wedding ceremony


This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Met your love in college? If so, getting married at your alma mater might be a good choice.

Many of us can relate to the college experience. We leave for college, one of life’s biggest adventures yet, ready to take on the next four years with eager anticipation, hopeful to become the best versions of ourselves. Sometimes we enter college knowing exactly the path we want to take, and most often we leave having gone on a different journey or path than we could even imagine. We learn about ourselves and experience life in a way that we never had before. We have the freedom to make bold choices, the tenacity to become successful, the naivety to dream without boundaries, and the ability to make mistakes without retribution. We grow academically, sure, but more significantly, we grow personally. We establish meaningful, life-long, relationships. The relationships made in college are unlike any connection that we previously experienced. They are deeper.  They are rooted in growth and they are unapologetically authentic.

This same foundation holds true for couples who meet in college. Their love is rooted in unique experiences, side-by-side transformative growth, and searching for or often finding the answers to many of life’s questions together. Seeking to establish goals and dreams, when unexpectedly, they, too, establish a unique bond, having found their soulmate.  These types of loves are unique. These couples are completely immersed in each other’s daily lives, and especially at a pivotal time of growth internally. The amount of time spent together is substantial, from “hanging out” in between classes, to sharing meals together, to sharing the same circle of friends. When the time comes for these couples to commit to sharing their lives together, it seems fitting, therefore, to finish writing the first chapter in their love story at the place where it all began: at college.

How To Go About Getting Married At Your Alma Mater

There is no doubt that college holds a special place in these couples’ hearts. In addition to the memories and nostalgia that being on campus together brings, here are some more reasons why they, and you, should book your alma mater as your wedding location.

Built in wedding planner on campus

A Built-In Wedding Planner

A generous amount of universities and colleges have a conference and events department that oversee external events on campus, like weddings. An event coordinator will be designated to work with you and your partner to plan an unforgettable wedding from start to finish. S/He will coordinate the logistics of the big day and work closely with vendors to guarantee that your day runs smoothly and seamlessly. Essentially, you have your own personal wedding coordinator, AND often it’s a service that is already included in your booking.


It is important to set a budget for your big day. Weddings can be expensive, but you shouldn’t have to start the next chapter of your life in debt. Colleges and universities offer EVERYTHING you need, and it is offered at an incredibly fair price. If they don’t offer a service, they can recommend a local vendor(s) that they have established a partnership with, sometimes at a discounted rate. Another perk? Many colleges and universities offer a discount to alumni to book their wedding on campus.

Professional catering on campus

Incredible Cuisine Offerings

 Colleges and universities do not skimp on wedding fare. The conference and special events department work closely with the catering source on campus to develop a spectacular menu, specifically for weddings, and also provides cultural catering upon request. The creativity in the catering department on campus is top-notch! Many catering departments on campus are flexible and allow couples to make special requests. For instance, I worked at my alma mater’s conference center while attending college and saw first-hand the flexibility when developing catering menus for couples. My favorite was when a bride requested an upscale version of strawberry shortcake in lieu of a traditional wedding cake to surprise her husband because it is his favorite dessert. The catering team went above and beyond and created the most delicious strawberry shortcake I’ve tasted to this day!

Traditional and Non-Traditional Ceremony Locations On-Site

Campuses have so many picturesque locations on campus that provide beautiful scenery and backdrops, making for the perfect photo-op. This is also true when working with your on-site coordinator when selecting a ceremony location on campus. For a more non-traditional approach, your wedding coordinator will be able to point out scenic locations on campus, many outdoors, that can accommodate your ceremony size and needs. If you are opting for the traditional route, there are chapels or religious-affiliated venues on your college’s premise where you can exchange vows.

Hassle-Free Overnight Accommodations

Here is a fun fact: a lot of colleges and universities rent out their residence halls to summer events that require overnight accommodations. If you are planning a summer wedding and need to book a room block for guests that are traveling from out of town, your campus can provide a room block at an amazingly affordable rate. If your alma mater does not rent overnight accommodations, don’t fret! Many campuses have established relationships with neighboring and adjacent hotel properties and can recommend the best options for blocking rooms for your guests.

Wedding dance on campus

Colleges and universities love their alumni. I can almost guarantee that any couple planning their wedding on campus, at their alma mater, will have a top-notch planning experience and a very memorable wedding. One that showcases their love from start to finish, from the day they met and started writing their love story, to penning that last exclamation point in the first chapter. Best wishes, the next chapter in your love story is going to be filled with many more memories and growth.

Help finance your wedding dreams with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

BIO:Alyson Salem is the Director of Marketing for Unique Venues, a marketing company and lead generating service that promotes unique and non-traditional venues to special event and meeting planners across the United States and Canada. Having experience as a meeting and event planner at her alma mater, planning a variety of events and managing day-of weddings on campus, and currently works directly with unique spaces and places, including college campuses, marketing their venues to planners and couples to book their weddings and events.

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Find your perfect officiant

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Choosing a wedding officiant is not the easiest wedding planning task. It’s often something that couples don’t worry about until late in the planning process. And they usually have no idea where to start. Unlike your wedding flowers or wedding outfit, you probably haven’t spent too much time picturing your wedding officiant. But it’s time to start!

