How long have you owned Eastbank, and how did you get started?
“We bought Eastbank in August of 2020 (which is quite funny because we were in the midst of a pandemic).” My daughter Ellie and I are business partners and she had worked for the previous owner of Eastbank. I had an opportunity to purchase the business and put her skills to work. It’s been an adventure for sure!”
What are some of the advantages of having a full-service venue like yours?
“Honestly, I would say the size, we can accommodate up to 545 people. And that sounds large. But the beautiful thing about our venue is that we have a floating wall that cuts off the space from what we would call our ‘true venue’. If somebody wants a more intimate, small space in our lounge area, that area holds about 150 people and we can section our space off to that. We can pretty much accommodate any need.”
How do you best match a theme to the wedding party?
“Communication. We do have a large space, but it’s also a historic building, so there are pillars throughout. If someone does have a specific theme, we can drape using those pillars or even set up a stage separately. Between all the parties involved we try to make sure the vision is exactly what they desire.”
How early in advance of a wedding do you recommend booking out?
“12 months is a good rule of thumb in the industry and in Cedar Rapids. When you get into bigger markets like Chicago and Kansas City you might be closer to 18 – 24 months, but for Iowa 12 months is good.”
How should a couple incorporate a venue into their budget?
“The venue is one of the biggest ticket items. It really depends on how big the wedding party is. If we have guests who like to drink, the bar tab is going to take a significant chunk. That being said, the venue needs to accommodate the size of the wedding of the event first. Work down. The venue is the first thing you need to think about. Then you can determine bar, photographer, videographer, décor, flowers, etc. It’s always on my mind because we work with other services who can provide that for them.”
What other advice would you offer to couples looking to find a wedding venue?
“Ask questions. Not all venues are created equal. The little things like sound, acoustics. We’re in an older building so we put acoustic panels to make sure that speeches, whether it’s a wedding or a corporate event, you should be able to understand people. You’ll get into a venue without that and the sound will be bouncing everywhere. Keep asking questions. What’s included? The tables, the chairs, how many bartenders will we have for the event? We make sure that our future brides & grooms know what they’re getting from us. And we also understand they’re looking everywhere so giving them the tools to compare apples to apples.”