The uniqueness of the Ralph Engelstad Arena and Naastad Acres highlights the two wedding locations in a crowd.
The Ralph Engelstad Arena – “the Ralph” as it is commonly known – is located on the UND campus in Grand Forks. It has an elegant setting with granite floors, brick pillars, and chandeliers. Couples can also get married at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center next to the hockey arena.
Located on a working farm near Hatton, ND, Naastad Acres offers a charming, pastoral setting for country weddings. JoAnn and John Naastad, the owners of the homestead, have hosted weddings since 2013 and have given their venue a special something every year since.
The Ralph, a spacious building, offers a variety of intimate settings for weddings and similar events, including groom services and wedding receptions. Settings include the main arena, lobby, and Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, said AnnMarie Lane, REA special events coordinator.
“We’d like to say that we are uniquely different for a wedding reception,” Lane said.
Couples can even get married if there is still ice on the main arena floor. The staff can isolate it, she said.
The Ralph Engelstad Arena staff can host large parties, but can also organize smaller, intimate weddings and receptions in other areas of the arena.
Naastad Acres provides an outdoor setting and couples can move into another building when it rains, said Jodi Sundeen, who helps the Naastads manage their venue.
The setting at Naastad Acres is breathtaking, she said.
“When you get into the place it’s like ‘Wow’,” said Sundeen. “You really have to see the place to see what is offered to you.”
In addition to the outdoor setting framed by trees and the barn, the venue also includes a building called the “hen house” where brides and other members of a bridal party can get ready. The chicken coop has tongue and groove flooring, make-up mirrors and a lounge area. There is an attic upstairs for the bridal party to sleep in, Sundeen said.
Also on the Naastad Acres site is a building known as the “elevator” that can accommodate 22 overnight guests.
Naastad Acres usually books weddings in the warm months and ends the season in October, Sundeen said.
“We want to start all year round,” she said. All buildings are heated, and with the snow removal logistics in place, the venue can expand its bookings, she said.
At the Ralph Engelstad Arena, most weddings are booked from mid-April to August when there aren’t any hockey games, Lane said. The arena, which can accommodate up to 500 guests for weddings and receptions, is particularly popular with UND hockey fans.
The Ralph Engelstad Arena takes care of most of the details for weddings and receptions, including the assembly and dismantling, the provision of tables and chairs and the in-house catering.
“We honestly do everything except decorations and the disc jockey,” Lane said.
Naastad Acres’ wedding packages include tables and chairs, use of a commercial kitchen and decorations, Sundeen said.