Wedding planner's delight

Pam Karnick loves a wedding -- but not the cost.

So she's decided to give people a place to get married without going into debt.

"Two kids, they could drop $20,000 on a wedding easy … that could buy them a home, or at least a down payment," she says.

For $500, couples can have two hours for their ceremony at Karnick's wedding chapel, Chapel by the Fox, which opened this week in downtown St. Charles. The location, 815 E. Main St., is the same spot Heart to Heart Chapel, which also hosted weddings, was located.

Karnick figures a couple can have their wedding, pay for the minister and possibly a photographer, and give their guests cake, coffee and appetizers for less than $1,500. Karnick has plenty of floral arrangements in the chapel, so the only flowers a bride might need are the ones in her own bouquet.

"This is kind of a real important thing to me to make a good wedding and (keep it) affordable for people today who could certainly use the money on other things besides a one-day wedding," she said.

Karnick bought the business and rents the building from her friend. Karnick said her friend got out of the business because she had another full-time job and could no longer do both.

For Karnick, who works a part-time office job, planning weddings is her ultimate career. She's hoping eventually she will be running the chapel full time.

"Not all of the jobs are as upbeat as this … weddings are such a happy time," she said.

In addition to information about her own chapel, Karnick makes sure she has information available to couples about area hotels, restaurants that can host small groups, caterers and area bed and breakfasts.

Karnick offers the chapel to couples for weddings and even receptions for small groups. She can seat up to 50 people for a wedding and 32 for a sit down dinner in the chapel.

And while the chapel is not the traditional church setting, she notes it is just as elegant. Brides have their own room to be in before the wedding and make their entrance down a staircase. Guests are seated in cloth covered chairs and the ceremony takes place next to a fireplace.

"It's so elegant," she said.

In addition, Karnick said couples can use the outdoor garden areas for summer weddings. A large deck near the gardens can hold 40 to 50 people.

Couples can rent the chapel for as little as 30 minutes to an hour for a ceremony or as much as a full evening for the ceremony and a reception.

Karnick's own daughter was married in the same chapel six years ago when it was run by her friend.

"It was such a wonderful experience as far as the atmosphere, and it was a very laid back kind of wedding," she said. "It wasn't stressful and it wasn't expensive. It was just extremely pleasurable."

Another of Karnick's daughters, Tami Cesarone, became a licensed minister, as did Karnick's husband, Kevin, to perform ceremonies at the chapel. Though Karnick and Cesarone are available, patrons can also bring in their own minister or justice of the peace.

The chapel is available for weddings any day of the week at any time, Pam Karnick said. The chapel also is available for wedding and baby showers or other types of meetings. One company already has contacted her about hosting a Christmas party there this year, she said.

The chapel is open by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (630) 443-4111.

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