Occasions like anniversaries, weddings and reunions call for special event venues. When organizing an event, many folks are confronted by many decisions. Choosing a venue is the one decision that will have the largest impact on any event. The date of the event, catering options, and attendees’ pleasant experiences…all are affected by which venue is selected.
Blooms of Love – Dodge Center (www.bloomsoflove.com); A 15-year going concern, Blooms of Love is owned and operated by Shari and Rex Edge. The Edges supply a complete sound system, along with the sound technician who operates it. Blooms of Love is an indoor/outdoor venue. Acreages of land allow folks to access the area for photos, games, or just to relax and visit with friends. The venue boasts an attractive, spacious gazebo; and a 2,240 sq. ft. pavilion. “Our pavilion has retractable walls, providing protection from weather concerns and direct sunshine. It also gives everyone the opportunity to experience the beauty of the gardens that surround the area,” said Shari Edge. There is a cement dance floor, and decorative ceiling lighting. Chandeliers and sways abound. On premise is a furnished, small, private suite, where bridal parties may “prep” themselves. The basic price includes chairs and tables for 100 guests. Table covers and white satin chair covers are available upon request. “Our mantra is: we do not have enough acreage to grow crops, not enough land to raise lots of livestock, but we are just right to offer everyone love, which we do!” Shari exclaimed.
The Gardens of Castle Rock – Castle Rock Township, Northfield (www.thegardensofcastlerock.com); Venue and Event Designer Glenn Switzer, founded The Gardens of Castle Rock, located in Castle Rock Township, north of the city of Northfield. The Gardens provide a portal audio system at each of the four ceremony sites, and background audio is available throughout the venue. The facility has staging and risers available, and the circa 4,000 sq. ft. interior space hosts up to 300 guests. The several buildings that make up The Gardens are uniquely hand-crafted by the owner, using a beautiful mix of natural stone, steel and locally-harvested wood. “The Gardens is one of the most open venues in the state, allowing couples to create the most unique events. If you can dream it, we can make it happen,” Switzer commented.
The 3 Ten Event Venue – Faribault (www.3teneventvenue.com); Ryan and Jenny Ernster, owners of The 3 Ten Event Venue in Faribault, opened their doors in April, 2018. The facility has speakers above the bar to play house music if/when needed and two 70-inch TVs that flank each end of the bar. There is 6,000 square feet of hardwood floor, for dancing. The walls are a combination of brick and stone, the floors are wood, there are crystal chandeliers throughout and floor-to-ceiling windows drape the length of the building. The venue has a capacity of 427 guests (seated). “For all events, we provide an event coordinator, a bartender and a security guard, all included in the rent. We also offer a “day of coordination”, at an additional fee, for brides who want additional help planning and running their special day,” explained Ryan.
Armory Square Event Center – Northfield (www.armorysquarenfld.com); Soon to be one-year old, the Armory Square Event Center is owned by Liz and Jonathan Reppe. The facility is equipped with an audio system that connects to speakers suspended from the ceiling; along with a screen and projector. The stage can be configured in various formats. The main floor is wood and the dance area can be determined by the guests. Rentals of the main event space include access to the adjacent green space, which includes an outdoor stage and bar. The interior is Industrial Rustic; with wood floors, barn wood and galvanized metal accents on the walls; and string lighting and full-ceiling lights. The venue accommodates 320 seated at tables, with the use of the balcony. “We offer a choice of either in-house our outside catering. We can assist with music, band or DJ recommendations, and we offer custom beer through Imminent Brewery and custom cocktails by Loon Liquors,” stated Liz Reppe.
The Carriage House at Garten Marketplatz – Byron, 6 miles SW of Rochester (www.gartenmarketplatz.com); Stephanie Odegard is the event coordinator of The Carriage House, which was just finished this spring; and offers the perfect heated and cooled indoor space. The new venue is equipped with an audio system and a beautiful concrete floor for dancing. “The Carriage House seamlessly integrates with our beautiful gardens, peaceful country setting, and immense outdoor spaces. We have a large pergola patio space, garden paths, and expansive lawns that make this an outdoor paradise. When inside the Carriage House, our large windows look out on the gardens and make you feel like you’re still outside,” explained Odegard. The vintage European-Style Carriage House is adorned with poured, concrete floors and industrial pipe railing; blended nicely with dark-wood beams, leather Edison bulb chandeliers, and antiqued, exposed-brick pillars. Also, wooden farmhouse tables and elegant cross-back chairs, contrast nicely with the light-colored tones throughout. The Carriage House easily accommodates 100-plus guests, and smaller spaces, like the porches, are available for more intimate events. “Some people might say they love the country views, chirping birds, soaring butterflies and hummingbirds, or the peaceful breeze rustling through the tree branches. Others may tell you that it’s the quaint farmstead, unique and extensive gardens, huge variety of perennials, and cute gift house that bring them out. For me, it’s the fireflies that dance in the gardens at dusk on warm summer nights. All of these things are quintessential to who we are, but what really sets us apart from other venues is our customer service. The helpful and friendly staff, personalized attention, and positivity sets us apart and promises to make your event truly special!” – Stephanie Odegard.
