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The Downtown Event Center

Where wedding dreams come true

Published in the November 2022 Issue Published online: Nov 05, 2022 wedding
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BY JILL REILEY

FEW THINGS RECEIVE MORE CONSIDERATION in the planning of a wedding than where it will take place. While there’s no wrong or right answer as to the best wedding venue, certain places are particularly popular for weddings for a reason.

The Downtown Event Center, also known as the DEC, is one such venue. To start, the DEC can hold up to 375 guests. The large guest capacity makes it perfect for anything from conferences and seminars to ticketed events and, of course, weddings. But the appeal of the center goes far beyond its spaciousness.

As far as the look and feel of the space goes, the classy, Brooklyn-style feel of the red brick interior with neutral “wood” vinyl flooring makes it appealing for weddings of all types, from traditional to creatively unique and contemporary.

The DEC offers services to make the big day the best experience possible. These include set up and takedown of chairs, tables and equipment such as sound and lighting equipment—all which are provided at no extra cost. Add-ons include linen service, full liquor bar service (4-hour bar time), a piano, stage setup and wooden table toppers. Wedding parties can even get help with decorating if they want it. General Manager Mia Kinghorn has lots of experience helping brides and grooms prepare for the big day. One way she does this is by filling out a map of the center with the couple to determine exactly what they want and where. She then works with her team to make it happen. Options for style and setup at the DEC are limitless.

“We’ve seen a lot of different styles of weddings in this space,” Mia said. “These have included darker themed weddings with black and red, weddings with neutral colors, bright and colorful weddings and even some holiday-themed weddings.” The layout of the event hall is like a blank canvas. This makes versatility a cinch. While people can design their setup any way they choose, certain sections of the floor are already blocked out for things such as food table setup to make planning easier.

In the end, it’s really up to the couple to define their vision of the wedding. Mia facilitates this by showing the couple photos from previous weddings, discussing possible setup options, and giving them a tour of the space while ambient music plays in the background to create the right mood and encourage ideas.

People also appreciate suggestions for where to start as well as a good idea of current trends in wedding planning. Mia is always happy to share her observations and insights.

“One traditional element that many people bring in is arches to use as a focal point,” she said. “Another trend is to have an area with comfortable sofa seating for mixing and mingling after the ceremony. Our fireplace is a nice feature for a conversation area like this,” she said. “Neon signs of the couple’s last name are also huge right now. These are great for pictures.”

When it comes to planning elements that go beyond the venue, Mia is also happy to provide a list of trusted vendors to clients. “These are people we work with regularly, from a wedding planner to cake decorators, photographers and caterers,” she said. “We want to provide the best resources possible to the bride and groom.”

For the day itself, Mia assures brides and grooms they will have everything they need to get ready for the ceremony. “The men’s and women’s restrooms are both spacious so the wedding party has plenty of room for getting dressed and ready,” she said. “Across from the restrooms there is also a bride’s room where the bride and her bridesmaids can enjoy their time together before the ceremony and help each other get ready in front of the large mirror that spans the room.”

A spacious prep kitchen also makes the wedding day easier so there is a convenient place to chop fruits and vegetables or keep food warm.

In so many ways, the DEC is the perfect place to hold a dream wedding, regardless of the approach or style.

“Part of what makes the DEC unique and desirable is obviously that it’s downtown,” said Mia. “It really is a prime location for weddings and a great place to take photos. We do get a lot of questions about parking. It really is not bad down here. A lot of people book on weekends so they don’t have to worry about two-hour street parking. And during the week, free parking is only a block away.”

For anyone planning a wedding, Mia recommends booking the venue as far in advance as possible.

“Booking ahead gives you time to find out what amenities are available at your chosen location,” she said. “Most brides tend to book anywhere from 6 months to a year in advance. This increases your chances of reserving the venue on your preferred date and making your dream wedding happen.”

And at the DEC, dream weddings are definitely possible.

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