May 15, 2015

Scav wedding: You may now kiss the Scavvenbride

“Dress code is Scav Tie, by which we mean wear whatever the f*** you want but probably your team t-shirt tbh [to be honest],” read the wedding invitation that kicked off the 2015 Scavenger Hunt List.

For four frenzied days of each spring, the world’s largest scavenger hunt captivates students and alumni across the University of Chicago campus and around the world. A venerated tradition since 1987, Scav perplexes, challenges, and inspires participants with its lengthy list of items to find, build, perform, write, program, draw, eat, design, paint, and win. For some, the results of the hunt manifest themselves well beyond the announcement of its winners, and participation continues long after graduation. UChicago alumni Emily Pelka and Christian Kammerer tied the knot while honoring their ties to Scav at their wedding Friday night in Rockefeller Chapel. Eleven of the list’s 343 items were linked to the matrimonial affair.     

“I remember the moment during Captain’s breakfast where the judges announced something to the effect of ‘oh, and by the way, if it wasn’t clear, this is a real wedding. Like people are actually getting married.’ That’s when I had a mini ‘excuse me, what did you just say?’ moment,” said Sam Levine, a captain of the Max Palevsky team.   

Kammerer, the “Scavvengroom,” has participated in sixteen consecutive Scav Hunts, and Pelka, the “Scavvenbride,” was an active dorm team member for her four years at UChicago, with some additional emerita contributions.

“The Scavenger Hunt represents the best the University of Chicago has to offer: getting groups of incredibly smart, hard-working people together to have fun creating and exploring, if only for four days a year,” Kammerer said. “The friendships forged through this event far outlast Scav itself.”

In their wedding announcement video, Kammerer and Pelka reflect on their longstanding involvement with Scav, and how the event helped bring them together. The video concludes with a request that they be joined “as they try to complete their greatest item yet…” The couple delivers the announcement in rap form, and reiterates that “this is not a joke.”

The wedding-related Scav Hunt items included cake baking, hymn singing, and pig-shaped-cufflink making. “Construct a small Velociraptor made of tin cans, to pursue the ‘Just Married’-mobile,” instructed another item.

Teams were awarded points for dressing as torch-bearing Vikings to lead the couple to their chariot, showering the couple with diced vegetables as they exited the chapel, and reciting passages about love from a fantasy or science fiction novel or film.

“Of course,” read the last of the eleven items, “no wedding would be complete without the traditional crowdsurf down the aisle.”

“The wedding was amazing,” Head scav judge Emily Tixier said. “At times hilarious, due to Scav weirdness, but also really touching because it was a legitimate wedding between two people for whom Scav is so important…. It was all amazing to watch, and I definitely saw a lot of tears from the judges’ section of Rockefeller.”

“It was incredible that they felt so strongly about Scav to incorporate it into their wedding day,” said Medha Biswas (A.B. ‘16), another team captain. “Lots of jokes and fun and they were probably the only couple to leave Rockefeller Chapel by crowd-surfing down the aisle.”

Regarding this unique mode of departure atop the hands of cheering Scavvenwedding attendees, Kammerer commented, “I thank each and every person there that neither my wife nor I was dropped for even a moment. It was both exhilarating and terrifying.”

As for the groom’s personal highlight: “I believe I am required by marital law to state that it is when I kissed my bride,” Kammerer said. “However, I will also say that some of the readings and performances were unexpectedly touching, considering their origins in sometimes disreputable genre fare.”

“I can’t imagine the happiest day of my life not having been during Scav Hunt,” he concluded.