Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something JSU!
by Heather Greene
Looking for an affordable wedding venue dripping with Southern charm? Look no further than the JSU Alumni House! Built in 1839, this picturesque, antebellum house plays host to a number of public and private events each year – from weddings to cookouts to birthday parties.
The full name of the house, much like its rich history, is somewhat weighty. Officially the “Foster-Bellamy-Mattison-Fitts-Roebuck House,” its name was shortened to “The Roebuck House” by locals until 1981, when it was purchased by JSU. Restored under the supervision of Anniston architect Julian Jenkins, it was reintroduced to the community as the JSU Alumni House during Homecoming 1982 and has since become the area’s premier gathering spot for special events.
During the workweek, the House serves as home base for the JSU Alumni Office. It stays booked with special events on the weekends, especially during the busy summer wedding season. Nancy Turner, administrative assistant for the Alumni Office, handles most of the event bookings for the House. She said it’s often selected as a wedding venue because the bride and/or groom are graduates of JSU.
For Gamecocks Libby (’99) and Bob (’96) Loehr, their deep connection with the university played into not only their wedding but their engagement story as well. Libby, a public relations major, was a Marching Ballerina and a member of Zeta Tau Alpha. Bob, a music education major, was the head student for the Cocky program, a member of Phi Mu Alpha and the 1994 drum major for the Marching Southerners. Needless to say, JSU runs in their blood, so it’s no surprise that Bob chose the Alumni House as the place to propose to Libby.
Libby said it was just a “normal school day” when, after lunch, Bob mentioned he needed to go by the Alumni House to see the staff, which was not out of the norm considering his work with the Cocky program. When they arrived, they were told an alumnus had donated some silver gamecocks that were sitting on the mantle. Upon closer inspection, Libby noticed an engagement ring among the gamecocks. They were married on July 3, 1999 and held their reception, of course, at the Alumni House.
Rachel and Daven Blanchard held their wedding at the Alumni House on August 22, 2015. Rachel graduated from JSU in 2012 with a collaborative elementary education degree.
“We looked for venues for a couple of months, and there was nothing for what we were looking for in our budget,” Rachel said. “Daven finally asked me if I could get married anywhere, where would I choose. I immediately said the Alumni House. It is a beautiful symbol to me of where I came from in so many ways. It is a Southern antebellum style house, which speaks of my Southern roots. It also is a part of the town I grew up in and some of the best years of my life.”
While residing in Oklahoma, Rachel planned her entire wedding via phone or Skype. “It was hard, but the staff at the Alumni House took so much of the pressure off of me and the planning process,” she said.
Considering that many wedding venues, especially outdoor sites, can cost up into the thousands, the House’s affordability – in addition to its beauty – can’t be beat. For events with less than 100 people, the cost is $50 plus a $200 damage deposit. For events with more than 100 people, the cost is $100 plus a $200 damage deposit.
To book your JSU dream wedding, call the Alumni Office at 256-782-5404 or 877-JSU-ALUM. Be sure to reserve your date early, as the there are already bookings on the calendar for 2018.