Our Winter Park Wedding Chapel Experience
The Winter Park Wedding Chapel is a non-denominational chapel on Lyman Avenue. It’s about a block away from Park Avenue, close to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market and the Amtrak Winter Park Station.
It’s a simple, yet inviting small building that was perfect for our wedding. The chapel seats about 60 people and holds larger weddings in the courtyard during cooler months. They also have another venue for even larger ceremonies, but we were delighted to have our ceremony in an intimate setting.
During the podcast, we recount how the staff was accommodating and friendly. Our ceremony didn’t have time for planning, as it depended upon waiting for a fianceé visa approval that was extremely delayed and unpredictable at the time. Trying to find an available wedding venue was frustrating.
Somehow, we came across the Winter Park Wedding Chapel and everything fell into place. They had the most reasonable prices and plans we encountered during our search. The chapel itself was perfect, but the staff are the ones who really made it special for us.
Orlando Styling for the Bride
I met Steven Story during some group photoshoots where he worked as the Hair and Makeup Artist. He and his partner Luis really impressed me with their work, so I recommended them to Lee for her wedding makeup.
As expected, she had a great time and looked beautiful for our wedding. They provided great service with a fun atmosphere. We’re happy to recommend Orlando Styling.
Wedding Season is Almost Here
The wedding season is coming and venues are being booked all over town. If you’re looking for an intimate wedding ceremony with a friendly and accommodating staff, we can recommend the Winter Park Wedding Chapel.
Check them out. We think you’ll be glad you did.
William: Welcome to the Orlando Local Show, episode thirty-two.
Hi, thank you very much for joining us on the Orlando Local Show. We want to help you try and experience Orlando like a native and today we’re going to do that with something that’s very personal for us. We are going to be talking about the Winter Park Wedding Chapel, which is where Lee and I got married.
Lee: Beautiful day! Best of my life!
William: So sit back, relax and we hope if you’re in the market for looking for a wedding venue, it is coming up on wedding season in the Orlando area and a couple of years ago we were in the same position. We were looking to see where we were going to go and have our ceremony, because as a couple from immigrating it was kind of like last moment. We wanted to be married, but we didn’t know when we were going to get approved for immigration and then .... now what do we do? Because almost everything seemed to be booked up.
Lee: Yes. And they kept telling us this is wedding season. Because we started contacting them around this time of the year, actually.
William: It really was.
William: So before we get too far, my name is William Beem.
Lee: Hi, my name is Lee Beem.
William: And if you haven’t guessed, we’re married.
Lee: Yes! Happily.
William: Yes. And we want to let you know that show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/32 and we’ll have links to the Winter Park Wedding Chapel and we’ll let you review their site because that will give you all the rates and details and stuff like that. But I just want to let you know it’s in Winter Park. It’s on Lyman Avenue. It’s very close to – I guess – where the train station is. Because we were there for some of our wedding photos.
It is a beautiful, small chapel and I think we got lucky when we found this place. One, the staff was absolutely outstanding.
Lee: Oh, yes.
William: We had a great time and if you want to know about it, Suzanne Graffham was our – I guess the owner and co-ordinator.
Lee: She was and it was just the most personal service. She made me feel like I was her best friend and the only person around there.
William: And for a while, she was! Because like I said, we’d been looking at a number of locations. I don’t remember. How did we find them? Was it just....?
Lee: It just happened to come up on a general search and because it was smaller, we had possibly overlooked it.
William: Maybe so. One of the things as far as our wedding was we really did want a kind of small, intimate ceremony. They’ve got larger venues; I take it, if you want to have a larger wedding service.
Lee: They do have a larger venue.
William: It was perfect for me. I walked in and you know, the wooden floors, the chairs and just the whole venue of it is like a one room kind of chapel experience.
Lee: And this is not a religious chapel. You take in what you want to have in there. It’s just to point that out. Because I kind of looked and thought I didn’t want to get hooked up to a specific church.
William: No, this is not a denominational chapel. So they have someone who can officiate for you; it can be a non denominational ... if you want you can bring someone in to officiate for you and whatever denomination you want to go with.
Lee: You can build your package.
William: It is a very – how do I want to say this? It’s very flexible. It’s like an old rustic kind of chapel. I mean it’s not broken down or anything like that. It just has a nice warm, congenial feeling to it.
William: But you can get just the chapel rental itself or you can go with some of their packages. I think we actually ended up going with something they call the Silver Package for about $1600. We got the chapel rental for a couple of hours, we got our full ceremony and the co-ordination that goes with it; the minister, the notary. We got a photography package and floral package with that.
