Mission Matrimony

Even though Michelle Donecho ’05, M.A. ’10 and Chris Duchesne ’06 both attended the same high school up the road in Mountain View before coming to Santa Clara for college, somehow their paths never crossed until an eHarmony date almost three years ago. On July 12, 2014, they tied the knot in the Mission Church.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís is a popular spot for nuptial vows—and since 1778 weddings were performed by first the Franciscans, then the Jesuits. But when the Great Depression hit, the diocese decided it didn’t want competition with local parishes—and in 1936 stopped performing weddings in the Mission. Then came women graduates. Starting in the 1960s, many Santa Clara couples desired a Mission Church wedding. After Dan Germann, S.J., made multiple appeals to the diocese on their behalf, the Mission doors were opened for weddings once more. Since 1969, some 4,000 ceremonies have been celebrated.

For Michelle and Chris, the church was an “obvious choice.” But a Mission wedding requires an advance reservation; the couple decided on a 16-month engagement. For the reception: the Adobe Lodge, which meant a walk straight from the ceremony to the “beautiful Mission gardens.” Among 20 alumni in attendance were Chris’ identical twin Matt Duchesne ’05 and stepbrother Trey Miller ’13 as well as stepfather (and men’s golf coach) Rob Miller.

The cake: banana—their childhood favorite. As favors, guests took with them whoopie pies, courtesy of the Palo Alto Creamery, where Michelle worked for years. In tribute to Chris’ favorite meal, the couple served grilled cheese and tater tots as their late-night snack before heading off on their Maui honeymoon.

Interested in booking a wedding? scu.edu/missionchurch

Share your wedding story: santaclaramagazine.com/livesjoined

post-image Photography by Jessica Burke.
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