Amber Kirk, VenueND Wedding Specialist
Tell us about yourself.
I have been with the University for over a decade. I married my high school sweetheart, and I am the mother of an amazing young man in the making. I have been in customer service/hospitality for 20+ years and love that my day-to-day work life is ever changing with the people I meet, the relationships I make, and the events that are planned.
You are the first person a couple talks to when they call VenueND and are deciding to book their wedding on campus. When should couples book?
Couples should be looking a little bit more than two years out if they will be booking their ceremony at the Basilica when their rolling calendar opens two years out. One of our biggest concerns is that many brides think, “Oh, it’s two years out. We don’t really need to check out the reception location,” but when they reach out one year prior, they’re losing out on some really great locations they could’ve booked previously.”
What are some of your favorite venues on campus?
All of them! I like the Smith Ballroom because it is romantic, and you don’t have to do a lot with the space. It has beautiful crystal chandeliers; you can also do something as simple as incorporating uplighting to add to the ambience of an already perfect venue. If you are going for views, Downes Ballroom is amazing with an indoor-outdoor feel and some memorable views. Foley’s has a ton of history in it, and the east side of South Dining Hall might be nostalgic because that is where couples met, or they have spent a lot of time there before.
How do you guide couples to the right wedding decisions for them?
When I am talking to a couple, or touring them around campus, I get a feel of what might be the right venue for them. Notre Dame really has something for anybody, no matter your style.
Couples sometimes share their budgets with you when looking to book a venue for their reception. How do you help stay budget-friendly, but still create the perfect, unforgettable reception?
I like to suggest other things, like different dates, for couples on a budget. We can help find winter dates, or other off-peak times, which might help couples, have their wedding in their desired venue, but be flexible on the date. The winter months are a little more cost effective, and weddings on campus during the winter and holiday season are beautiful. You also get the added effects of holiday décor and snowy backdrops for your special day.
Do you have a favorite moment from your years of helping couples plan their wedding?
I love being a part of the proposals. Sometimes the men will call and secure a date for their reception venue before the proposal, and it’s fun to be a part of the surprise.