Minneapolis wedding officiant Rev Coleman, for a chapel with a Minnesota wedding

Venues - Chapels

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Rev. Tomkin Coleman at a Luther Seminary wedding ceremonyMost churches require that you be a member if you want to use their church, but a few churches and chapels will rent their space to non-members and let you use your own minister. 

I have performed wedding ceremonies at dozens of churches across town and highly recommend the following sites which allow non-members to rent their site for weddings.  Contact information, chapel site rental fees, and other costs, plus notes about their use as wedding sites is listed for each chapel.

The Minnesota wedding chapels reviewed here are:

    * Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in South Minneapolis
    * Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, between Minneapolis and St Paul
    * Nazareth Chapel at Northwestern College, just north of St Paul
    * Wesley Church in downtown Minneapolis


Lake Harriet Spiritual Community - South Minneapolis


You can see the round dome of Lake Harriet Spiritual Community Church here
Lake Harriet Spiritual Community church's most outstanding features are the two stained glass windows pictured below, and the stained glass dome, shown above.

View from the balcony of LHSC

First of all, I have access to the South Minneapolis church named Lake Harriet Spiritual Community.

Lake Harriet Spiritual Community (LHSC) is a church in South Minneapolis just southwest of Lake Harriet in the Linden Hills neighborhood.  Churches don't usually allow non-members to rent their site, but Lake Harriet is very warm, open, and has an accommodating spirit.  The church has the philosophy that they are a "spiritual home honoring all spiritual paths" and will rent the site to non-members and are available for interfaith weddings. This church has a beautiful round sanctuary with large stained glass windows and a round stained-glass dome.  The stained glass is beautiful - 25 feet high and the dome is 40 feet high.  They have a grand piano available for your use at no extra charge.  Lake Harriet Spiritual Community will also rent out the basement for receptions and the church allows you to bring in your own catering, wine, and beer.  The church is close to most reception sites in Minneapolis and the Minneapolis suburbs.  Here is a PDF many more pictures Lake Harriet Spiritual Community's chapel and reception hall, both inside and outside.

There are many nearby restaurants which would be appropriate for a rehearsal dinner.  One of them is the upscale Tejas Southwestern Restaurant in Edina where you can rent the Santa Fe Room.

The office manager is Lily Phelps, who is fun, very warm and outgoing.  She will help you reserve the site and answer all your questions.  Lily can be reached at 612-922-4272.  Leave a message if you have to - she's very good at returning calls. 
Lake Harriet Spiritual Community has a very reasonable fee - $650.  The cost for renting the whole building (for a wedding and reception) starts at$1000.
Seats 200, and the reception hall and adjoining room seats 150 - lhsc@lhscweb.org



Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel


The main entrance to Fort Snelling Chapel is on the bottom right

The Fort Snelling Chapel is set aside from the rest of the park, so there is plenty of privacy for your wedding.  You can hardly tell that you're in the middle of a big city.

View of the church as you enter it

Flags are set up at the Fort Snelling Chapel, but it doesn't look military at all in person. The chapel has more of an old-fashioned, cozy feel to it.

View of the chapel from where the bride and groom stand

Fort Snelling Chapel is  perfect for smaller weddings because it doesn't have the huge feel of many churches.

Pulpit, usually used by a reader, if you have one for your wedding ceremony
During a wedding ceremony at Fort Snelling Chapel, the minister stands with the couple in the middle of the altar, and any readers come up this lecturn off to the side to read.


Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel is a beautiful old stone chapel between Minneapolis and St. Paul.  Smaller, but special.  This chapel is one of the first churches built in the state and while it is accessible because it is close to Highway 55, it's in the middle of the very large Fort Snelling State Park.  You get the whole chapel to yourselves for the afternoon.  The chapel is very non-denominational.  If you have musicians, they usually sit by the rear entrance (in the right-hand picture, that entrance is on the far right) or in the balcony (in the right-hand picture, the balcony is on the top left).  You can see the interior better on this virtual tour.

The complex at Fort Snelling is also home to the Fort Snelling Club (612-725-2272, $700, seats 300) which is available for wedding receptions.  One advantage of using this reception site is that they do not charge sales tax, city tax, or state liquor tax on their liquor (these taxes can total up to 15%).  Note that the Fort Snelling Club (Building 89) is not the same as the Officer's Club.  

Fort Snelling Chapel is about 1/2 mile from Buca's, which is a great Italian restaurant which serves everything "family style" (portions for 3-5 people).  The site is perfect for a rehearsal dinner. 

