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Couples still 'going to the chapel' despite construction

By Katie Sallach
On January 24, 2013

While the construction on Western Campus may be causing disruptions in the lives of students and community members, Kumler Chapel's appeal continues to draw in weddings.

According to Miami University's Conference and Event Planner Jane Gaitskill, who books weddings at Kumler Chapel, she has received no complaints about the construction since it began this past July. In fact, she said the chapel is booking just as many weddings as usual.

According to Gaitskill, the chapel has always been an extremely popular place for people to get married, and the construction has not slowed the demand for weddings there at all.

Gaitskill said there are a number of reasons the chapel remains in such high demand, one being the allure of the chapel's architecture, another being its surrounding scenery.

"It is very different and unique, there is nothing else like it around here," Gaitskill said.

Although the sentimental value the chapel holds is a significant reason people choose to get married there, Gaitskill said she also has a lot of people who decide to get married there simply after seeing it once.

"I have a lot of people who get married there who went to school here, people who met and started dating here, who had parents that got married here, or grew up in Oxford, but I've also had guests at a wedding there see the chapel and decide that they want to get married there too," Gaitskill said.

Junior Jen Karbula agreed, saying that her time at Miami and on Western is a major reason she wants to get married at Kumler someday.

"I lived on Western my freshman year and a lot of my favorite memories from Miami took place there, so I think it would be a lot of fun to go back someday to get married in such a beautiful setting and get a chance to relive some of them," Karbula said.

According to Gaitskill, the construction does not seem to intimidate couples, and very few of them even ask about it before booking the chapel. She said that the brides don't seem to mind the construction since it's not directly surrounding the chapel.

The only thing Gaitskill foresees as a potential problem is the construction blocking off the entrances to Western Drive.

In addition to Western Drive being closed off, when senior Kevin Drake got married at Kumler Chapel last November, the entrance at the Art Museum was blocked and traffic was being redirected. Drake said he was a little concerned at first about getting his 200 guests past the construction and back to the chapel smoothly, but the construction had concluded for the day before the ceremony started, so it wasn't a problem after all.

While the construction has caused some concern regarding the chapel's access, Drake said the construction caused no other issues and it was worth it to be married at Kumler.

"It definitely wasn't ideal, but Kumler is a beautiful chapel," Drake said.

According to Gaitskill there are a few ways that Miami is trying to make accessing Western easier for weddings and other events. In addition to the signs posted directing traffic to the new route to Western, Gaitskill sends out an email to every bride explaining the construction and she said often times the brides send out maps and directions to their guests to help them find the chapel.

According to Gaitskill the construction team and the city have also been very helpful in opening streets when there is a wedding or another event happening on Western.

With construction set to end in July, 2014, Gaitskill does not expect to see any decrease in weddings at Kumler over the next year and a half.

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