Wedding bells are normal occurrence at Smith Chapel

by Ben Frotscher

Going to Smith Chapel and we’re gonna get maaaarried…

Weddings are popular every season of the year, but at SmithChapel, summer is the time to get married.

According to, there are around 2.5 millionwedding ceremonies performed every year 30 of which are performedat Smith Chapel every year.

Ann Shepherd, chapel assistant, said that there are a fewreasons why people like getting married in the chapel.

“If they are students, they have met here,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd said about half of the weddings performed in SmithChapel every year are either students and/or alumni.

One couple getting married in Smith Chapel this summer is seniorSarah Berryman and 2003 Simpson graduate, Doug Besch.

Berryman is from Bloomfield and Besch is from Algona, so thiscouple thought Smith Chapel would be a great place to getmarried.

“We thought it would be a good central location,” saidBerryman.

Berryman also said that Smith Chapel was an obvious locationbecause the couple met on campus and there are a lot of memorieshere.

People from the Indianola community decide to get married inSmith Chapel because their church may not be large enough to holdtheir guests or they do not have a church at all, yet want to bemarried in a church.

Shepherd said that June tends to be the most popular month forweddings, but fall months of September and October are gaining inpopularity.

Juniors Stephanie Beckley and Justin Kinkel-Schuster are acouple that will be married in Smith Chapel during the month ofJune.

“We met here at Simpson and it would be fitting to start outlives together here,” said Beckley.

Kinkel-Schuster also said that they are not graduating yet, soSmith Chapel was a great choice.

“We’re both going to be here for the next one and a half years,”said Kinkel-Schuster.

Kinkel-Schuster said that he liked the chapel because of itsold-fashioned appeal, high ceilings and stained-glass windows.Beckley said that she did not pick the month for a specific reason,but it was one of the first available weekends to hold thewedding.

Following the wedding ceremony, most couples have a reception ofsome sort.

Kinkel-Schuster and Beckley are having their reception atJohnny’s Italian Steakhouse in Des Moines and they had some greatluck while arranging the reception.

“We just happened to go next door to the restaurant and we raninto the manager,” said Kinkel-Schuster.

After talking with the manager, they found out that that exactdate was free at the restaurant.

For couples wanting to stay near the chapel, Shepherd said thatthere are two popular places in the area: Great Hall, here oncampus and Summerset Inn & Winery, just north of Indianola.

If the bride and groom decide to use Great Hall as theirreception hall, they must remember that Sodexho Marriott hasexclusive rights to serving food on this campus.

A beautiful location off the Simpson campus, Summerset Inn &Winery has two banquet rooms that are available for weddingreceptions, anniversary receptions or dances.

Kristin Varme, marketing director at Summerset Inn & Winery,said that a Saturday evening reception will run about $1,250 for asix hour time period, generally 6 p.m. to midnight.

Varme said that besides being able to use the banquet room whenyou rent it, you rent the whole complex. Couples also receivediscounts on wine and you can spend your honeymoon right on thelocation.

The price for renting Smith Chapel for a wedding depends on ifyou are a Simpson student, staff, graduate or have nothing to dowith Simpson. Simpson students pay $200, Simpson staff andgraduates pay $300 and non-Simpson persons pay $400 to rent outSmith Chapel.

These fees include a student wedding staff for your rehearsaland service, the sanctuary for one and a half hours for rehearsaland five hours for the wedding ceremony, the organ and/or thepiano, sound system, small chapel and dressing rooms.

The bride and groom are responsible for arranging a clergymember, organist and vocalist.