Minneapolis Warehouse Weddings
Wedding receptions at Minneapolis’ storied warehouses offer a hip, cosmopolitan feel.
If a wedding marks the beginning of a new era in a couple’s history, what better place to celebrate it than a site steeped in years of its own history? The following warehouse venues, originally built to house factories and other commercial enterprises, have walls imbued with generations of stories. At the hands of visionary and talented proprietors, each space has been transformed into a sophisticated urban environment that pairs modern elegance with a historic feel. Any of these venues would be perfect for the bride and groom looking to draw from the magic of the past as they step into their future together. ?
The Soap Factory
Renowned for its exhibitions of contemporary art, The Soap Factory is perhaps less known as a rental venue for weddings. The building remains unconverted from its original 1883 design, which lends an authentic feel to both the interior and exterior spaces. Just a short walk away, the Stone Arch Bridge offers incomparable views of the Mississippi as it wends its way through Minneapolis, a unique treat for out-of-town guests.
Couples who choose The Soap Factory favor its simple décor and enjoy the opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the area’s most cutting-edge creative work. Bride Farrah Suekut and her fiancé had never heard of the gallery before a friend recommended it as a possible site for a reception. “As soon as Kevin and I walked in the door,” says Suekut, “we knew it was the place for us.”
The site offered innumerable opportunities for the couple’s guests to mingle, dance and shoot photos against the various elements that serve as reminders of The Soap Factory’s industrial past: exposed brick walls, huge steel doors and a disused train track that runs behind the building. Couples are free to bring in caterers and licensed bartenders of their choice, though The Soap Factory staff is happy to make recommendations. Keep the weather in mind, however, as the venue doesn’t have heat or air conditioning.
“Our guests were so impressed by The Soap Factory,” says Suekut. “So many of them had never been to a site like that. We’re still getting comments about how amazing our reception was!”
Spill the Wine
Spill the Wine is located in a century-old Minneapolis building that for nearly half that time housed a plumbing business. But when owners Katie and Karl Greeman transformed the space into what has become an award-winning wine bar and restaurant, they left no evidence of this less than glamorous past.
For bride Stacy Milburn, Spill the Wine was an obvious choice. Milburn had been to the restaurant a number of times, found it utterly charming and knew it would be the perfect site for her wedding. “We had our ceremony in the space on the second floor and the reception on the main floor. It was nice that we could do everything at one venue.”
Many brides at Spill the Wine choose to forgo the traditional sit-down dinner, opting instead for more freewheeling receptions with an appetizer-heavy cocktail-party feel. The food and drink are provided in-house, but the owners are happy to have clients hire outside vendors to help round out the day’s festivities. Several couples have brought in the Traveling Photo Booth to document the evening’s moments, poignant and hilarious.
From the restaurant, it’s a quick walk to Gold Medal Park, the Guthrie, and Mill City Museum—all of which are local favorites for wedding photo backdrops. Perhaps best of all, a reception at Spill the Wine provides an obvious go-to spot for future date nights, offering the happy couple a chance to reminisce about their special day over dinner or a leisurely Sunday brunch.
At downtown Minneapolis’ Gallery 13, the decorations are always partly provided, with art from the gallery’s large collection helping create the ambiance. “A show can be hung specifically for a wedding,” says co-owner Stephen Sugarman. “Looking at the art becomes a wedding activity.”
Bride Carolyn Balmer had been to her share of hotel ballroom receptions, and was looking for something different for her own wedding. She and her fiancé wanted something that felt like an authentic expression of their tastes and personalities. They appreciated that Gallery 13 didn’t limit its clients to a particular caterer, liquor provider or rental company.
“Gallery 13 allowed us to do anything and everything,” says Balmer. “We liked that we had complete freedom to do what we wanted.” This do-it-yourself ethos can help lower the cost of a wedding, allowing couples to shop around or even provide food and drink on their own, which can make for a memorable event that won’t break the bank.
The gallery is divided into two separate areas, the smaller of which can be rented on its own for a more intimate event, or they can be rented together for a multi-stage celebration. Connected to the Minneapolis skyway system, Gallery 13 is easily accessible in all seasons and weather, and close to a number of downtown hotels, including the adjacent Residence Inn.
St. Anthony Main Event Centre
St. Anthony Main Event Centre is located in a former mattress factory, and the industrial spirit of the site is alive and well, evidenced by its exposed brick walls and wooden ceiling beams. Decades’ worth of remodels and updates provide a contemporary sophistication while retaining the historic feel.
Three Sons Signature Cuisine is the exclusive caterer for the facility, offering an extensive menu guaranteed to accommodate the preferences of any bride and the scale of any event. The experienced event planners leave no stone unturned in their efforts to make each event a complete success. It’s a perfect option for the bride who wouldn’t mind a little hand-holding while planning her reception.
After so many years, the folks at St. Anthony Main Event Centre have seen just about every kind of wedding. The one constant is the clients’ love of the city and the river. The building sits on the cobblestoned Main Street, which runs along the banks of the Mississippi River, a charming area that feels plucked from another time. The happy couple can be spirited away by the horse and carriage service that offers rides year-round along this quaint stretch, and guests can stroll along paths by the riverbank as the lights of downtown sparkle in the distance.
The Dining Studio & CREATE Catering
For some brides, it’s all about the dress. For others, the perfect guest list. For still others, it’s the food. Brides in this last category would do well to consider The Dining Studio, where the meal might just rival the first kiss as the most memorable part of the day.
Conceived of as a “private restaurant”—the only one of its kind in the Twin Cities—The Dining Studio is the brainchild of Philip and Desiree Dorwart. The Dorwarts wanted to provide the services of a restaurant without the frenzied, demanding lifestyle of restaurant work. They parlayed the success of their company CREATE Catering into The Dining Studio.
The Dining Studio is tucked away amid the storied old warehouses of Northeast Minneapolis and offers a unique urban event space with all of the benefits of an on-the-farm wedding. The Dorwarts are dedicated to supporting local and sustainable agriculture. This is more than just buzz: They recently bought a 35-acre organic farm, where they grow much of the produce they use in creating their clients’ meals.
Food and drink menus are customized for each client, and events can range from a cocktails-only reception spilling out into a tent outside the building to an elaborate six-course, six-wine, sit-down dinner—and everything in between. “Food is a real focus at The Dining Studio,” says Philip, whose experience as a chef in the Twin Cities and New York guarantees a meal that surpasses the average catered fare. Though CREATE also works offsite, The Dining Studio is their homebase and the perfect spot to enjoy their carefully crafted cuisine.
Minneapolis’ top warehouse wedding venues:
- Spill the Wine
1101 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
Capacity: 200-300, depending on the room
- The Dining Studio
1121 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis
Capacity: 80 seated / 120 standing
- St. Anthony Main Event Centre
219 Main St., Minneapolis
Capacity: 225 seated / 500 standing
- Gallery 13
811 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis
Capacity: 225 seated / 400 standing