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Wedding bells will ring at Worthington Event Center (with video)

brian korthals/daily globe The Worthington Event Center is shown set up for one of the first formal events to be hosted in the new space.2 / 3
brian korthals/daily globe The lobby area of the Event Center can be used as a social gathering space.3 / 3

WORTHINGTON -- With the recent opening of the Worthington Event Center (WEC), area brides have an entirely new option for receptions -- as well as weddings.

"We are seeing more brides considering doing the entire event at one place --from the wedding all the way to the reception," said Jackie Tentinger, sales and events manager at the WEC. "All-in-one weddings seem to be driven by pure convenience --keeping everyone you want at your event, all in the same space, with no driving between sites or the chance of out-of-town guests getting lost.

"Everything is right here."

The WEC can accommodate "any type of wedding," Tentinger said. "We have full multi-media, state-of-the-art equipment and are band- and DJ-capable.

"We can do outdoor weddings in our garden, or use that area as a reception or social hour space, or an indoor/outdoor combination of wedding and reception," she said. "Our space is very flexible and can be customized to any group. There is no one right way to set it up."

As many as 525 people can be seated in the WEC's main room, but that space can be split in half or divided further for even smaller events.

"There are lots of options and lots of flexibility here," assured Tentinger.

With five portable bars and a large pre-function space that can be used as a social gathering area, brides and grooms need only work with Tentinger to arrange their ideal setup.

Tentinger has been doing wedding planning and setups for more than 20 years.

"I previously worked for Schwan's, and at Landmark Bistro and Landmark Mercantile in Marshall," said Tentinger of her work experience. "Worthington is a great community. My father was a UPS man here for 30-some years.

"I understand the excitement surrounding a wedding, as well as the seriousness of it, and I know how important it is to the bride and groom to have everything executed perfectly," she added.

"Our goal here is to make people happy and satisfied right in Worthington, and to set a higher standard for this type of event."

Having a brand new space to work in is appealing to Tentinger, and she is eager to tout the WEC's amenities.

"There is a very neutral color scheme that can be appealing for any kind of event --sandalwood, neutral tans, dark woods--and there will be photos on our website soon," Tentinger revealed. "For weddings, people can bring in anything they like for decorations."

The WEC also welcomes any licensed caterer a bridal couple may choose.

"Anyone with a catering license may work out of here, but we carry the liquor license, so we do all of the beverages," she clarified.

On one day last week, Tentinger fielded three inquiries for June 2014 weddings, so she advises couples interested in the WEC to call sooner rather than later.

"Now is the time to book us for 2014 weddings," she suggested. "We have several wedding receptions booked each month of this year, June through October, so it isn't too early to call."

But guests may have to wait a little while to reserve spots at the adjacent Comfort Inn & Suites. Hotel general manager Tyler Knutson said the facility's anticipated opening date is June 17, and he can't wait to see how the WEC events will fit with the hotel's accommodations.

"The Comfort Inn & Suites goes hand-in-hand with the event center and its amenities," said Knutson, noting that any bridal couple having an event at the WEC automatically receives a complimentary hotel room. "What's unique about us is this is an all-suites property, with each guest room sleeping four to six people.

"It's nice for families or groups of friends, with extra seating space and sofa sleepers."

Both Knutson and Tentinger are pleased to be leading the charge at these all-new facilities.

"I look forward to sharing the new space," said Knutson. "Being able to work at a new hotel connected with an event center is great, and it's something anyone in my field would take pride in."

Added Tentinger, "It's nice to be involved with something from the ground up.

"Let's get the ball rolling and make everyone proud of what we can do and what we have to offer here."

The Worthington Event Center and Comfort Inn & Suites are located at 1477 Prairie Drive, Worthington. For Worthington Event Center inquiries, call (507) 227-4042 or visit the website or its Facebook page. The Comfort Inn & Suites will accept bookings after its opening date at (507) 295-9185.