The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
Betrothed Minnesota couples looking for an elegant indoor wedding venue often turn to the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The elements of water, wood and copper from the Minnesota landscape provide inspiration for the building's unique architecture and indoor and outdoor design showcase varied color and texture. The venue offers two stunning settings for wedding receptions large and small.
Memorial Hall. This modern space features striking geometrical design and a blend of architectural elements including glass, metal, wood and stone. Details like a candle-lined water feature and a stage with built-in lighting make Memorial Hall a romantic setting for a wedding celebration for up to 400 guests.
University Hall. A wall of floor-to-ceiling windows in University Hall let in an abundance of natural light. Accommodating up to 150 guests, this space features romantic lighting and elegant flooring, carpeting and ceiling design.
What You Should Know
The McNamara Alumni Center offers wedding packages for each of the two spaces. Both packages include seven hours for room rental up to midnight and a dedicated event staff. Also included are tables and chairs with setup and breakdown, a wedding party suite, a dance floor, a wireless microphone, a CD player, iPod hookup and personalized background music. The site offers storage for wedding-day provisions the night before the event and access to the building three hours before the event begins.
Couples who book the Memorial Hall wedding package enjoy access to the Heritage Gallery Museum and the Fireplace Lounge. The University Hall wedding package comes with use of the Thomas Swain Room, the Commons and an outdoor patio with comfortable furniture and a tranquil water feature. The venue offers a variety of floor plans for each space to accommodate ceremonies and receptions of varying size.
The exclusive catering company for non-university events at the center, D'Amico Catering, offers couples a wide array of menu options including cocktail party appetizers and plated or banquet-style entrees. The caterers supply china, flatware, glassware, linens and a number of options for adult beverages.
The venue does not allow open-flamed candles, helium-filled balloons, fog machines, rice, confetti, glitter, bubbles or sparklers. Decorations may not be affixed to interior walls and couples need approval before placing decorative items in the water feature. Three public parking ramps within a two-block radius of the building accommodate parking for guests.
The McNamara Alumni Center offers several special amenities for couples who book the venue. These include:
- A complimentary one-hour rehearsal scheduled the week of the wedding for booked ceremonies
- Lapel or hand-held microphones for officiants
- An extensive list of recommended vendors who have provided excellent past service
- Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian menu options
- Cultural menu options
- A $100 gift card to any D'Amico restaurant for lifetime members of the U of M Alumni Association
- A gratuity-free catering invoice
- Hand-pinned skirting for serving tables
- Decorative votive candles
- Specialty linens and decor items for an additional fee
- Discounted rates for weekday, Friday or Sunday weddings
Amenities + Details
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$ – Affordable
Food + Catering, Planning
The PERFECT venue!Reviewed on 10/05/2011 erin o
I worked with the WONDERFUL coordinators at McNamara for about 10 months and over the course of my engagement there was not one slip up or missed detail on their part. They are incredible! Not only are they wonderful as people, but they are great at their jobs providing top notch service and communication. This venue has so much to offer with beautiful architectural design, fabulous staff, food that is to die for, and much much more! I don't have a single complaint and highly recommend this beautiful modern venue.
I had my Wedding Ceremony in the Johnson Great Room and my Reception in the Memorial Hall! Absolutely Beautiful for both and the staff was so accommodating and helpful all the way up until the wedding day itself. The pictures turned out amazing and so unique. The building is gorgeous for a wedding no matter the size. My guests still talk about how open and beautiful it was! When my (now) Husband and I toured the McNamara Alumni Center, we knew we didn't have to go anywhere else and we wanted our wedding there. We fell in the love the moment we stepped into the building. If you're debating on seeing this venue in person, WE recommend you do it. You wont be disappointed!!!
McNamara Alumni Center was a beautiful event space. The natural light there is amazing. The food is great. The staff are responsive, friendly, and professional. I'd recommend McNamara to anyone I know.
McNamara was a beautiful venue for my wedding - I really couldn't have imagined it any better. The staff was so friendly and helpful. There's nothing I would do differently if I did it all over again. So happy!
