What happens when you take a traditional wedding format and flip it upside down?

If anyone knows about flipping upside down, it would be alumni of the Gamma Phi Circus. Timothy Reeves ’09 and Kate (Lemke) Reeves were both student performers in the circus during their time at Illinois State University. Both Timothy and Kate focused on the German wheel act, and Kate performed on the bike as well. Post-graduation, Timothy spent some time as a volunteer coach, and Kate served as a counselor for the summer camps.

In October 2021, Timothy proposed to Kate, and the couple started planning their wedding. Regardless of the pandemic and the event restrictions tied to it, they knew they wanted a small and intimate wedding.

“We knew we didn’t want something traditional or boring,” Timothy said. “We wanted something that was meaningful to us. What better place than at ISU, where it all started?”

The couple reached out to Marcus Alouan, director of the Gamma Phi Circus, to inquire about potentially having their wedding ceremony in Horton South Gym, where the student performers practice. Alouan suggested Redbird Arena instead.

“Holding the ceremony in Redbird Arena was actually our first choice when we discussed our ‘pie-in-the-sky’ wedding plans, so we were ecstatic to learn that it was an option,” Timothy said.

The annual circus show weekend proved to be a perfect date for the wedding. Although the short timeline fast-tracked the planning process, they were excited about the idea.

“When I first saw everything set up for our show, and I saw the Aerial Moons hanging over the arena floor, I was so excited for Tim and Kate,” said Alouan. “I knew it would be the perfect backdrop for their wedding. I am not sure a better one could have been planned.”

The ceremony took place Saturday, April 23, before the first circus performance. Timothy’s brother-in-law Jeremy Meciej ‘15 officiated the ceremony. Kate’s best friend, Morgan Flex-Siebert ‘14, served as Kate’s matron of honor. Kate and Morgan met freshman year at a Gamma Phi Circus open house.

Immediate family was invited to the small ceremony and then invited to attend the Saturday evening circus performance in lieu of a traditional reception.

“My mom was initially disappointed that our wedding plans weren’t more traditional,” Kate said. “But on the day after our wedding, she expressed how much she loved the wedding and the circus performance and said that the ceremony was ‘so us.’ It ended up being the perfect way to celebrate.

“Our nephews and nieces loved the circus, especially the clowns.”

The new couple even stopped in at the annual alumni reception to say hello to their fellow alumni. Both are enjoying working at State Farm and living in Bloomington-Normal.