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Wedding Program at Stanford University

To start the wedding reservation process, please read the information below, then complete the inquiry form at



Weddings at Memorial Church continue to be a celebrated tradition at Stanford University. The church provides a beautiful sacred space for weddings with guest attendance from 2 to 1,200. Honoring its founding charter, Stanford welcomes all religious traditions and endeavors to create a memorable ceremony for all couples.

In the United States, both the legal and ceremonial occasion of a wedding take place at the same time. A California marriage license is required to conduct a wedding at Memorial Church.

Stanford Memorial Church has had a long-term commitment and practice to honor the lives of those in same-gender relationships. Interested couples should follow the same procedures as outlined in this document.


To be eligible to have a Wedding at Stanford Memorial Church, one member of the couple must qualify with a Stanford University affiliation, listed below.

  • A student in a Stanford University degree program; an alumnus/alumna; a current or retired faculty or staff member of Stanford University, Stanford Hospital, or Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
  • A present member of the Catholic Community at Stanford who is registered, participating and contributing for at least one year with a letter confirming that status from the priest.
  • A regular, long-term present participant in Stanford’s University Public Worship with a letter confirming that status from the Dean or an Associate Dean for Religious Life.
  • A child or grandchild of a person in one of the categories listed above.
  • A child or grandchild of a couple previously married at Memorial Church.
  • Postdoctoral individuals at Stanford University are eligible if the ceremony is scheduled and takes place no later than six months after the final day of the post-doc program.



Clergy who officiate at Memorial Church Weddings are a diverse group in many aspects, including religious background and gender. Clergy are assigned to officiate according to a predetermined schedule set approximately six months in advance; clergy may not be substituted.


At Catholic Weddings, priests from the Catholic Community at Stanford officiate. For a complete description of the Catholic wedding program please go to the Catholic Community at Stanford website The Catholic Church requires that the process (which includes paperwork and instruction) start at least six months in advance of the wedding date, and longer if either party has applied or needs to apply for an annulment.

Like Memorial Church itself, the Stanford clergy team is committed to a multi-faith perspective, including non-Christian faiths. Guest clergy may be invited to assist in the ceremony. All couples, including those living outside the Bay Area, are required to contact their assigned clergy at least ten weeks prior to the ceremony and meet with him/her in person at least eight weeks before the ceremony. At this meeting, the couple and the clergy will discuss the overall ceremony, the vows to be exchanged, and any other details related to the ceremony.


We welcome non-Stanford clergy to assist in your ceremony. However, the Stanford Clergy assigned to your wedding will give the opening greeting, preside over your vows, do the pronouncement, and provide the final blessing. The Stanford Clergy will sign your marriage license, but Assisting Clergy will also sign our church wedding book and ceremonial certificate that you receive. Assisting Clergy must meet Stanford Clergy to discuss details of his or her participation, which might include prayers, readings, a reflection or homily, etc. We require that Assisting Clergy contact our Stanford Clergy no later than six weeks prior to your wedding day to discuss your ceremony. If the Assisting Clergy has not contacted our Stanford Clergy by the deadline, you will be unable to have other clergy assist at your ceremony.


The Wedding Coordinator is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the reservation process, rehearsal, and ceremony, ensuring that all guidelines and protocols are followed. The Wedding Coordinator oversees the rehearsal and ceremony, in conjunction with the clergy, making sure that plans are carried out in a timely manner. At the same time, it is the responsibility of the couple to meet all requirements and to follow the timeline.


Weddings occur only on Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., or 5 p.m. Each couple has the use of the church for two hours and 15 minutes. (e.g., for a 5 p.m. wedding, the couple is welcome to arrive at 4 p.m. and enter the Round Room and the Bride’s Room.) Ceremonies must begin on time. No one is permitted inside the church, the Round Room or the Bride’s Room prior to the assigned arrival time.


To begin the reservation process, each couple must meet with the Wedding Coordinator in person. However, if the couple resides outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact the Wedding Coordinator directly to begin the reservation process. At the initial meeting, details about the wedding program will be reviewed. This will also be the opportunity to reserve a Wedding date on the calendar, requiring an initial deposit of $1,400 ($900 for current students), checks payable to “Stanford University”. This initial meeting takes approximately 1 hour.

Deposits and reservations are held for two weeks following the initial meeting as a grace period to allow cancellation without penalty. After this period, the Wedding date becomes confirmed, additional paperwork will be sent, and the deposit will be processed as a nonrefundable fee.


The church fee covers the use of the church for both the rehearsal and ceremony, 2 CD’s of the ceremony, University Organist, Wedding Coordinator, administrative staff, and premarital counseling sessions. Costs to meet with non-Stanford affiliated counselors will be incurred independently.

