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wedding help for friend in MSP

Hi all! I have a friend who's looking to get married this fall. Her request is for a good restaurant next door to a picturesque spot. (Her grandmother is not very healthy and she wants to limit her walking/getting in and out of the car time.) She'd like to do a short outdoor ceremony, followed by dinner for 35 for under $5,000. She'd prefer the Twin Cities, but any ideas close by will also be welcome. So far we've thought of Lurcat or Calhoun Beach Club, but I'm not sure if either will fit the budget. Any suggestions?

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  1. ummmm. . . patio at w.a. frost?

    or there are areas of the mpls sculpture garden you can rent (very reasonable-- like $400?), including the glass house, or the pretty arbor-- cool wedding pics-- then the party could hop in the car for 5 mins and dine anywhere downtown

    1. Sculpture Garden and then reception at the Walker. Great food, one of the coolest venues out there. Talk to the event coordinators there. That price point should be easy. I would have done mine there as I lived down the street from it (literally), but we had 180 people and that space wouldn't work. Feel free to email me with any other wedding questions.... I have a notebook/scrapbook of info on local vendors, and we had an amazing wedding in October 2006.

      1. Nicollet Island Inn. You can get married in an island park in the middle of the river, with views of the falls and downtown, then go inside to a romantic, suitably sized room for dinner. The wedding party could also stay at the Inn.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Jordan

          What night of the week? the per-person price they are willing to pay is healthy nad can afford them a great meal, but with just 35 guests you'll find that a lot of places are hesitant to give up their operation on a Saturday for $4000-$5000 minimum. I would guess that from the above suggestions, you'll get the following response if trying to book a Saturday:
          -Lurcat: we don't close to the public on Saturday
          -Walker: Minimum on Saturday is at least $15,000...probably higher
          -CBC: see Walker
          -Nicollet Island Inn: Not sure if they would close down to the public.

          What they need to look for is a RESTAURANT that has a separate PRIVATE DINING AREA that will work for 40-60 people...they will be able and willing (and thrilled) to accomodate a group of this size.

          My #1 recommendation, depending on date, would be Forepaugh's in St. Paul. Right size, great setting, right price range...it's just that they are under renovation and I'm not sure on the reopening date.

          Another one that might work really well for a group this size is the Van Deusen Mansion.

          1. re: g rote

            I'd temper the recommendation for Forepaugh's with additional cautions: New owners (Taher Inc.) are renovating both the building and the menu.

            The best guess at the food quality & price range might not be from what Forepaugh's was like before it closed, but rather from the other restaurants owned by the same company: Wayzata Eatery, Nordeast Eatery, Alaska Eatery.


            1. re: g rote

              I agree with g rote's suggestion of a room with private dining, rather than a whole restaurant.

              Lurcat does have a separate room, although I have not heard whether or not they are willing to close it off from the main dining room. It's my recollection that they will do this though. (But I could just as easily be wrong. You'll obviously have to check with Lurcat.)

              My other suggestion is Vincent, which has a separate dining area which ought to accommodate a group of 35 pretty easily.

              Another nice venue for a ceremony is Thomas Lowry Park, right up the hill from the Walker, Loring Park, etc. It may be a better venue in the summer than in the fall, though.

              1. re: bob s

                The private dining room @ Lurcat is seperate from the Cafe and can hold about 50+ people for seated dinner, however the cost to reserve it on a Saturday would be outside the OP's budget.

                1. re: Foureyes137

                  Fair enough. Thanks for the info...

              2. re: g rote

                there is a public park and gazebo right near there...someone could shuttle gma in the car, but an easy walk for everyone else.

                1. re: jillbcooks

                  For reference/new readers, the OP's friend was slated to be married last fall, so information may be out of date.

            2. For our wedding this past fall, we did a ceremony in our back yard, followed by a brunch at Signature Cafe (they opened just for us, with significantly fewer people)

              Their patio is very pretty, and in a very quiet neighborhood. I know they had told us that we could use it for our ceremony if we wanted to, so long as we set everything up ourselves.

              With the budget you're talking about, you might be able to rent out the restaurant, although it would depend on what time/night you're talking about.

