When was built in 2002, planners never envisioned it would become a hot spot for weddings.
But over the past few years the number of weddings held at Woodbury’s indoor park has doubled, according Blaine Beck, facility rental coordinator. There were 70 weddings at Central Park in 2011, and with 65 already scheduled this year, he expects to far exceed last year’s total.
“It was never planned or imagined that it would be used every weekend for what it is now,” Beck said. “That was the last thing they had in mind. … It’s turned from a banquet room in the basement into a really cool, unique venue.”
Lydia Rex, of Eagan, was married at Central Park on June 18, 2011.
She said she chose the spot—and booked it before she talked to her fiance about it—partly because “it already looked pretty. We wouldn’t have to do a lot of decorating.”
Despite the fact that it was a June wedding, Rex said she was worried about weather and the chance of rain. “Then your whole day is stressful.”
“And sure enough, it poured,” Rex said. “(Central Park) has an outdoor feel while being indoors. That kind of sold us on it.”
The facility can host events for up to 300 people, and a lot of those folks come from the city.
“This is like Woodbury’s community center,” Beck said. “We’re pretty much booked up every weekend, but I’d like to see us booked with just Woodbury residents.”
With its large windows, waterfall, in-house Lookout Ridge Playground for kids and amphitheater, Central Park draws a diverse crowd, Beck said. “No two weddings that come through here are the same.”
Plus, the weather inside doesn’t hurt. “You just can’t beat it in Minnesota,” he said.
Rex said she was searching for sites in the metro area and liked Central Park because her ceremony and reception could be held at the same place. But she did have questions about how it would work: where the dance floor would be, where tables would be set up, and other logistical concerns.
In the end, “It was awesome,” she said.
“It couldn’t have been any better. We had zero stress on our wedding day,” Rex said. “It was just beautiful.”
It is somewhat of a challenge to hold weddings in a public facility, Beck said. But park officials are open about that fact that people will be passing through, and residents using the or the are “always extremely respectful,” he said.
If kids get a little rambunctious during a ceremony, “their parents are on them instantly,” Beck said.
And people will often stop and watch while the wedding is taking place. “It’s kind of fun,” Beck said.
Beck, who lives in Woodbury, said it’s also fun bumping into people around town who have had weddings at Central Park. Its reputation has mostly been built via work of mouth, he said, and its flexibility regarding catering has also been a draw.
“It’s a big beautiful glass building with a waterfall and trees and plants. It’s not your typical wedding spot,” Beck said.
Rex, too, talked about those amenities, but also praised Central Park staff for their work getting things ready for her big day: “It was really, really easy,” she said.
“I wish we could do it again,” Rex said.
Though it’s most popular during the traditional wedding season (May through October), Central Park’s availability during winter months has also helped its popularity, Beck said.
Of course, the typical wedding issues can always crop up. Beck recalled a wedding during which a groomsman and bride both passed out during the ceremony.
“The moral is to make sure you eat on your wedding day,” he said.
Visit the city’s website for more information and rates for weddings at Central Park.