Kelsee Brady, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
As spring is underway and summer approaches, Berry students will likely be seeing more signs of weddings on campus as couples prepare to tie the knot in one of the campus’ many event facilities. There are four venues available for weddings on campus: the College Chapel, Frost Chapel, Ford Dining Hall and Barnwell Chapel. Oak Hill is another popular venue located off campus.
Frost and College Chapels require a Berry affiliation from either the bride or groom to be reserved for a wedding. Senior Maddie Jordan is the office assistant coordinator for campus scheduling and explained what a Berry affiliation means.
“The bride or groom, or one of their parents, had to have gone to school or worked here. We don’t extend it to grandparents which is typically a question just because we like make sure that Frost is open for students that have recently gone to school here, ” Jordan said.
According to Jordan, both of these chapels include additional services provided with the reservation.
“For the chapel reservations, you get it for the day of, all day, and then you get it for rehearsal on Friday,” Jordan said. “Then, you get a student sound tech to run sound for your wedding, and you get a student facility coordinator who basically makes sure that all the guidelines are followed.”
Unlike Frost and the College Chapel, Oak Hill, Ford Dining Hall and Barnwell Chapel do not require a Berry affiliation to be reserved. Currently, Barnwell is being renovated and is scheduled to be reopened for events in the fall.
Jordan suggested having a date and chapel preference in mind as a beginning point for the reservation.
“The easiest way is for them to either call or come in in person,” Jordan said. “We can take emails, but we just have a lot of preliminary questions we have to ask.”
The preliminary questions consist of confirming a Berry affiliation and the time of year that is desired for the wedding, which are the two largest factors that determine where the wedding will be, according to Jordan.
Junior Rachel Williams is marrying senior Drew Eichholtz in early June at Oak Hill Gardens with the reception at the Christopher Browning Pavilion. She is excited to have a wedding at Berry.
“I thought (Oak Hill) was just really pretty… and then I saw the gardens at Oak Hill, and I thought ‘okay, this feels a lot more like me’,” Williams said.
Oak Hill differentiates from other Berry venues due to booking the events through a separate office from campus scheduling. The summer is full of plans to improve efficiency of the office and maximize the experience of booking the venue. Berry has been working on maximizing efficiency ever since hiring Casee Gilbert about two years ago.
Gilbert, director of hospitality and event services, was hired to assist in overseeing all campus events and customer service.
“We saw that there was a need to kind of streamline things at Berry and to have kind of an umbrella department to provide consistent customer experience, kind of like one-stop shopping, for all of the things we can host at Berry,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert and campus scheduling have plans to improve the wedding booking experience and will continue to work on these throughout the summer.
“We do have a goal in the new fiscal year of creating ‘Weddings at Berry’ so that you can do all of your wedding bookings under one office and not have to go to two separate offices to do that,” Gilbert said.
Milton Chambers, student enterprises operations manager on campus, was married on May 5, 1990 at Frost Chapel with the reception in Krannert. Chambers said that at the time of his wedding, Ford Dining Hall was not open to the public for receptions. Chambers’ favorite part about getting married at Berry was the heritage behind it.
“I’ve lived here my entire life so my parents got married at the College Chapel, but I got married at Frost,” Chambers said. “I actually went to high school at the Academy and so I was at that place all the time. For me, it was really special to go up there and have it. Plus, it’s beautiful, you know it’s gorgeous, but I’ve lived on campus my whole life so I don’t think I could’ve gotten married anywhere else,” Chambers said.
Online information about the facilities and booking can be found on Berry’s website or by contacting the campus scheduling office.