If you’re getting hitched in the Twin Cities area in the winter, having your wedding indoors is almost a requirement. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing style or service. Here are some amazing options for where to have your winter wedding, and why we think they are top-notch.
Photos by Jeannine Marie Photography
If you’ve always imagined getting hitched at a mansion, The Gale Mansion in Minneapolis is probably what your dream wedding would look like—romantic, Victorian and historic. With multiple options for ceremonies and photo ops, this “boutique” operation is small enough to cater to all of your needs while being big enough to have a liquor license and on-site executive chef.
Jessie Kelley, Director of Catering and Events at The Gale Mansion explains the benefits of having every aspect of your wedding in one location, “You can have your ceremony, dinner and reception all inside at the Gale. We do all of our own in-house catering, so in case of a snow storm, you don’t have to worry about that catering company not being able to show up! We also offer $1000 off of our rental fee during our winter months.” And Kelley understands the importance of personalization, “We are flexible in regards with what we offer. We want this day to be what each couple wants and work hard to achieve this. We are not set in how each wedding has to be. We also take care of your decor set up and tear down. We feel that each wedding and each couple is special and unique and tailor each wedding to each couples’ tastes and preferences. We help each couple achieve their dream wedding.”
If you’re interested in having your wedding at The Gale, note that they usually book up between nine months and a year in advance. Book time to see it, and Kelley points out the best time to book an appointment, “We are open to show the space anytime we don’t have another event. We love showing the venue during the evening, which is when most receptions take place. This way you can see the venue as it will be the night of your wedding reception.”
Photos Above by Trish Allison Photography
We’re not sure what you would enjoy more about Bavaria Downs, the ability to hold up to 400 guests, the multiple options for creative indoor photos shoots, or the windows across the property that highlight the beauty of the outdoors (while keeping your guests warm inside.) There are outdoor spaces for those that opt for “snow shoots” but for guests who have no desire to brave the cold, they don’t have to—once they arrive at Bavaria Downs all spaces are indoors or covered. If that’s not enough, D’Amico Catering offers plenty of “winter” beverage options, from hot cider and coffee to hot chocolate, so every guest will warm up the moment they come inside. Additionally, Bavaria Downs is a private space, so “the only people enjoying the space on your wedding day are you and your guests” says Melissa Coon, Director of Venue Operations. “You’ll have a team of people helping you every step of the way (which includes building a timeline, planning your day, vendor recommendations, and a day-of coordinator.) We also give you the chance to wait to decide if your onsite ceremony will be indoors or outdoors until 9AM on the day of your wedding (so you have the best chance at having it where you are hoping to.)” Coons explains.
It’s never too early to reserve Bavaria Downs as the dates fill up quickly and are first come first serve, however most couples will tour 10 – 15 months in advance of their event date and reserve as soon as they are ready following a tour.
Photo by Studio 220 Photography
A country club wedding can be a fabulous option—the food is great, the scenery is picturesque and every aspect of your affair can be in several locations within one property. For those that want this without the restrictions of being a member, look into the Golden Valley Country Club. Located in Golden Valley, it is just 10 minutes from Minneapolis and events include complimentary parking.
In the winter, this club is a great option because the ballroom offers panoramic views of their golf course, and the details of their décor have everything you’d expect from an award-winning club. From floor-to-ceiling windows and classic chandeliers, to wood-framed beams and beautiful wall and window treatments, the Golden Valley Country Club is scenic, spacious and simply a great option for your event.
A club with history (built in 1913!), Tudor-style décor and wonderful views of the Mississippi River and downtown St. Paul is the University Club of St. Paul. Julia Struve, their Catering Director, explains why this is a great option for a winter wedding, “The University Club is beautiful and cozy in the Winter, with details like a fireplace in the event space, and around Christmas time the grounds are beautifully decorated for the holidays. We have fabulous food and handle catering onsite. We also handle the bar service as well, and can customize both our menu and bar packages.”
The University Club books from about 9 months to a year in advance, and Struve puts importance on getting a tasting, “We do offer tastings, which are important to understand our food quality and offerings, but also our hospitality.”