Between Minneapolis and St Paul
Off of Highway 55, close to Minneapolis/St Paul airport

The cost of chapel site rental at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel is about $500 for a wedding ceremony. Call 612-725-2390 to talk to the chapel secretary.  She is very efficient and if you have to leave a message she will get right back to you.  Also, the site manager is a wonderful guy who has worked there for years and I have worked with him with many wedding ceremonies.  
Seats 300 (but it has a small, cozy, intimate, feel)



Nazareth Chapel at Northwestern College

The entrance to the Nazareth chapel... the church is towards the left (not shown)
The entrance to the Nazareth chapel... the church is towards the left (not shown) The view from the choir loft of Nazareth Chapel at Northwestern College

Roseville's Nazareth Chapel at Northwestern College is spacious and gorgeous - perfect for a grand, elegant wedding.  The chapel has marble columns, stone walls, and wooden pews.  To get to the chapel, visitors drive through the college's beautiful tree-lined campus.  This wedding chapel books up faster than any other in the Minneapolis, St Paul, MN area, because of its striking beauty. The grounds are amazing, too... even though it's in the middle of the Twin Cities, you feel like you're really away from it all, and the campus is lush and isolated. Nazareth Chapel also has an adjoining reception hall with its own catering, if you'd like to have the reception there.  

If you are looking for a rehearsal dinner location, the upscale Jax Cafe in nearby Northeast Minneapolis has five private dining rooms.

Roseville, Minnesota, off of Snelling Avenue, just south of I-694
Site rental for weddings at the Nazareth Chapel at Northwestern College is about $800-$900
Call 651-631-5388 and talk to Debbie Bock.  Seats 300



Wesley Church in downtown Minneapolis



Wesley Church is a gorgeous stone church in the Nicollet Avenue/Convention Center area of downtown Minneapolis, MN.  They are very community-oriented and permit non-members to rent the space for wedding ceremonies.  Not only is the exterior beautiful, with gorgeous red stone, the interior is stunning, with carved wood and rich upholstery.  Even though most weddings don't use the balcony, the balcony raises the roof, creating a grand, magnificent feel to the space, while keeping the main floor intimate and friendly. So it's beautiful, romantic, and cozy, yet large enough to seat the largest of weddings.  The cherry color of the wood really warms the whole place up. The bridal staircase can provide a more unique entrance for the bride, but most brides and grooms choose to come down the center aisle. 

 

earby rehearsal dinner options include the Ichiban Japanese Restaurant and the Market BBQ Restaurant, both of which are two blocks away on Nicollet Avenue

  

Downtown Minneapolis, across the street from a small, well-kept park, which is perfect for wedding pictures.  While most wedding ceremonies at Wesley Church are 150-200 guests, a size that works quite well in the space, the bottom floor of the sanctuary easily seats 500 people and the top adds on another 400-500. So, the site can actually accomodate almost 1000 people.
$750 rental fee, plus $200 for their wedding coordinator (Molly Campe, who is very friendly, knowledgeable and good at her job), $100 for security/custodian, and $75 for sound technicians and free CD recording.

Aaron Jones is the Office Manager at 612-871-3585 


 

Wedding chapel question:

Hi, Pastor Tomkin,

I was lucky enough to find your site and I must say that I really appreciate all of the helpful information as I am just at the beginning of planning our wedding. We live in downtown St. Paul and really would like to have a "downtown" St. Paul wedding. I have to say that I really loved reading background information about how you came to do what you are doing now. I have been raised Catholic but also feel that it is very important to have my Native American heritage be a part of our wedding. My fiance was also raised catholic and it is very important to him to get married in a catholic church. Are there Catholic churches in St. Paul (we are willing to go outside of St. Paul if need be) where you have performed ceremonies? We are looking at a November 2008 wedding and possibly on a Friday night as we really want to have the wedding reception at the Landmark center and this is the only time it is available. Please let me know and again, it was so nice to read your website and how you feel about those with different "feelings and beliefs". Thank you.

Answer:

Thank you so much for all your kind words! You've made my day. I've actually performed several wedding ceremonies where one or both of the parties were Native American, so I have some familiarity with respecting the traditions of Native Americans. 

