If you find yourself driving behind Ikea in Fishers, you may find a very large glass building labelled “Forum Conference and Event Center.” You might think it’s offices for the credit union or maybe an auditorium for employees, but it’s so much more than either of those things.
The Forum Conference and Events Center
The Forum Conference and Event Center is a crisp modern venue with lots of versatile space and high-tech features. The building was built in 2003 in stages, with the Conference and Event Center added last. The building houses the headquarters for the Forum Credit Union, and leases office space for other businesses. The entire building is immaculate and has a chrome and marble finish.
The space is so clean and contemporary that it feels like a blank canvas. The polished look works great with both a modern wedding and a corporate gathering. The diverse space can be divided in many ways and can be rearranged so quickly that guests will be amazed that they’re stepping back into the same room.
While most of the building may be bustling with office staff, the Forum Conference and Event Center is heralded by 2 exceptional women: Julianne Mertz and Kalissa Atchley. These two dynamite ladies run everything in the conference center from scheduling events, ordering linens, floor planning, meeting with clients, rearranging the room, and posting on social media. They were nice enough to take time out of their busy schedules to give me the grand tour of the event center and show me how an event at the Forum comes to fruition.
Photos courtesy of Dimensions Photography
Whoever designed this event center really thought of everything. The foyer of the conference center has a built-in check-in table, bar, and coat check. No extra equipment required. The foyer has floor to ceiling glass windows providing lots of natural light. Doors on either side of the foyer allow access into the event center.
I saw how the space was utilized and transformed at a recent wedding Jonathan Byrd’s catered at the Forum. A built-in monitor greeted guests as they entered the foyer, which was filled with decorated cocktail tables, a photobooth, and the Jonathan Byrd’s cheese display was prominently displayed in the middle of the room. The bar was open for business and the check-in table was decorated to match the cocktail tables and displayed pictures of those family there in spirit.
The foyer decorated for cocktail hour
Inside the 7,200 square foot conference center is a large stage at the front of the room and a large air wall capable of dividing the space for multiple events. Depending on the orientation, the conference center can seat between 50-500 people. There are 2 screens on either side of the conference center, and one big screen that comes down over the stage. For weddings or other romantic events, there is a gigantic chandelier that can be hung in the middle of the ballroom.
The ceremony setup – Photos courtesy of Dimensions Photography
Bridal suite, groom suite, and an extensive kitchen area for caterers are all part of the event space as well. The bridal suite has lots of room for a group of bridesmaids, and the groom’s suite doubles as an employee lounge filled with games and a pool table. New rules by the Forum dictate that you cannot go off their preferred DJ and Catering list based on previous experience, but the list has a variety of options for every price point.
One of the coolest features of the conference center is over the stage. There is a long plain strip that you might not notice until the projector turns on and displays a logo or picture. Mertz and Atchley make a few designs for clients and they pick one that will display on the wall over the stage for the whole event. The design can be a new logo made for the event, a pre-existing logo for corporate clients, or a picture from a couple’s engagement shoot. It’s a great wow-factor that really sets the Forum Conference and Event Center apart from so many others.
Projected logo over the stage – Photos courtesy of Dimensions Photography
The behind the scenes work that guests don’t see, is really what makes the Forum such a great venue for any occasion. As guests entered the conference room for the ceremony, the room was divided in half width-wise by the airwall. The stage adorned in tulle and twinkle lights, and the room was packed with almost 200 people sitting in rows on either side of an aisle. There was an opening in the middle of the airwall, but it was blocked with a divider so no one could see through the opening. The bridal suite has an entrance to the conference center, and when the bride and her girls were ready, they hid behind the airwall before the guests took their seats.
Once the ceremony was over, guests filed back into the foyer for cocktail hour, and that’s when Mertz and Atchley flexed their muscles. They opened the airwall to double the size of the room to reveal all the tables for the reception packed tightly behind it. The tables had linens, napkins, plates, and table numbers on them already. From there, these two ladies and their vendor team, rolled up the aisle, moved all the chairs to the side of the room, and lifted all the tables into their spots. The dance floor for the reception was disguised by the aisle runner and the chairs during the ceremony. Once the tables were all in place, the chairs were placed around the tables, and the centerpieces were distributed at every table.
Pre-set tables made for an easy and quick transition
All the chairs during the ceremony used the same chair covers and bows that were used for the reception. The DJ who played music for the ceremony, didn’t have to relocate any of his equipment, he just stayed in the same spot next to the dance floor by the stage. The stage that was the backdrop for the ceremony, now became the backdrop for the head table so everyone could see the bride and groom and all the speeches. The buffets were pre-set behind the airwall now just needed to be filled with food.
Before: Ceremony – After: Reception
To see before and after pictures makes you think that this was 2 different almost identical rooms, but it was just the magic of planning ahead, being creative, and a little elbow grease quickly transformed the entire space.
If you’re looking for a versatile event venue in Fishers with great amenities and experienced venue managers – check out the Forum Conference and Event Center and tell them Jonathan Byrd’s sent you.
Jonathan Byrds: Bride & Forum Approved – Photos courtesy of Dimensions Photography