A historic and cultural center, The Landmark Center is an elegant option in Saint Paul, Minnesota. With four levels, there are many options for wedding parties large and small. For winter weddings, we love the idea that the large glass skylight within allows natural light in to the atrium below, which can be the location for your ceremony or seated reception. The setting is inspired by the Italian Renaissance, so think regal columns and detailed tiled floors that create a romantic atmosphere. There are also several courtrooms within the Center that are perfect for smaller weddings, each with décor details that makes every space unique.
The romantic charm of The Outing Lodge, with its rustic wood floors, large roaring fireplace and low-lit chandeliers makes it a wonderful venue for a winter wedding. Not only that, but having been in business for over 30 years, the folks at The Outing Lodge know how to run events. When it comes to food, they make all of it in house, and are flexible with menus, so you can ensure your guests will be satiated and happy.
Most couples book about a year before their event, but “we always have a few dates open in a shorter time frame too” says Sofia Prado, Event and Wedding Planner of The Outing Lodge. She also describes the friendly environment at the venue, which trickles down to the vibe that is felt by the guests, “We are family owned & operated, and dog-friendly (we have a chocolate lab here that loves our guests & is loved by our guests).”
If you’re “looking for something unique that is not the average banquet hall or event center,” Prado says The Outing Lodge is the perfect spot.
“Gunflint Lodge is a great place to get married in the winter because of the beautiful landscapes that the area has to offer. Have an intimate ceremony in front of one of the many stone fireplaces, or brave the cold and tie the knot at Lookout Point and take in the incredible views across Gunflint Lake and into Canada! We have many venues to choose from and can even hold the ceremony in your own cabin. We make sure to create a comfortable and inviting environment for newlyweds and their families on their special day,” comments Carly O’Connor, Gunflint Lodge’s Marketing Coordinator.
One unique aspect of The Gunflint Lodge is their Elopement Package, for those that want a private, yet romantic away-from-it-all experience. “Depending on the season, all guests staying on our special elopement package have access to all activities and amenities the resort has the offer. Zip from tree top to tree top on our Towering Pines Canopy Tour or see the snowy trails of the Superior National Forest from the basket of a dogsled team.”
Tours are available year-round. Winter weddings may require several months’ notice for weekend events, especially if they are over a holiday weekend.
For a luxurious and traditional venue, consider the St. Paul Hotel. Located across from Rice Park, The Saint Paul Hotel is located “in the heart of it all,” says Mary Jo Maloney, the hotel’s Catering Sales Manager. With white lights on evergreen trees lining the sidewalks along the entrance, the Saint Paul Hotel is a “winter wonderland” setting, beautiful to couples and guests alike. Photo options abound between the grand staircase in the hotel, the suites and the park across the street. Maloney also points out that the hotel has been voted the top hotel for the wedding night as well as best hotel venue to host a wedding reception by Minnesota Bride.
“With experienced catering managers who have worked in the industry for over 20 years,” Mahoney points out their staff knows what they are doing, and it shows.
Think ahead if you’re interested in considering this classic spot. Most couples schedule tours of the hotel soon after they are engaged, as it does tend to book up to 18 months in advance. “This allows time to enjoy the engagement glow prior to the wedding day planning.” Mahoney helpfully points out.
Between the aesthetic beauty and the practical aspects of Edinburgh USA, there are many reasons to have a winter wedding there. “Set among beautiful landscaping and open spaces, the clubhouse at Edinburgh USA is the ideal spot for a winter wedding. Brand new chandeliers drip with icy crystals, and clean, soft colors are the perfect backdrop for the rich jewel tones of the snowy months. A large onsite parking lot makes it easy for guests to park no matter what the weather may bring, and ample space for both ceremonies and receptions means that once guests have arrived they are tucked in for the night and ready to celebrate,” says Christine Altendorf, Senior Event Planner and Marketing Manager for D’Amico Catering.
Edinburgh USA has a private clubhouse feel with a sweeping staircase and luxurious décor while still being a venue that is open to the public. And for foodies, “this is the only golf course in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that offers D’Amico Catering as the exclusive culinary partner, so even the simplest of dishes is sure to be served with a discerning eye for flavor, presentation and service,” explains Altendorf.
My journey began in Nisswa, Minnesota with my first stop at the well-known Grand View Lodge. A portrayal of what “Grand”...
Wedding Guy, Bruce Vassar takes us to Duluth, Minnesota: They travel from around the world, even descendants of the family...