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

Venues - Hotels

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Any Minneapolis or St Paul hotel that has a ballroom can work extremely well for a wedding ceremony and reception. The advantages and limitations of using a hotel for your wedding are listed below.  I have performed wedding ceremonies at each of these downtown Minneapolis hotels and highly recommend each one.  Included in each review are pictures and capacities, and article about hotel wedding fees is at the bottom of the page, as is an article about the advantages and limitations of using a hotel for your Minnesota wedding reception and ceremony.

Prices can definitely be negotiated.  One standard is that if the bride and gro
om get their guests to book a minimum number of rooms, their room is upgraded to a suite with a jacuzzi, their stay is free.  Some couples even negotiate for a free breakfast, as well.

Some couples choose to have a gift-opening the morning after their wedding.  In this case, they either schedule a breakfast, or else they just meet in their suite and order rolls and coffee.

Calculating hotel fees and costs for weddings 
Usually quoted in terms of "Minimum food and beverage cost".

      - Usual minimum food and beverage cost:  $8-12,000

     - Dinner costs: Usually start at $20/plate, but that doesn't cover a lot of the extra charges, such as tip, taxes, security, cake cutting fee, linens, etc. (the average dinner cost is $50-$60/plate)

     - An open bar:  Usually costs about $30/guest

     - With a cash bar, the guests pay for the alcohol

So for 200 guests, at $50/plate and an open bar (let's say $30/guest), that's $16,000, so it's very easy to make the minimum food and beverage charge

Advantages of using a Minneapolis or St Paul Hotel for your wedding

Some of the advantages of choosing a hotel for your wedding ceremony and reception:

     - Guests can be encouraged to stay at the hotel Drunk driving is reduced because both your Minneapolis/St Paul guests and your out-of-town guests don't have to drive home after drinking at the reception.
     - Socializing is increased because all the wedding guests can visit with each other all weekend
     - Children are occupied since they have a swimming pool in which to release their energy all weekend

Expenses can be reduced
     - Both the wedding ceremony and reception can be held in the same place and so there is no need to rent a separate ceremony site
     - In-house catering is always more economical than when a caterer has to go off-site, such as for a park or private home.  Note that the average Minnesota caterer charges approximately $50/plate, with the low end being about $20/plate
     - Since the Minneapolis or St Paul hotel you choose gets business from the guests staying for the weekend, their fees are negotiable.  You usually don't even have to ask, or worry about haggling - the site manager and catering staff usually have set guidelines for rate reductions, such as:
     - The bridal couple often gets a free room (or suite!) if their guests book a certain number of rooms (usually a block of ten)
     - The site rental is often waived if a set goal is met for alcohol sales (usually $2-3,000), or the food/beverage minimum is met ($6-$12,000). Bartender fees are often waived, as well.
     - There is usually no need for extra security fees
     - There is no need to rent a limo or arrange a car for transport from the wedding site to the reception site.
     - Travel time is minimized
     - Once your guests find the ceremony site, they don't have to then search for reception site - they're already there and the cocktail hour can start immediately. Traffic in the Minneapolis and St Paul area is usually pretty minimal on weekends, but it's still something to consider.
 
Limitations when using a hotel for your wedding
If you decide to use a Minnesota hotel for your wedding and reception, note the hotel will require that you use their catering, which usually includes the wedding cake. If the hotel is upscale, though, their catering services and their wedding cake will usually be excellent.  You can ensure that the hotel's food and baking is up to your standards by arranging a tasting (which is actually a fun event.)

Space Calculator (Courtesy of the Hilton)
Here's a tool which can be handy when trying to figure out what size room you'll need for your wedding reception.

Reviews of my favorite Twin Cities hotels for weddings and receptions

A.  The Depot in Minneapolis Hotel
Built in the old train depot - lots of marble and columns

B.  Marriott City Center Hotel
Across from Block E, in the absolute heart of Minneapolis

C.  Marquette Hotel
In the IDS Tower - large weddings can be held on the 50th floor

D.  Crowne Plaza Hotel
With a rooftop terrace

E.  Hilton Hotel
Plush, contemporary feel

F.  Hyatt Hotel 
Home of Manny's Steakhouse, one of the top 5 steakhouses in the US

Note that it's too far for wedding guests to walk to the University of Minnesota, the Metrodome, Loring Park, or the Walker from any of these downtown hotels, but all these sites are five minutes away by taxi.  Most of the shops and restaurants are on Nicollet Mall, and most of the nightlife is on 1st Ave N.

Two downtown St Paul hotels, the Best Western Kelly Inn and the Embassy Suites, are also reviewed.

