Van and Kayla Munsey were married at the Virginia Tech War Memorial Chapel on July 20, 2019, hardly an unusual event. But there is a remarkable back story.
“My parents got married there in 1985, and I have always loved looking through their wedding album. The chapel and view of the drill field are gorgeous, and I love the history of the chapel. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of getting married at the chapel like my parents. Luckily, I found a husband who loves Virginia Tech as much as I do, and Van was excited to have our ceremony there, too,” relates Kayla Munsey.
“We chose our wedding date because it was the same day on which Van’s parents got married, so we were able to get married where my parents did, on the same day as Van’s parents! Our families mean so much to us; it’s very special that we could share location and date with them,” she continues.
Even the photographs mirrored those of the past. Kayla sent the photographer a few images from her parents’ wedding so that they could have some similar pictures.
“We do not often see parents’ children get married in the same place. The chapel can only be booked if the client, the client’s parents or a member of the wedding party is or has been affiliated with Virginia Tech, so there’s a limited group who can have weddings here. Their situation was pretty unique,” says Adrienne Phillips, a coordinator for the War Memorial Chapel and events at Virginia Tech.
Both Van and Kayla wanted to get married in Blacksburg but were living in Charlotte. “It was a little tricky planning the wedding from out of town,” recalls Kayla, who now thinks she probably should have hired a local wedding planner.
After confirming the ceremony site, the couple toured several reception venues before deciding on a location in Radford because of the beauty of the grounds and its ability to accommodate their guest list. They chose other vendors based on recommendations from family and friends, reviews and talking with them.
“We found our wonderful photographer Kristie McCallum online and set up phone calls with her to get to know her better. We didn’t meet the florist, Curtis Graham with Radford Florist, until the day of the wedding but he did an amazing job with all of the flowers,” Kayla says.
The couple’s friends and family members decorated the morning of the wedding and transported decorations from the chapel to the reception site. “We were both blown away by how helpful our friends, family and wedding party were. Everyone went above and beyond to help make our day special.”
One of her favorite details was wearing her mother’s wedding shoes at the reception. She says: “I remember wearing them around the house when I was younger, and I loved being able to incorporate those into our wedding day.” Other things they loved were seating cards made from plantable seed paper and personalized wooden name plates for the wedding party.
The weather was completely cooperative, with July 20 being the hottest day of the summer. She wanted to get married in summer so she wouldn’t get cold, and she definitely got her wish.
Kayla and Van loved getting married in the New River Valley. It is a special place to them as both have roots in the area, and they each made great memories during their times at Virginia Tech. Kayla concludes: “To be able to share this special place with our out-of-town friends and family as well as those living in the area was one of our favorite parts of the wedding.”


Text by Jennifer Poff Cooper  |  Photos by Kristie Lea Photography