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In search of small wedding ceremony/reception MSP

I am normally on the LA board, but I am planning a short notice wedding somewhere in the Minneapolis, St.Paul area and I need some help from you locals. I only have about a month to put together a wedding for 10 to 15 people and am not very familiar with Minnesota. Some of the family will be coming from Maple Grove and the rest from LA. We need a place that can give us a private/ semi-private area for a ceremony and reception that has food that will help make my day more special. I was looking at the website for Forepaughs, but read some negative comments about it here. It sounds cute, but I would like to get some more feedback from the MSP Chowhounds or some other recommendations. I thank you in advance for your "Minnesota Niceness"

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  1. sprout, congratulations on your upcoming marriage! i'm a native minnesotan who's lived out-of-state for 7 years now. i'm actually in the midst of planning a wedding for next year back in MN myself.

    as for mpls/st. paul wedding sites, in my research i came across a few places that would work for a smaller event. i haven't been to these two locations, but i have seen them written up in various wedding websites. the first is auriga, i know its been reviewed (and i believe favorably) on this site. the other is solera, which can also accomodate much larger groups. i've been in contact with the events planner there (his name is dale), and he seems really nice. i've heard mixed reviews on their tapas, but the small private dining room looks like it would be a unique setting for a reception.

    although i haven't heard about wedding receptions at the following locations, i would also look into lucia's (a wine bar) in uptown minneapolis, perhaps the black forest inn (german restaurant with a nice patio and a separate private events room), and christos (nice people, and pretty good greek food on nicollet in mpls).

    best of luck to you!

    1. No budget considerations?

      I would suggest checking out the policy at the Walker Sculpture Garden, and then violating it if they prohibit weddings. Your rain plan could be in the greenhouse. From the look of a quick google search this is a common occurance here. From the garden over the bridge to La Belle Vie or up the road to Auriga. You could try 20.21 but I'd dine here first before deciding this is the ticket - send a mercenary or read some reviews.

      Alternate plan might be a wedding on the Stone Arch Bridge (no weather scenario here = although you could squeak in on the patio at the new Guthrie). Dinner at Spoon River, or at Cue (chow disclosure - I work at Cue). Be aware that both these restaurants live and breath by the showtimes at the Guthrie - so they are alternately slammed and empty in a matter of minutes.

      St. Paul Alternatives: Hill House or maybe the Historical Society. For a wacky alternative maybe the St. Paul Curling Club. Dinner at Heartland, A Rebour, Zander, Il Vescovino (not yet open).

      1. Another thought is Nicollet Island Inn. A friend had a small wedding and reception there and she says everything went perfectly and it was wonderfully romantic. It was also spendy but she felt they got their money's worth.
        http://www.nicolletislandinn.com/wedd...

        1. Nix Zander - last 2 meals average to poor. horrid service now - used to be a fave of mine.

          Do you want to be near Maple Grove? I don't know if there is anything chowish out there - my take is that it is the land of Chili's and applebys.

          with only 10-15 people a LOT of places can fit you into their special rooms or back rooms.

          If $ isn't a problem go with La Belle Vie. Love the garden idea previously posted. It would be nice for folks from out of town.

          What day are you looking at - if its a Sunday maybe you could try like a Restaurant Alma? Sat nights around here still are prime time.

          In St Paul you can get the manision next to the Gov's for a wedding & reception - I think its the women's college club or such. I can get the specifics if you want. (website address phone - can't think of the exact name of the club off the top of my head right now) There is also 490 summit which used to do weddings and receptions (on summit near the University Club)

          Good luck.

          3 Replies
          1. re: St Paul Susie

            You're thinking of the American Association of University Women mansion. I was at a wedding there, great location, nice back yard garden. But I think you would have to deal with finding a caterer and coordinating all of that nonsense.

            In St. Paul I would recommend WA Frost. They have a beautiful outdoor dining area and a number of private rooms of various sizes.

            1. re: lindseyanne

              Congratulations to you!

              I completely agree with the rec for WA Frost. We had our wedding ceremony and reception there for 32 people. We rented out the Fireside Room (where we had the ceremony) and the adjoining Sophie's Room (for the dinner).

              Not only was the setting beautiful, the service was great, food even better, there's a relatively low food/beverage minimum on the rooms, and I was shocked when the bill came at how little money it was (especially because when I eat there I'm frequently shocked at how much we've spent). It was a perfect wedding and reception.

              Their web site is www.wafrost.com.

            2. re: St Paul Susie

              I agree about nix on Zander- recently had a bison burger that
              was way salty and poor service.

            3. Nicollet Island Inn is where we had our wedding, we planned it from out of town too. Everything was perfect, from the room, the food, and the staff. Our guests enjoyed staying there, the rooms was wonderful and the staff was quite friendly and helpful.

              1. as a lifer who helped planned a similar wedding recently: biggest determining factor is budget. Since it sounds like a September or early October wedding, I'd encourage you to take advantage of the lovely weather. If that's not a major worry, here are some ideas:

                --walker sculpture garden greenhouse for ceremony and could cater in the greenhouse if you'd like, but gets expensive quickly for such a small group.

                --walker sculpture garen greenhouse for ceremony and walker skyroom for reception/dinner (beautiful view of downtown from 4 stories up). catering is strong (not excellent). see the walker art center website - http://info.walkerart.org/rentals/spa...
                The skyline room is great for views but may be a little big for your group. The Walker, if you don't follow art circles, has a new addition and its wonderful.

                --walker greenhouse + trolley to la belle vie (food is best in the city). sure to be spendy but always worth every dollar.

                --for all in one place: Nicollet Island Inn is nice but not as charming as one might think because you can't actually see the river from anywhere in the place. It is definately "charming" inside - slightly victorian. Food is solid yet fairly conservative.

                --VanDusen manor- see http://www.vandusencenter.com/. Kind of a quirky locale - esp. for folks coming into the city from Maple Grove - but an architecturally interesting place with a charming little garden.

                --If you opt anywhere that requires catering, I'd highly recommend D'Amico catering.

                --As for other suggestions on this page: Forepaugh's food is not good. Zander is not reliably good. You might consider Lucia's - wonderful food, reliable and the staff is extremely professional, warm, and accomodating. I don't know if they'll do a wedding, though. Auriga's food is lovely but the space is not as welcoming as these other options.

                Hope these are helpful: if you need details or have questions on other places, let me know - happy to help.

                1 Reply
                1. re: crazycook

                  sprout, i'm not sure if you're still checking this... but i came across a wedding on "the knot" website that was held at auriga. might be worth checking it out if you haven't already found a place. on the other hand, that would involve visiting the knot website which is pretty awful.