More than 700,000 people visit Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park’s 158-acre park each year to attend concerts, view its indoor and outdoor gardens, sculpture galleries, permanent sculpture collection and use the learning center, café and meeting rooms, among other features.
But behind the horticulture, the sculptures and other amenities, Meijer Gardens also serves as a venue for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions.
According to Jessica Bernia, assistant hospitality sales manager for Meijer Gardens, the venue has been hosting weddings since it opened in 1995.
“We often meet couples who are here visiting and were some of the first to be married here and are now celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries,” she said. “We consider ourselves to be an event destination and are a natural fit for weddings. We have quite a few couples who do not live locally that choose to plan their weddings here. Some are Grand Rapids/West Michigan natives and some have no ties to our community and choose our venue simply because it is so unique and beautiful.”
Meijer Gardens hosts approximately 130-150 wedding ceremonies, receptions or ceremony and reception combinations every year. The busiest time of the year is May through October.
“Our wedding numbers have held consistent for the past many years,” Bernia said. “As we expand our grounds and building, more and more opportunities present themselves for wedding locations. The most popular outdoor location continues to be the Sculpture Park waterfalls.”
However, Bernia said that when the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden was opened in 2015, it became an extremely popular location and believes the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Rooftop Sculpture Garden, which opened in May, will be a popular outdoor location. It is on top of the 20,000-square-foot Covenant Learning Center, which was recently completed.
The number of wedding-related events is expected to grow as Meijer Gardens is in the midst of a multifacility project that involves building, renovating and expanding facilities — all of which are expected to be completed in 2023. The project is supported by a $115 million capital campaign titled Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love.
The Business Journal previously reported an Outdoor Picnic Pavilion is expected to be completed in the fall and will have 230 seats. A reconstruction of the parking lot, which will include additional accessible parking near the entrance, will be completed in late 2020. The reconstruction of the Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall English Perennial Garden is expected to be completed in June 2022. The Bissell Corridor and Gallery renovation is expected to be completed in late 2022. A Volunteer Tribute Garden is expected to be completed in 2023.
This article first appeared in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, a sister publication of Grand Rapids Magazine.
Photo: Courtesy Adam Bird/The People Picture Company.