Ellis Chapel offers a gorgeous backdrop and elegant space for ceremonies
Ellis Pioneer Chapel is a gorgeous, historic chapel, perfect for both religious and non-denominational wedding ceremonies, located in the countryside just outside of Guelph. This incredible space (which is easily accessible from Highway 401) will have you wondering how you didn’t know about it before. It seats up to 125 people, has big, bright windows, wide plank floors and an on-site organ that plays into the chapel’s incredible acoustics. The simple architecture of the building’s interior can also act as a blank canvas for couples who want to add their own style to their day. The outdoors offer a great backdrop for wedding day photos.
With over thirty years of wedding history and over 150 years of community memories, we think it has become a new hot spot for ceremonies and will continue to into the future. Staff at The Ring sat down with Marilyn Murray, Gillian Mahnke and Barbara Bulmer, Board members and Coordinators for private bookings, to find out more…
If these walls could talk…
Built in 1861 by pioneer settlers and the community in Puslinch Township on land donated by Mary and Edward Ellis, the Ellis Pioneer Chapel holds an amazing sense of history. It’s a nationally registered historic site and a place of worship.
For forty years the church held regular services before the congregation began to shift to town churches. Eventually the church fell into disuse and the windows were boarded up.
A century after its founding, family descendants formed a Board of Trustees and restored the church, after which – in August of 1963 – a service was held in the newly restored building. “It is still a place of worship with services held monthly throughout the warmer summer months (June through September),” says Gillian. Services are lead by Ministers and musicians from all denominations and the chapel is also available for baptisms and memorial services. They began holding wedding ceremonies thirty years ago for church members and currently opened their doors for the public to rent.
The chapel underwent a face lift in 2008 with repainting, gardening and refurbishing in order to preserve the history and update the overall appearance of the chapel itself. “It’s a beautiful piece of history, preserved,” adds Gillian. “It’s a great place to start a life together.”
The chapel has also added an electrified pump organ to its list of options that are available for weddings. It’s as easy to play as a regular organ and can be played by any organist.
Brides will also love their brand new note paper, featuring an original pencil sketch of the chapel by a local artist. Available in linen finish, it’s perfect for wedding invitations and/or thank-you notes. Gillian is happy to provide a quote based on the number of cards you need.
Experiencing Ellis Chapel
“Ellis Pioneer Chapel is a great location for a serious occasion; it suits the solemnity of the event.” The chapel, with its antique wood floors and benches, is not only beautiful for a wedding ceremony, but the historic features and surrounding countryside also provide a great backdrop for wedding photos and an “excellent back-up location if you’re concerned about rain on your wedding day,” adds Gillian.
Daniela and Aaron Switzer, who dreamed of a small church in the middle of nowhere for their wedding ceremony, were delighted to find Ellis Chapel and say it provided “the most beautiful backdrop for our wedding. We were able to take most of our photos outside and inside the church.” Daniela goes on to say that the “small, simple building with beautiful windows and doors” has a great deal of character, “Just standing inside gives you the feeling that you are part of the history of the building.”
True to its historic undertones, the chapel does not have heat, air conditioning or washrooms (however high end portable washrooms are brought in for the entire wedding season), but brides have not found this to be an issue. There is however, electricity, which means electronic music and evening weddings are viable options.
The fee for having your ceremony at The Ellis Pioneer Chapel is extremely low. Ceremonies are $350, a very reasonable price for the beauty and history you get with it. This price includes the use of the chapel for your rehearsal and wedding day.
So many couples don’t have the opportunity to hold their wedding in a church or chapel, and Ellis gives them that chance. Couples can bring in their own wedding officiant, provide the atmosphere of spirituality and decorate the space (though it’s not really needed) any way they like. Gillian explains that the chapel is for the bride who wants to be different, but also to tie some tradition into her ceremony.
“We offer simple wedding ceremonies where the focus is the bride and groom,” Gillian told us. “And we love seeing another generation of happy couples get married at the Ellis Pioneer Chapel.”
Ursula and Peter Erl were one such couple when they used Ellis Chapel for their ceremony and photos. “We loved that the chapel was accessible from the 401, and was in a good location in the country for an intimate, cozy ceremony.”
Ursula adds that the altar stood out for her, saying, “The interior of Ellis was all of the original wood and was very simple. The windows were beautiful without being stained glass and the door is the original door.”
Personalizing the space
You can decorate the chapel any way you like, says Gillian, who notes that the chapel’s simple nature allows a beautiful blank slate for couples to decorate if they wish – or to be left in its authentic natural beauty.
All décor needs to be approved by the chapel Board members, mostly because it’s their job to remain dedicated to protecting and preserving the chapel. That said, their goal is to be flexible and accommodating with every couple who comes through the chapel doors. Ursula and Peter said they received excellent service. “Gillian was very accommodating. We were allowed to decorate and put flowers wherever we wanted to. Guests even threw rose petals in the air after the ceremony.”
The chapel is non-denominational so couples can bring in their own officiant and they can also use the chapel’s grounds and organ. Gillian says “the chapel has wonderful acoustics, and has been described as ‘acoustically alive’ by professional musicians.”
Details, details, details
• Book this countryside ceremony venue 6 months or more before your wedding date.
• A non-refundable (but transferable) deposit of $100 is due at booking.
• The rest of your amount ($250) is due 2 weeks before your wedding.
• If needed, you have use of their organ & grounds for your ceremony, and have the chapel to yourself the entire day (and rehearsal night!).
More from the ladies at Ellis…
Give Brenda a call at 519-767-2462 to make arrangements to visit the Ellis Pioneer Chapel or simply to book it for your wedding day. You can also learn more about their history and summer services on their website. The chapel is located at 6705 Ellis Road in Puslinch Township; 10 minutes from Cambridge Centre Mall, 14 minutes from Stone Road Mall, Guelph and 14 minutes from Fairview Mall, Kitchener. . A map to this hidden treasure can be found by going to their website here.
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