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Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue

From barns to ballrooms and everything in between, we've compiled a list of venues to suit your style and your needs.
Minnesota Bride Staff
Ashery Lane Farm

Where you choose to share your vows and celebrate your marriage says a lot about you as a couple—so picking a venue is a crucial step, and should be one of the first decisions you make together.

You can find many uniquely beautiful reception venues to fit your guest list and budget. The reception venue sets the tone for your wedding and is a crucial element in how you’ll implement your décor and design. From a charming garden in bloom to a well-manicured country club lawn, here are a few options to help you decide on your ideal venue.

Many couples love a rustic barn setting for their reception venue. It provides shelter and allows guests to dance under twinkling lights or a moonlit sky. A barn reception can also serve as a special nod to family history or cultural significance. Such a venue can occasionally present a challenge with catering, restrooms and entertainment, depending on the age and modern amenities of the barn. You should also consider seasonal temperatures if the barn is neither heated nor air-conditioned. 

Check Out: Mayowood Stone Barn, Rolling Ridge Event Center, Ashery Lane Farm, The Cottage Farmhouse, Hope Glen Farm, Historic John P. Furber Farm, Redeemed Farm

Ashery Lane Farm; Image Credit: Eric Lundgren Photography

Some event centers provide full-service packages, making the planning process easier and more affordable. Others have a preferred list of wedding vendors, allowing for choices within certain parameters. Depending on the space, event centers can be easily transformed into your dream wedding space. And generally, the staff is experienced and has worked with local wedding vendors, meaning easier communication. One challenge this kind of venue can present is a tight turnaround time for decorating, especially when another event is scheduled the day or evening before. 

Check Out: PAIKKA, Machine Shop, Aria, The Hutton House, Calhoun Beach Club, Greysolon by Black Woods, McNamara Alumni Center

Hutton House; Image Credit: Melissa Oholendt Photography

If you dream of a classic space, a country club could be your ideal option. Set amid immaculate lawns, country clubs offer sophisticated style and brilliant green space. They frequently have event planning services as well as in-house catering. Keep in mind, however, that your event may not be totally private because club members can still access the pool or grounds.

Check Out: Lafayette Club, Mendakota Country Club, Bearpath Golf & Country Club, Bunker Hills Golf Club, Edinburgh USA, Hazeltine National, Midland Hills Country Club, Olympic Hills Golf Club, Red Wing Golf Course, Rush Creek Golf Club, Majestic Oaks Golf Club

Lafayette Club; Image Credit: Russell Heeter Photography

A garden’s style can determine your reception’s vibe, but one thing is certain: Fragrant blooms and a beautiful landscape add special flair to your reception, transforming it into a dreamy affair. Allow the garden setting to speak for itself; with nature as your backdrop, your table arrangements and other décor can be simple and subtle. For this reception venue, be certain to outline a rain plan, just in case the weather is not in your favor on your special day.

Check Out: Lyndale Park Rose Garden, The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Duluth Rose Garden

Duluth Rose Garden

If you picture a large wedding in a grand ballroom, a hotel reception may be perfect for you. Hotels can easily accommodate a large group and can usually arrange an appropriate space for a smaller guest list. The staff knows how to handle a reception of any size. And you can usually reserve a block of rooms for your out-of-town guests. One challenge? You might be sharing the venue with another wedding party or a group of conventioneers.

Check Out: The Saint Paul Hotel, Radisson Blu Mall of America, Hewing Hotel, InterContinental Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America, Millennium Hotel Minneapolis, St. James Hotel, Westin Edina Galleria

Radisson Blu Mall of America; Image Credit: Erin Rae Photography

Filled with works of art and fascinating exhibits, a museum is a stunning and sophisticated venue for your reception. Many museums have staff experienced in hosting weddings and can offer great insights for creating your ideal event. You may find that some museums have preferred vendors, which may limit your options for catering or décor. The bonus with this option is that you can usually arrange for certain galleries to be open for a limited time during your event, so your guests can take in the art during cocktail hour. 

Check Out: Minnesota History Center, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, American Swedish Institute, Mill City Museum

Walker Art Center; Image Credit: Anne Ingman

If a casual outdoor setting is your style, a park might be your perfect reception venue. As well as offering space for all (and sometimes playground equipment for the kids), a park reception can feel relaxed and intimate. Before making any arrangements, check with city or county offices to obtain necessary permits or reserve picnic sites. Also scope out the space to make certain there are adequate restroom facilities, resources to meet your electrical needs and places to shelter in case of inclement weather.

Check Out: Gluek Park, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minnehaha Park, Thomas Lowry Park, Rice Park, Irvine Park, Leif Erikson Park, Park Point, Theodore Wirth Regional Park

Theodore Wirth Regional Park

A private home can provide a unique space all your own, often with special meaning. But preparations and day-of workload may discourage many parents or friends from offering their homes, and size can also come into play. Also consider whether you’ll have adequate kitchen space, restrooms and parking. Inform the neighbors of the special occasion so they can anticipate traffic and possible noise (and not call law enforcement with a complaint).

Image Credit: The Jeno Collective

For a small, intimate wedding, a restaurant is an excellent reception choice. With possibilities for a unique menu and cozy ambiance, this type of venue is relatively stress-free; guests might even be able to order directly from the menu. Prior to booking your reception, consult with the restaurant owner or general manager about space limitations and noise level; If noise concerns you, inquire about a separate area or private event room. Some restaurants offer the option to rent the entire space just for you and your guests.

Check Out: Café Lurcat, The Copper Hen, 5120 Restaurant & Onyx Bar, The Commodore Bar and Restaurant, Aster Cafe, Jax Cafe

Cafe Lurcat; Image Credit: Daly Proof Photography

A tented reception is a fantastic option that can comfortably accommodate a large guest list. Tents offer shade and cover (and sometimes air conditioning or heat), and everyone can still enjoy the sunset and dance under the stars. A tent company will have many extra options, including lighting, table and chair rental. Before finalizing arrangements, know your site so you can provide any electrical outlet information to your rental company.

Apres Event Decor & Tent Rental; Image Credit: Paper Antler


Just because you didn’t grow up in a stately mansion doesn’t mean you can’t get married in one. A reception in a historic home, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and sometimes open to the public for tours, can satisfy that dream of luxe living. Many historic venues have event planners and can take care of details such as catering, décor, preparation and cleanup. Sometimes availability is limited depending on tour schedules, and not all homes can accommodate large groups.

CHECK OUT: The Van Dusen Mansion, Glensheen, Semple Mansion, Gale Mansion, The Blaisdell

The Blaisdell

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