Do you dream about a destination wedding but can’t afford an exotic location? Three couples chose to get married the same place they went to college. It’s a destination that even your roommates will cheer about.
Samantha and Tyler Miller, Purdue University
Photos by Studio Rebekah Photography
Samantha and Tyler Miller decided to get married the same place they met – at Purdue University in West Lafayette.
“It just felt right,” said Samantha. “It’s where we met and where we got engaged, so why not start our married life at the same place!”
The two were married on March 16 in the Buchanan Club on the 5th floor of the Ross-Ade Pavilion at Ross-Ade Stadium. They loved the atmosphere and the view from the room. Samantha liked that it was simply decorated, and could fit all of their guests comfortably but still feel intimate. Plus, she said it provided a unique experience for most of the guests. The reception followed at the Purdue Memorial Union – North Ballroom.
“Purdue has always felt like home to me, so I naturally felt comfortable there,” Samantha said. A little bit of a downside was the fact that everyone, including the bride and groom, had to spend several nights in a hotel prior to the event. The room block, however, allowed them to have the majority of family members and the wedding party on the same floor.
The couple had planned to have the Boilermaker Special (the train and official mascot) as the “get-away” car, but at the last minute it had to be used at a University event. The crowd got on its feet for the Purdue fight song played during the reception and Tyler’s Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity brothers sang Samantha the traditional sweetheart song.
Samantha and Tyler had photos taken at iconic West Lafayette locations: The Purdue Arch, the Engineering Fountain (the site of their engagement), Harry’s Chocolate Shop, the fraternity and the Union.
Despite the cooler temperatures for the photos (it was March in Indiana!), Samantha said the wedding was exactly what they had envisioned. “It reflected our personalities and our relationship,” she said.
THE GLORY OF OLD IU
Stefanie and Sean Russell, Indiana University - Bloomington
Photos by Baby Grace Photography
While Stefanie and Sean Russell live in New Orleans, they didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about where their wedding would take place. They knew it had to be in Bloomington where they met as freshmen seven years before. They added a touch of the Big Easy to give a nod to their current residence.
“Sean is from Manlapan, New Jersey and I am from South Bend,” Stefanie said. “We currently live in New Orleans, so we thought it would be the perfect place to bring everyone together. We considered all of the long-distance planning, but felt it would just give us a reason to visit IU throughout the year.”
Both are Catholic and chose to get married at St. Paul Catholic Center. Stefanie wanted to have the reception at Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union, but as it was being renovated, they opted for the IU Auditorium. The Hall of Murals became the cocktail spot and the Grand Foyer was the perfect space for the 200-guest wedding.
Stefanie said they crafted an entire weekend for guests, many who were IU graduates. Guests arrived Friday for the rehearsal dinner at the elegant Tudor Room at the Union. The wedding day ended at the IU staple – Kilroy’s on Kirkwood. Sunday’s farewell brunch was in the Frangipani (it rhymes with Indiana in the school song) room at the IMU.
The IU fight song, of course, was played at the wedding. A local New Orleans jazz band traveled to Bloomington to play during cocktail hour and the cocktail tables had a Mardi Gras décor to bring a touch of NOLA to Indiana.
“The best part of the day was marrying my best friend in a place that is so close to our hearts,” Stefanie said.
AND OUR HEARTS FOREVER...LOVE THEE, NOTRE DAME
Colleen and Buck Andrews, University of Notre Dame
Photos by Peter Thurin Photography
Buck and Colleen Andrews both went to the University of Notre Dame, but the primary reason they got married there is because they are both from South Bend.
“It is our hometown first and our college town second,” said Buck, who started dating Colleen while going to Mishawaka Marian High School.
The wedding ceremony was at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the ND campus, which was significant because Colleen and her family have been parishioners there since she was a small child. “Additionally, the basilica is not only one of the most recognizable buildings on campus, but it is also the most beautiful building. Like any other bride and groom, we wanted our wedding day to be as special and beautiful as possible, and the basilica gave us that venue,” Buck said.
Colleen’s mom surprised them with a Papal blessing. Irish bagpipers led the procession out of the Basilica, and the fight song was played at the reception.
The rehearsal dinner was at the South Dining Hall and the reception was at the Palais Royale in downtown South Bend. Buck said 10 of the 12 bridesmaids graduated from either Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s College, and six of the 12 groomsmen and ushers were ND graduates.
Buck’s favorite memories include the first dance he had with Colleen, the toast to welcome guests and the toast by Colleen’s mom. “We had so much fun with all of our friends and family. It’s a day we’ll never forget.”
As a cautionary note, it makes sense to use a wedding planner who can make sure your wedding is not scheduled the same weekend as a large summer conference or huge sporting event. Hotel room blocks could be difficult or impossible to obtain at busy times of the year.