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Don’t let her fool you, Wedding Officiant Margaret Hall is anything but ordinary

Published Thursday, Sep. 29th, 2022

Ordinary Margaret Hall, wedding officiant and owner of The Matchbox Drive-Thru

Margaret Hall is a wedding officiant in LaFayette, Georgia, where she owns a tiny Vegas-inspired venue called The Matchbox Drive-Thru. 


Like Margaret herself, The Matchbox venue is colorful and inclusive – a breath of fresh air in a small Southern town. ‘The Matchbox’ earned its name because it has everything you need to get married, fit inside a space the size of a matchbox. It’s equal parts hip, welcoming, and unexpected. 


Of course, when it opened for business last fall, Margaret had no idea what to expect…



“What are we going to do, just have a drive-thru wedding chapel in the middle of LaFayette?” she joked.  


“Yes!” her daughter answered, and in that moment of playful inspiration, The Matchbox Drive-Thru was born. 



The Matchbox sparks to life 


Margaret became ordained with AMM in September of 2021, and although ordination had been on her bucket list for years, she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. All she knew was that she hoped to put the gift of ordination to good use – to really benefit the people in her community. 


When she mentioned it to her daughter one day, her daughter quickly agreed. 


“You really need to do something with this!” her daughter said, and pointed out that courthouses in the area weren’t doing walk-in civil weddings anymore, and that couples were having a lot of difficulty scheduling appointments for ceremonies when they needed them. 


She was certain that Margaret’s open-minded beliefs about marriage would be appreciated by others in the area, but Margaret wasn’t sure.


“What are we going to do, just have a drive-thru wedding chapel in the middle of LaFayette?” she joked.  


“Yes!” her daughter answered, and in that moment of playful inspiration, The Matchbox Drive-Thru was born. 


The Matchbox Drive Thru wedding chapel logo

The Matchbox Drive-Thru's custom logo, designed by Margaret's tattoo artist, 

Jennifer Edge (currently working at Mainline Ink in Chattanooga, TN)




Margaret describes the next few months as a well-planned frenzy of excited talks and meet-ups, as she reached out to various local business owners to network and collaborate on The Matchbox concept. With her daughter’s help, things came together quickly. 


Margaret’s tattoo artist, Jennifer Edge, helped her with a logo – a classic Americana style design with bold, modern colors. The landlord of the former-filling station gave his approval for any changes she needed to make. She contacted Gizmo Gadgets for a one-of-a-kind neon sign; Georgia Winery and Desserts to Go of Villanow to help with wine and sweets for couples; and Katie Herman Photography for capture those sweet moments to come. A colorful mural went up on an outside wall; and vintage cars and motorcycles pulled up alongside for a flashy Vegas-worthy opening. 


The Matchbox Drive-Thru was ready to roll! 



A couple kisses outside The Matchbox Drive Thru wedding chapel in Lafayette Georgia, near Chattanooga Tennessee

Newlyweds kiss next to the handpainted mural that decorates the chapel

via The Matchbox Drive-Thru



“An ordinary person who’s been given the extraordinary chance to marry people.” 



Being Ordinary, and Extraordinary 


But there was still one detail to take care of… The chapel was nearly open and Margaret couldn’t wait to start marrying people, but she wasn’t thrilled about using the title of ‘Minister.’ 


LaFayette is a conservative place, and she knew folks might take offense to someone who hadn’t attended seminary calling themselves ‘Minister.’ And besides, Margaret wanted anyone – of all religious beliefs and backgrounds – to feel welcome at The Matchbox. ‘Minister’ just didn’t fit. 


She considered using the common title of ‘Officiant’ next, but as a member of an inclusive Presbyterian church, she wanted to choose something that honored her professionalism and her deep respect for the spiritual purposes of ordination. 


In the end, she chose ‘Ordinary,’ a title that church officers and clergy have used for hundreds of years, but that isn’t as well known outside of Christian churches. Ordinaries are religious officers who have been given the ‘ordinary’ power to execute certain civil laws. 


Margaret liked it because it sounded more approachable than ‘Minister,’ and aligned well with how she sees herself – as “an ordinary person who’s been given the extraordinary chance to marry people.” 


The title fit, and she became ‘Ordinary Margaret.’ 


But don’t let her fool you… Since then, she’s done extraordinary things. 



“I take something old school and make it fun and different… If they have a different vibe, or a different edge, they can come to me.” 



Another happy couple outside The Matchbox Drive Thru wedding chapel in Lafayette Georgia

Seal it with a kiss! via The Matchbox Drive-Thru

Katie Herman Photography



Local fame and spreading the love 


Within a year of opening, The Matchbox Drive-Thru wedding chapel has already started making headlines, and attracts people from all over the area with its fun, boutique vibe and creative wedding ceremony packages.


Located only 30 miles outside of Chattanooga, and surrounded by a collection of innovative restaurants, cozy bars, a local theater, and an Airbnb, the tiny venue is perfectly positioned to help turn the Mars Theater District of LaFayette into a true wedding destination. 


Over the past year, Margaret’s performed marriages for interracial and LGBTQ+ couples, who often struggle to find an accepting and affirming officiant in the religiously conservative area, and countless spur-of-the-moment marriages for couples who want the full Vegas elopement experience – with neon lights, a bottle of wine, slick vintage cars, and quickie ‘I do’s included. 


She specializes in ceremonies that are offbeat and original, and generally avoids using any kind of script – preferring to speak from the heart after getting to know a couple for a few minutes.


Her unique approach gives her ceremonies a sweet and spontaneous feeling that matches the spirit of The Matchbox Drive-Thru. As she says, she likes to “take something old school, and make it fun and different.” 


She wants to serve everybody, and says “if they have a different vibe, or a different edge, they can come to me.”



Chattanooga Pride logo, Tennessee Valley Pride

Chattanooga Pride Festival 2022 

This week, Margaret and The Matchbox are teaming up with a friend to offer walk-up elopements during Chattanooga Pride Week 2022 (running September 23rd through October 2nd). It’s the first time the Tennessee pride event has taken place in two years, and is expected to draw more than 4,000 people. (That’s a whole lot of love to celebrate!)

And although she’ll have to leave the vintage cars and neon signs at home, couples at Chattanooga Pride / Tennessee Valley Pride can still look forward to something out of the ordinary, with all the glitz, glamor, and cute photo opportunities The Matchbox Drive-Thru has to offer. 

Margaret will officiate weddings, vow renewals, and commitment ceremonies at the Chattanooga Pride Festival on October 2nd. 

Book in advance here, or visit The Matchbox’s vendor booth for a walk-up elopement. 

Connect: For more details, check out The Matchbox Drive-Thru Facebook Page or send a message on Instagram. 

(Safety at Chattanooga Pride: For all LGBTQIA+ friends and allies concerned about recent threats of violence against Chattanooga Pride, read about added security measures and other details here, as provided by the Chattanooga Pride Board.)


“If you have a dream, run with it! It doesn't matter how different, or weird, or unique it is.”



Margaret’s advice to first-time officiants


“I wish I’d crossed this item off my bucket list a long time ago. If you have a dream, run with it! It doesn't matter how different, or weird, or unique it is. That just differentiates you from someone else. 


I don’t look to make a million [dollars by officiating] –  as long as I can pay my rent and my lights, and stash a little back for my kids, that makes me happy.”



A happy couple pose on their wedding day next to a red vintage car outside The Matchbox Drive Thru wedding chapel in Layfette, Georgia

via The Matchbox Drive-Thru



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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