Most couples say they want to plan a wedding that perfectly reflects them. They work hard to pick the flowers, food, décor, and music that represents who they are as a couple at the reception. But why not let the ceremony also reflect who you are? By choosing the right wedding officiant, you can create a ceremony that is so you, your guests will swear your wedding officiant has known you forever.

Finding the perfect wedding officiant for you is incredibly important. This is the person who is going to share your love story. This is the person who is going to represent you on your big day. And this is the person who is going to feature heavily in your wedding video, so you should really love what they’re going to say and do!

Photo by Emily Nicole Photos (2)

Tips For Choosing The Right Wedding Officiant

Do Your Homework

 When searching for the right wedding officiant, it’s important to do your homework. One of the best ways to find officiants is to tap your network. Reach out to recently married friends or join local wedding forums online to ask for recommendations. Once you’ve found a few officiants or officiant companies that look promising, check them out online. Make sure to read their reviews and see if you can get examples of their work.

Meet In Person

 The best way to get to know your potential officiant is to meet them in person. If that’s not possible, try to get them on the phone or on a Skype video call. You don’t want to spend months only corresponding by email. It’s important that you can meet this person and get to know them. When you meet, you’ll have a chance to ask all of your questions and ensure they’re a good fit for you.

Make sure your officiant knows your story

Make Sure They Get To Know You

 As much as the first meeting with your wedding officiant is about you getting to know them, you also want to make sure that they are getting to know you. Your ideal wedding officiant should be very interested in getting to know you as a couple. They should be interested in hearing your love story, learning what you want to happen at your ceremony and figuring out what tone you’d like to set on the big day.

Check Your Options

 Your perfect officiant should be able to offer you lots of options when it comes to planning your ceremony. You don’t want them to perform the exact same ceremony that they have at hundreds of other weddings. Every couple is unique and they deserve to have a unique ceremony that represents who they are. Your officiant should be open to making changes and giving you options for different types of vows, readings and ring exchanges.

Know what your officiant is going to say

Know What They Are Going To Say

 There shouldn’t be any surprises when you’re standing at the end of aisle. You should know exactly what your officiant is going to say on the day of your wedding. And you should be comfortable with every word and phrase they’re planning to say. Your officiant should share their script with you so you know exactly what is going to happen.

Make Requests

 If there is something you and your partner absolutely don’t want during your ceremony or something you can’t imagine getting married without, your officiant should know about it. Communicate these requests early to ensure your wedding officiant can accommodate them. You’ll want to bring up these requests at your first meeting with your officiant so they know exactly what you are looking for and not looking for.

Trust Your Gut

 At the end of the day, you need to listen to yourself. Do you trust this person to be your officiant? Do you trust them to perform the kind of wedding ceremony that you’re looking for? Do you feel chemistry with your officiant? If anything feels off, this is not the officiant for you. You don’t want to have any apprehensions or regrets walking into your ceremony.

Know you have found the right officiant

How You Know You Have The Right Officiant:

 The perfect wedding officiant is going to spend time listening to your love story and getting to know you. They’re going to ask about your goals, the ups and downs of your relationship, how you met, how you popped the question, and what you envision for your wedding ceremony. They’re going to reach out to your friends and family to learn even more about you as a couple and incorporate personal anecdotes into the ceremony.

By taking the time to genuinely get to know a couple and their story, an officiant can deliver the perfect ceremony. For example, Young Hip & Married officiant Randy Hamm was marrying Robyn and Daniel at L’Abattoir in Vancouver in the summer of 2016. Randy began the ceremony by talking about who the couple were and how they met – details he learned through many conversations with the couple and their friends and family.

He then included a fun personalized detail about why the couple might have chosen him as their officiant. The bride’s family works in the meat industry and the couple had decorated their venue with farm animal toys and even chosen the venue as it used to be a slaughterhouse. So Randy joked that the couple hired him because his last name is Hamm. Everyone laughed and the atmosphere instantly became more comfortable and intimate. Robyn and Daniel felt as if Randy was an old friend marrying them.

At the end of the day, you should feel like your wedding officiant is a member of your team who really gets you. If you’re a funny, quirky couple, your officiant should be able to incorporate that into your ceremony. Your wedding officiant should be able to tell your love story and represent you as a couple so well that guests wonder if the officiant has known you two your entire lives. And when you choose this officiant, you should feel 100% confident not just that they will get the job done but that they will create an amazing ceremony that’s perfect just for you.

Looking for a creative way to fund your honeymoon or wedding expenses? Set up a Honeyfund honeymoon registry today.

BIO: Young Hip & Married exists for two reasons: to help couples get married and stay married

We’re on a mission to eradicate dull and boring wedding ceremonies from the face of the planet and to help couples create a sweet lifelong union that gets better with age. If every couple is different then why have we all been to the same boring ceremony so many times? Young Hip & Married will marry you YOUR way”creative and personalized ceremonies are our specialty.We don’t just want you to have an amazing personal ceremony, we also want your marriage to be fun and exciting and to last forever. Our relationship coaching is designed to equip couples with the necessary knowledge, resources, and skills to not just stay married, but also love the journey. Your marriage is one of the most important relationships you’ll ever have”let us help you start off strong and thrive for life.


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