Now Boarding to Your Dream Wedding Venue
By Marissa McCormick
“We finally have something that feels like you’re standing in a world-class city like New York or Paris.”
Jeannie Welliver, Project Development Manager, describes the project she’s spent more than half of her life on, Main Street Station. As she walks through the station, she sees more than just a magnificent venue space, she sees the vision that kept her in Richmond all these years.
The train shed, originally built in 1901, is unlike any other venue, not only on the East Coast but in the world. Known to most Richmond locals as the glass box in Shockoe, it’s so much more.
If you haven’t seen the inside of Main Street Station before, prepare to be wowed. The vast and expansive room is almost the length of two football fields. The floors, a perfectly selected shade of poured concrete, is broken up by glass sheets revealing a glimpse into the building’s past, the original six train tracks from the train shed.
As if right on cue, a train silently pulls up outside the giant glass windows. Jeannie explains, “The railroad dynamic is unlike any other building in the county. Where else can you get married beside an active railroad overlooking your city through glass?”
The trains, which add a sense of nostalgia to the space, are the perfect complement to the unique industrial feel of Main Street Station. The concrete floors reflect the recessed lights above and give a dull reflection of the absolutely breathtaking ceiling. Exposed metal beams, the only thing left from the original building, harmonize with new wooden beams, creating that perfect balance of new and old.
Over 24 years ago, she and Vickey Badger, a transportation planner for the City of Richmond, had a vision and a plan. Jeannie, who’s a Richmond native describes, “I stayed in this city to complete this project. I remember what it looked like back then with those magnificent bones of steel.” They had the vision to make this glass shed unlike anything anyone had ever seen before.
Through the quarter of a century process, every single detail was meticulously thought out. She laughs, “We could have fumbled royally.” But she saw Main Street for its potential impact on the city and settled for nothing less than perfection. Jeannie describes lying on her back in the half-constructed shed, holding paint samples to her eye, to find the perfect wood shade. 180 shades to be exact. Together with her team of world-class architects and contractors, she made the vision transparent for Richmond.
When speaking with her, one thing is very clear. All the hours and years she put into the shed wasn’t just for her, but for the city of Richmond and its people. “It’s everyone’s train station, and it’s everyone’s living room. This is my baby, but it’s also a platform that will elevate all things Richmond.”
The clock tower was the palate for the entire building and made an appearance on National television in 2018. When Richmond was named as one of the cities in season 14 of ABC’s The Bachelorette, she knew the lucky couple had to come to Main Street Station. Jeannie, who happens to be a super-fan of the show, knew the exposure this would bring to the city of Richmond. The couple had their date in the empty train shed and then sealed the deal with a kiss on the top of the clock tower.
During the episode premiere, a viewing party was held where one lucky couple won a wedding giveaway at Main Street Station. “Taylor Grannis and Paul Bull won an entire wedding here, from the flowers to the rings to the dress!”
Back in the train station, one senses the wonderful harmonization of new and old, a balance that has been perfected. “The juxtaposition of this glass box next to this magnificent clock tower is a beautiful contradiction.” Rather than a stark difference, it’s a central theme of old-world city meets new-world architecture, all expertly combined.
When it comes to a wedding at Main Street Station, the opportunities are endless. While the empty train station might seem intimidating, add decor to the space and it will transform into anything you want it to be. Along with 360-degree views, the train shed also has 180 rigging points, that you can hang almost anything off of. One wedding used the rigging points for curtains, a way to break up the space into sections of experience. Another event used the rigging points to hang a flower wall for photos. “One event even wanted to hang Cirque de Soleil performers!”
And one of the best parts about Main Street Station is its centrality in the city of Richmond. Located right in the heart of Shockoe, the station is the perfect meeting point for your wedding weekend. Along with being walking distance from some of Richmond’s top hotels and restaurants, there is also the recently completed 17th Street Farmer’s Market next door, a center for commerce and connection for over 275 years. Her eyes light up with the endless ideas possible, “Can you imagine a winter wedding where after the ceremony they can ice skate on the rink that will be at the Farmer’s Market?” They’ll also be running carriage rides, the perfect getaway. Jeannie, sitting back, concludes, “If you want to make your wedding as memorable as a downtown wedding can be, and feel like you’re part of a city, come here.”
Main Street Station, with its magnificent and world-class architecture, speaks for itself. But sitting with Jeannie, you see the incredible influence a space like this could have on a city. “It’s a living room and a welcome mat, where people can celebrate and appreciate the beauty that comes with living in Richmond.” The City of Richmond wants to use this space as a haven for locals, events like community immunizations or public celebrations for the people of Richmond. “It gives life to everything…This place is ours and it makes us better.”
Getting married at Main Street Station you’ll be part of something bigger. Your incredible day will be part of a new chapter in Richmond’s history. The perfect sense of new in an old-world city. From The Bachelorette to the first metal beam constructed in 1901, this building has stood the test of time and will continue to help Richmond grow into the city we all love.
Main Street Station has been a landmark in Downtown Richmond since 1901. The station offers two event spaces, perfect for any size. For more information and booking inquiries please call: 804-523-3329 | www.MainStreetStationRichmond.com | 1500 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219