Concord revelers ring in 2015 at new downtown venue

Danielle Sumrell found out online about a New Year’s Eve masquerade party in Concord.

Her then-boyfriend, Aaron Honeycutt, and four friends liked the idea of spending the evening at a local venue. So the three couples bought their tickets in advance to Bliss at Nine’s party.

When she made the arrangements, Sumrell had no idea that, by New Year’s Eve, she would be engaged.

Honeycutt proposed on Christmas Day, and she said yes.

The party also served as the grand opening celebration for Bliss at Nine, a new venue on the second floor at 9 Union St. N. in Concord. Ticket buyers were treated to an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and a champagne toast at midnight.

Sumrell picked out a mask adorned with red and black feathers for herself and painted a mask for her now-fiancé, Honeycutt.

The friends danced wearing their masks, sometimes switching partners in the spirit of the masquerade theme.

Bliss at Nine co-owners Dana Montgomery and Bernard Fordham starting dating less than a year ago, after reuniting at their high school class reunion.

Fordham, an Army staff sergeant, was stationed in New York at the time, but they started planning their life in Charlotte with hopes he would be stationed there soon.

Shortly after they reunited, Montgomery moved to Charlotte and started looking for a place.

“I’ve been planning weddings for about three years now, and so I have had to rent a lot of other venues,” she said. “I wanted to try our own venue, to be able to have a smooth operation for our guests.”

They decided on the old Paramount Theatre location “because of the intimate feeling, the historic downtown, the small-town feel,” Montgomery said. “It gives you more of an intimate feel for your wedding day and for different types of events.”

Montgomery said she plans weddings through her business Events Delighted.

Fordham came up with the name Bliss at Nine because the venue is at 9 Union St. “It just kind of came out of nowhere: Something nice, everything is blissful,” which tied into the wedding theme, he said.

With domed ceiling, hardwood floors and a few remnants of the old movie theater, the 3,600-square-foot ballroom has a capacity of 175 people, Fordham said.

“It is going to be the most personable area, where you can come in and have fellowship with all the people you have here,” he said. “It’s not too big; it’s not too small. It’s probably just the right size for everybody to feel comfortable.”

They completed the renovations and opened the business in Concord shortly after Fordham moved to Charlotte in December.

After the champagne toast to the New Year, Sumrell won first place and Yeshecah Jackson placed second for the best mask of the night. Each won a free rental of the venue for a wedding or reception.

The free rental should be useful to Sumrell, now that she has her own wedding to plan.