Lee: Yes, now we actually traded in because I am not a flowers girl and we traded in for a cake.
William: We got cake with that and there are also extras that you can get. We didn’t need a whole lot of extras, but one of the things we did want was having a live view video and I think we added that on as an extra because we had family that was overseas that wanted to be able to watch.
Lee: Yes, we don’t see a price on the website just now, but it was not expensive. I mean it was a very affordable add-on.
William: Yes. In addition to the chapel services they’ve got limousines for transportation, they’ve got floral services. They can do a full photo and video package, hair and make-up, spa and nails and even live music. They are showing someone with a harp on their page. But again, you don’t necessarily have to use those services. They are there if you need them. It’s a very convenient way to go ahead and build your wedding package or you can, like I said, just rent the chapel and bring in the people that you want either to cater, to decorate, for the floral or music, transportation; whatever you need.
Lee: Yes it was just perfect for us. It gave us so much versatility.
William: OK. So what was it like from your experience? For me it was pretty easy. I put on my suit, I drive there, I show up and I wait for you to come in the door.
Lee: It’s nice isn’t it?
William: It’s good to be the groom.
Lee: Actually it was really good to be the bride. I can honestly say I had zero stress for this wedding. There was not a time where I felt anxious about it. Once I had kind of got this side and spoken with Suzanne for the first time she just put everything in place for us. She had the officiant call me, we said what we wanted, she wanted to know what we needed for photos, took in the requests and everything. I kind of felt very comfortable and confident when we showed up. There was nothing that was sitting nagging at the back of my mind going, “I hope...”
William: It really was a stress free experience for us. And that’s because of, I think, a lot of their professionalism and experience with this. They knew all the things. Because I mean they are doing this all the time with weddings.
Lee: It was a very personal service.
William: It was. They were very friendly and that’s why we are really happy to recommend them. We are kind of talking about experiences that we have in Orlando. This is one of the most important ones and probably the most important one! Our wedding.
I think we picked the perfect place. There are a lot of wedding venues. They are going to start booking up. This is coming out in late February and early March timeframe. Some of the things are already probably booked up and if you’re looking for a June wedding, which is what we ended up having, it was getting hard to find.
Lee: It was. But they were able to accommodate us with a variety of dates. I think there were one or two initially – the earlier weeks were we had to pick and choose – and maybe the times we wanted weren’t available. They were incredibly accommodating and I think also the fact that they keep their time slot pretty narrowed down for the wedding venue hire, allows more opportunity for other bookings on the same day.
William: Yeah, because we were looking. There was at least one other wedding because I was looking at their blog and there was one on our same anniversary date. So before us there was another couple that had had their wedding that day. We didn’t see any signs of any other couple up there.
Lee: No. We walked in and it was ours.
William: It was ours. It was completely our experience and I’m sure that when the other couple walked in there they had their experience. But everything, when you get there, they know how to block it out so that way the parties are not crossing over each other and it is your wedding experience.
Lee: It is. I mean they left a good enough gap between them that there was no sign, as you say, of anybody else having been there. And I think we were the last for the day that day.
William: Yes. For our experience we kind of decided there were some things that we wanted to get from the package, which I think was one of the most reasonably priced packages we found anywhere.
Lee: I think it was by far the most reasonably priced package.
William: But we had someone else who was going to handle your hair and make-up, and that was Steven Storie who is a local hair and make-up artist.
Lee: He was just absolutely fantastic. He had an assistant with him and those two guys did myself and my daughter, who was the bridesmaid and it was just... we had so much fun getting ready. Because we were at your Mom’s house and even your aunt was there and she was jumping in and enjoying the social. It was just a wonderful experience.
William: I met Steven through photography. He’s worked on hair and make-up for models that I’ve done.
Lee: He does Disney as well, because after us he was on his way to Disney to do make-up for a show that night.
William: OK, I need to put his contact information out there as well because we can very highly recommend Steven Storie for hair and make-up.
Lee: And very, very good rates as well.
William: One of the things that I really liked about the gentleman who was doing the officiating for us though, was he made it intentional to include Tové, our daughter.
Lee: Yeah, that really was quite a touching little extra and it sounds terrible, but I hadn’t thought about it because I was thinking: we’re getting married. I mean she was included because she’s family, but the wedding?
William: She was your bridesmaid.