              They also might think about renting space at a park, and bringing in a caterer to handle the food.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Danny

                What about Meritage in St. Paul?..it's right across from Rice Park which is very beautiful. I'm not sure if they would close down for your party but I'm not sure
                they could accommodate you.

                410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                1. re: Danny

                  What about Meritage in St. Paul?..it's right across from Rice Park which is very beautiful. I'm not sure if they would close down for your party but I'm sure they could accommodate you.

                  410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                2. Al Vento might also be a consideration. We're considering them for our wedding. Their proximity to Minnehaha Falls makes a reception hosted there pretty attractive. It's not next door, but they're less than a mile apart.

                  They offer a catering menu on their website, $40 per person, including wine or beer. Here's a link to their site:

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: spunky_monkey

                    Tell your friend Congrats...I have to agree with others about the venues you suggested. I know the Calhoun Beach Club has a high f/b minimum...but it all depends on the day.

                    However, here are some other suggestions to contemplate.

                    Kozlaks Restaurant is in Shoreview, MN...they have a pretty nice garden where people can get married. They have the main restaurant that can be rented out and a downstairs that can be rented. They've been around since the 70s and they're all about service. I believe minimum is quite reasonable, but depends on the month. Their # is 651-484-8484.

                    Nicollet Island Inn could really be a good option though I agree, I don't think they'd shut the entire place down--but it would be beautiful. My best friend got married at the Pavillion in October, but the area itself (and we stayed at the Inn) was lit up and very romantic.

                    A wedding at Como in the Pavillion or in the Japanese Gardens might work. They have several options and the grandma wouldn't have to move around too much. Prices are flexible and the catering is done by Lancer. Or even if you didn't want to have the reception there, Il Vesco Vino is relatively close by, as is Frost, etc.

                  2. Thanks for all the help! I'll start calling right away.

                    1. Mill City Cafe.

                      Romantic. Picturesque. Caters to a party your size and very accessible. We know some folks who had their ceremony on the patio followed by butler-pass thereon, then dinner inside. My wife and I have loved every meal we've had there. They do buffet or sit-down and can handle 50 people in the space no-sweat. Tons of free parking. Additionally, it would be lovely in the fall as it is tree lined and covered in ivy.

                      Check out the site: http://www.millcitycafe.com/

                      1. My off-the-wall thought: the back yard of The Sample Room in NE Minneapolis. It overlooks the Mississippi River and is quite scenic in a slightly-unkempt sort of way. They have a small and charming patio on the side of the restaurant that isn't unkempt at all. And the restaurant is small enough that it might be affordable for a party of 35 people.

                        I'm guessing that the distance between the ceremony and restaurant is an important consideration. As an occasionally creaky person myself (broken limbs far too frequently), I applaud your friend's goal to keep things easy for her grandmother.

                        Places like Minnehaha Park/Al Vento, Nicollet Island Inn, or the Sculpture Garden/Walker - while all great suggestions - might actually involve a bit of walking. And Vincent, much as I love it, has stairs to their private room. She should be sure to check on distance/walking/stairs issues before she decides. If she opts for one of these places, perhaps a lace-and-ribbon-covered wheelchair, very tactfully presented, for the beloved grandmother? If it's decorated enough, grandma might not mind too much. (Or maybe she might --- if she's anything like me, she'd hate a reminder that she can't walk very well...)


                        5 Replies
                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                          Oh, how could I forget about the Outing Lodge At Pine Point?!?!? I'm not sure if it would fit her budget, and it's in Stillwater instead of the Twin Cities, but it would be perfect! The place is gorgeous, with a charming patio and nice indoor areas if the weather is bad.


                          I was there last year (two years ago?) for a reenactment of Babette's Feast. What a great place!


                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            Not to be a downer, but isn't the "backyard" of the Sample Room part of Gluek Park...and isn't that closed-off still due to the asbestos all over the place?

                            1. re: Foureyes137


                              Drove by yesterday, Gluek park is open again! My wife told me I should have read my Northeaster, there was a big party to celebrate the re-opening.

                              1. re: Foureyes137

                                That's good to hear -- with the bridge closing, places in the neighborhood need all the support they can get. And The Sample Room would be a great place to host a party.