McNamara went above and beyond to make our wedding the night of our lives! The food with D'Amico was perfect. McNamara will email or call you back within a couple hours of you contacting them. They always answer your questions and make you feel special. Guests are still talking about how BEAUTIFUL our venue and wedding was. The photos at McNamara are AMAZING!
Everything went very smoothly at McNamara! We loved the beautiful space, top notch food, and excellent service. Would highly recommend, we were so glad we chose McNamara for our winter wedding.
We used this venue for our ceremony and it was beautiful! They were so friendly and worked with us on every level. I appreciate everything they did to make our day so perfect. I would highly recommend off price, location, building and staff!
As a fiance of an Architect, I knew I needed to find a venue that spoke for itself. The architecture of McNamara is stunning! We did our first look in the Heritage Gallery against the backdrop of thesis books. We held a romantic ceremony in Johnson Hall with flowers and candles against the copper wall. And threw an unforgettable reception in Memorial Hall. One of the main reasons why McNamara made the perfect venue for our December wedding is because of it's location and amenities. Both Commons Hotel and the University Parking ramp are connected to McNamara through a tunnel meaning our guests did not have to go outside which is comforting because you never know what the weather would be like in Minnesota in December. I cannot thank Rebekah and the team at McNamara enough for helping us create a wedding that surpassed all of our dreams. I highly recommend McNamara Alumni Center to anyone looking for an unforgettable venue in the twin cities!
Beautiful venue, our guests raved about it! Perfect for U of M alumni too :)
The venue is beautiful, and they work well with you to make it unique to your needs. The staff is flexible, cheerful and accommodating. They were a joy to work with and made this portion of planning extremely smooth. They were on top of our details, and made sure we thought of everything. From our first contract signing to end of the night cleanup, we had absolutely no complaints, only praises.
Fantastic!Reviewed on 10/24/2014 Glendon H
Our wedding at the McNamara Alumni Center was phenomenal. The food was amazing, the service was wonderful, and for $14,000 and 150 guests, I'd say that's a pretty good deal.
Last Minute Lifesavers!Reviewed on 8/01/2014 Meghan K
McNamara Alumni Center was a TRUE lifesaver in throwing our wedding! Our original venue flooded just weeks before our wedding and we had to find an alternative. We were so lucky that McNamara just happened to have availability when they usually book years in advance! We worked with both Kim and Alaina and they were beyond amazing while helping us throw together a new wedding in just weeks! Everything was so incredible and the day was more perfect that we could have ever dreamed! Thank you McNamara!!
Beautiful venue!Reviewed on 7/07/2014 Megs M
We recently had our wedding in the Johnson room at the McNamara and our reception was in Memorial Hall. We absolutely love this place! We fell in love with the architecture and knew we had to have our wedding here. In the Johnson room we had candles on all the ledges with yellow flowers accenting the aisle-way. It was a beautiful ceremony. We also had a reader, a vocalist/guitarist, the DJ, a wine box ceremony and a wedding party of 12 (counting us). It was the perfect size and felt intimate even though we had about 165 people. Then we had the cocktail hour/dinner/dance in Memorial hall. Heritage gallery was also open to the wedding party during cocktail hour and we also had a kids room which they absolutely loved! In Memorial hall we had cafe lighting as well as some uplighting by the cake/presents/bar area. We also had some fun gobo lighting on the walls of the Mcnamara for the dance to make it more fun. There were also candles in the water feature. We had yellow centerpiece flowers of two different heights which looked great in the room and we had a rock theme too (rock table #'s, stacked rocks for table decorations in addition to the flowers and rocks that held peoples name cards, rocks people signed as a guestbook). The rock theme worked perfectly with the venue. The people at the McNamara were also great to work with. They walk you through every stage and you always get updated seating charts and timelines so you are all on the same page. They also met with my lighting group and DJ to help answer questions. They are very friendly and receptive to helping you. In fact when our pastor bailed on the rehearsal the day before, they stepped in and ran through the rehearsal with the wedding party so we still got to practice. It was much appreciated and helped relieve some stress! I highly recommend this place. It is a bit spendy with the catering from D'Amico but people keep talking about how great it was and how beautiful it was. In addition, our photos are great and we are getting a 40 x 60 canvas of us outside the venue at night with a little rain on us. We couldn't have had such great photos without the great setting. Also, the commons hotel is good to book if you pick this place (more great photo opportunities). You will feel very special if you have your wedding here. Ours truly felt magical!
