Rollins alum Juan Felipe Tello reflects on his mostly sentimental, but sometimes inconvenient wedding ceremony details at Winter Park’s iconic chapel.
When you visit Rollins College, the building that stands out the most is the Knowles Memorial Chapel. This historic Mediterranean-revival building was built in 1931 and dedicated in 1932 and has become a landmark not only for Rollins College but also for the surrounding Winter Park area. Whether you attend their services or not, many students have pondered if people actually get married at this 83-year-old iconic chapel. Well, they do.
Rollins alum Juan Felipe Tello ‘12 decided to marry his then-fiance and now-wife Blandine Pharisien. This couple said their vows at the Knowles Memorial Chapel a couple of weeks before Tello received his International Affairs degree from Rollins.
Sandspur: Why did you choose the Knowles Memorial Chapel?
Tello: Well, we chose it for a couple of reasons, the first was a physical one: Rollins architecture is awesome and you won’t really find any other church like it around the Central Florida area. It was also perfectly located, since Winter Park is not only beautiful but it was also where we decided to hold the reception. On the sentimental side of things, it made sense for a couple of reasons: Blandine and I practically lived at Rollins. We were there all day almost every day during the semester, so getting married at Knowles Memorial Chapel was a monumental reminder of our previous three years together. Also, getting married at the chapel means you are a part of an exclusive group of people because only Rollins students, alumni, and faculty can marry there. Lastly, we wanted something with a little bit of history instead of a church built in the 1990s that could look like some random social center in Central Florida.
S: How did the planning go? What was that experience like?
T: There were a couple of things that disappointed me within regards to the organization of things. The management that plans weddings wasn’t very nice, at all, which was unfortunate because it made our experience in planning painful. Also, when we booked the church they failed to let us know that during the date of our wedding, there would be construction all around the church. So, you can forget about beautiful landscaping and replace it with orange fences and mountains of dirt. Lastly, on the day of our wedding, the management forgot to mention to the people who were pressure washing the chapel that maybe they should come at another time during the day not in the middle of a wedding because the sound of the pressure washing resonated throughout the chapel.
S: What about the overall experience?
T: The overall sentimental experience was great, and we can look back at our wedding day and feel that we celebrated our marriage at a place we both hold close to our hearts. But, I have to really emphasize that we also know that the administration of the place can use some improvement.