Railroad Revival: NP Event Center Opens in Brainerd

From: Spring/Summer 2015 edition

Brainerd has long been a vacation destination, but thanks to NP Event Center, it’s about to become a wedding destination. Once part of the Northern Pacific Railroad headquarters, the event space was bought by Aimee Jobe, who began overhauling it for her photography business in 2010. The sprawling industrial spaces of the Northern Pacific Center span 47 acres of historic buildings—the property’s old blacksmith shop has become the NP Event Center. Exposed brick and soaring windows let light come flooding in and create a perfect setting for a dream wedding, whatever finishing touches you have in mind.

“We made it a blank slate,” says Jobe. “You can go simple with no décor and it looks really incredible, or you can deck it out.” At a recent event, she overheard many guests saying that the space looked like a castle, thanks to all the vintage candelabras, candlelight and lush floral pieces. The weekend before, it felt feminine and glamorous with purple uplighting, shimmering crystals and flowers in soft pink and lavender. “Every wedding has a completely different personality, and couples can come in and make it their own.”

In the loft space, Aimee used lots of white paint, refurbished the original windows and refinished the original hardwood flooring. She hung stunning crystal chandeliers to further illuminate all 2,000 square feet of the space. Tree branches suspended from the ceiling make for unique dress racks.

The Blacksmith Shop warehouse space is 8,000 square feet, which can easily accommodate groups from 100 to 500. With plenty of free parking, no food and beverage minimums and great vendors to work with, there are limitless options for couples with a bold vision for their big day. “I love every part of the wedding business,” says Jobe. “I’ve always wanted to open my own wedding venue, close to home.” She is gradually adding a full range of event services, including well-curated options from the best that Brainerd has to offer. Floral services, couture gowns, DJs, lighting designs and equipment rental are all available from other vendors in the same complex.