One of the Twin Cities’ newest event venues is in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis, The APT is a casual, apartment-style venue perfect for micro weddings, engagement parties, and more!
We chatted with the mastermind behind this gorgeous space, Christopher Villegas, to discuss how he got his start in the industry and what local star he’d have headline his dream concert!
Q: Let’s get to it, what’s your business’ specialty?
A: The APT is an apartment-style event space that is used to host intimate and small gatherings for events like weddings, showers, birthdays, dinners, proposals, and more. Think of it as a party room in an apartment building that you can rent by the hour.
Q: Where can we find you?
A: 511 Central Ave NE on the corner of Hennepin and Central NE right next to Glam Doll Donuts in NE Minneapolis
Q: Tell us when and how The APT began.
A: This has been quite the journey for me. I started the concept in September 2019 after quitting my 8-year career at Target. I was supposed to have my grand opening on April 10, 2020, but I had to cancel it due to the COVID lockdown. After that, it seemed impossible to open an indoor event space during a pandemic but I charged forward with my dream and opened in June 2020.
Q: What makes your company unique from others?
A: The one thing that I think sets my space apart from other venues is the intimacy and personalization of the space. I wanted it to feel like you were hosting an event in someone’s apartment. Warm, cozy, and inviting are the words I use for the venue. There are a lot of personal touches that I’ve added to make it a unique and memorable space. There are also some unique traits about the space in general like the real hardwood floors, tall ceilings, a green living wall (below), and some unique art pieces.
Q: How long have you been in the industry? What do you think has changed the most since then?
A: I have been in the event industry for about 5 years. I used to plan corporate events in my previous life until I started my own business. One of the major things that has changed is the way people interact because of the pandemic. People are a lot more cautious and are more reluctant to host indoor activities. There is still a desire to connect on a human level and I don’t think any pandemic will ever change that in the human spirit. We have found a way to adapt and will still be able to enjoy ourselves with one another.
Q: Walk us through your average workday.
A: “I get up, I brush my teeth, and I pick out my school clothes” (name that movie). Even though I don’t work in an office, I still dress up every day for work. It makes me feel like I’m going to accomplish something and gets me into the mindset of working. Like most, I answer emails and create a list of to do’s for the day. I check all my socials, post updates (if I have any), and work out. I have a good lunch at home or I get takeout from one of the neighborhood restaurants and then I get back to work. I’m constantly updating my website and working on blogs. Depending on the event, I’m usually working with vendors or clients to make sure the event happens exactly according to vision.
Q: What would you want couples searching for their wedding venue to know?
A: I am affordable. Before I opened my doors, I sat down with a lot of good friends who recently got married. One of the questions I asked was “What was the biggest stress point of searching for a venue?” The answer I got was the same across the board… “It’s so expensive”. My thought behind an event space is transparency. My fees are minimal and almost everything is included in the rental price. I don’t charge extra for tables, chairs, silverware, tableware, tablecloths, etc. I think it’s ridiculous how much larger venues charge couples who just want to have a good time with friends and family without breaking the bank.
Q: How far in advance should a couple book with you?
A: Because I’m new to the event industry, my calendar is pretty open these days so I can take on last-minute bookings but as time goes on, like any venue, I’ll start to fill up. I would give yourself at least 3-6 months before the event so there is enough time to consult with the couple and partners/vendors to make sure we can all deliver the vision.
Q: What is the biggest crowd-pleaser at The APT?
A: There are three that come to mind and they all tie for first place. The windows offer an abundance of natural light during the day, the exposed brick throughout the space gives it an urban feel/vibe, and the Phillips Hue lighting package can dramatically change the look and feel of the room with the click of a button.
Q: What are your other hobbies and passions besides creating beautiful wedding days?
A: I love to travel. I know a lot of people say that as well, but I really do. I’ve been all over the world. 41 States, London, Paris, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, UK, France, Spain, Mexico, Scandinavia, Belgium, Ibiza, Hawaii, Guatemala…just to name a few 🙂
Q: What is the history behind The APT?
A: I have been planning events since the age of 12. I never thought this would be something I would do for a living at age 38 but here I am, doing what I do best. The building I chose to host events in is one of a kind. It’s actually a residential building and I converted one of the larger apartments into the event space. The building is from the 1890s and has so much character. One of the other unique things about my space is I also run an Airbnb directly above so for couples or families that want to crash locally after a long night, they can walk up one flight of stairs and be in a comfortable apartment with a bed waiting for them.
Q: What show are you binging right now?
A: The Haves and the Have Nots by Tyler Perry. It’s a show I found out about from Tiktok and it’s a modern-day soap opera. So. Much. Drama.
Q: You’re in charge of the lineup for your dream concert. Who are your headliners?
A: Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Record Company and the one and only…LIZZO!!!!!
Q: Gold or Silver?
A: Silver. Gold reminds me of the past.
Q: Black Tie or Casual?
A: I love a good reason to dress up so black tie all the way!
Q: You’re at brunch. Are you going for something sweet or savory?
A: Savory accompanied by a pitcher of bottomless mimosas.
Q: Favorite board game?
A: In my adult age, I’ve turned just about every board game into a drinking game. My favorite drinking board game to date is Shot Sorry where you use shot glasses instead of game pieces. Every time you get “Sorry’d”, you take the shot. Once the game is done, I have permanent markers in the box and everyone has to write something on the board. I also replaced some of the draw cards with drinking rules, drinks to pass out and other fun things players have to do.
Q: Do you have any favorite podcasts?
A: DJ Grind on all podcast platforms releases live dance mixes every month. I listen to them all the time to get me in the mood to do anything and everything. They are upbeat, fast tempo, and positive.
Q: Mountains or Beach?
A: I am originally from Makakilo, Hawai’i so I am a total beach boy. I get home at least once a year and you’ll usually find me at Barbers Point Beach surfing on my longboard. I love being in the water. My mom used to call me a fish.
Q: If you could choose any celebrity to sit next to on a plane, who would it be?
A: It would have to be my girl Lizzo. I’ve been seeing her in concert since 2013 and have met her numerous times. She is so funny, energetic, and passionate. I would love to spend a flight sitting next to her getting lit and reminiscing on past concerts and the tour life. I bet she has the best stories.
We’re definitely ready for a party at Chris’ place! How about you? Check out The APT‘s website here to being planning!
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