Dream weddings are expensive, but the St. Andrews Center is working to help offset that cost by making its sanctuary available for special events at a discounted rate.
"We want people to have that dream wedding without having to come up with hundreds or thousands of dollars," said Executive Director Kristi Strode.
According to her, the center's Greek revival style sanctuary that was built in 1907 and features a dome ceiling, excellent acoustics and stained glass windows, is ideal for weddings, musical events or family milestones, and is generally available.
"It's one of the loveliest sanctuaries in town," she said of the Highland Park venue. "It's a shame for it just to sit there."
Opening the sanctuary is not only a way to generate revenue for St. Andrews; it is also a way of engaging the community and helping better establish the center as a community resource, said Strode.
Part of the motivation for opening the sanctuary for events was to give un-churched members of the community a church setting to be married in and to help give college students whose home churches aren't located in Chattanooga a local church for their wedding, she said.
Strode said she is willing to do a tour with anyone interested in using the space and plans to work with wedding parties' tastes and schedules to accommodate them as much as possible. Several spaces in the St. Andrews Center are available for wedding parties to get ready before the ceremony and an on-site fellowship hall is also available.
"Whatever the bride wishes, we are here to make that happen," said Strode. "If it had been me and I had known this space was available, I would have fallen in love with it."