Athens, Georgia, is a beautiful, historic town bursting with vibrant culture. Home to the University of Georgia, one of the country’s oldest public universities, Athens has a fabulous balance of youthful energy and historic charm. You’ll find diverse restaurants offering world-class dining, a lively art scene, gorgeous parks and nature trails, and, of course, plenty of UGA pride. But, most importantly, you’ll find your dream wedding destination: The Chapel Athens.
Longtime Athens landmark, the Catholic Church of St. Joseph, has recently been beautifully reimagined and respectfully transformed into a stunning event space. With preserved historic charm and contemporary details and functionality, it’s the perfect place to host a stylish wedding. Whether you’re a UGA alumni or simply looking for a gorgeous wedding venue, you’ll definitely want to consider hosting your wedding at The Chapel Athens.
While The Chapel Athens is a brand new wedding venue as of early 2023, the building dates 110 years ago to 1912. Dedicated initially as The Catholic Church of St. Joseph in 1913, it became a signature structure of the UGA campus. For almost a century, the church was a sanctuary and spiritual respite for students, faculty, and other community members. In 2005, the church finally needed to expand, and they relocated to another site to accommodate their large congregation.
In 2018, the church’s original on-campus site was sold to a developer. However, there was an understanding that the original church structure had to remain intact. In early 2022, Athens Food Group, a collection of local restaurants and event venues, purchased the original church and its property. Their vision was to create a beautiful, contemporary event space. After months of renovation, The Chapel Athens opened in the spring of 2023. Today, it’s an upscale event venue that balances modern amenities with authentic touches of the church’s original architecture. Perfect for UGA alums – or anyone looking for an intimate, beautiful wedding venue – The Chapel Athens is quickly becoming an in-demand space for gorgeous celebrations.
From the outside, The Chapel Athens still looks like the classic church, an iconic landmark of the UGA campus for over a century. Its sleek, white exterior, elegant entrance, and wall of arched windows give the building its signature chapel look.
Upon entering the chapel, you’ll be welcomed into a vast open space that is bright and contemporary. The far side of the room features a staircase leading to a lofted mezzanine that overlooks the event space below. The mezzanine hosts a built-in bar and lounge seating for a chic space for your guests to socialize.
Back in the main space, you’ll find a vast open floor space that lends itself to various floor plans and configurations. The westward-facing wall is now home to newly installed glass panoramic doors leading to an adjacent covered patio. The covered patio is ideal for extending dining space or giving guests an outdoor area to enjoy. Beyond the patio space is a new large private courtyard and garden, ideal for outdoor ceremonies, cocktail hour, and more!
The windows and glass doors of The Chapel Athens let in natural light for a beautiful, bright event. The floors are a chevron patterned hardwood, stylish and clean. A vaulted ceiling made of rich, dark wood adds elegance to the room, adorned with hand-painted detailing for charm and character. Ultimately, The Chapel Athens is a beautiful blank canvas to accommodate any wedding aesthetic, regardless of color palette or style. Depending on how you use the venue spaces, The Chapel Athens can accommodate between 180 and 300 guests. You can combine indoor and outdoor dining spaces or stick to one or the other.
Since The Chapel Athens has one primary event space, couples often choose the main area for both the ceremony and reception. This results in a flipping of the space between events. Following your beautiful indoor ceremony, guests will be escorted onto the patio and into the garden for cocktail hour. The garden is complete with a mobile bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. In the meantime, your planning/coordinating team and The Chapel Athens event staff will work quickly to set everything up for your reception. This includes tables, chairs, centerpieces, and other decor.
While there are beautiful private bathrooms for your guests throughout your event, there are no getting-ready suites onsite. However, if you book your ceremony and reception at The Chapel Athens, they will reserve you a suite for two nights at a nearby hotel for you to use to get ready on your wedding day.
The Chapel Athens is in a fabulous downtown location. It is close to various hotels, restaurants, and, of course, the heart of the UGA campus. We can absolutely take photos using the beautiful exterior and entrance of the chapel as a backdrop. There are plenty of gorgeous indoor spaces, and we can highlight your signature wedding decor. But there is also so much to explore just outside the venue! If you love outdoor shots, we can wander to a nearby park, use views of the Oconee River, and incorporate other UGA landmarks. All of this and more, just within a matter of blocks!
Choosing a venue owned by a restaurant and event group has its advantages. Namely, they know exactly what a great event needs and have catered their amenities to offer couples everything they need! The Chapel Athens offers in-house catering but also the option to hire an approved outside caterer.
If you take advantage of their Full-Service package, you’ll receive amenities like all food and beverage needs (including catering, beer and wine, and all service.) You’ll also get full use of their tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, and glassware. All staff, including a venue manager, servers, bartenders, and setup/cleanup crew, are included, too! The only outside services you’ll need to consider are your wedding cake, florals, and event coordination.
If you want to leave your wedding in style, you can rent their 1948 Chevy Fleetline Sedan. The Chevy is affectionately named “Something Blue.” You’ll be chauffeured from your reception to your ideal drop-off location, perfect for a dramatic, fun, and vintage-inspired exit.
The Chapel Athens is a stunning wedding venue with historic charm and all of the modern reimaginings needed for a stylish, comfortable wedding. As your wedding photographer, I’ll help you capture every meaningful detail and candid moment of your wedding day. Let’s get in touch!
- kim hymes
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