‘Altared’ Bliss: The GRAM

The area’s most iconic wedding venues, Part 1
Daniel and Karmen Walsh say "I do" in front of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Haley Rae Photography.

It’s the beginning of 2024, and if I had to guess, there are probably handfuls of couples who are newly engaged since the holidays– sparkling gems glistening on fingers with crafty, carefully-timed proposals in the rear view. Or perhaps you’ve long since booked your big day and this is the year you’re planning to seal the deal. Either way, congratulations! There’s just something about weddings; I adore them. I always cry, no matter how well I know the people at the altar, and they’re a fun excuse to get dressed up, eat good food, drink good wine, and dance the night away. Grab your champagne and raise a glass, ‘cause we’re toasting to six of the many spectacular wedding venues across West Michigan.

Newlyweds Kendra and Dylan ascend the steps at the GRAM in May of 2021. Photo courtesy of Taylor Stinson Photography.

In October of 2022, I had the privilege of attending a friend’s wedding at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, a venue I had long awaited to see in wedding-day splendor. There’s something spectacular about having a wedding at the GRAM. It’s a massive building with an even bigger reputation as a premier destination for art in the city. To see it transformed for the occasion was truly special.

The ceremony was held in Pocket Park, the charming little nook with the fountain adjacent to the front entrance. It was an elegant backdrop for the couple to say, “I do.” Afterward was perhaps my favorite part of the evening, a cocktail hour on the dining terrace overlooking Rosa Parks Circle. Guests mingled in the evening air, drinks in hand as the festivities of ArtPrize unfolded all around.

Editor’s note: Next up, The Felt Estate.


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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.