At the Chapel of Memories, love rings across MSU's campus

Alyssa and Peter McKinley held their wedding at the Chapel of Memories last July.

Located in the center of Mississippi State University's Starkville campus, the dark brick, neo-Gothic style Chapel of Memories has held many meetings, quiet moments, weddings and more.

When the Old Main Dormitory burned down in 1959, the chapel was constructed from the salvaged bricks and was finished in 1965.

Students across campus can hear the bells ringing from the chapel's carillon at the beginning of each hour. The beauty of the chapel is undeniable, which is likely why the wait list for weddings there can be notoriously long.

According to wedding director Debbie Hinshaw, who has directed two weddings there and attended others, the chapel is such a desirable venue because of its beauty and location.

"It's a very special place," Hinshaw said. "It's kind of a cozy, intimate feeling within the chapel, but one thing that I think makes the chapel so special is that it's in the middle of the campus."

She continued this thought by describing the setting that the newlyweds would see as they come out of the chapel: the Colvard Student Union, Old Main Academic Center, peaks of the Drill Field and the edge of Davis Wade Stadium.

Hinshaw shared how special a wedding would be there for couples where one or both people attended MSU, because of how many memories can be tied to walking past the chapel and those areas of campus that are visible from the surrounding area.

Abigail Musser is a recent MSU graduate who is currently planning a wedding at the chapel with her fiance Slater Richardson, who is still attending the university.

Musser shared a bit of her and Richardson's love story, as well as the decision to have their ceremony on campus at the Chapel of Memories. The couple both grew up in Starkville and attended different churches.

Since they did not want to decide between whose church to have the important ceremony at, they decided on the Chapel. Musser took action far in advance, beginning to plan her wedding a year prior to the wedding date. She shares that she was very "gung-ho" about booking the Chapel early and was even ahead of the maximum booking for MSU venues of no more than one year in advance of the event.

Musser touched on the reasonability of the pricing of using the Chapel as a wedding venue.

"I feel like places will just tack the word 'wedding' on the front of anything and triple the price," Musser said.

Musser and her fiance are two of the many students who have dated through college at MSU and ended up having either their engagement, wedding or both at the Chapel of Memories.

Students are not the only lovebirds enchanted by the idea of a ceremony in the gorgeous chapel, with its large arched interior details and stained-glass frocked walls. Many faculty members have had weddings there as well.

Alyssa and Peter McKinley, two MSU staff members, had their quaint wedding at the Chapel of Memories last July.

Alyssa McKinley, a staff member working with the Office of Research Compliance and Security, shared about her and her husband's relationship which budded when she was in graduate school.

From their first date a couple years ago on Valentine's Day, to their engagement before flying over a home game at Dudy Noble Field in an aircraft and their wedding at the Chapel, the McKinley's love story is endearing for anyone to hear, especially any Bulldog.

"The Chapel will be there probably until the end of time," Alyssa McKinley said. "So, if my great great grandchildren in the future wanted to visit it, it would still be there."

These are just two of many, many Bulldog love stories that have come and are still to come full-circle to an intimate wedding at MSU's Chapel of Memories.

When walking around campus this Valentine's Day, stop by the historic chapel and flip through the log book of visitors, lovebirds and newlyweds to get a feel for just how much love is held inside those old brick walls.

Correction: Feb. 9, 2022

An earlier version of this story said the aircraft flown by the Alyssa and Peter McKinley was through RASPET. Peter works for RASPET Flight Labs, but the aircraft was not through the lab.

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