By Jamie Crow | Staff Writer
A couple walks down the aisle following their wedding, surrounded by friends and family cheering them on and celebrating their union. As the newlyweds emerges from the chapel, they step out onto Academic Walk, immediately embraced by Duquesne’s campus.
Having a chapel on the Bluff is particularly special because only current students, alumni and faculty of Duquesne University are allowed to get married there. According to the Rev. Daniel Walsh, the reason for that requirement stems from the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
“We follow the rules of the Diocese, and since we are not a parish, we are limited in who can be married here,” Walsh said. “The Diocese permits us to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony for students, alumni and staff only.”
While this requirement may seem limiting, many Duquesne students, alumni and faculty do jump at the opportunity to get married in the chapel. Between 60 to 100 weddings occur in the chapel in a given year, and the most popular time is between May and September, according to Walsh.
Nicole Kelm, an alumna of Duquesne University, married her husband in the chapel on May 19, 2012. She said that she loved getting married at Duquesne.
“[My husband and I] were both Duquesne alumni and had loved attending Duquesne. We thought the chapel was beautiful and would be neat for our out of town guests to see us at our alma mater,” Kelm said. “It was special that we had both attended Duquesne and had wonderful college experiences and good memories.”
The chapel follows a couple of rules specific to the Catholic faith. According to the university website, either the bride or the groom must be Roman Catholic. Walsh said that this is a universal law of the church and follows the norms of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. If the bride or the groom has been married before, they need to provide documentation of their previous marriage. This is also in conjunction with the universal law of the Church.
To get married in the chapel, couples are asked to make a suggested donation of $200, according to Walsh.
So you’ve gotten married in the chapel and your donation has gone to a good cause. Now it’s time for the reception. According to the university website, couples are able to have their reception in the Charles J. Dougherty Ballroom in the Power Center.
The package offered to current students, alumni and faculty provides a five hour reception, the furniture, an event planner and everything in between. The only things that couples have to provide are alcohol, the cake, centerpieces and a DJ or a band.
The receptions are catered by Parkhurst Catering, which offers a wide selection of entrees that range from spinach salad to filet mignon, allowing for a wide variety of palates to be satisfied.
If you decide to have your reception in the Power Center, it is a little more expensive than having your wedding in the chapel. In order to reserve the room, you need to make a $1,500 deposit. You also need to provide proof that you have liability insurance coverage of $1 million, just in case your reception really takes a turn for the worse.
Your wedding day could be made much more unique by having your wedding at Duquesne’s chapel. Celebrating your faith, your union and your alma mater all in one ceremony is definitely a way to make your wedding that much more special. For Walsh, weddings in the chapel serve as the perfect extension of Duquesne campus life.
“Since Duquesne plays such an important role in the lives of students, alumni and staff I think that it is natural to want to celebrate such an important event in a place that holds meaning to the person,” Walsh said. “Certainly for those who have developed and practiced their faith here at Duquesne [in] our chapel it seems natural that they would want to welcome family and friends for such a wonderful celebration to a place that holds great meaning.”