INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 22, 2015)-- When you walk into the atrium of the Community Life Center, you're automatically drawn to the crystal chandelier and the water fountain in the rotunda. The perfect welcome if you're looking to host an upscale event. However, to experience the beauty of the grounds your guest will walk past grave sites sitting right outside.
"They built this because there was not a facility like this on the east side of Indianapolis. And they thought this was a good way to diversify what we do," said Community Life Center, General Manager, Mark McCrocklin.
So why not combine the inside beauty of the venue with the outside serenity and the manicured grounds of, yes, a cemetery.
"When we came here I knew they did weddings as well so when we came and toured the grounds I just knew it was what I wanted," said bride, Danessa Castrodale.
Danessa Castrodale says this was the perfect location for her June wedding. Her wedding was in the courtyard and panels covered the cemetery backdrop that could be seen ever so slightly in their wedding photos.
"I had a couple people ask me, 'is that where the cemetery is?' And yes it is, but I think when they got here they were surprised that how nice of a place it is," said Castrodale.
Right now five percent of business for the Washington Park Cemetery Association is weddings and special events. It's so popular it's now a local favorite and it's giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "'til death do us part."
Many funeral homes across the country have explored hosting other life events as a way to make up for loss revenue due to people opting for more simple and less expensive funerals. Cremations are also growing in popularity and are cheaper for families.
However, leaders at Community Life Center says money wasn't their motive it just made sense to diversify their services.
The venue has 57 weddings booked this season.