AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!
What’s the last place where you’d expect to find a lively and lavish wedding in full swing? Let’s pretend for a moment that someone in your family has become engaged and you are responsible for identifying a potential site for the nuptial event. Your immediate response might propel your thoughts to a restaurant, a hotel banquet room, a hall connected to a place of worship, or a community lodge of some sort.
If the affair will be in Indianapolis, maybe you should add a funeral home to your list of possibilities. Increasingly, funeral establishments have been diverting from their primary functions to capitalize on utilization of their facilities for other personal and community occasions. Along with memorial gatherings, proms, business events, and the like, weddings are “big” at the 10,000 square-foot Flanner and Buchanan Community Life Celebration Center on the east side of the city.
Upon entering the modern building, your mouth may drop open as you gape at the magnificence of a rotunda graced by a high ceiling with a glittering chandelier, a central fountain, and walls manifesting an art gallery.
(presence of plywood planks and barrier tapes due to remedial work underway at time of visit)
Beyond a door on the left is a grand ballroom that accommodates parties of up to 300 people, complete with audio-visual equipment and a dance floor. A walk straight ahead within the rotunda will lead you to the light (not the ultimate version you might see as a client in a funeral home!) that pervades an open-air courtyard. Surrounded seasonally by roses, this area can similarly seat up to 300 guests. A “Crystal Tower” there serves as a focal point for brides who wish to make an entrance from it. There’s also a “Bridal Suite” for pre-wedding primping by a bridal party, as well as a “Retreat” with lounge seating and a television for the groom and groomsmen.
Amidst this grandeur, a turn to the right off the entranceway will lead you to a reception desk, comfortable seating areas, and circular offices abutted by gallery-style display racks of eclectic funerary wares highlighted by natural sunlight pouring through adjacent windows. Elegance and refinement persist, even in this section of the building.
Wall murals with images of the facility's own burial properties provide corridor backdrops.
Although this is a funeral home, it’s one that has compounded its transformative potential… not just in terms of supporting transitions from physical substance to spiritual endurance, but probably also in terms of changing perspectives of consumers. So wherever you live, don’t rule out this type of business when preparing for a special gathering. While there are plans for this particular establishment to expand event operations to several of its multiple locations in Indianapolis, many other funeral providers throughout the country are adapting their facilities so they can offer them as venues for varied functions. Now when you think of funeral homes, think not only about endings, but also about new beginnings.