Looking for a list of places to host your wedding reception in downtown Grand Rapids?
You've found the post that will help you make sense of your options!
We live in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. We have photographed over 300+ weddings in the past few years.
Being downtown, we thought, "Why not create a post to help future brides know where they can have their wedding reception in downtown Grand Rapids?"
First of all, there are MANY more reception options around Grand Rapids, you are not limited to these.
These reception options are
"in the city center and walkable".
What does this mean?
It means you will find venues that are located within the red box below.
In addition, you will see another section that are considered "downtown", but are not within walking distance (guests will have to drive from downtown hotels).
The venues below are not ranked in any specific order & if you have questions, be sure to reach out and let us know how we can help you with your wedding photography needs!
If you have questions about "favorite venues",
all you have to do is ask.
This is actually where my wife and I held our wedding reception in 2002. The views overlooking the river might be the best in town as you look south toward DeVos Place, the Amway Grand Plaza, etc. The atrium for cocktails is stunning as well. (No you will not be seeing a wedding photo from our wedding because we didn't hire a good photographer and the photos turned out badly. Click to learn more about our wedding story.)
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is one of the most versatile locations in Grand Rapids. Josh and Megan held their Amway wedding in one ballroom and moved to another for their reception, both with different layouts and designs. It is the "original" skyline hotel in Grand Rapids. Or you can head up to the Sky Rooms that overlook all of downtown Grand Rapids.
Located in the atrium of the Ledyard Building, it is housed just across the street from Rosa Parks Circle. If you love exposed brick walls with high ceilings, the 4 story open atrium will be a dream come true for you.
The former Grand Rapids National Bank lobby inside the McKay Tower (across from the Amway Grand) is a 2nd floor reception facility that is a great choice for your wedding reception. The space is longer than it is wide, allowing you to have a "dining" space on one end of the room and a "dance" space on the other end. (Or think ceremony on one end of the room and reception on the other).
The BOB (Big Old Building) has two options on floors 3 and 4 that are very different. The 3rd floor offers exposed brick feel while the 4th floor (EVE) is built more like a nightclub in New York City with furniture to match.
The original "members" club located at the top of the 5/3 Building has great 270 degree views of the city's landscape from 11 floors above ground. The University Club is one of the most longstanding venues in the downtown area (and my wife says the best wedding meal she's had in a long time).
Western Michigan University has a presence in downtown Grand Rapid and their main floor conference center is great for receptions. The rest of the building is a photographer's wonderland with long hallways, exposed brick and no foot traffic during your event.
Kitty corner from the world famous "HopCat", it's owned by the same company, BarFly Ventures. It is a former restaurant and club, but was recently transitioned to an "event only" space. It's a great solution for folks calling HopCat asking "Can you host my wedding reception?" They can now say, no we cannot, but right across the street we have The Waldron.
A combination of an auditorium for your ceremony and then a banquet room on the upper level means your guests do not need to leave between ceremony and reception time.
An iconic building along the riverfront with the option of "dining and dancing under the whale and riding the carousel..." The narrow, but long main floor space allows you and your guests to enjoy the wonder of the Public Museum.
Though about 5 blocks south of the Van Andel Arena, the Downtown Market is still a walkable destination in our eyes. The second floor of the Downtown Market gives you a glimpse back toward downtown. Access to the greenhouse is wonderful for your ceremony while the reception hall is just across the hall.
Just outside of downtown...
These venues are not within walking distance, but are close.
The former site of the American Seating Company, New Vintage Place renovated the space for weddings up to 240 people on the west side of Grand Rapids.
Just north of downtown Grand Rapids, the Waddell Center can host up to 300 people for receptions and is owned by local restaurant owners Brann's Steakhouse.
A former warehouse at 1600 North Monroe means it's not within walking distance of downtown, but it's still close. The venue has facility has space for both ceremonies and receptions and can accommodate 350 people.
A former furniture factory, Eastern Floral purchased the space and renovated two different spaces for your wedding. The spaces can accommodate up to 400 people and if you love wood floors and exposed brick, this might just be your place.
If you're looking for a view of Grand Rapids, the Tree House might be your place. The space can host up to 200 people, has a wrap around deck and is set in the trees of John Ball Zoo. Add to the fact that guests arrive via the "Funicular" rather than driving, it's a touch that few places can top.