Everything was Amazing!Reviewed on 7/01/2014 Kelsey M
McNamara was simply amazing! Their staff was friendly and helpful and really knew their stuff. The service was out of this world. Truly for what you pay, you get so much. I am an event coordinator for a living and they knocked my socks off and made for a stress free wedding, that people just raved about. I would reccomd McNamara to anyone looking for a stunning wedding venue.
GORGEOUSReviewed on 10/22/2013 Alexa B
McNamara is an incredibly gorgeous place to have your wedding. The staff was accommodating to my every need, and bent over backwards to make my day perfect. The whole operation ran smoothly and I could not have been more happy with my decision!
Couldn't have been betterReviewed on 7/30/2013 Mitch P
We had a great experience from start to finish. Well worth the money.
An amazing wedding venueReviewed on 6/22/2013 Shayna O
Our wedding was perfect and went accordingly as planned! And I couldn't have asked for better staff!
Great venueReviewed on 11/06/2012 Hannah J
We got so many compliments on the Memorial Hall in the McNamara. It is a great place for a larger group.
Beautiful VenueReviewed on 9/26/2012 Emily K
My husband actually found our venue, and he knew I would like it right away. We had our ceremony and reception at the McNamara, something our guests really liked. We have breathtaking pictures of our ceremony. The staff at the McNamara was very helpful with all of the planning, and accommodated all of our requests. Would recommend.
McNamara is fantastic!Reviewed on 7/30/2012 Sari G
The McNamara Alumni Center was amazing! The staff were fantastic and extremely helpful! They were always available to answer my questions and willing to be flexible to the changes I requested. The building itself is extremely beautiful with copper walls and beautiful furniture. I had many compliments about the location from my wedding guests!
Sarah and JakeReviewed on 3/13/2012 Sarah S
Amazing staff to work with and beautiful venue. Definitely worth the money!
Absolutely fantastic!Reviewed on 3/02/2012 Cindy F
My daughter's wedding and reception were held at the McNamara Alumni Center and I could not have been happier with everything! Kim Hamlin was so very helpful to us, and so nice! Everyone that we dealt with there was wonderful. The space was fantastic, the catering by D'Amico was fantastic! They were a great help in coordinating all the vendors coming in, and had some great suggestions and ideas. They were very professional and knew what they were doing. The space itself has beautiful architecture. Many of our guests had never been there before, and were very impressed! I can't say enough about how happy we were with everything! I could not have asked for anything better!
Ceremony & Reception VenueReviewed on 2/07/2012 Shauna G
This place is beautiful! Throughout the night we received so many complements on the building and also food and staff. McNamara helped our dream wedding become a reality! The staff is so easy to work with and helped with whatever they could!
Flexible and DependableReviewed on 10/24/2011 Brianna H
The staff was very receptive and open to my ideas. We had horrible weather the day of our wedding and the staff was on top of everything and ready to go amidst the chaos. :) The physical environment is breathtaking and the service was remarkable.
STUNNING! A Reception MUST!Reviewed on 10/24/2011 Kiley H
I had my wedding reception here and absolutely LOVED it! I viewed several other venues and none of them compared to the McNamara Center, not only was it stunning but the staff was amazing. I received numerous compliments on my venue, the staff and food. I'm an extremely picky eater and I loved ALL the food at the tasting. The staff are extremely helpful and truly invested in making your day perfect. Highly recommend the McNamara Center, you will NOT be disappointed.