Lee: That’s right but you know, the wedding itself is about the couple and he called me to find out what we wanted. I gave him some specifics and he wanted to know if there were any children, he wanted just the basic details and then he asked how we would feel if we included her. And then he said would she be OK with surprises? Because he wanted to surprise her by giving her a part in the ceremony.
That was very special. She was quite moved. She was very tearful.
William: Oh I know she was, because I remember watching her. Because she didn’t know this was going to be happening.
William: And she was just like a deer in the headlights a little bit because she didn’t know what to do. Suddenly she was front and center in front of everyone in the group. And we didn’t have a large wedding. There were some family around and some friends, but it was by no means like the Godfather’s daughter’s wedding!
Lee: No! I just wanted to point out, he did give me the option. He said, would she be OK with a surprise? Do you want to discuss it with her? So there were ... he was happy to tailor this or skip it entirely, depending on what we needed.
William: That was one of the things overall I liked about the Winter Park Wedding Chapel is they wanted to know what would make your wedding great and they would tailor their services to fit.
Lee: And they really did.
William: That’s why we recommend them so much. I’m sure that’s why they do it. Because it helps with recommendations, but for a wedding experience, this was absolutely perfect for us and I remember what it was like. I think our wedding was 5 o’ clock?
Lee: That’s right.
William: I remember when the chapel doors opened and you stood there the sunlight was right behind you and it was like you were walking in from this glow of light. And it was just a wonderful moment. And that kind of goes down to even the positioning of where the chapel is. Like if you’re going to have a wedding towards when the sun is coming down, it is just an amazing kind of experience to be standing up there and looking back at the bride. Or even if you are in the audience and you’re looking back at the bride, that sunlight just came in with you and you just kind of emerged out of it.
Lee: See I didn’t get that. I was just walking on clouds at the time.
William: But I think that’s part of it. I don’t know who built this chapel. It’s an older building, but whoever did it got it just right because at the time that we had our wedding I mean it was just like you’re just walking right out of the light.
Lee: And it’s a lovely place for photographs as well.
William: We had one of their photographers actually who had started the year before we had gotten there and she is on the web page. Her name is Olivia Bennet. She was really fun and she took great photos. She had a lot of fun with us and of course, since she has been doing this there, she knows the areas where to get those nice photos. It was just a nice, all in one kind of package.
Lee: I mean I’ve got better, but I have always been terribly camera shy. I mean I would kind of hide away, run away, get upset. I just didn’t like to be in photos. As I say, I’ve changed. I even take selfies now! But at the time that was kind of hard for me and she just put us so much at ease.
William: She really did and it wasn’t like she was trying to put us at ease. She just had a very natural presence that was calming and fun and lively and we just kind of went ahead and did the photos. If we couldn’t think of something, she had plenty of suggestions as well.
I don’t think there was anything that we didn’t like, but I think there might have been one thing where I said, no maybe not. And she said no problem. We just rolled with it.
And we went over and got all of our photos. I thought it was great. The only part I was really worried about was that I was missing out on cake.
Lee: It’s OK. We got to take it home and had it for our anniversary.
William: Anyway, I know wedding season is coming up and as far as an experience, if you’re looking for a small chapel, reasonably priced but with a wonderful experience, that is what we got from The Winter Park Wedding Chapel. And I know that they can handle larger weddings than what we did.
Lee: They do have another venue. We don’t have any experience with that, but there is an alternative if you have more guests coming. But not everybody comes here and wants the Disney wedding.
William: No and that’s the nice thing. Even their platinum package is only $3100, which if you look at wedding venues around here?
Lee: Yeah, that’s just something else.
William: And that’s not including your photography and limousine and all those other things to go with it so like I said, it’s not only reasonably priced, it’s just downright wonderful.
We really enjoyed it. We were happy with it and we are going to have links in our show notes for both the Winter Park Wedding Chapel and for Steven Storie if you are looking for someone to help you with hair and make-up on your wedding day. Have you got anything else?
Lee: No. These are highly recommended. I had such a perfect experience. You almost want to give something critical about every review to make it real and we just couldn’t find anything about it; either the hair and make-up or the wedding.
William: I don’t have anything to criticize. We had a wonderful experience. It was very smooth. For me it was really stress free.
Lee: And I had some demands and there were things that changed that were outside of our control and they were just so accommodating.
William: I couldn’t have asked for anything better. And I’ll leave it at that.
Thank you very much for joining us on the Orlando Local Show. As I said at the top of the show, show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/32 and of course, you can find a transcript of the show there for free.
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