Many people know Forever Bridal Wedding Shows for putting on the region’s largest bridal shows. Outside of these extensive wedding events, Forever Bridal serves as a headquarters for all things wedding-related. But the Forever Bridal offices also hold a piece of Raleigh history — a fun story shared among the Forever Bridal team. Rumor has it that Midtown Place was once the campus of one of Wendy’s headquarters. Tucked away in the basement is a safe that’s been said to have been home to the secret Frosty recipe.
Even more interesting is a story passed down by a long-time local resident, who claims that the Frosty formula underwent a failed burglary attempt. When the thieves saw the gigantic safe and were unable to open it, they abandoned the mission. There is some fact to this story: To this day, the safe bears damage and marks of someone trying to open it. We think it’s pretty cool to have this piece of history at our offices!
Midtown Place aka “The House”
Dubbed the “Forever Bridal House” (officially called Midtown Place), our Raleigh, NC offices are home to a host of wedding vendors, from photographers to bakers. Each room in the house has a different look and feel for each vendor to showcase their style. At night, the house is buzzing with soon-to-be brides meeting with potential vendors. The Forever Bridal team can be found in suite #200, busy working on the next event, breaking the next big wedding trend, and tending to the office pup, Lucy.
To add to the excitement, the house has a great piece of Raleigh “hidden history” attached to it: Rumor has it that back as early as the 1980s, the office park used to be home to one of the Wendy’s research and training facilities. It’s even been said that the Frosty may have been invented here!
The house holds many old pieces of history and gives an idea of what it may have looked like back then.
The Wendy’s Safe & Tale of the Frosty Recipe
Although not historically confirmed, one of the long-time Raleigh residents shared a story about the former Wendy’s safe that contained the official top secret Frosty formula.
The Forever Bridal house contains 4 floors: The ground floor, 2nd story, a 3rd story loft, and the basement. In the basement, you will find storage rooms that contain all of the wedding show gear, Forever Bridal merch, and something left behind by the previous owners… A large safe, tucked away back in the corner of the basement storage room.
The Raleigh resident who shared the story explained how this safe used to store the infamous Wendy’s Frosty recipe. Today, you can see physical damage to the safe where someone attempted to rob the safe to steal the secret formula! The burglars were unsuccessful and, after seeing how large the safe was and failing to break into it, they left empty-handed.
“The safe still presides in the basement.. like a battered soldier it has its battle scars, as it appears there was an attempt to break into it.” — Dominick, co-owner of Forever Bridal Wedding Shows
Keep reading to tour the house and see what we’ve discovered!
A Walk Through The Forever Bridal Offices
The First Floor
When you first walk into the house, you’ll notice the beautifully decorated rooms, each with a different theme for each vendor’s brand. Here’s the sitting area for one of the wedding photographers, Melissa B Images.
Continuing on through the hallway, you’ll pass another one of our vendor rooms. This room is set up to display wedding photography, as well as sample wedding cakes from Confectionate Cakes.
Here’s another meeting area where brides meet with one of our florists to plan all of the aspects that go into bridal bouquets, flowers and matching decor, and more.
After you’ve walked through the house towards the back, Forever Bridal has a newly renovated kitchen open to the whole house and its guests. We wonder what it looked like back over two decades ago?
This is where the hidden history really shines. The basement is divided into two areas: A finished section with office rooms for wedding vendors and an unfinished section with storage rooms. The unfinished section even has a full-blown recording studio for promoting our events.
Once you’re down the stairs, a hallway takes you past one of the storage rooms. This room is where a lot of the Forever Bridal show merch and swag is kept. You’ll notice the older features of the building, along with a super organized storage system (thanks to Forever Bridal’s co-founder, Laura!).
In this same room, back behind all of the boxes is an old phone room board. This is how telecommunications used to be managed for the entire campus — we guesstimate about 500 phone lines!
