Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU offers many places for couples to say ‘I do’

Between sports, skiing and studies, a year at the University of Denver has a lot of seasons. But, DU has another season, less known but equally hectic: wedding season.

This year, from April 1 to Oct. 30, DU will host 91 weddings. Fifty-five will be held on campus, while the rest will be at off-campus DU venues, such as the Phipps Mansion.

DU’s wedding coordinator, Tara Nicklay, helps couples find physical spaces for services and receptions, finds catering services and plans a wedding’s timeline. She also tries to attend every wedding she plans.

“It was like we had paid a professional wedding planner a lot of money, and we didn’t,” says DU associate law Professor Celia Taylor, who was married last August in the Evans Chapel.

“It was 100 degrees out, and we were supposed to get married outside,” says Taylor. “Ten minutes before the ceremony, Tara says, ‘Why don’t you just get married in the chapel?’ So we did and it was great.”

DU wedding venues include various rooms in the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management building, the Evans Chapel, Harper Humanities Garden, the Marion Gottesfeld Room, and sites at the Phipps Mansion and Tennis Pavilion.

“Wedding sites are extraordinarily expensive and hard to come by,” says Taylor, who has been a law professor at DU for 14 years. As a DU community member, she received a discount for the space but was nonetheless thrilled by the services provided.

Nicklay, who previously worked as a pastry chef, called Taylor’s wedding one of her favorites.

“The facilities were beautiful,” Taylor says. “We used the catering staff here, who did a fabulous job. We got anything we wanted” — even on a budget.”

Indeed, Nicklay works with couples on a variety of budgets. She finds it particularly rewarding to help couples on a strict budget create successful weddings.

“It’s possible for a couple to have a beautiful day without going into crazy debt,” she says.

Nicklay estimates that she’s seen wedding costs range between $9,000 and $100,000 dollars.

After all the cake, dresses and flowers, what’s Nicklay’s favorite part of her job?

“When you meet a couple and you can tell they’re just awesome for each other. I love helping them create a day that represents exactly what they mean to each other,” she says.

By the numbers

The number of weddings at DU — either on campus or at Phipps facilities off-campus — from April 1 to Oct. 30

The percent of Phipps Mansion business from weddings

The square footage of the Georgian style Phipps Mansion

Numbers of rooms in the Phipps Mansion

The year the Evans Chapel was originally built

The year the chapel was dismantled stone by stone and relocated to the western edge of the Harper Humanities Garden on campus

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