Breaking New Ground: Four of Minnesota's New Wedding Venues
Picking the wedding venue is one of the first—and biggest—tasks a couple will tackle after they get engaged. And with good reason: The site sets the tone for the wedding and affects almost every decision the couple makes, from the dress (sequined ball gown or lace sheath?) to the food (five-course dinner or home-style buffet?). With brides and grooms looking for a reception venue as unique as they are, choosing one can be a tall order. Luckily, a handful of refreshing new and renewed event sites in and around the Twin Cities are rising to the occasion.
Dressed to Impress (pictured above)
Few people know weddings better than Tim George, Bellagala founder and president, and founder of A’BULAE, St. Paul’s newest event site. George’s 20,000-square-foot one-stop event destination all began with a vision to create and execute flawless events from start to finish. “Instead of designing an event around the building, we designed a building around the event,” says George.
A’BULAE’s loft-style space in Lowertown St. Paul is a fusion of modern luxury, historic beauty and state-of-the-art technology. Anchored by a grand ballroom accommodating 400-plus, the venue features expansive views of the city, a chic bar and lounge, and a spacious rooftop deck ideal for outdoor ceremonies. Built-in uplighting, surround video and sound, and LED screens throughout the space create an unparalleled experience in digital entertainment. “Our clients are looking for something new and unique,” says Nancy Battaglia, event site director. “They want a space that gives them unlimited options for personalization and innovation.”
Behind-the-scenes amenities are also dressed to impress, including a stunning bridal suite fit with vanity seating, a groom’s suite and game room (a.k.a. the ultimate man cave), and an industrial kitchen where A’BULAE’s exclusive catering partner, Mintáhoe Catering & Events, whips up gourmet eats.
At A’BULAE, Bellagala also offers clients seamless access to their 16 in-house services, including photography, DJ, videography, cake creation, floral design and more. 651.227.1202, abulae.com
Wide Open Spaces
With a laid-back, cozy vibe, Hope Glen Farm (pitcured at right) is the ideal destination for couples looking for something off the beaten path. Surrounded by the beautiful Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, the farm’s lush green grounds boast a 153-year-old barn, outdoor patio, farmhouse and spacious yard set between a rolling stream and a beautiful old oak tree (the ideal backdrop for saying “I do”). Recently the property has undergone several updates, including the construction of a 2,000-square-foot covered pavilion that can seat up to 300.
The rustic setting of Hope Glen Farm can be as dressed up or dressed down as you desire, whether that means hosting a backyard barbecue with lawn games, beer and bonfires, or a country-chic affair decked out with chiavari chairs, barnwood-style tables and lace linens. Couples looking to keep costs low will enjoy several all-inclusive amenities, as well as the flexibility to provide their own food, liquor or catering service. 612.751.0300, hopeglenfarm.com
The Commons Hotel (pictured at left), originally built as a Radisson in 1986, then turned into the University Hotel, is a stylish new respite on Minneapolis’ East Bank near the University of Minnesota. When the boutique hotel moved into the Washington Avenue property in late 2012, it underwent a complete renovation and introduced a fresh design concept dubbed “geek chic.” “Our decor is brainy and fun, with a splash of Restoration Hardware,” says Angie Bartingale Combes, director of catering and conference services.
Within the 20,0000-square-foot redesigned event space are two elegant ballroom options for weddings. Accommodating up to 400 guests, the Meridian Ballroom boasts 15-foot ceilings, a huge reception foyer and custom chandeliers made of test tube vials. The Pinnacle Ballroom, with large windows and a walkout terrace overlooking Washington Avenue, is ideal for smaller, more intimate weddings. 612.362.6667, commonshotel.com
The parade of life-size cow sculptures on the front lawn is just a taste of what awaits inside the enchanting Green Acres event center, pictured below. Looking at the historic venue, you’d hardly believe that the farm, home to the oldest barn in Eden Prairie, was once destined for demolition. That is, until Steven Schussler, well known as the creator of the Rainforest Café, got wind of its fate and was inspired to restore it.
Under theatrically lit gothic arches, retro flair fills the barn’s two levels. In the 3,100-square-foot loft, crystal and candlelight chandeliers hang above a collection of antique jukeboxes and old-fashioned player pianos. The lower level welcomes guests with two bars, fireplaces with cozy seating, and a wine and cheese tasting room replete with antique kerosene lanterns, well-worn saddles converted into chairs and an old-fashioned peanut cart.
“Green Acres was created to appeal to all of the five senses and deliver that ‘wow’ factor,” says Sunhi Ryan, vice president of sales and marketing at Schussler Creative. With such a magical atmosphere, your guests will want to party until the cows come home. 952.942.5220, schusslercreative.com