Virtual Enterprise Regional Occupational Program students got “married” as part of their year-long adult life simulation on Sept. 24.
“In Virtual Enterprise, [the students] are pretending they are adults,” VE Coordinator Sarah McCance said. “They have to get a car, rent a house, buy a house and pay bills, so they have the opportunity, if they’d like to, to get married so they can share household expenses and buy things together at trade fairs.”
The wedding ceremony began with “Here Comes the Bride” playing from a speaker. A groomsman and bridesmaid walked down the aisle bearing rings and flowers with the engaged couples following behind in a line. A wedding photographer also photographed the wedding and a wedding videographer filmed the event.
“I do [the marriages] every year. Last year was our first ceremony and it keeps getting bigger and bigger each year, and this is the first year that everyone has gotten married,” McCance said.
Once all the couples walked down the aisle, the “ministers” read the vows for every couple to repeat. After finishing the vows, each “newlywed” placed ring pops on each other and high-fived to commemorate their marriage, officially becoming virtual partners for life.
“You get closer with this one person because you guys have to now share your assets and resources,” junior and Marketing Associate Ryan Dang said. “I think it’s just to learn how to combine your resources with someone else and how to invest time and money into something new.”
Afterwards, the couples mingled at the wedding reception with each other and with VE 1 students around the bowl. Students listened to music, enjoyed cupcakes and juice, and signed their marriage licenses.
“They just have to pay for their marriage license and that gets deducted from their virtual bank account, but there are no other requirements [to get married],” McCance said.
The newlywed couples also took wedding photos once they signed their marriage licenses.
“I think it’s a good bonding experience,” junior and Director of Human Resources Natalie Papazian said. “It’s like a social event and the person that you marry, you get a bond with. I have heard stories of people who just marry like, random people last year and they became really good friends.”
To further simulate the married adult life, couples share money. Students must pay bills every month and McCance creates unexpected events that require couples to work together.
“[I’ve done] plumbing problems and broken windows, so they have to work together like a real marriage and figure out what to do,” McCance said. “If both of them are not pulling their weight and paying their bills correctly, then they can get a divorce and pay their bills separately.”
Many couples expressed their excitement and are looking forward to the rest of the year.
“It’s fake, but it’s real bonding,” junior and Marketing Associate Theresa Lee said. “We will get more of an experience and a hand in marriage and taxes so we’re prepared for the future.”