10 Historic Minnesota Wedding Venues We Love

Make a little history of your own at one of these notable spots.
by Carrie Chambers

Afton House Inn

3291 Saint Croix Tr. S., Afton; (651) 436-8883; AftonHouseInn.com

Say "I do" in a separate ceremony room and then sit down to a delicious meal in the enchanting Wheel Room (fits up to 130), prepared by the in-house catering staff or, for more intimate gatherings, entertain guests in The Pennington Room (accommodates 60) that offers historic ambience and a large fireplace. This venue sits on the scenic Saint Croix River and has 25 beautifully decorated Jacuzzi and Fireplace Suites to accommodate you and your out-of-town guests.

Blaisdell Manor

2322 Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis; (612) 874-0880; ThreeSonsKitchen.com/venues/blaisdellmanor.html

Built in 1910, this local landmark features Georgian-style architecture, a cozy interior with a wood-burning fireplace and large bay windows, and it is the only mansion venue in the Twin Cities with an attached ballroom that seats up to 300 guests. Hold your ceremony in the lecture room for weddings with up to 400. Work with Three Sons Signature Cuisine Executive Chef, Benjamin McCallum (who has classic French training!), to create your mouthwatering menu.

Historic Concord Exchange

200 North Concord Exchange, Saint Paul; (651) 233-6619; HistoricConcordExchange.com

Built in 1887, its interior boasts handcrafted woodwork and original embossed tin ceilings while the outside stands proudly, like a grand stone castle. Make a dramatic entrance down the winding, hand-carved staircase and greet up to 800 guests (250 for sit-down dinners) in the elegant Ball Room or the cozy Martini Lounge. Catering is provided by the upscale Bourbon Street Steak House.

James J. Hill Reference Library

80 West 4th Street, Saint Paul; (651) 265-5447; JJHill.org

What better way to start the next chapter of your lives than in a library? Built with Tennessee marble and Minnesota sandstone, the elegance and architecture of this landmark library is a living monument to "the Empire Builder," James J. Hill and accommodates 215 for receptions or 150 if you want to hold both your ceremony and reception here. Licensed and insured caterers welcome.

The Kahler Grand Hotel

20 SW Second Avenue, Rochester; (507) 280-6200; TheKahlerHotel.com

For 80 years, this local gem has hosted thousands of guests (even quite a few famous faces!) in its warm ambience, rich woods and elegant decor. Boasting 30,000-square-feet of event space including large ballrooms and versatile halls that can be converted into sections, this landmark venue can accommodate celebrations ranging from 50 to 800. There's also a certified wedding planner on staff along with creative catering and menu planning. Kosher catering is available.

Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior

5700 West Highway 61, Lutsen; (218) 663-7212; LutsenResort.com

In 1885, Charles Axel Nelson, a young Swedish immigrant, was seduced by the beauty of the North Woods and Lake Superior's North Shore, so he built his homestead overlooking the lake and called it "Lutsen." Today it is Minnesota's oldest resort offering a variety of romantic settings. Exchange vows on the beach, then enjoy barbecue with family and friends by a roaring fire or entertain under the classic white tent on the large Pool Deck overlooking Lake Superior. Indoors, dine in the elegant Lakeside Dining Room or plan a dinner and dance in the rustic Conference Room with extra-large windows to take in the view (both fit 200).

Mill City Museum

704 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis; (612) 238-4444; MillCityMuseum.org

A museum built right into the ruins of what was once the world's largest flour mill, this extraordinary venue is perfect for an urban, unconventional wedding. The museum features a variety of funky indoor and outdoor spaces that hold up to 220 guests, like the cool Charles H. Bell Ruin Courtyard with views of the cities and modern architecture juxtaposed against the broken brick walls of the flour mill, or the loft-like main entrance hall with towering columns and high ceilings. D'Amico Catering books and caters all events at this venue.

Minnesota Boat Club

1 South Wabasha Street, Raspberry Island, Saint Paul; (651) 253-0255; BoatClub.org

Two large balconies with breathtaking views of the Saint Paul skyline and the mighty Mississippi, and state-of-the-art DSL, WiFi, sound and AV equipment are just some of the features that make this historic boathouse a local favorite. The clubhouse comfortably seats 130, or utilize the clubhouse and balconies to accommodate 170. They also offer a meticulously landscaped ceremony space on the south end of the newly renovated Raspberry Island destination. Mintahoe Catering and Events will help you design a menu your guests will rave about!

Round Barn Farm

28650 Wildwood Lane, Red Wing; (651) 385-9250; RoundBarnFarm.com

This unique barn was built in 1914 on Mississippi River Valley limestone and with two levels it fits 150 people comfortably. Use any caterer you like, but consider your decor carefully because they don't allow open flames. This venue is available June through September and fills up super-fast (2011 was completely booked by last summer!), so don't waste any time.

The Saint Paul Hotel

350 Market St., Saint Paul; (651) 292-9292; SaintPaulHotel.com

Known for its Old World charm, this famous, European-inspired landmark sits in Saint Paul's lovely Rice Park District and is just steps away from the Xcel Energy Center, RiverCentre and the Science Museum of Minnesota. Dance the night away in its newly-renovated Promenade Ballroom with warm, inviting colors and sophisticated details (holds up to 500 standing), or host smaller events in the equally elegant James J. Hill Room or M ST. Cafe with its stately columns -- both perfect for banquet-style events.

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