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The interior of the new chapel. Sheila Butler | Courtesy

When Christ Chapel began taking reser­va­tions for wedding cer­e­monies Wednesday, its schedule filled up for the first 10 years in a matter of minutes.

The long-awaited $28.6-million chapel that took four years to fundraise was paid off in less than four minutes, after the chapel’s website went live at 7 a.m. Wednesday. More than 1,500 couples have saved the date for their big day.

“We knew the space would be desirable, but we weren’t expecting such a flood of requests,” Chief Chapel Officer Mitch Nae Nae said. “It’s a real blessing.”

The chapel likely would have received even more reser­va­tions, but the website crashed from so much activity. Infor­mation tech­no­logical ser­vices said they don’t expect the site to be func­tioning fully again for another four years.

“I got the spinning wheel of death,” one senior said. “It was like freshman-year course reg­is­tration all over again.”

Wedding reser­va­tions for Christ Chapel cost the easy-to-remember $18,440 and also provide access to Slayton Arboretum for photos and the Searle Center for a reception. Reser­va­tions are available Friday through Sunday. Pastor or priest is not included.

The reser­vation price is more costly than the average, espe­cially because the amount does not include Bon Appétit Man­agement Company’s catering. Renters may not use any other food service.

The $18,440 also includes invi­ta­tions with an embossed eagle design absolutely free for current stu­dents and alumni.

Christ Chapel is a two-year con­struction project that is expected to be com­plete in the spring of 2019. It is 27,000 square feet and can accom­modate a wedding of 600 or a cel­e­bration with 1,350 of your closest friends.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” said one junior, as she showed off a diamond ring. “A quiz on Facebook pre­dicted I would fall in love in the Grewcock Student Union and get married at Hillsdale College. It’s a dream come true.”

Fol­lowing the web page’s launch, stu­dents reported a sub­stantial increase in the number of pro­posal announcement on their social media feeds as ring-by-spring fever took hold.

Sur­pris­ingly, however, engaged couples account for only about half of the reser­va­tions. The other half appears to have mostly come from eager parents of prospective stu­dents.

“She hasn’t grad­uated from middle school yet, but it’s never too early to start planning,” said one mother vis­iting campus with her 13 year old.

Now, with the promise of extra income from 10 years of reser­va­tions, Nae Nae said he is already in dis­cussion with con­tractors about building a new dor­mitory on campus to accom­modate the extra stu­dents Hillsdale will attract with Christ Chapel.

“Every­thing is coming together to foster an even stronger com­munity among stu­dents on campus,” he said.

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble