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.