‘Altared’ Bliss: The Goei Center

The area’s most iconic wedding venues, Part 3
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Author Pasha Shipp, right, exchanges wedding vows with Nicholas Oudsema at the Goei Center. Photo courtesy of Honey Tree Photography.

Situated on Grand Rapids’ west side, the Goei Center is ideal for couples looking for a location somewhere between downtown and not-quite-so downtown.

Pasha Shipp. Photo courtesy of Honey Tree Photography.

It’s especially tantalizing if you’re looking for a venue with exposed brick and beautiful (and original) wood floors with just the right amount of creakiness. With two different venues on the same property, the Goei Center and the Kindle Room, this event behemoth is capable of hosting two totally different weddings at the same time. Both venues boast an array of amenities – dinner and cocktail tables, bridal suites, custom monogram displays, and easels for showcasing wedding-day signage. The Goei Center seats up to 350, while the smaller, but equally stunning, Kindle Room seats up to 200. Unique to the Goei Center, though, are the charming koi pond and moveable chandeliers.

Just over four years ago, my husband Nicholas and I had a wedding of our own at the Goei Center, utilizing the showroom for our ceremony and cocktail hour and the banquet room for our steampunk- themed reception. I dialed up Kylie Martolock, the event and venue manager who worked with us when we were planning our wedding, to talk about their 5-star service – part of what makes it such a great wedding venue.

Shipp and her bridal attendants. Honey Tree Photography courtesy photo.

“We’re a great team and we really try to make everyone feel as if they’re our only couple that we work with, and they’re the only couple on the calendar,” said Martolock. “We air drop photos to couples during the tour, and we give them a number they can text for any questions; we really try to be as accessible as possible. We’ll go over the floor plans, timelines, bar service – we’re not day-of coordinators, but we’re here to help facilitate and be good support. When I think of service, I really think that we do more than just, ‘here’s the keys;’ I feel like we’re full service.”

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Ever since Pasha Shipp could talk, she's been dreaming up colorful stories. Fantasy creatures, mysterious kingdoms, enchanted forests, you name it. As she reached adulthood, she decided to take the magic out of her head and put it down on paper. Pasha has been writing for Grand Rapids Magazine since November 2015, and has loved every minute of it. She has a master's degree in Communication and a bachelor's degree in Film Studies from Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University respectively. When she isn't daydreaming and writing stories for the magazine, she's exploring the many hidden treasures of Grand Rapids with her fiancé.