Downtown Springfield offers fresh, unique wedding venue options

When Meggan Stott first started looking for wedding venues, she hadn’t considered Downtown Springfield as one of her options.

Stott’s original wedding and reception venue – a country club in Fairborn – closed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And as she started considering other options, she remembered information she had picked up at a bridal show about The Bushnell Event Center.

“There’s just so many places in Downtown Springfield that people don’t even realize are there,” Stott says.

Stott and her now husband Paul picked The Bushnell Event Center for their reception and worked with the center’s manager to plan a unique ceremony location.

On May 22, the Stotts were married in the alley that houses the Rose City mural. They had an intimate ceremony with about 50 guests in the walkway which faces toward Stella Bleu’s outdoor eating area.

“I grew up in Springfield, and at the time, my parents owned apartments that weren’t in the best neighborhood. So, I always had that stigma in my head,” Stott says. “I honestly wasn’t really familiar with historic areas of Springfield, but I got to know lots of places when looking for the place for our wedding.”

Stott says that not only was the Rose City mural perfect for their ceremony, but that the entire area checked all the boxes they were hoping for.

“We had the (Courtyard by Marriott) hotel right there. There’s the beautiful new parking garage that has free parking and plenty of space for all our guests so people could park easily and just walk across the street,” says Stott, who really took advantage of all that Downtown Springfield has to offer.

Stott worked with local photographer Tate Thomas to arrange photos in front of some of the many historic brick and stone buildings Downtown, at National Road Commons where flowering vines hung from the pergola, and by the fountains on City Hall Plaza.

“There’s just so many cute little things down there now,” Stott says. “I would just really encourage people to look and see what all there is.”

The Stotts choose the largest room in the Bushnell Event Center to host their reception – The Wren Room – where they enjoyed the newly-renovated space with new flooring and original exposed brickwork on the walls.

“People could really do absolutely everything Downtown. We loved that everything was just a few minutes away from home, and we didn’t have to travel far,” she says. “We lucked out with everything, and everything went super smooth.”

Even after their wedding and reception had wrapped up, the Stotts decided to pop into COhatch - The Market with their wedding party on a whim while walking back to their hotel.

Stott described cheering and clapping from community members enjoying their own time at COhatch that evening, when they saw the newlyweds arrive. 

“We had such a fun time, and when the exhaustion of the day finally set it, it was nice because could just walk across the street and be done at the hotel,” she says.

Lisa Abshear, venue manager for The Bushnell Event Center, says that while the pandemic wasn’t ideal for anyone, it provided the opportunity to tackle the renovations that would have been impossible during a heavy event season.

Three different event rooms were updated from floor to ceiling. An easy-access entrance was created for vendors, such as DJs and caterers to set up. And, an accessible entrance for wheelchairs and other use is in the works.

“Our building has so much to offer,” says Abshear, adding how excited she is to be back to working one-on-one with brides and other organizers to make their special events come to life.

“I’m really glad that we’re back because it gives me a chance to connect with people and really get to watch someone’s dream come true. I love it,” she says.

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.

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