 

The Depot in Minneapolis
Formerly the Courtyard Hotel
Downtown Minneapolis, available for wedding ceremonies and receptions

The Twin Cities used to have two main train depots, this one in Minneapolis (the Milwaukee Road Depot) and the one in St Paul (the Union Depot).  Both locations have been converted into wedding reception sites because of their gorgeous architecture.  This review is of the hotel and wedding reception hall in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis Depot Hotel has several sections, which are:

The hotel's entrance The Pavilion, which is now an indoor ice skating rink
Charlie's Restaurant, next to the Stone Arch Bar The waterpark
The Great Hall (This is the part used for wedding receptions)
 

If the above pictures are confusing, click here for an interior map of the hotel. The Depot's main hall, used for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions, is filled with marble and columns and has a grand, old-fashioned feel to it.

Out-of-town guests don't necessarily have to rent a car because the light rail stops just a few blocks from the Depot.  The light rail goes straight to the airport, and also goes to the Mall of America.  The hotel is not hooked up to the skyway system, but you can walk about a block to get to it.
Capacity:  Up to 450 Guests in the Great Hall
While I've performed wedding ceremonies in the Great Hall, I've not personally seen the historic train shed set up for weddings, but I'm told that the train shed area can hold 2,000
The hotel's rental fee:  See article below
225 3rd Ave S, (612) 375-1700 
 

 
The Marriott City Center Hotel is on Hennepin Avenue (the Theatre District), and 1 block from 1st Avenue, which is filled with nightlife The Marriott City Center Hotel is built around this diamond-shaped atrium Smaller weddings are held in the Marriott City Center Hotel's smaller ballrooms
 
Marriott City Center 
Downtown Minneapolis, available for wedding ceremonies and receptions

The Marriott is set up right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, and is the most convenient in terms of being close to restaurants and things to do.  It takes up a whole city block, between Hennepin Avenue (the main street of Minneapolis) and Nicollet Mall (which has very wide sidewalks, and only buses can drive down the street.)  The entrance to the Marriott City Center hotel is a little odd - it's on the first floor, but then you go up to the fifth floor to get to the lobby (but the lobby has free strawberries and chocolate.)  If your wedding ceremony is fairly small, you can have your ceremony in one of the smaller ballrooms, with the reception right there in the same room.  

A nearby restaurant which would be great for a rehearsal dinner is Murray's Steak House, (the home of the Silver Butter-Knife Steak), which is possibly the most famous restaurant in town.  It's across the street on 6th Avenue.  They don't have private dining rooms, but can accommodate parties of up to 30 people in their main room. The hotel is also a block away from the light rail, which can take guests to the airport or the Mall of America. Hooked up to the skyway system.
The hotel's rental fee:  See article at the top of the page
30 S 7th St, (612) 349-4000


 
The Marquette Hotel is in the IDS building The large 50th floor wedding reception room The fourth floor's smaller wedding reception room
 
 Marquette Hotel 
Downtown Minneapolis, available for wedding ceremonies and receptions

The Marquette Hotel is basically in the IDS tower, the most famous building in downtown Minneapolis (the big blue building with the black band on top).  If you have a large wedding, 200-500 guests, you can rent out part of the 50th floor, which is called Windows of Minnesota.  Click here for a 360 degree tour.  I've always done wedding ceremonies on their fourth floor, which is used for smaller wedding ceremonies and accommodates up to 150 guests.

The Marquette Hotel is right on Nicollet Avenue, which is great for window shopping, and while the Marquette Hotel has its own lobby, there is also the huge public lobby of the IDS building.  The IDS lobby is called the atrium, which has trees and a 4-story freestanding waterfall.  An ideal spot for a rehearsal dinner would be at Basil's restaurant in the IDS building, which has private rooms that can accommodate 40 guests.  Basil's is featured in the opening credits of the 70's Mary Tyler Moore TV show, (also, a statue of Mary Tyler Moore is across the street on Nicollet).   Hooked up to the skyway system.
The hotel's rental fee:  See article at the top of the page
710 Marquette Avenue, (612) 333-4545


 
   
  Crowne Plaza Hotel
Downtown Minneapolis, available for wedding ceremonies and receptions

Connected to the skyway system and adjacent to the Northstar Building, which has over 30 shops.  The highlight of the Crowne Plaza is the rooftop terrace, called the Skygarden, where you can hold wedding ceremonies and receptions.  Another rooftop garden in Minneapolis is at Brit's Pub, which has a comparable feel, if you are wondering what it's like.  The terrace is only 8 stories up, (the hotel section in back is much taller and goes up many more stories), so no one feels vertigo, plus, it is surrounded by buildings on three sides.  The shrubbery and walls keep guests from going all the way to the edge.  The Skygarden is an amazing spot that few people know about because it's not a public park.  There are maple trees, wood chips, flowers and shrubbery everywhere and the view of the surrounding buildings is incredible.  You can't really see the street, which also helps from anyone getting vertigo.  The terrace feels magical, almost like you're floating, instead of feeling like your on top of a building (which you're not, as the rest of the building goes up many more floors).  The capacity is 175.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel doesn't have valet parking nor does it have a parking garage, but there are many parking garages nearby.

