United at the Union wedding expo held at the Iowa State Memorial Union

The United at the Union wedding expo was held at the Great Hall in the Memorial Union on Sunday afternoon. 

Eleanor Chalstrom and Avery Thompson

The United at the Union wedding exposition Sunday welcomed a group of vendors and wedding lovers to the Memorial Union.

DJ’s, catering services and event venues drew in the over 275 attendees to their displays in hopes of booking clients.

Jessica Erickson is the Wedding and Special Events Coordinator at Iowa State University and was the forerunner for the event. “We have seen so many couples come through and everyone’s been really excited,” said Erickson. “It is a smaller show, but everyone’s complimented the intimacy and that they’ve actually been able to have conversations and hear themselves. It’s not quite as overwhelming as some of those huge shows with thousands of couples…”

Since 2019, the United at the Union wedding expo has brought attention to businesses in the Ames area that specialize in weddings. Couples, families and many more can browse their options and make connections for their big days.

Delaney McGill is a senior in psychology who attended the expo. “We got an email through our Iowa State email and I got engaged last month,” said McGill. “I’m going to be having a wedding next year and I figured it’s a good idea to kind of know as much as you can and find venues.”

McGill said the expo was her first step in wedding planning and that while slightly overwhelming, it was good to learn about her options.

Monique Washington represented Celebrations Party & Rental Store based out of Ames. Celebrations had a vendor table at the expo and displayed variations of party packages and supplies that wedding planners may need.

Celebrations rent out tableware, seating, tents, decorations and much more for those planning their weddings.

“We want folks to know what their options are,” Washington said. “Wedding planning can get very hectic-it’s very easy to kind of get lost in purchasing things and whatnot. So we just want people to know what’s here in Ames and what we can offer them.”

Caitlyn Fank, a senior in history education, and Marcy Anderson, a senior in software engineer, are engaged and just starting their wedding planning process.

“This is kind of the ‘looking at what we need to start thinking about’ process,” Anderson said.

Anderson and Fank said that the expo was a good way to start thinking about what they envision for their wedding.

“I think that the ISU event planning where it was like, if we talk to them we get a discount is a cool thing. Because discounts are good! Weddings are expensive,” laughed Fank.

Among the vendors was the ISU catering service. Aja Porter, Catering Sales Representative, prompted the service with cupcakes for attendees and answered all of their questions about ISU Weddings.

“We cater pretty much all over campus, said Porter. “We do weddings anywhere for anyone who wants to married on campus…if somebody wants to have their reception and dinner on the Campanile Lawn, we’ll do it! We’d be more than happy to do it.”

The United at the Union wedding expo is held in the spring and fall; the next expo will be in April 2022. To learn more about United at the Union, follow @muweddings on Instagram and Facebook.