A quick scroll down the Moundbuilder Marriages web page will reveal love stories of all sorts from different generations. Although the stories are all different and unique, they all have one thing in common. Every story revolves around a couple that met or married at Southwestern. On February 12, some of these couples will return to SC for Moundbuilder Marriages, a vow renewal ceremony for married alumni.
Ashlee Alley, director of campus ministry, will perform the vow renewal ceremony.
“I’m excited,” said Alley. “I have a couple of classmates that I was friends with in college who are renewing their vows. There are some parents of my classmates and then some students also. It’s exciting for me to get to be a part of that for others.”
Coming back to campus can evoke emotions and bring back memories for the couples. Maybe it was the place where they met, where they proposed or where they were married.
“No matter how long ago someone graduated, they still feel like a college student when they come back,” said Alley.
The 2011 Moundbuilder Marriages is the first of its kind for Southwestern. It is tied in with the 125 year celebration of the college.
Susan Lowe, director of alumni programs, said she brainstormed with Alley about things they could do to celebrate.
“We tried to come up with a variety. We came up with this to celebrate those who met and fell in love at Southwestern,” said Lowe.
Although there was a great turnout of couples signed up for the ceremony, hundreds more were notified about it.
“We mailed out cards to over 950 people,” said Lowe. “36 couples are signed up.”
The day will start at 2 p.m. with “A Chocolate Affair,” in Deets Library where each couple will have a professional photograph taken. The vow renewal ceremony will be at 3 p.m. followed by Valentine Bingo at 4 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. the dinner, including a main course of London broil and red velvet cake for dessert, will be held in the cafeteria. Each couple will be entered to win the Grand Prize, a package consisting of a night at the Bluestem Bed & Breakfast, a flower arrangement, a bottle of champagne, and an 8×10 photograph. Bricks can also be purchased and will be installed around the mound.
Jessica Falk, director of development, said there is a plaque and an insert around the mound acknowledging the “I Heart a Builder” section.
Anyone is allowed to purchase a brick for the section. Usually the bricks include personal tidbits such as their marriage date or the day they met, said Falk.
There are many ways to acknowledge and celebrate an occasion such as a vow renewal, but the most important is the ceremony itself.
“There are many similarities to a wedding ceremony,” said Alley. “There is a dedication, prayer, and reaffirming of the vows.”
The ceremony is a nondenominational service, pulling from the Methodist wedding service as well as some other wedding ceremonies.
“It’s a general Protestant service,” said Alley.
The 36 couples signed up for the ceremony could prove to be a bit of a challenge.
“I’m a little nervous. I’ve never done anything to that scale,” said Alley. “I consider a vow renewal a sacred moment. I have a letter going out to the couples to introduce myself and tell them what to expect and elevate the sacredness for them so it’s not just ‘you stand here, you stand here.’”
Although there are some nerves associated with such a big event, it’s also a very exciting and special moment for many people.
Said Alley, “It struck a nerve with people and that’s a cool thing.”
Maggie Collett is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.
Edited by Carly Budd