve signed up to perform marriages. “One thing,” says Marilyn. “We don’t allow Justices of the Peace because we are a consecrated chapel.”
Because the chapel is not heated, the wedding season runs from April through October. Marilyn has booked November weddings occasionally, but warns that they could be quite chilly affairs. The chapel is not limited to wedding events. In the past, it has been the site of memorial services, funerals, christenings, vow renewals, anniversary services, and even a St. Bernard’s High School class reunion.
Once a bride-to-be has set her heart on being married at Pequot Chapel, she’ll submit a reservation document with a check for $600. Should plans change within one month, $450 will be refunded.
Pequot Chapel is located at 857 Montauk Avenue, New London, CT 06320. For more information, contact Marilyn Percy at 860-442-0812. Reservation forms and other documentation are available online at pequotchapel.org.