The hotel's rental fee:  See article at the top of the page
618 2nd Ave S # 7, Minneapolis, MN
(612) 338-2288



Unlike other hotels in downtown Minneapolis, the Hilton has a large porte-corchere  (covered drive-up area) which makes loading and unloading guests unhurried and easy

Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Minneapolis

The lobby of the Hilton Minneapolis is all glass and cherry wood, which works really well

The Hilton's Symphony Ballroom
Hilton Hotel 
Downtown Minneapolis, available for wedding ceremonies and receptions

Pictures can make any place look amazing, so it's hard to tell how a place looks - in my opinion, though, the Hilton has gorgeous ballrooms.  The feel of the lobby and the ballrooms is contemporary and modern, as opposed to old-school and it's famous for hosting visiting filmmakers.  The Hilton's pool is on the second floor, which is unique to the city, and gives a nice view of the city.  You might want to encourage guests to park across the street for $11, as the parking in their underground garage is really high - $24/night, even for guests.  The Hilton is across the street from Orchestra Hall and a block from Nicollet Mall, but hotel is much further away from the 1st Avenue/Block E/Target Center area.  Hooked up to the skyway system (although not always at night.)

The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant is a block away on Nicollet Mall, and has a private room that can seat up to 35 guests which works well for a rehearsal dinner.
The hotel's rental fee:  See article at the top of the page
1001 Marquette Avenue S, (612) 376-1000

 


The Hyatt Regency is between Nicollet Mall and Loring Park


A photo of the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel
   


View of the lobby as you walk into the Hyatt Hotel 


The Hyatt is home to Manny's Steakhouse, which was voted as one of the Top five Steakhouses in the Nation by the Zagat Guide


Wedding reception at the Hyatt
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Downtown Minneapolis, available for wedding ceremonies and receptions
The hotel has a modern feel, with very reasonable prices.  Inside the Hyatt are several restaurants:

Manny's Steakhouse (voted "Best Steakhouse" by CityPages, and "Best Restaurant" by Minneapolis/St Paul Magazine)

Oceanside Seafood Room, with fresh seafood flown in daily

Taxxi, which serves casual American food

A sports bar 

A coffee shop

 
While Hyatt has the obligatory pool, the hotel also has a full basketball court.  Note that there is a separate fee for using the athletic facilities. 
While the Hyatt is theoretically on Nicollet Mall, a street that only permits pedestrian and bus traffic, the hotel is actually on a section of Nicollet that permits cars.  It's a good idea to give out maps to guests, as the streets in that area are one-way, and the hotel is near Loring Park, I-94, and other obstacles.  The Hyatt is at the end of Nicollet Mall, across the street from the Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse, and about a block from Welsley Church and the Convention Center.
Since Manny's Steakhouse is actually in the hotel and the restaurant has private rooms, Manny's works very well for a rehearsal dinner.

Hotel rental fee: See article at the top of the page
1300 Nicollet Ave, (612) 370-1234

 

 


This side of the Kelly Inn looks out directly at the St Paul Cathedral


The full ballroom of the Kelly Inn can be expanded to three to four times this size
Best Western Kelly Inn
St Paul, Minnesota

Since the Kelly Inn Hotel is right next to the Minnesota State Capital, many people know this Best Western for hosting government functions, but they also host wedding ceremonies and receptions.  The hotel has a small lobby, but they have a large ballroom on the main floor which can be divided, if necessary, for smaller wedding ceremonies and receptions.  This hotel has a bar/restaurant which is also on the main floor, so if wedding guests want to grab a quick drink, they can pop over to the bar next door.  For a 360 degree tour of the hotel, click here.

Strictly speaking, the Kelly Inn is not actually in downtown St Paul, but just a few blocks away, on the north side of I-94.  It's right by the Marion/Kellogg exit (Marion is the street which runs to the north, and Kellogg is the street that runs to the south), and the hotel is also just off of 35E.  Unlike most downtown hotels, parking is incredibly easy, as they have a huge free parking lot which surrounds the hotel.  Many of the guest rooms either have a view of the State Capitol or the St Paul Cathedral. 