The fee structure is as follows:

  • $2800 Church Fee ($1,800 for current, full-time matriculating Stanford students whose ceremony will take place less than six months after Commencement)
    • $1,400 deposit due at initial meeting, payable to Stanford University
    • $1,400 remaining balance due three weeks prior to the ceremony
  • $300 Organist’s Fee due three weeks prior to the ceremony
  • $300 Clergy Fee
    • Check payable directly to assigned clergy except when it is a Catholic ceremony, check payable to “Catholic Community at Stanford”

The final payments are due 3 weeks prior to the ceremony. No exceptions.

Once payments are deposited, all fees are non-refundable. In the event of a returned check, a $50 fee applies.


Both bride and groom must appear together at a California County Clerk’s Office to obtain a marriage license. All non-confidential licenses may be obtained at any county office in California. The closest county office to Stanford is the San Mateo County Office located at 555 County Center in Redwood City. The Santa Clara County Office is at 70 W. Hedding Street in San Jose. Confidential marriage licenses must be obtained by applying within Santa Clara County. Premarital blood tests are not required by the State of California. In no way can this license be solemnized by an officiant prior to your ceremony. Marriage licenses are only valid for 90 days prior to the wedding date.


Every couple married at Memorial Church is required to participate in premarital counseling. The clergy and their faith communities think it important that couples understand the nature and responsibilities of marriage and have a relationship based on mutual love and respect. Counseling will consist of a total of three hours of participation during which opportunities to understand each other, the relationship, and expectations about marriage will be discussed. Couples must arrange for counseling by contacting the counselor assigned by the Wedding Coordinator at the initial meeting. Once counseling has been completed, the Wedding Coordinator (or Wedding Prep Director for Catholic ceremony) must be informed by the couple. At this time the couple will receive their clergy assignment.

Stanford’s wedding program is designed to be flexible and sensitive to a variety of ages and cultures. The Taylor Johnson Temperament Analysis or TJTA (taken online) serves as an instrument to guide meaningful discussion with the counselor. The Catholic Church requests copies of the TJTA profiles but at the same time, all clergy are to be kept apprised of matters where their professional training is useful to couples. In addition to the three hours of premarital counseling, an additional hour-long session may occur within the first year of marriage, at the discretion of each couple at no extra charge.


Rehearsals provide the valuable opportunity to organize and rehearse the ceremony with the Wedding participants. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the rehearsal is scheduled for the afternoon before the Wedding day and lasts approximately one hour. Participants include attendants, parents and family members involved in formal seating, readers, ushers, and guest clergy if applicable. It is imperative that everyone is punctual, especially since other rehearsals will take place before or after and the clergy will be asked to participate. If the rehearsal starts late due to a late arrival, the hour will not be extended.

Couples must bring the following items to the rehearsal:

  • California Marriage License* with stamped envelope
  • 5 copies of the wedding program
  • Unity Candle, if couple is providing their own

* If the marriage license is not brought to the rehearsal, the couple is in danger of having their ceremony canceled. The couple must designate a volunteer to retrieve the license during the rehearsal, and it must be delivered before the end of the rehearsal hour.


The University Organist, Dr. Robert Huw Morgan, will contact the couple directly regarding music at the ceremony, and provide the assigned organist’s information when the ceremony occurs during the academic year, running from October through May. Otherwise, Dr. Morgan will play at all ceremonies unless he designates an alternate. Musical requests must be submitted at least three weeks prior to the ceremony. Dr. Morgan can be reached by e-mail:, phone: 650.725.0503, or fax: 650.725.7009. Only sacred classical music (or music from the couple’s religious tradition) chosen by the organist in consultation with the couple will be played or sung. The couple will be asked to choose musical selections from a provided CD. The CD also includes vocal pieces performed by soloists who may be requested for a separate fee. Music begins approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

If a soloist or singer is desired, other than those suggested by the University Organist, he/she must abide by the following rules:

  • Music selection must be cleared with the organist by providing a recording of a performance by the chosen artist(s) and
  • The couple must arrange for piano accompaniment, if needed.
  • The organist always plays the processional and recessional.


Family and guests attending the ceremony must be informed, either informally before the ceremony day or by explicitly stating in the ceremony program that photography of any kind is not allowed during the ceremony. Professional photographers hired by the couple are the only ones permitted to shoot during the ceremony. It is the responsibility of the couple to inform members of the ceremony party, family, and hired professionals of the policies related to photography and videography in the church. The rules outlining professional photography and videography are designed especially for Memorial Church and intended to uphold the sanctity of the ceremony. The complete list of guidelines must be signed and acknowledged by the photographer/videographer prior to the ceremony day. Any specific questions or concerns must be asked in advance. On the day of the ceremony, the photographer and/or videographer must check in with the Wedding Coordinator at least 45 minutes prior to the ceremony start time.