I have also performed many interfaith wedding ceremonies where either the bride or groom is Catholic, so I am very familiar with respecting the Catholic tradition. Unfortunately, Catholic churches have very strict policies regarding weddings - both parties must be Catholic, for instance, and they must both go through Catholic wedding counseling and be married by a Catholic priest. So while there are a couple Catholic churches in downtown St Paul (St Mary's at 651-222-2619, and Assumption at 651-224-7536), I wouldn't be able to perform the wedding ceremony there.

Have you thought about having a reverent, Catholic-tradition wedding ceremony at the Landmark Center? That option can be a good one, and with a minister performing the wedding ceremony, families are usually very receptive to the idea. That option might be worth talking over with the site manager - I have performed many wedding ceremonies there and the site has worked extremely well.

By the way, if you're interested in a piece of advice, here goes: If you like the Landmark Center at all, I would highly recommend booking it immediately. There are not that many banquet sites available in the Twin Cities, and they book FAST.

Warm regards,

Rev. Tomkin Coleman


Wedding chapel question:

Dear Rev. Coleman,

I have been using your site as a great reference trying to plan a MN wedding from Chicago. We have booked the James J. Hill Library for a reception in October (25th), but are having some trouble finding a wedding ceremony site for about 200 people. We would like for our ceremony to be non-denominational but to still feel spiritual.

Can you suggest any venues? We'd like it to be indoors. We love LOVE the Nazareth Chapel but it is already booked for our date. Something similar would be wonderful.

I'm sure you get a lot of emails everyday - but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Answer:

Hmm... a spiritual wedding, but non-denominational. Let's see - first of all, have you thought about having a minister perform a wedding ceremony at the Library? It's a wonderfully grand site, and can work well for the wedding ceremony...then, during the cocktail hour, they re-set the library to arrange the reception.

If it's a chapel or church you're looking for, I highly recommend Wesley Church in downtown Minneapolis, which is about 8 miles from the Library, and both locations are right off of the freeway, I-94. On the weekends, they're about 10 minutes away (okay, maybe 15 or so...but it's not far, really.)

Warmly,

Rev. Tomkin Coleman


Wedding chapel question:

Dear Rev. Coleman,

Wesley Church has been very helpful, but it just seems a little too expensive to us. We did check in to the chapel at Concordia like you suggested. We are going to be touring it and meeting with someone from Concordia. We are also planning on calling St. Sahag (it doesn't appear that they have a website). We will also check into Diamond Lake Lutheran Church. Do you know of any other chapels at all? We really appreciate all of your suggestions and help. Thanks again for meeting with us last night!

Answer:

I've been trying to think of other chapels that would meet your needs. I had thought of one other (the historical 'Little White Church in the Valley' in Golden Valley), but that one only seats 80.

As we talked about, most churches won't even rent to non-members, and the ones that do usually charge a premium to non-members. For instance, Westminster UMC charges $1200, Hennepin Ave Methodist is $2500 and the Basilica is $3000-$4000.

We talked about St Sahag in Saint Paul, an Armenian Orthodox Church that will rent to non-members for a reasonable fee. The last time I talked to them Michelle Dolan handled rentals. Michele's phone number is (612) 382-6478. St Sahag is absolutely gorgeous!  Their website is http://www.saintsahag.com I have not been there, but the site was recommended to me several years ago as a beautiful church that permits non-members to rent their site for a reasonable fee. Update, 3/11/08: St Sahag has stopped renting to non-members.

I have performed several wedding ceremonies at the Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, and they might be worth checking out (I'm really searching here, because I don't know their fees... I just know that I've performed wedding ceremonies there.) Diamond Lake Lutheran Church's phone number is (612) 866-2579.

If you haven't seen it already, here are pictures and info for Concordia University's chapel in St Paul, which is also called Graebner Memorial Chapel: http://web.csp.edu/events/Facilities/Chapel.html

Also, it may be possible to have the wedding ceremony at the reception site.

Good luck with your wedding!

Warmly,

Rev. Tomkin Coleman




My recommendations for wedding sites in the Minneapolis/St Paul area:
Chapels      Parks      Gardens      Mansions      Museums      Hotels      Farms      Historic     Amphitheatres      Restaurants     Comparison Matrix



See if I'm free on your date and time!
(612) 986-5528


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Photos courtesy of Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, Fort Snelling Chapel, Northwestern Chapel, and Wesley Church.
 Please do not distribute. Photography of Luther Seminary from John Ray. - http://www.photographybydesigninc.com/wedding.htm
All content (c) Copyright 1999 by Rev. Coleman. All rights reserved.