If you’re looking to get hitched in Indianapolis, you’ve got more options then the same old church wedding. From the public library to the zoo, follow me to eight unique Indianapolis locations for your wedding and reception.
JP Weddings of Indianapolis
Guest List: 10 – 60; Budget: Less than $250
Overview: JP Weddings advertise themselves as “A step above the Court House.” They provide wedding planning service, non-denominational ordained ministers, the option of two locations, and refreshments. They will also do “weddings-to-go,” and set up their own decorations in your house, yard, or a city park. For smaller weddings, they will provide music on an electronic synthesizer. “Our target is smaller weddings,” commented David Daniels. The owner has been performing weddings for over 40 years. “Our primary market is second marriages.” Many couples who have been living together, have kids, or have been divorced can’t find a church to marry them. A divorcee himself, Daniels is committed to providing a dignified service for couples rejected by churches.
Space: The JP Wedding Center can seat up to 26 guests and offers a small reception area. The Cumberland Wedding Center can seat up to 60, also offers a reception area, and has an optional outdoor setting. JP Weddings offers flowers, decorations, catering, and limo services for additional fees. By Fall of 2007, JP Weddings will also offer a Wedding Chapel that will seat 135. Weddings in the small chapel are $125, which includes the ceremony, the space, and digital pictures. Offsite weddings-to-go, depending on the location, can range from $150-$250.
Contact Info: JP Weddings is located at the 6433 East Washington Office Building in the Irvington Plaza Shopping Center. Call 317-353-1498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indianapolis Marion County Public Library
Guest List: 120 – 500; Budget: $700 – $1500 (plus catering)
Overview: Not just for bookworms, the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library has worked diligently to be a venue for everyone. Prices are set for budgets of all sizes, reports Events Manager Nora Kuzel. “Come in and see our spaces,” Kuzel said. “We are a new venue for the city. Our spaces are very pretty.” The library is also committed to doing just one event each day Friday – Sunday. While this means that you will need to act early to reserve your special day, you will also know that you are the only group there that day. According to Kuzel: “That way we can focus on one event at a time.” With the versatility of spaces and reasonable prices, this venue truly is available for weddings and budgets both small and large.
Space: The library offers three versatile spaces in which to hold your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. The Atrium seats up to 500 for a ceremony or 700 for a standing reception (minus space for a dance floor) and is available for just $1000. The Garden is a beautiful outdoor setting, seating 500 for the ceremony and is available for $700. Finally, the Simon Reading Room, often used as the rain location for the Garden, offers an older, cathedral-like setting. 120 can be seated on the lower level, and an additional 40 on the mezzanine. The Simon Reading Room is available for $800.
Catering: Slik International, part of the compass group, is the exclusive caterer for the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library.
Contact Info: The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library is located at Meridian and St. Clair Street. Call them at 317-275-4200.
Guest List: 200 – 400; Budget: $800 – $1600 (plus catering)
Overview: The Rathskeller provides event planning at no additional charge, including layout, agenda, and menu planning. The wedding I attended here held the ceremony and reception both in the Upper Ballroom and was elegant in layout. This is a good venue for guest lists of 200 – 400. Use one of the small private dining rooms for your rehearsal dinner. The Rathskeller offers grandiose ballrooms without the grandiose price. Its location in downtown Indy, however, means that parking is less than ideal. Arrive early!
Space: The Grand Kellersaal seats 400 with a dance floor and can be rented for $1000. The Upper Ballroom seats only 200 with a dance floor and is available for $800. For smaller parties, the Damenverin Room is available for $100/hr and seats 90 people. The Willkie Blue Room and Max Kade Room can each be rented for $75/hr and seat 60 or 50, respectively. The Veterans Room seats 40 and can be rented for $40/hr. The Vonnegut Room seats 25 and is available for $30/hr. On Sunday – Tuesday, rent the Biergarten to add little fun to your event. Seating 500, it is available for $600. Rental charges include service ware necessary for a buffet style dinner, as well as chairs, tables, set-up and cleaning fees.
Contact Info: The Rathskeller is located at 401 E. Michigan St. Call them at 317-636-0396.
Indianapolis City Market
Guest List: 500 – 1000; Budget: $1500 – $3500 (plus catering)
Overview: One of only a handful of the original 19th century market houses left in the United States, the Indianapolis City Market boasts brick walls, arched windows, and expansive iron trusses. This is a huge venue, for the couple who cannot decide who to drop off the guest list. Weddings of approximately 500-1000 would work well here; a smaller party would be dwarfed by the space. Relative to the size, the prices are very reasonable. Good luck trying to find a place to host so many for this little. However, the City Market seems to slip in extra charges everywhere. A security guard will be provided by ESG Services at the cost of $50/hr. There is a cake cutting charge of $75. A 20% surcharge will be added to the event total. An 8% charge will be added to the food and beverages. You will also pay $75 per bartender.
