Alumni come to campus to tie the knot


Photo Courtesy of Ebby L

A couple who just married at UIUC walks across the Quad in their wedding attire.

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

It’s the big day. The cake has been ordered, the dress and tux selected. The uncles, godfathers, the weird cousin from Iowa, the whole family has RSVPed. However, one detail remains crucial: the venue.

Many alumni of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign come back to campus to get married.

The Illini Union has a variety of rooms to hold meetings, conferences and such wedding ceremonies that are frequently used not just by alumni but local couples of the Champaign-Urbana area as well who want to tie the knot in Illini fashion. 

Olivia Chavez, the student lead at the Union’s guest services, described her enjoyment in helping facilitate the unique occasion in such an unconventional environment for a wedding. 

“It’s really fun interacting with the different clients,” Chavez said. “It’s really cool to be able to interact with someone who is having this special time in their life. It’s really fulfilling.”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Chavez said the Union only holds weddings on break periods, during the summer/spring/winter windows. Hosting several weddings across her four years in the position, she said lots of alumni want to host their wedding at the Union. 

“I think it’s really cool, especially if they met their spouse at the University, to be able to go back to where I guess it all happened, and have their special event there.” Chavez said. 

Reverend Michelle Baker, an officiate of Forever Enchantment Wedding Ceremonies, helped serve several alumni wedding ceremonies on campus and at the Union. 

“It’s a historic building — beautiful!” Baker said when describing weddings at the Union. “There is a lot of history in it and surrounding it. I enjoyed uniting couples in the Illini Union. It’s the history that gets me.” 

Baker also helped put together ceremonies at the University’s Arboretum, which she went on to describe enjoying. 

“Nature is beautiful,” Baker said. “There are so many different areas there that couples can get married as well as have beautiful photo opportunities.”

The Arboretum provides students and locals a large, outdoor space for events, and many fine flower arrangements and beautiful Japanese garden works a fitting venue for their wedding.

The University doesn’t just supply the venue space. University Catering Services out of the Housing department offer extensive services for wedding events, with its many culinary experts able to provide dishes for waiter-served dinners and floral arrangements available to order. 

With Homecoming Week, many students and alumni far and wide take monetary pause to reflect on their time at the University. With such, many are able to turn and see their time here as positive enough to make it the centerpiece of their special day. 

[email protected]