In 1904, the building that now holds the Laramar was built to originally house the Fort Dodge Armory. Margaret and Larry Geer bought the building in 1938 and changed the name of the Armory to the Laramar. The Laramar is a combination of their first names, Larry and Margaret.
This is a two-story venue that has a balcony that wraps around above the ballroom and a cocktail lounge next to the bar. The Laramar also has a 20×30 stage. A stage that has held many well-known performers like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Johnny Cash, Jimmie Hendricks, Loverboy, Foghat, and Blue Oyster Cult. The Laramar is a multi-use venue. It can be used for a variety of different events such as weddings, business events, concerts and so much more. The Laramar’s main goal is to provide unmatched service and a unique experience for all their guests. The Laramar wants to keep the tradition alive for many years to come.
Whether you are overwhelmed in large groups or you are simply just needing to step away, the cocktail lounge is the perfect breakaway from the event. The cocktail lounge has plenty of seating and space to just unwind or socialize with access to the bar. The Laramar uses the cocktail lounge for a variety of different things. They use it for dessert tables, social/cocktail hour, rehearsal dinners, and any smaller event that would do better in a more intimate space.
The large and spacious ballroom can be used for a ceremony and/or reception. The stage can be used to have the ceremony on, the head table could be set up there, or even the DJ. The Laramar has moveable stairs for the stage that allow the choice of entrance. The stairs can be moved to either side and to the back of the stage.
Due to the fact that the Laramar is a dual-use venue and holds concerts and dances, they have a lighting system that most venues wouldn’t have otherwise. Not only do they have lighting above the stage but they are able to do custom lighting and highlight different parts of a wedding. For example, they can highlight things such as your cake table or have uplighting behind the head table.
In addition to the lighting system, the Laramar also has chandeliers hanging in the ballroom and above the staircase. The chandeliers are around 6ft long and they bring an elegant and different element to the space that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
The Laramar has a wrap-around balcony that overlooks the ballroom. The balcony is used for overflow seating from a reception or seating during the ceremony. The balcony could be a place for photographers to get fun shots. The Laramar also uses this space for a VIP section for concerts.
THE. WOMENS. RESTROOM. is to die for. From the lace fabric wall, the fringe chandeliers, gold faucets, and the ‘Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face’ neon sign. The vision behind this was to have the bathrooms as elegant as the rest of the venue and provide a fun background for all the pictures with your girls because trust me, you’ll want to take a picture.
Sadie didn’t know what she wanted to do with the bathroom but she knew she wanted to include history. She started doing some research on Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. She didn’t know any songs by the Big Bopper but when she landed on the song Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face, that is where the spark began.
Sadie knew what she wanted to do for the men’s bathroom from the very beginning. If you remember when reading about the background of the Laramar, many well-known performers performed at the Laramar. Performers like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Johnny Cash, Jimmie Hendricks, Loverboy, Foghat, and Blue Oyster Cult.
On the main wall behind the mirrors and the vanity, a local business in Fort Dodge, Dodge Graphix, mocked up different posters for the bands or artists that have played there. The building itself is so historical as is but adding things like what was done to the men’s restroom makes history come to life again in a different aspect.
Having a separate space from the reception for a social hour allows the party before the party to have its unique aspect of your wedding day for your guests.