Cory (BA Drama & Theatre Studies 2011) and Duncan Mclauchlan (BA History 2009 and MA History 2010) dreamt of being married in the Chapel at Royal Holloway. After they worked with the Chaplaincy team to gain permission from the Registrar General’s Office to allow same-sex religious weddings to take place in the Chapel, they became the first same-sex couple to get married at the university. We spoke to them about their wedding, their time at Royal Holloway and what they’ve been doing since graduating.
Many congratulations on your beautiful wedding! How did you two meet?
Cory: We met during my first year at university. I had become friends with one of Duncan’s housemates and that was our initial introduction. We didn’t get together until a couple of years later! We’ve been together for nearly 10 years now.
Duncan: I met Cory in my final year studying History. Well, to be more precise I met him in our kitchen in Egham when my housemate introduced him as the first year rep of the Student Workshop. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but I clearly couldn’t bear the thought of only having one year of knowing him at Holloway, so I stayed for an extra one and signed up for my Public History MA…
What did it mean to you to be able to get married in the Royal Holloway Chapel?
Cory: Everything. So many of our memories started back at Royal Holloway and we both loved university. Many of our friends are alumni too and so it was an easy decision. We wanted to get married in the Chapel and when we realised it was a possibility, we did all we could to help Father John Dickson and the Chaplaincy Team at Royal Holloway get the registration changed.
Duncan: It wasn’t an easy path to get the registration amended for us to get married in Royal Holloway Chapel, but it was worth it. I actually lived in Founder’s in my first year along with my bridesmaids and ushers, so the Chapel holds a special place in my heart. Now we’ve been the first as well, it means that other LGBT couples can follow in our footsteps and have the wedding of their dreams too.
Did you have a favourite moment of your wedding day?
Cory: The Chapel was my favourite section. Walking down the aisle and listening to the beautiful choir - it really was something that will stay with me forever.
Duncan: It has to be the choir. They were outstanding. And I hear Ellie Goulding had them a few weeks after our wedding for hers. We’re certainly in good company!
What would you say to anyone considering getting married at Royal Holloway?
Cory: Do it. Or if you have any doubts, go and have a look around and fall in love with it all over again.
Duncan: How could anyone be considering any other venue?!
Now a few questions about your time at Royal Holloway - why did you choose to study here and what did you enjoy most about your courses?
Cory: I remember coming on an Open Day and falling in love with it. It was close enough to London but far enough away to have a university community. Drama and theatre was always what I wanted to study and the facilities were excellent. I most enjoyed the variety of modules available!
Duncan: Campus living, surrounded by leafy Surrey, on the doorstep of London - perfect. I actually met one of my bridesmaids on the same course, so surely the best bit about Royal Holloway and any course has to be the people you’ll meet!
How did Royal Holloway help you to discover opportunities and prepare you for life after university?
Cory: I happened to do a Theatre in Education module which got me thinking about working in education. If it hadn’t have happened, I think I would have done something else. The varied modules helped me develop a whole range of skills to prepare me for life after university.
Duncan: History has prepared me in the most brilliant but perhaps most unexpected of ways - to debate and argue a point of view successfully! I work as a Social Strategy Director in a London ad agency, and it’s definitely served me well so far.
What do you do now and what do you enjoy most about your role?
Cory: I went straight on to complete my PGCE and I’ve been teaching in primary schools across London since 2012.
Duncan: Working in a creative ad agency for the best part of a decade has been varied to say the least… I’ve been the online voice of not one but two of Britain’s most famous dogs (Oh Yes!), helped sell everything from giant crumpets to candy crushing games, and even broken a world record or two along the way.
What has been your greatest professional achievement to date and what are your aspirations for the future?
Cory: My dream was to be a headteacher by the time I was 30. I took on my first head of school post in September with six months to go!
Duncan: Being made a Strategy Director before I hit 30 was a pretty good day in the office, so I hope to continue on that path for the foreseeable future.
For more information about alumni weddings at Royal Holloway, University of London, please visit Royal Holloway weddings and celebrations.