ANYONE WHO’S DONE it, or seen it done, knows that getting married is indeed a production. Thousands of considerations seem to multiply as the blessed day draws near, but one of the most vexing-and important-is where to have the ceremony. The following list of the 10 best places to marry in Dallas may help couples narrow their options.
1. Park Cities Baptist Church, Northwest Highway near Preston Road. EllisChapel seats up to 400 people and is complemented by a reception area that will accommodate a maximum of 150 guests. Catering services are not provided. For smallerweddings, the Narthex Chapel, located nearthe main sanctuary, can accommodate 15 to35 guests. The main sanctuary will accommodate 1,800 downstairs and an additional400 in the balcony. Saturdays are reservedfor members of the church. Fees range from$25 to $750, and reservations should bemade three to six months in advance. Contact consultant Mary Dominy at 369-8211.
2. Highland Park United MethodistChurch, Cox Chapel, Mockingbird at Hill-crest. The chapel seats about 180 people andis distinguished by its ornate Gothic interior.The main sanctuary accommodates up to800 people. The church’s Great Hall can beused for a reception for as many as 400guests. A hostess on the premises will handle every detail except the wedding cake.Use of the chapel costs $150, and use of thesanctuary is $300 for non-members. Fees formembers include $50 to $75 for the minister,and there’s an organist fee of up to $125, depending on whether or not additional musicians are included. Wedding consultant Cindy Cummings can be contacted at 521-3111.
3. Perkins Chapel, Southern MethodistUniversity, Mockingbird at Hillcrest. Thisred brick church, which seats about 350 to400 people, is a popular and prestigiouschoice for weddings. Through separate arrangements, receptions can be held at theSMU Alumni House. The fee for use of thechapel is $265, which includes one hour ofrehearsal and the services of organist Matthew Dirst. Perkins Chapel has four weddings a week, held on Saturdays only, andthey are spaced three hours apart. ContactGladys Mollet at 692-3035 for more information.
4.Highland Park Presbyterian Church,3821 University. The Wynne Chapel, located in the center of this large church, isnotable for its stained glass windows, Gothicceiling and carved wood entrance. It seatsabout 200 people. The church’s main sanetuary seats 1,200; Elliott Hall, a large unadorned room with parquet floors, will accommodate 300 people for a reception. Catering is available, and Martha Duff, who can be contacted at 526-7457, handles wedding arrangements. There is no fee, but use of the chapel or sanctuary is available only to members of the congregation.
5. Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas. Sab-losky Chapel, which seats 80, and the sanctuary, which seats 672, are both available forJewish wedding ceremonies. A Shearith Israel rabbi and cantor must officiate. The ceremony will be traditional, complete with thechupah and the breaking of glass. The synagogue features four possible reception sitesand has a list of approved kosher caterers thatcan be used. For more information, contactbuilding director Shira Bush at 361-6606.
6. Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross. This housewas designed for the Belo family by architectHerbert Green, and construction was completed in 1900. Purchased by the Dallas BarAssociation in 1977, the mansion, with itsnew wing, will accommodate up to 800guests. The skylighted atrium, is a popularspot for ceremonies. Catering is provided byVick’s Restaurants. Fees to use the mansionfor receptions are $300 for less than 100guests and $400 for 100 or more, and Vick’scaters parties for a minimum of $1,500. Theatrium wedding setup costs an additional$250. To use the site, you must know a member of the Dallas Bar Association. To makearrangements, call Nancy Downs at651-0584.
7. Dallas Garden Center, Fair Park. Thecenter is distinguished by its open, airy atmosphere. Ceremonies can be held either onthe stage in the auditorium or in the outdoorgarden. The center, which is rented in five-hour segments, is available for a minimumof $485, $100 of which will be returned if thehall is left on time and in good order. Additional fees are charged for use of the alcovesfor extra space, equipment rental of tablesand chairs and special privileges such asdancing and serving liquor. Members of theDallas Civic Garden Center get a discount,as do wedding parties that use the facility anyday from Monday through Thursday. Thehall accommodates a maximum of 500 people. A kitchen is available, and couples mayuse the caterer of their choice. For more information, call Booker Elston at 428-7476.
8. Old City Park, 1717 Gano. The parkfeatures two attractive wedding sites: PilotGrove Church and the Gazebo. The whitewooden chapel is non-denominational. Itfeatures an old-fashioned steeple and seats 125 on the original pews. Music is provided by a small pump organ. The Gazebo, also referred to as the Bandstand, accommodates 35 people beneath the covered area and many more outside. Seating for ceremonies in the Gazebo must be obtained by the bridal party through a rental agency. Food and champagne are permitted, but no hard liquor is allowed. Brent Place restaurant, which is located in the park, will cater, but customers may bring in their own caterers if they prefer. The fee for use of the church for three hours is $100, plus a $50 security deposit. Both sites may be reserved for $150, plus a $100 security deposit. Contact Betty Kelsey of the Dallas County Heritage Society at 421-5141.
9. Dallas Arborteum and Botanical Society Headquarters, 8617 Garland Rd. Thefive gardens near the DeGolyer Estate (nowDeGolyer House) have always been a popular wedding site, but they will be undergoing a major restoration beginning in April.The DABS headquarters, formerly the AlexCamp House, is now available for weddings.The lawn and terrace, which overlook WhiteRock Lake, are picturesque ceremony sites,but if weather is a problem, a ceremony forabout 60 guests can be held in the diningroom. Dancing is allowed outdoors on theterrace, but only background music, such asa classical quartet, is allowed inside. A listof approved caterers is provided; a full kitchen is available for whichever one you choose.Fees for use of the headquarters are $500 forfour hours, plus $25 per hour for the staffand $25 per hour for security. To make anappointment with the wedding coordinator,call 327-8263.
10. Arlington Hall in Lee Park, 3400Turtle Creek Blvd. This large antebellum hall is a replica of General Robert E. Lee’smansion in Arlington, Virginia. The hall isin Lee Park, formerly Oak Lawn Park, nearthe banks of Turtle Creek. The unadornedhall will accommodate about 200 people,and quite a bit of decorating is needed to givethe hall the right festive air. The main hall has a raised stage that’s ideal for live entertainment, but no dancing is allowed. Thefacility is not air-conditioned and is bestsuited for use in cooler months. The facility is available in three time segments-from 9 a.m. to noon for $40, 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.for $50 and from 6 p.m. to midnight for $65.An additional deposit of $50 or $200 is required if alcohol is served. To reserve thehall, contact Bill Johnson, program specialist for Dallas Parks and Recreation, at 670-4100.