Every bride dreams of the perfect wedding day, whether it’s in a church, on the beach, or in the case of professor of communication studies Yifeng Hu, on campus. Arriving by horse-drawn carriage, clad in a traditional white gown and serenaded by violins, she and her fianc? exchanged vows next to Lake Sylva at dusk on Sunday, surrounded by 50 friends and family members.
Although she only started teaching at the College this year, Hu knew she wanted to start the next chapter of her personal life at the same place she started the next chapter of her career.
“This is where I’m starting my new job, my new career and my new life – it’s very meaningful to me,” she said.
While looking for a teaching job, Hu immediately fell in love with the College. “I came here just once, but I love the campus. It’s very beautiful.”
Although she considered other venues like wineries and even her own backyard, Hu kept coming back to her original idea of using the campus for the ceremony. “Once I thought of my wedding the first idea that popped out was the College,” Hu said.
While the wedding ceremony itself was conventionally American, Hu decided to have a traditional Chinese wedding reception. She wore a qi pao, a Chinese dress, in the 1855 Room, which was decorated all in red, from the napkins to the flowers to the table settings. “Red is the color of Chinese wedding culture,” Hu explained.
Although TV shows like “Bridezillas” often show the ugly side of planning a wedding, Hu insisted this was not the case with her. Working with Conference and Catering Services, Hu said, “It’s not difficult and they’ve been quite good . the people there are very nice.”
While the College might not boast the immense chapels of say Duke University or Notre Dame, Hu is not the only one who has chosen the campus as a matrimonial setting.
According to Shari Blumenthal, assistant director of Auxiliary Services for Conference and Meeting Services, the College has been host to three or four weddings since the completion of the new Spiritual Center, with two more weddings planned for the future.
Most of the brides and grooms are alumni who wish to return to the place of some of their fondest memories. “Most of the couples who have their wedding here either met here or one or both went to school here,” Blumenthal said. Others, like Hu, simply appreciate the beauty and serenity of the College’s carefully tended and manicured acres.
“We don’t have the opportunity to do many receptions since the locations are used by the students during the academic year,” Blumenthal said, “but we did have one this summer in Eickhoff Hall before school started, and we do events when the campus is on break (spring, winter, summer and fall).”
The process for planning a campus wedding is fairly straightforward, with the potential bride and groom following the same procedures one would to host any event on campus. They must gain permission to use the location from the office of Conference and Meeting Services, and specifically Audrey Perrotti, conference coordinator for External Clients, who helps the couple pick a date that works for both them and the College.
“Our office can provide the simple services of ‘just booking the space’ for the wedding ceremony and/or the more elaborate services of handling the entire reception as well,” Blumenthal said via e-mail.
So next time you’re sitting in Eickhoff in sweatpants eating Oreo cake, take a close look around. Fast forward five to 10 years and you might just be in the same place, albeit dressed in a gown or tuxedo, eating wedding cake instead.