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MSP-Wedding ceremony and reception venue

I'm looking for a place with nice/interesting decor, private room/rooms, reasonably decent food, for 50 people. The place also has to be set up nice enough for a non-religious wedding ceremony. I'm planning on spending up to $20 per person on food, not including alcohol. A large number of the guests are Asian so some sort of Asian or fusion food would be ideal. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Last year I investigated Rainbow Chinese restaurant on Nicollet for catering in that beautiful party space they have upstairs. I remember that their minimum per person was $35 but maybe you could negotiate that.

    Jun Bo has a ton of party rooms and space but it's not the most elegant building. Maybe Mai Village could do something, they have a huge restaurant also.

    1. I had my wedding reception at Azia and thought it was fantastic. We used the Caterpillar Lounge and Kowloon Room. ( http://www.aziarestaurant.com/caterin... ) I didn't have my ceremony there, but I can picture either room being set up for one.

      They were very good about working with us on our menu choices to accommodate our budget. We served an appetizer buffet of sushi, beef satay, chicken skewers, crab cakes, potstickers and cranberry puffs. I don't have the dollar amounts or per head totals available, but I thought the prices were very reasonable especially considering the fact that they didn't charge a room rental fee.

      12 Replies
      1. re: StPauliGirl

        I've been to a few non wedding (but still very fun!) parties at Azia & would recomend it based on your budget.

        The food is decent and fun - but more "fusion" than Asian.

        1. re: St Paul Susie

          You can't beat Forepaugh's for a romantic setting - Victorian Mansion in St. Paul. The food is good, too. I think it can be done in your budget, and they hold about 50 people.

          http://forepaughs.com/index.htm

          1. re: pgokey

            PG - I think Forepaughs is much higher than $20pp

            1. re: St Paul Susie

              Here is the banquet menu:

              http://forepaughs.com/menu_banquets.htm

              It all depends if it's a day wedding or an evening wedding - either way, it's a suggestion that's probably worth checking into, given how nice the facility is.

              1. re: pgokey

                I haven't planned a sit down event in the Twin Cities (although I have planned 100+ person cocktail events in Minneapolis and our sit down dinner wedding in NYC) but I think it would be really difficult to do a plated dinner anywhere for under $20 per person. Even if the actual cost of the entree was $20 you still have to pay tax and gratuity, plus that doesn't include any extra food if you want to do a cocktail hour.

                I would aim for some of the Asian/Asian fusion places recommended above that can do an evening of heavy appetizers or a buffet/stations.

                1. re: katebauer

                  It also would not include wait staff.

            2. re: pgokey

              You are the first person I've heard say that Forepaugh's food is good.

              1. re: KTFoley

                Allow me to apologize to all for making a suggestion intended to be helpful. My bad. Seriously, what's with harping? It's not very friendly.

                I will note that the menu does explicitly list sit down entrees for less than $20, that include tax and tip. Go ahead and cllck the link.

                I attended a wedding there, held by someone who wasn't rich, and it was a nice wedding. And as as far as catered wedding food goes, yes it was good. It would feel more like a wedding setting that Azia would, although I love the food at Azia.

                Isn't it for KCMPLS to decide which suggestions to take, and which to ignore?

                1. re: pgokey

                  The beauty of Chowhound is getting to hear the feedback from many informed viewpoints--even politely dissenting ones--, and then weighing them all (not ignoring any of them!)

                  Personally, I think Forepaugh's does line up with KCMPLS's requirements quite well, including "reasonably decent food," (though, not Asian fusion). I've never planned an event there, though, so I'm not speaking from experience. The setting is nice and lots of people do weddings and/or receptions there. But, it is indeed, all about the setting.

                  My first thoughts, though, were the same as Kate's: Jun Bo (dim sum)--the setting is not as nice as Forepaughs, and I don't know about how equipped they are to handle the actual ceremony itself, but for the reception part, they do handle large groups nicely and it fits the Asian criterion.

                  Mai Village is a nice setting (love the Koi Pond), but I think the food at Jun Bo is better and since the facility is more recently rennovated, I think it can have a more elegant feel overall for an evening event. I've seen lots of formal/dress up groups at Jun Bo.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Here's a crazy thought, and I'm not even sure if it would work at all, but what about Tea House II in St. Paul? I have no idea if it's even something they'd consider, If you did it at an off-peak time, I wonder if they'd just turn over their whole restaurant to you? The time I was there it was not very busy...(2pm on a Saturday or Sunday.) But, it is a lovely, intimate setting, and the food's outstanding.

                    http://www.ourteahouse.com/

                    P.S. Congrats on your wedding. Have a wonderful time, then please report back and tell us where you ended up and what you thought about it! We get this question, or similar ones, often and the feedback would be very helpful.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Your biggest challenge is going to be finding a space that will cater for $20 per guest without charging you an additional site fee.

                      I catered a Friday night groom's dinner a few years ago for an ethnically mixed couple (he was Jewish, she was Hmong) and I recall that they held the Saturday night reception (seem to recall it being ~100 guests) at Mai Village in St. Paul and really their guests loved the surroundings...I can't vouch for pricing or level of service.

                      Also, I have a Vietnamese co-worker who hosted her wedding reception (about 30 ppl) at Jun Bo on Nicollet & 494....I know that they have at least two private banquet spaces, and I've had fantastic food there on several occasions.

              2. re: pgokey

                It appears from the menu that Forepaugh's will let you have a light luncheon for under $20/head. Dinner prices are higher.

          2. KC, did you ever zero in on a venue? I just noticed that Ngon Bistro in St. Paul says on their website that their dining room could be reserved for private parties up to 100 people. It's a lovely, cheery space and the food is quite good. It would definitely meet your requirement for Asian. It's not completely traditional Vietnamese cuisine, but Vietnamese with a twist.

            http://www.ngonbistro.com/
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/381260

            ~TDQ

            1 Reply
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Thanks for all the suggestions. Still undecided. Right now the number of guests have grown to 75. I've checked with a lot of places, some are over priced, some can't handle that many people. Right now I have narrowed down to these as potential places and their pros and cons:

              Forepaughs, mainly for the location, slightly stuffy, OK food, not good for kids
              Mai Village, decor is very nice, food is acceptable but not great
              Jun Bo, dim sum will be interesting for our American guests, but it will probably end up looking like a Chinese McWedding.

              This week and next week we are going to check out the new Tea House in St. Paul, and Ngon Bistro (thanks to TDQ).

              Will report back on the final decision.