Unique Wedding Locations: How to Choose {Featured Bride Ashley V.}

Featured Bride, Ashley V. Wedding Location: Minnetonka, MN | Wedding Date: August 24, 2012 Featured Bride Ashley V. is back to tell us all about how she and her fiancé, Cole, chose their wedding ceremony and reception site. If you are newly engaged and are wondering where to begin when it comes to choosing your wedding venue, read up on these helpful tips from Ashley!


Soon after getting engaged, we began the process of setting a date and finding a venue. Our first step was choosing a date. We were very limited as my brother is getting married in June and I am applying for grad schools that start in September. I didn't want it to be too close to my brother's wedding and I didn't want to get married during school, so the month of August was our best option for 2012. There are a couple other weddings we knew of in August so we decided on the weekend of the 24th/25th.

Carlson Center rotunda - Minnetonka, MN Featured Bride Ashley V. Explores Minnesota Wedding Venues

Featured Bride, Ashley V., tours wedding sites in Minnesota to find the perfect wedding location.

Next I began flipping through magazines, looking online, and asking friends about unique wedding locations they had been to. From calling around, I learned that most unique Twin Cities wedding ceremony sites only had Friday the 24th available. At first, I was really closed minded about having a Friday wedding, but I had no choice if I wanted to get married this year. We set up many appointments at Minnesota wedding venues to tour a variety of places, and with that had a list of criteria we wanted in a location.

What we needed from our choices for unique wedding locations:

Ability to hold ceremony and reception at the same location: Since we were having a Friday wedding, I wanted to do everything at the same place. Friday weddings need to start later than traditional Saturday weddings and I didn't want the drive between places to take up any of the valuable time that day. Beauty of the space: I wanted a place that needed minimal decorating with neutral coloring and nice chairs. Decorations and chair covers can add up, so I wanted to find a place that would help me save money in this area. Geographical location: Our families live about an hour apart and I wanted somewhere that was reasonable for everyone to travel to within the Twin Cities. Also, many of the Minnesota wedding venues located in either downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul were beautiful, but I didn't like the idea of our guests paying for parking and dealing with downtown traffic on a Friday afternoon. A place to call our own: We have been to many friends' weddings that I would have considered looking at. However, I wanted our wedding to be at a new place. Sites we had been to or places of upcoming weddings weren't even on my list; we only wanted to look at unique Twin Cities wedding ceremony sites. Unfortunately, not everyone takes that in to consideration when planning their wedding, but what can you do? Size: We are inviting about 300 guests and could easily rule out some wedding sites in Minnesota based on this alone. Budget: Obviously, it is important to find a place we can afford. We also discovered that many unique wedding locations offer discounted rates for Friday evenings. It’s a great way to save some money!

Unique Twin Cities wedding ceremony sites: And the winner is...

We toured about 10 different places in the Twin Cities including country clubs, hotels, and city landmarks. The one that fit our list the best was the Carlson Center rotunda in Minnetonka. It has a beautiful outdoor space to hold a ceremony, but can accommodate an indoor ceremony if it rains, which is very important for wedding sites in Minnesota, where the weather can be so unpredictable. The room is gorgeous, with marble floors, a giant domed ceiling, a fountain, and a double staircase that would make for a great wedding party entrance to the reception (no decorating needed!). It is the perfect place for our day! It was a relief to finally make this decision and begin the next phase of planning! After looking at so many unique Twin Cities wedding ceremony sites and finally booking our ceremony/reception site, I made my appointment to try on dresses at the Wedding Shoppe!


Thanks, Ashley! We cannot wait to hear how the rest of your planning adventure goes. Good luck! Other Featured Bride Posts: Cute Marriage Proposal Ides {Featured Bride Ashley V.} Say Yes to the Wedding Veil {Featured Bride Alaura K.} A Wedding Plan Checklist {Featured Bride Kari M.}

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Joan Smith
May 16, 2019 06:58

I have attended a wedding at your chosen location. It was beautiful and very dramatic entrance down the staircase for the Bride escorted by her Father. Very memorable occasion. Best to you on your wedding day!

Clarence & Mary
May 16, 2019 06:58

Ashley – Sounds like you got it all together, marrying a Laker fan etc. Just wanted you to know that I got married by a Judge and if it ever happens again I am requesting a full jury!!!!Just kidding

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