Space: The Mezzanine offers a five story vaulted ceiling, panoramic windows, and a giant dance floor. Seating 500, the Mezzanine can be rented for $1500. Whistler’s Plaza compliments the indoor space with a breathtaking view of the Indianapolis skyline and space for 1200 guests. Rent the Mezzanine and the Plaza for $3500.
Catering and Other Details: All beverage services must be provided by the City Market. Beverage options vary from iced tea and lemonade at $3.50/person to bottled beer, bottled wine, and soft drinks for $23.95/ person. Caterers may be chosen from among the vendors of the market, or from outside the market for a 10% surcharge. All room rental fees are based on a four hour time limit. Tables and chairs are provided, and can be upgraded for an additional charge.
Contact Info: The Indianapolis City Market is located at 222 East Market Street. You can contact them at 317-634-9266.
White River Gardens
Guest List: 150 – 300; Budget: $6500 – $10,000
Overview: The White River Gardens, by the Indianapolis Zoo offers beautiful outdoor and indoor settings for wedding ceremonies. If the weather is nice, the gardens offer a breathtaking setting for pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while the wedding party fulfills their photography duties. The biggest advantage of the White River Gardens is the low or non-existent floral bill that your wedding will have. Take advantage of the natural flora indoors or out, and save a little in your wedding budget. If you are utilizing the Wedding Garden, however, ladies watch your heals! The march to the staging area is through the grass, and pointy high heels will sink and get stuck. Also, brides, if your reception dinner is in the Hulman Riverhouse, be prepared to take your first dance between the gift shop and the information desk. This is an ideal location for those who love gardens both exotic and simple.
Space: The Wedding Garden, a large, circular grassy area surrounded by a brick walkway, surrounds the bride and groom with ivy covered brick columns and can seat up to 300 in folding white chairs. The décor of the rain location depends on the current exhibit in the Hilbert Conservatory; recently it was a delightful bonsai theme. The seating here is less ideal. Whereas the Gardens provide chairs in rows in the outdoor setting, the indoor space requires up to 150 onlookers to stand or sit around the balcony, looking down at the couple in the center of the ground floor. Up to 10 chairs would be set up on the ground floor for close family and intimate friends. Receptions can be held in the Hulman Riverhouse, seating 160 and offering a scenic view of downtown Indianapolis or the Dolphins Adventure Gallery, where 150 seated guests can eat and enjoy the unique dolphin-filled view. A pavilion can also be set up in the gardens for an outdoor reception for 300 people. Space rental ranges from $2500 – $3500, depending on day of the week and time of year.
Catering: Let the White River Gardens cater your reception for $4000 – $6500.
Contact Info: The White River Gardens are located at 1200 West Washington Street. Call 317-630-2001 for more information. The Gardens are closed Monday and Tuesday.
Indiana Art Center
Guest List: 100 – 500; Budget: $1000 – $3000 (plus catering)
Overview: Members of the Indiana Art Center may take advantage of their facilities. You can become a member for $50 for a family or $40 per individual. Two major advantages of the Indiana Arts Center are its beautiful setting and variety of indoor and outdoor options. You’ll want to plan your party carefully though. Due to the neighborhood noise ordinance, all outside amplified music must be shut down by 10pm. This is a perfect location for couples and families that have a love of art and the outdoors. Weddings and receptions that expect between 100 and 150 guests would fit nicely into many of the spaces, but guest lists as large as 200-500 can be accommodated.
Space: The Indiana Art Center has several rooms available for rent, so that you can tailor your ceremony and reception for size and budget. The Basile Auditorium seats 224, is handicapped accessible and is renowned for its acoustics. Weekday rental is $400. You can rent it from Saturday through Sunday evening for $800. The Churchman-Fehsenfeld Gallery has a skylight and opens onto the Portico terrace overlooking the wooded grounds. The Gallery can serve between 175 and 200 people for cocktails. Rent the Gallery for $400 during the week or $800 over the weekend. The Portico terrace is available on the weekend for $900. Both areas can be rented for $1500 on the weekend. The Riverfront Deck and Stage is a beautiful outdoor setting along the White River that can seat up to 150. Weekday rental is $500; weekend is $1350. The Ruth Lilly Library is a much smaller octagon shaped room with a fireplace and two-story atrium. The capacity of the Library is 120 seated or 175 standing, as for cocktails. Daytime rental is also $400, or $900 for the weekend. The Seybert Stairs and Terrace offer a more intimate outdoor setting, with a capacity of 120 seated or 300 for cocktails, and a view of many of the sculptures and gardens. Rent it for the weekend for $1500. Finally the Terrace Lawns are two outdoor areas that can be tented for a seated dinner for 400 guests or set up for cocktails for 550. Rent one side for the weekend for $1250, or both sides for $1800. Weekday rentals can take place between 8am and 5pm. A weekend rental secures the location from Friday 5:30pm through Sunday 5:30pm.