Further back is a larger storage room. The various items from past bridal shows and events, and old house decor gets stored here. But there’s a secret hidden in this room…
Tucked away all the way in the back corner of the room is a huge, older model safe. Way too large for a band of old school robbers to steal.
But wait! What’s this? Looks like someone tried to pry it open! The physical marks of a failed burglary still remain to this day, though the exact date of the proposed Wendy’s Frosty incident is unknown.
Visible in the previous picture, you can see that some things never change. Our power cords and data cables are a bit messy — but we’re the wedding experts. We’ll leave the IT up to our network professionals!
Back Upstairs: The Second Floor
Now that we’ve discovered a piece of Raleigh (and fast food) history, let’s go back upstairs to see where all the wedding magic happens!
The staircase to the second floor offices features an interesting nook, where guests can see the suits, tuxes, and rentals available from VIP Formal Wear. Maybe this used to showcase some of the more popular Wendy’s advertising signage, like the “Where’s the Beef” campaign?
At the top of the staircase is a simple, yet elegant display that points visitors in the right direction. Left to go to the Forever Bridal Wedding Shows offices, right to find a few additional vendor rooms.
To the left in suite #200 is the main Forever Bridal conference room. True to our brand colors, it’s painted colorful shades of purple and even has a painted whiteboard on the wall for out event planning brainstorm sessions.
Last but not least, here’s a look at one of our team member’s offices. Keeping in step with the rest of the house, each office has its own feel to it, but all of them share the same modern, fresh look. This is where we’re hard at work to meet the needs of our brides and vendors!
Forever Bridal’s Hidden Piece of Raleigh History
You’d never guess that fast food and wedding shows could intertwine, but we’ve managed to do just that by keeping the fun story alive about our office’s hidden past.
Forever Bridal Wedding Shows’ owners, Dom & Laura, acquired this building back in 2009. Since then, it has become home to many of the Triangle’s top wedding vendors. Brides-to-be can arrange consultations and meeting times with photographers, florists, and all of the various vendors required to make their special day a dream come true.
What a better way to plan a wedding than in Midtown Place, which has such an interesting story attached to its past. Forever Bridal continues to strive for producing the region’s top wedding and bridal shows, and serving as the go-to destination for brides across North Carolina!
This article is intended for entertainment purposes. Forever Bridal Wedding Shows is currently seeking confirmation of the story’s historical accuracy and validation of this interesting piece of North Carolina history.
Disclaimer: Wendy’s® is a registered trademark of the Wendy’s fast food restaurant chain. Forever Bridal Wedding Shows claims no relationship with Wendy’s. This article is in no way endorsed by Wendy’s and does not imply affiliation between the two organizations. The Frosty is a proprietary Wendy’s menu item — Forever Bridal Wedding Shows does not own or claim any rights to the Frosty.
[UPDATE:] After publishing this article, we received tips and facts from history buffs, Raleigh residents, and others around the internet. We were able to reach out to the building’s former owner, Clyde Douglas, whose family has owned the buildings for a long time, and get clarification on many of the rumors surrounding this story.
Mr. Douglas explained that in the 1990s, our office building used to be Wendy’s Southeast USA Training facility, which about 5-6 corporate officers operated out of to train franchise owners in the region. Raleigh, NC was chosen because Wendy’s late CEO, Dave Thomas, knew the builder who happened to be from the Atlanta area and had some interest in the Triangle.
The kitchen area used to look like a Wendy’s restaurant kitchen to train franchise owners. A portion of the basement used to be a classroom area, where most of the training activities occurred. The third floor loft was the maintenance center, that served all of the Wendy’s maintenance-related needs in the Southeast.
“The safe was definitely Wendy’s,” Mr. Douglas explained. Forever Bridal has made attempts to reach out to Wendy’s for the removal of the safe, as it’s size makes it difficult to remove. Our staff has never opened the safe, and while the rumor about it having something to do with the formulation of the Frosty has been proved to be false, it’s possible that it did at one point (or maybe still does?) contain trade secrets unsafe for competitors’ eyes!