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Exchanging Wedding Bands in Raiderland

Texas Tech continues to be a popular venue for marriage ceremonies and receptions.

Written by Lindsay Bradshaw

Ramirez used the Texas Tech Club for her wedding reception, which she said was a hit with her guests.

Ramirez used the Texas Tech Club for her wedding reception, which she said was a hit with her guests.

Whether a couple is looking to say its marital vows in a traditional church setting or atop the Jones AT&T Stadium, those planning their special day can be sure to find everything they dreamed of on the campus of Texas Tech University.

Texas Tech has five locations for ceremonies and receptions: the Texas Tech Club, United Spirit Arena, McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center, Frazier Alumni Pavilion and the Kent R. Hance Chapel. Each site offers unique services for couples and guests.

The Texas Tech Club

Kristen Datko, the private events coordinator of the Texas Tech Club, said while the scenic location and elite staff are part of the club’s experience, the detail-oriented planning assistance is part of what makes it special for any ceremony or reception.

“It’s pretty much a one-stop shop,” Datko said. “Whether you want me to provide your d├ęcor, your flowers or entertainment services, we can do almost anything and everything. Brides have a lot of things going on; planning a wedding takes a lot of time. But we want to be able to take care of all that for you.”

The Texas Tech Club, which opened in the fall of 2010, comprises the fourth floors of the football stadium. Surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows, guests can enjoy an ideal open view of the field below while celebrating special events.

One bride, Krista Melcher, used the venue for her reception because of her and her husband’s close ties to Texas Tech and love for the university.

“Both of my parents went to Tech, as well as my grandfather on my mother’s side,” Melcher said. “My father played football at Tech in the ’70s. I graduated from Texas Tech. My husband has several family members who graduated from Texas Tech as well. It just made sense. There was nowhere that we would rather have had our reception than in Jones Stadium with a view into the stadium.”

Jones AT&T Stadium is a popular destination for both weddings and receptions. Stadium official can also incorporate the video board to add to your celebration.

Jones AT&T Stadium is a popular destination for both weddings and receptions. Stadium officials can also incorporate the video board to add to your celebration.

Datko said couples can utilize the space almost any way they want to make the day as customized and personal as possible. With Raider Vision in perfect view, one couple opted to play the wedding ceremony, which had taken place a few days prior in Hawaii, at the reception on the screen. Guests were excited to get to see it since many were not able to attend.

“People often have no idea what all we can do,” Datko said. “We have this large space and it’s almost like a blank canvas. Brides can do virtually whatever they want with it.”

Melcher said for a small additional fee, she was able to put her engagement photo on Raider Vision and several televisions around the club.

“Our guests loved it,” Melcher said. “We had graduates of Tennessee, a couple from A&M and UT and they even made comments about how great the view was and how unique the experience was.

Aside from the club, couples also may be interested in the alumni centers: McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center and Frazier Alumni Pavilion. Kym Ruiz, the event planning and catering manager of Texas Tech Alumni Association, said both locations, as well as the Kent R. Hance Chapel, are perfect for alumni or those who grew up in Lubbock.

“We really pride ourselves on building close relationships with our clients,” Ruiz said. “We go above and beyond to make their lives easier. I don’t want any bride to stress out on her wedding day.”

Ruiz said she keeps a box of thank you cards in her office from brides and families for all the hard work and commitment she and her team put into each wedding.

“We treat each wedding as our top priority,” Ruiz said. “There are so many places where clients can tell they’re just another wedding to be dealt with. But we think we plan some of the best weddings here because of the relationships we form. We want to meet your needs and make your wedding as ideal as we possibly can.”

Hance Chapel

Hance Chapel, which had its first wedding on May 26, already has 20 more ceremonies booked for the next year. The space is non-denominational and serves people of all faiths. With seating for 250, the venue lights up through stained glass windows and has two rooms for brides, grooms, and their parties before the ceremony.

Some patrons may not realize that the United Spirit Arena has several rooms along its concourse that can house wedding receptions or ceremonies.

Some patrons may not realize that the United Spirit Arena has several rooms along its concourse that can house wedding receptions and ceremonies.

“I think every year we’re going to be booking more and more weddings at the chapel,” Ruiz said. “It’s such a beautiful venue. The weddings we have done so far have turned out great.”

United Spirit Arena

Also hosting weddings and receptions is the United Spirit Arena, home of Texas Tech basketball. More commonly used for receptions, guests can have a sports-themed celebration.

Meredith Imes, the managing director, said although weddings are not as common as other events, she makes sure to give them the same close attention and high-quality planning services as she would for any other event.

“We pride ourselves on our first-class service,” Imes said. “We want our clients to feel at home here. The whole wedding process is a huge undertaking, but we want to take all that stress off.”

Imes said weddings at the arena are perfect for big fans of Red Raider basketball, or those who grew up attending concerts there.

Regardless of which facility a couple chooses, families and friends can be sure they will have all needs and expectations exceeded.

“We’re all very passionate about what we do,” Ruiz said. “That’s why we’re willing to give up our Saturdays almost every week. We want to make each wedding day as special as possible.


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