Memorial Church has equipment for recording and/or amplifying the service. The videographer must make arrangements with the sound technician who will arrive 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, and as a memento of your special day, you will receive 2 audio CD’s of your ceremony.


Guests are seated toward the front of the church in the center sections on either side of the main aisle. Bride and groom’s ‘sides’ are only observed for immediate family members and relatives. Family or friends who should be formally seated should be identified beforehand, so that the Wedding Coordinator can have them practice during the rehearsal.


The East Room is available for the bride and her attendants as a dressing/waiting area and is available one hour prior to the ceremony start time. Traditionally known as the Bride’s Room, it is also available to our same gender couples as a private dressing area. The East Room must be cleared out immediately after the ceremony, regardless of whether another ceremony party follows or not. One to two people should be appointed to be responsible for removing all belongings and seeing that the room is left as it was found. Gentlemen will meet in the Round Room one hour prior to the ceremony and should be fully dressed as there is not private space in this area.


Couples that expect fewer than 30 guests may choose to seat everyone on the Chancel located directly in front of the altar rail. This special arrangement must be discussed in advance with the clergy person and the Wedding Coordinator.


As a safety precaution, cloth runners are not permitted in the aisle and nothing may be tossed (e.g. flowers, rice, confetti, etc). All floral arrangements must be preassembled and may be delivered one hour prior to your ceremony at the earliest. Florists must be directed to the Round Room and can only deliver items on the day of the ceremony. Couples are responsible for providing the florist with delivery instructions and the gate code in order to enter and load behind the church. The Wedding Coordinator will provide the gate code one week prior to your ceremony.


From Highway 101 North & South

From Highway 101 North and South with From Highway 101 take University Avenue

exit west toward Palo Alto. Proceed on University Avenue through downtown. University Avenue becomes Palm Drive. Continue on Palm Drive until the street ends on the “Oval” – a large grass area in front of the Stanford Quad. Parking is available around the Oval and east of the Oval on Roth Way. From the Oval, walk up the steps into the Stanford Quad.

From Highway 280 North & South

Take Sand Hill Road exit toward Menlo Park/Stanford. Continue east on Sand Hill Road for about 1.5 miles. Turn right on Santa Cruz then make an immediate left onto Junipero Serra Blvd. Proceed 0.5 miles and turn left on Campus Drive. Continue around the Campus Drive loop for 1.7 miles. Turn right on Palm Drive. Continue on Palm Drive until the street ends on the “Oval” – a large grass area in front of the Stanford Quad. Parking is available around the Oval and east of the Oval on Roth Way. From the Oval, walk up the steps into the Stanford Quad.

From El Camino Real

From El Camino Real turn west onto Palm Drive/University Avenue towards Stanford University. As you enter the university, University Avenue will turn into Palm Drive. Continue on Palm Drive until the street ends on the “Oval” – a large grass area in front of the Stanford Quad. Parking is available around the Oval and east of the Oval on Roth Way. From the Oval, walk up the steps into the Stanford Quad.


At the rehearsal, the Wedding Coordinator will give each couple six passes for six vehicles to park directly in back of the church on the day of the ceremony. Distribution of these passes is strictly up to the couple. The closest parking areas to the church are in the Palm Drive Oval or at Tresidder Memorial Union. The walk from either of these lots may take 10-15 minutes. Permit parking spaces in these lots are not enforced on weekends. In order to facilitate a smooth parking experience and ensure that guests will not miss the start of the ceremony, couples should notify guests of the parking challenges and encourage timely arrivals. A printable campus map can be found at

For people who are unable to walk prolonged distances, please contact the Diversity and Access Office at or 650.725.0326 1-2 weeks prior to your ceremony. Wheelchair/disability access is located behind the church. Special parking provisions for the rehearsal are not available unless passes are requested in advance from the Diversity and Access Office.

If the reception venue will be on campus (e.g., The Stanford Faculty Club or Tresidder Memorial Union), it may be more convenient to direct guests to park near the reception and encourage them to walk to the church. Receptions are not allowed outside of the church or in the Main Quad area.


Alcohol or intoxication is not permitted at weddings or rehearsals at Memorial Church. This no drinking policy applies to the entirety of the church and surrounding areas. Intoxication can invalidate the rite of marriage and we reserve the right to limit participation of anyone in the ceremony who appears to be under the influence.


Wedding vow renewal ceremonies are permitted for couples that have been married at least 20 years.

Renewal Fees are:

$1,300: Church Fee. Check payable to “Stanford University”
$ 300: Clergy Fee. Check payable to individual clergy
$ 300: Organist Fee