United at the Union bridal expo to show off Iowa State wedding venue

Unveiled, the first styled shoot at the Memorial Union took place on April 28. This photoshoot was done to promote the Memorial Union as a wedding venue for couples looking for a place to get married.  

Sierra Hoeger

Each year dozens of Iowa State alumni return to campus to relive past memories by kissing near the Campanile, walking laps around Lake Laverne and getting married.

When individuals walk into the Memorial Union, they might not see much more than an old building that houses Panda Express and the Book Store.  

Iowa State Weddings is hoping to change all of that after United at the Union, a bridal expo that showcases different spots around Iowa State for couples to have their weddings. 

“I think it’s important because people need to see the Memorial Union,” said Jessica Erickson, wedding and event coordinator. “It’s so beautiful and full of history, but sometimes it’s hard to get people into this space because they have preconceptions of [an Iowa State Wedding].”

Erickson said the space in the Memorial Union essentially sells itself, meaning once potential clients see what Iowa State has to offer, they won’t be able to pass it up. 

Over 200 potential brides are expected to show up for the event, hoping to meet with vendors, photographers, caterers and other wedding-related businesses that will help them plan their big day. 

“Our main target group for weddings at the Memorial Union are students and alumni,” Erickson said. “We hear from a lot of students who are engaged and still in classes, grad students, faculty and we have alumni who have moved across the country and come back.” 

The goal of this bridal expo is to bring back Iowa State alumni and to show off a new side of the Memorial Union many have never seen before. 

“I think it’ll reassure people that they can get married here,” said Grace Nelson, special events assistant. “Bringing in more people and bringing back people who fell in love here at Iowa State, or people who met their potential husbands or wives here at Iowa State.” 

Vendors coming to Sunday’s event are excited to meet potential clients and are ready to show them what their company can offer. 

“I hope that everyone is just amped and ready to talk about their weddings, and I know going into fall it’ll be a big wedding season, and I’m super excited,” said ShyAnn Sherer, sales manager and event coordinator at Gateway Hotel and Conference Center.

Gateway Hotel and Conference Center is less than 10 minutes away from campus, making it a convenient location for rehearsal dinners, hotel rooms or ceremonies for those who choose to have their weddings at Iowa State. 

“The exposure will be awesome, and getting to talk to all the brides and grooms. We like working with the MU, so even if they don’t come to us for other events, just getting Gateway’s name out there,” Sherer said about the benefits of being a vendor at the expo. 

United at the Union will take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in the Memorial Union. This event is open to Iowa State students, faculty and alumni, as well as the Ames community.