                                But you know, I stood at the top of their once-again-torn-out staircase to check out their water view a couple of weeks ago. Maybe when the trees leaf in, the industrial site directly across the river is less obvious? It's a scrap metal vista right now: a terrific homage to Northeast's roots but a less terrific backdrop to those wedding photos....

                                1. re: KTFoley

                                  Good point - I've been in the Sample Room's yard in the late summer/fall, not the spring. And the view is definitely scruffy and industrial even at the best of times. For some reason, that appeals to me, but it's probably not everyone's cup of tea...

                                  IAnd 'm very happy to learn that Gluek Park is open again (especially since I didn't realize it was closed).


                          2. Although it may be a bit too casual, the Happy Gnome in St Paul just opened the Firehouse Room which overlooks the Cathedral. I have not been there yet, but it looks kinda cool.


                            1. I'm resurrecting this thread for myself. I've gotten engaged since this post and am looking for inexpensive Minneapolis options. I'm assuming we'd have 50-75 people but we're still looking for cheap (less than $5,000 in total for everything). Our original idea is to get married in some park then head to a chow-ish restaurant, all in a city. It can be St. Paul or Minneapolis, it just can't be a burb. Important thing is price and quality of food. Any more thoughts?

                              P.S. Moderator, let me know if I need a new thread. I'm not sure how to do that split off thing.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: debbie421

                                Does anyone know of a sushi restaurant with a private party space?

                                1. re: debbie421

                                  I think Nami Sushi in Downtown Minneapolis has a private party space, as well as Azia on Eat Street.

                                  1. re: debbie421

                                    Starburst has it. You can reserve the second room at Nami. It's more of a cocktail party space though.

                                    1. re: Foureyes137

                                      Great to know, I'm going to contact them today! Sakura also has a space, but seems a little less organized.

                                2. debbie,

                                  what are you specifically looking for? Drinks, food, etc for a certain price point. That would help with some recommendations.

                                  Is the look of the place important, the food, etc.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: twincitiesguy

                                    Long story short....we were looking at doing a fabulous destination wedding, but we just found a house we might buy. Which means we'd like to do a wedding for around $3,000. No dancing and dj, just a ceremony and some fabulous food. We expect 50-75 people. Things that are important to us are good food, in the city (preferably Minneapolis), and a good looking location. Not too worried about what the outside and surroundings of the reception place looks like if the inside is gorgeous. Although a great view is a plus!
                                    I'm assuming we'd get married in a park somewhere and do a reception after. One of our ideas was a dessert buffet so we could cut down on costs. It always seems weird to me that you have to feed a large group of people on your wedding day, but I guess that's the rules!

                                    1. re: debbie421

                                      I haven't heard of anyone who has tried it, but Ngon Bistro seems like it could be a lovely setting... They say on their website they can do private parties for up to 100 guests. I have no idea if it fits into your price range. http://www.ngonbistro.com/

                                      Congrats, and good luck.


                                      1. re: debbie421

                                        You're doing this at a good time (both the house and the nuptials). Many places in town have lowered their food and beverage minimums in the last few months...so you may be able to find a super deal.

                                        1. re: debbie421

                                          The Women's Club in Minneapolis has a beautiful space for a smaller wedding reception (we looked at it for ours several years ago, but we had too many people). It would be especially good if you're not tied to a formal sit-down dinner (the main room is most beautiful, large staircase, fireplaces, etc. but doesn't have tables). The balconies off the main room overlook Loring Park, which would be a gorgeous spot to have the wedding itself. Speaking of Loring Park, have you checked out the Walker?

                                          And I would NOT shy away from just doing a dessert reception if that's what you want. I have been to a few weddings like that, and thought it was great. As a guest, I appreciated being able to celebrate the marriage without neccessarily giving up my whole Saturday night for a sit-down dinner. I myself had an evening wedding with just an appetizer buffet, desserts, and drinks afterwards. People seemed to like the variety and it had a much more mingly vibe. Pay no attention to the rules!

                                      2. I would recommend Jax Cafe in NE Mpls. They have a number of areas within the restaurant which can be used for special parties based upon the size of the gathering. The food is great, the ambiance/decor is great, and they have a nice outdoor patio area. I was married at Jax Cafe about three years ago and I have nothing but good things to say about our experience. Here's a link so you can see the interior, the patio, and some menus: http://jaxcafe.com/