The Kelly Inn is almost unique in that it actually lists its meal prices on their website, which start at $19/plate (compared to most other hotels, which start at $27/plate).  There is a room rental fee of $800, but the fee is often waived when you meet the minimum food and beverage limit (which varies, depending on how many wedding guests you have and how many reserve hotel rooms.)
For more on the hotel's rental fee, see article at the top of the page
161 St. Anthony Ave 
(651) 227-8711


 
Embassy Suites Hotel
St Paul, Minnesota


The porte corchet of the Embassy Suites makes loading and unloading wedding guests quick and easy


The nighttime view of the Embassy Suites is much more spectacular, especially in the winter when the trees are lit up

The more businesslike aspect of the ballroom of the Embassy Suites can be enhanced incredibly by chair covers - see this example and this one.  I highly recommend Heartstrings Chair Covers ($2/guest)

Wedding ceremonies can be held in the unique Spanish decor lobby/atrium/courtyard of the Embassy Suites.  All rooms face the indoor atrium
The St Paul Embassy Suites is usually known as a business hotel, but like the Kelly Inn, they can accommodate wedding ceremonies and receptions in their ballroom, with a capacity of 240.  The highlight of the hotel is the atrium, though, which has huge live trees & plants, intermingled with a meandering pond full of cute ducks, & a fountain, tables/chairs, and a gazebo.  

Tips:  The Embassy Suites is very near I-94, so you may want to request a room on the side opposite the highway.  

For guests of the hotel, a full cooked breakfast, with eggs or pancakes cooked to order, is part of the deal.
The hotel's rental fee:  See article at the top of the page
175 East 10th Street 
(651) 224-5400 
 

Radisson Plaza Hotel, downtown Minneapolis

Sarah Pikul from the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Minneapolis was incredibly kind, and she gave me a private tour around Radisson’s downtown Minneapolis flagship hotel - wow! What a great place for wedding ceremonies and receptions!

* Note that this hotel is different from the other Minneapolis Radisson (the one by the University of Minnesota) - this hotel is the flagship property, the one right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, by the theater district, Nicollet Mall, and the light rail which connects right to the Minneapolis/St Paul airport.

The Radisson Plaza Hotel is right in between Hennepin Avenue and Nicollet Mall on 7th Street, in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. The skyway connects right to Macy’s on one side and the City Center on the other side. There’s several ways to enter the Radisson… if you come in from the front, you are either walking in (perhaps you took the light rail here from the airport), or perhaps you took a cab. In either case, you’ll then see this valet parking section, and then enter the main lobby (picure to the right). Looking up in the lobby
So if you enter through the front door from the street, you’ll walk into the lobby, be sure to look up (right-hand picture) - the lobby extends upwards to the top floor - almost 20 stories high!
However, most wedding guests who are coming to weddings at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, however, will be driving…in which case, they’ll enter into the heated basement parking lot (unique among downtown Minneapolis hotels). Wedding guests then come directly up to the third floor, where the ballroom is located. When they exit the elevator, they’ll be greeted by the gorgeous balconies ringing the lobby. Every floor has these balconies overlooking the lobby, producing a beautiful and cohesive, effect.
The ballroom of the Radisson
The hotel ballroom is beautiful, with lots of mirrors and glass chandeliers. The ballroom is actually much larger than this picture shows - when I toured the Radisson, they were set up for a meeting, so I didn’t get to see it set up for a wedding (this picture is reprinted with permission of Sarah from the Radisson Plaza.) Wedding ceremonies are often held on one side of the ballroom, with a divider across the room, and then the divider is drawn back after the ceremony, revealing the tables all set up for the wedding reception.

* Note that not only does the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis give you a free suite for the night when you have your wedding and reception at the hotel, they will give the parents a drastically reduced room rate, something I’ve not seen at other Minneapolis/St Paul hotels.

Firelake Steakhouse in Minnepolis - in the Radisson Hotel

If your wedding ceremony and reception is at the Radisson, you might want to have your rehearsal dinner at the Firelake steakhouse, which is right off of the hotel’s lobby. Minneapolis/St Paul Magazine named the chef one of the Best Restauranteurs in the city.

As with most hotels in the Minneapolis and St Paul, MN area, the Radisson in downtown Minneapolis does not charge a room rental fee for weddings, but just a food and beverage minimum.

Rates: Figuring out prices for weddings is one of my pet peeves - it can be very tricky at other places, and what seems to be a $20 entree is usually more like $60 once the other charges are tacked on: Linens, silverware, security, tips, taxes, cake cutting fees… the list goes on and on. The Radisson has a wonderfully refreshing policy - $61/person includes every single thing. Wow! Their up-front policy is so easy to work with…my theory is that they get so much business from conventions, that they are used to being totally clear about everything. I wish all hotels could be like this…what a great policy! If you’re interested in using the Radisson Plaza for your wedding ceremony and reception, call (612) 339-4900 and ask for the Catering Manager on duty to check to see if your date and time is available, and if it is, they’ll send you out a full packet of materials, which is very well put together, and extremely helpful.


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



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