When Matt and Mikaela Kingsley ’98 decided to get married two years ago, they knew that Wesleyan’s campus would be the perfect location to tie the knot.

Kingsley, who began working for the University soon after she graduated, is now the associate director of Events. Her long-standing connections to the University rendered the Memorial Chapel the ideal spot to spend her special day.

“My husband Matt and I are both Wesleyan alumni,” Kingsley said. “It was a no-brainer that we’d get married here. Not only do I work in Alumni Relations planning events, but of course Matt and I met here, and most of our wedding guests had some connection to Wesleyan.”

While current students might be surprised to encounter stretch-limousines or bridal parties on campus, the Memorial Chapel is actually a quite popular wedding locale.

“We typically host anywhere from 20 to 40 weddings each year,” said Ed Chiburis, facilities and events manager of the Memorial Chapel and ’92 Theater.

As would be expected, many couples who are drawn to Wesleyan as a wedding spot are in some way associated with the University itself, often as either alumni or staff. However, couples also choose the Chapel for a plethora of other reasons.

“The Chapel is a beautiful space, sacred without being too religious or denominational,” Kingsley said. “And the rest of campus is a perfect backdrop for any event.”

While most University students only know about campus weddings from the occasional glimpse of the bride in white, for Meredith Rogerson ’11, weddings at Wesleyan hit closer to home—her parents were actually married here.

“They went out for a lot of junior year and all of senior year and then married here [two years later] in June of 1979,” Rogerson said .

“I think that Wesleyan was a very special place for both of them, both separately and together,” she added. “Getting married here made logical sense.”

Cheryl Hagner, university coordinator of the Memorial Chapel, explained that she works with many different types of couples who cite a range of reasons for choosing the spot.

“It also attracts area residents who are interested in the aesthetic beauty of the Chapel, as well as those couples who are not affiliated with a specific church,” Hagner said.

While it might be common for students to see formally clad wedding guests outside of the Chapel, weddings on campus have not always been welcome during the school year.

“Before [2003], there was a policy not to have weddings while classes were in session,” Chiburis said.

Chiburis explained that this rule was a cautionary measure to avoid logistical conflicts between the wedding itself and other previously scheduled events on campus. Since the University changed this protocol, wedding dates have been dispersed evenly throughout the entire year.

In fact, the majority of couples actually seem to prefer holding their weddings while school is in session—the Chapel hosted only three or four weddings during this past summer break, a small fraction of the yearly total.

Now that couples can choose to wed amidst the hustle and bustle of daily campus life, every Chapel staff member must be on their toes, ensuring that the special occasion goes just as planned.

“On the day of the weddings, I am there early checking the light and sound,” Chiburis said. “Then I greet the party as they arrive.”

Beyond avoiding technical difficulties, Chiburis has another equally important and nerve-wracking job—keeping spirits high and couples calm. While he cannot deny experiencing a few bridezillas over the years, Chiburis maintains that, more often than not, working with the soon-to-be newly weds is a wonderful experience.

“About 99.9 percent of the time, my job is really fun,” he said. “But, of course, there is that tiny part of the time that is a bit stressful.”

As a general rule, the Chapel, a multi-faith venue, encourages couples to plan their own ceremonies, resulting in a range of weddings, from comical to touching.

“For my first wedding here, the groom arrived in a zoot suit half an hour before the wedding, and the bride walked down the aisle in a poodle skirt,” Chiburis said. “We pretty much get anything and everything you can imagine.”

No matter why they wed here or what sort of ceremony they chose, it seems that few couples regret their decision to tie the knot on the charming and picturesque campus we all know so well.

“We couldn’t be happier that we got married here,” Kingsley said.

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