Glenhaven Events – Farmington (www.glenhavenevents.com); George Maverick is the Chief Joy Officer at Glenhaven Events, a large log building with soaring 24-foot ceilings and string lights, a 36’x10’ stage that seats 16, and a total capacity of 350. The property boasts a covered surround porch, seven acres of landscaped grounds for photos, including wedding garden, beauty salon, gaming arcade, groom’s cave, and a treasure room. Complete audio/visual capabilities are in house, featuring finely tuned sound and incredible mood and dance lighting. Other atmospheric effects: floor fog, vertical fog, haze, snow, soap bubbles, sparks, intelligent spotlights, etc. “We are a full-service facility, with a complete staff, security, catering, DJ, event planning and coordination. Just add your design touches and people you like!” Maverick exclaimed.
Hormel Historic Home – Austin (www.hormelhistorichome.org); “We have hosted public and private events in our current organizational model (as the Hormel Historic Home) since 1992. We added a 6,000 sq. ft. event center and commercial kitchen in 2009,” stated Executive Director Holly Johnson. The gorgeous structure contains permanent 80-inch monitors with HDMI hook up and sound, as well as a ceiling-mounted projector. There is a permanent dance floor and staging can be rented. The venue possesses a spacious patio and garden area, and the interior (250 capacity) features an elegant and charming décor; with adjustable recessed lighting. Hormel staff takes care of set-up and clean-up; table skirting is available; free wi-fi; free street and public lot parking; clients can choose from a variety of caterers; a full liquor license facility; trained bartenders on staff. “Clients have the opportunity to tour the historic home during their event. It is an opportunity to witness where the history and legacy of the George A. and Lillian Hormel family is preserved.
Oak View Weddings & Events – Owatonna (www.oakviewweddingsandevents.com); Oak View Weddings and Events is a spectacular wedding venue owned by Dan and Katie Haberman. The stunning reception building is heated and air conditioned, and its interior features modern glass garage doors that open to a covered patio with drop curtains for inclement weather. The bride and groom have prominence at the custom-built head table. “Contemporary blends with country with our custom barn-wood wall and fireplace, hand-crafted chandelier, ambient lighting and up-lighting throughout. Grand marches, introductions, speeches and dinner music flow seamlessly with our state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor sound system,” Katie remarked. Guests may visit one of the many seating areas, listen to the soothing water features, hang-out near the outdoor bar, or relax around one of the numerous fire displays. “Dancing under the stars or under our covered patio, will create unforgettable memories you and your guests will treasure for a lifetime!” exclaimed Katie.
Rochester Event Center – Rochester (www.rochestereventcenter.com); Peter Mathiason is the venue’s general manager. The facility is equipped with all of the sound, visual and audio needs to accommodate any size group. There is 16-inch-high staging that totals 512 sq. ft. Also, the venue has a large, moveable dance floor that can expand to 891 sq. ft. The Center features just over 14,000 sq. ft. of ballroom and pre-function space. The building can be broken into three different-sized rooms. “We can serve circa 725 guests for a sit-down dinner and over 1,200 theater style. Some people think that we get the food catered in from our sister company, Canadian Honker, but we have our own culinary team on site to make everything fresh, in one of SE MN’s largest kitchens,” Mathiason explained. Currently in the final stages of a major face lift, the facility has new carpeting; fresh paint throughout; wood mosaic features abound; wainscoting in the circumference of the ballroom; and additional lighting.
Mississippi National Golf Links – Red Wing (www.golfredwing.com); Nathan Gale is General Manager/Head Golf Professional, at the venue that is equipped with a public address system, projector, and screen. The facility has a spacious, wooden dance floor and it offers a covered patio. The 3,500 sq. ft. structure accommodates 275 guests, and its numerous windows offer views of the golf course. There is a skylight in the banquet room, with dimmable canned lighting as well. “We have a bridal room, we have the ability to host ceremonies and receptions, there is on-site catering, great views for pictures, an outside portable bar, and discounts for rehearsal dinners,” said Gale.
Starfire Event Center – Waseca (www.starfire-event-center.business.site); Mindy Jimenez is Event & Advertising Coordinator of the Starfire Event Center, which boasts two ballrooms. Both ballrooms are set up for microphone and audio use. The newer ballroom connects via Bluetooth, to accommodate many modern devices. The Starfire staff utilizes portable, high-quality staging that can be set in either ballroom. The dance floor in Ballroom #1 is made up from old bowling alley lanes, and the floor in Ballroom #2 is a stained concrete topped with gloss. Ballroom #1 (capacity of 400) is done in re-purposed barn wood that has been sanded and re-stained to look uniform. There are beautiful string lights above the dance floor, as well as various chandeliers. Ballroom #2 (capacity of 200) is a blank canvas, with beautiful white walls, and a black ceiling and floor. Nine hand-strung crystal chandeliers are permanent in the space, and there is plenty of natural sunlight as well. “We just opened Ballroom #2 last year, and it is very exciting to be able to offer such a glamorous space. Because of our second ballroom, we are able to hold a ceremony and reception, all in one space!” exclaimed Jimenez.
The Mill Event Center – Waseca (www.milleventcenter.com); Owners Joe and Deb Hoehn opened the Center in May, 2018. Fitted with a permanent P.A. system and cordless microphones, the building’s walls are perfect for displaying videos. The stage is very spacious, and the concrete dance floor is 50 ft. x 40 ft. The 10,000 sq. ft. venue with a 600-plus capacity, is a rustic rendering of old tin, barn wood, and windmills as ceiling fans. With an array of beautiful string lights, it is a must see. The Hoehns offer tables and chairs for up to 600 people, a full bar with up to eight bartenders if needed, and a shuttle bus service. “Wedding parties that reserve with us may set-up the day prior to the event. We also have a bridal suite that is available for all clients,” said Deb Hoehn.
By Pat Garry