Catering and Other Details: The Indiana Art Center does not cater itself, but it does provide a list of vendors approved to cater your reception, including The Jazz Kitchen and Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering. Events are allotted four hours, or five for both a wedding and reception. The Art Center can provide banquet tables, round tables, cocktail tables and up to 100 black wood padded folded chairs for your use.
Contact Info: The Indiana Arts Center is located at 820 East 67th Street. Call them at 317-255-2464 for more details.
Indiana State Museum
Guest List: 90 – 330; Budget: $2200 – $8000
Overview: Outside of the traditional wedding venues, the Indiana State Museum can host weddings and receptions for up to 310 people. This location offers a scenic view of the canal and is perfect for the history or Indiana loving couple. It also provides a large variety of spaces and prices to cater to parties both large and small.
Space: The ISM offers a wide range of spaces for your gathering. The O’Bannon Great Hall offers a 100-foot ceiling, 55-foot tall Indiana Obelisk, reception space for 500 or seated banquet space for 330. Additional seating for 50 is available for an additional fee on the Washington Street Bridge. The Great Hall is available for $1650 Sunday through Thursday and $2200 Friday and Saturday. The catering minimum is $3300 and $5000. The Canal Café and Terrace provides a casual space for cocktails with a view of downtown Indianapolis, the canal, and Military Park. The Café and Terrace is only available for evening events. Up to 100 can be seated indoors, 48 outdoors. Buffet or plated dinners can be served. Rent the Canal Café and Terrace for $1050 Sunday – Thursday and $1575 Friday and Saturday. The catering minimum is $1650 and $2500 respectively. The Canal Overlook Bridge overlooks the White River State Park as it crosses the canal and has standing room for 100. Available for evenings only, the Canal Overlook Bridge can be rented for $800, with a catering minimum of $1000. The Rapp Reception Hall offers standing room for 200 and seating for 90, overlooking the lower levels of the museum’s core galleries and the continuously swinging Foucault Pendulum. Sunday – Thursday rental is $900, and Friday – Saturday rental is $1200. Catering minimum is $1650 and $2200. An elegant re-creation of the original L.S. Ayres Tea Room features reproductions of the original carpet, draperies and chandeliers, and displays artifacts from the original, such as tea pots and silverware. The Tea Room seats up to 64 and is available all day, everyday for $500. There is a $1250 catering minimum. The Indiana State Museum offers package deals, as well. One package includes the Great Hall, the Reception Hall, the Tea Room, and access to all the museum galleries (with the exception of the changing galleries) for $5250 Sunday – Thursday and $6825 Friday and Saturday. The price over holidays (Thanksgiving – New Year’s Day) is $8400. The catering minimum is $8000, plus $3.50/person for each guest over 1000.
Catering and Other Details: All food and beverages must be provided by Crystal Catering. You can also add access to one or more of the museum’s galleries to your rental package.
Contact Info: The Indiana State Museum is located at 650 West Washington Street. You can contact them at 317-232-1637 or 317-234-1022.
Indiana Historical Society
Guest List: 100 – 120 (winter), 200 – 250 (warm months); Budget: $1500 – $5000 (plus catering)
Overview: This venue offers grand-style spaces for your wedding and reception. This is the venue for the couple that is looking to make a lasting impression on guests or wants to walk across Italian marble floors on the way to the altar. In the summer, with the Canal Plaza open, this venue is good for a guest list of 200-250. In the winter months, pare the list down to 100-120. Bargain wedding planners, move on. The price tag here is not for the budget-conscious.
Space: The Indiana Historical Society offers three unique spaces for your wedding and reception. The Eli Lilly Hall boasts a four-story vaulted ceiling, walnut columns and imported Italian marble floors, and seating for 250 guests. Daytime rental is $1500 (8am-5pm), and $2300 for the evening (5pm – 11pm). The Stardust Terrace Café and Canal Plaza can seat up to 120 guests. The Canal Plaza is available April – October, and can be rented along with the Café for $1500 during the day and $1800 in the evening. In the winter months, you may use the Café for $1000 on Friday and $1200 on Saturday. The Gibson Boardroom offers an intimate setting for parties of fewer than 90 people with a view of downtown from the fourth floor. The Boardroom is available for $800 during the day and $1000 in the evening. The Indiana Historical society also offers package deals for rentals of more than one space. You can rent the Lilly Hall, Café, and Plaza for $2500 from 8am-5pm, or $3000 from 5pm – 11pm. The Lilly Hall and Café only is available for $1500 and $2300. The Lilly Hall and Boardroom can be rented for $1900 and $2700. Men’s and women’s dressing rooms are also available for $150.
Catering and Other Details: Sound systems, projectors, screens, podiums, chairs and tables are provided for use with the rental of the space. More AV equipment and pianos are available for an additional fee. The Indiana Historical Society provides a list of approved caterers for the venue.
Contact Info: The Indiana Historical Society is located at 450 West Ohio St. You can contact them at 317-232-1882 or 800-447-1830.