While downtown Mesa is expanding, bustling with activity and new businesses and attractions that entertain residents and visitors alike, one building stands out from the modern developments: Antique Wedding House.
The two-story house was converted into a wedding venue in about 1993 or 1994 and held its first wedding in 1995, according to one of the owners, Michele Hart, and has served as the start of marriages for almost 20 years.
The house was built by the family of Alexander MacDonald, Mesa’s first mayor sometime between 1912-1914. The home was passed onto MacDonald’s son James, who raised his family in the house and the home was recorded as the James A. MacDonald House, beginning its documented heritage.
“We still have the brick exposed up in the bride’s room that shows the adobe brick that they handmade and built the house out of,” Hart said. “So it’s got a lot of family value and is rich in history. We still have the family featured on the wall, so we always show the history of who built the house.”
The house has gone through adjustments and has developed into a full-functioning wedding venue complete with amenities like a built-in DJ booth and bar, an outside pavilion courtyard that can seat up to 150 people and a chapel inside that can seat up to 40. Rooms have been converted into a bridal suite, groom’s room and a planning office where Hart meets with the couples.
If couples want to book their wedding at the house, Hart will set up a time to meet with the bride and groom to preview the location and discuss packages with them. She said some people will book right on the spot, some will wait a few weeks or months later before deciding.
“Once they make the decision…I get the comment all the time about how easy it is to book here and how simple we make the process,” Hart said.
Part of that process is the vendors the house partners with to offer various services or items the bride and groom may want for their day. Hart said people have commented that Antique Wedding House is more informative than other venues they’ve looked at.
“A lot of people don’t take the time to give them one-on-one service like we do, but once they do get booked, they’re put into a system we have, where we book their ministers for them, their DJ, we work with their photographer, set up their catering, set up their wedding cake tasting,” Hart said. “So it’s kind of a one-stop shop. They don’t really have to do anything if they don’t want to and I’d say 90 percent of what we do is our packages.”
Newlyweds Vittoria and Ryan Vandeventer had their wedding at the Antique Wedding House on March 4. The Mesa resident said she had looked at a lot of places online prior to visiting Antique Wedding House as a possible venue.
“Antique Wedding House was the first one we went to and when we walked out, my now husband stopped me in the parking lot and said, ‘Just book it,’ and I was like, ‘But there’s so many other (venues),’ and he said book it, (because) we liked it, it’s affordable, all of the reviews were amazing…there wasn’t a single bad one about Antique Wedding House,” Vandeventer said. “So, I’m glad I did (book it) because we never looked at another venue.”
Vandeventer said she tells people booking and planning the wedding was the easiest thing she’s ever done. Part of this is due to Hart’s experience, Vandeventer said she was stressed out only because it was her wedding, but Hart was calming and helped her plan and was realistic with her about certain options for the wedding.
The newlywed said while booking the venue was an easy decision, she was apprehensive about the idea of an Antique Wedding House—as she said it didn’t really fit into her dream wedding style. But, her mind was changed when she and Ryan went to see it in person.
“The outside is absolutely perfect, it’s much bigger than it seems, it’s open, it’s very Arizona with the brick and all the bougainvilleas,” Vandeventer said. “The inside…it’s charming and it’s real, none of it’s tacky. The space of it, for the time of year we had it, it was perfect. Even though it’s right in the middle of downtown, it felt like you were somewhere totally different, it’s secluded and it was beautiful.”
On her wedding day, Vandeventer said all the people working at Antique Wedding House and making that day possible knew what they were doing, knew what was going on and worked together seamlessly.
In Hart’s almost 18 years working with brides and grooms to help them plan their wedding day, she said Antique Wedding House distinguishes itself from other venues in the one-on-one attention they give their couples from the first meeting until their wedding day.
“I know everybody pretty much by first name and we’re dedicated to making sure that everyone’s getting the care that they need,” Hart said. “I don’t think a lot of people follow through with their brides and grooms the way we continually follow-up with them and make sure that they’re on track and everything’s OK and if they need anything additional, so just really excellent customer service.”
Hart said through the years, her favorite part of Antique Wedding House is the people.
“I love my brides. I love my girls. I’ve had so many wonderful brides and grooms.”
While the downtown Mesa area continues to expand, Antique Wedding House is a historical gem, thriving in its uniqueness and nostalgia it provides for brides, grooms and guests who are charmed by the intersection of historical elements and modern touches for an unforgettable day.
Antique Wedding House is located at the southwest corner of 1st Street and Mesa Drive, 307 E. 1st St. in Mesa. To learn more about Antique Wedding House, its services or to contact them about an event or wedding, visit: AntiqueWeddingHouse.com.
– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance reporter for MyNewsMesa.