There’s something very romantic about getting married in a historic mansion. Every room has a story to tell, and the venue itself becomes the décor, with roaring fireplaces, antique furniture, and crystal chandeliers.
The Twin Cities has mansions to choose from in all different shapes, sizes, and styles. In Minneapolis, they’re mainly clustered just south of downtown, in the Washburn Fair-Oaks Historic District, where the city’s leaders built their homes in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In St. Paul, most are found along Summit Avenue, which has the longest intact stretch of Victorian homes in the country.
Blaisdell Manor: Built in 1915, this is one of the largest mansion spaces for weddings in the Twin Cities, with a ballroom that can fit 300 people. Its Georgian architecture is both stately and cozy—think burgundy leather furniture, wood-burning fireplaces, and a grand staircase for the bride to sashay down. Another perk is its versatility: You can rent the entire mansion for your wedding, or mix and match any of six rooms, each with a different feel and capacity.
• The Deets: Up to 300 seated guests in the ballroom; $400–$2,500 (+$350 for ceremony)*; catered exclusively by Three Sons Signature Cuisine. • find it: 2322 Blaisdell Ave., Mpls., 612-870-7875, threesonskitchen.com
*The prices in this article are for facility rental, not catering and other expenses. Additional fees may apply.
Gale Mansion: Gale Mansion’s original owners helped develop the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, so it’s fitting that this 1912 mansion sits just across the way from the institute, with pretty Washburn Fair Oaks Park in between. The mansion has an imposing limestone façade and a warm interior, with Oriental carpets, decorative fireplaces, and natural woodwork. The mansion’s lawn is a popular spot for outdoor weddings, while inside there are a variety of rooms for couples to use, including separate dressing rooms for the bride and groom.
• The Deets: Up to 210 seated guests; $1,700–$3,500; in-house chef. • find it: 2115 Stevens Ave. S., Mpls., 612-870-1662, galemansion.com
Semple Mansion: This mansion has been a private residence, a bank, a foundation headquarters, an architecture office—and now an event space. Ceremonies are often held in the grand foyer, with its elegant mahogany woodwork, hand-carved fireplace, and wide staircase. But it’s the Grand Palladium Ballroom that takes the cake: The 3,000-square foot ballroom features Swarovski crystal chandeliers, restored fresco paintings, stained-glass windows, white columns with gold-leaf décor, and domed ceilings. The mansion is also home to several wedding businesses.
• The Deets: Up to 250 seated guests; $2,500–$4,400 (+$800 for ceremony); 11 preferred caterers to choose from. • find it: 100 Franklin Ave. W., Mpls., 612-290-4448, semplemansion.com
Van Dusen Mansion: Built in 1892 for grain-industry entrepreneur George Van Dusen, this dramatic manse was almost demolished in 1995, but it was saved at the last minute and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Richardson Romanesque building is stunning, with castle-like spires and turrets, massive chandeliers, and ornate woodwork. It also has an event center for large receptions, an intimate carriage house, a courtyard for outdoor weddings, and a honeymoon suite.
• The Deets: Up to 200 seated guests; $2,500–$5,000; catered exclusively by Mintáhoe Catering & Events. • find it: 1900 LaSalle Ave., Mpls., 612-871-2702, thevandusenmansion.com
Forepaugh’: If you want a smaller wedding, this St. Paul icon is a good option. Built in 1870 for businessman Joseph Forepaugh, the Victorian mansion-turned-restaurant is looking better than ever thanks to a major 2008 renovation. Chef Donald Gonzalez provides the New American menu, and there’s no reception fee—only food and drink minimums. The vibe is definitely intimate: up to 30 people for ceremonies (larger weddings can be held in neighboring Irvine Park) and 150 for receptions, with guests scattered across the restaurant’s eight dining rooms.
• The Deets: Up to 150 seated guests; $250 for ceremony; in-house catering. • find it: 276 S. Exchange St.,
St. Paul, 651-224-5606, forepaughs.com
St. Paul College Club: The College Club is notable for its location alone—next door to the Governor’s Mansion on Summit Avenue. But the 1916 Georgian Revival mansion is plenty impressive in its own right. Its living room is great for smaller ceremonies in front of the fireplace, while the garden is a favorite spot for outdoor weddings. Unlike many mansions in town, the College Club offers an hourly rental fee (including linens and centerpieces, among other things) and the option to stock the bar yourself, which can cut down on costs.
• The Deets: Up to 250 seated guests; $275 per hour; in-house chef. • find it: 990 Summit Ave., St. Paul, 651-227-4477, stpaulcollegeclub.com
Summit Manor: This beautiful Summit Hill stone mansion is relatively smaller as mansions go, which makes it a good spot for more intimate weddings. It has five ceremony locations to choose from, including a lovely front lawn if the weather cooperates. The mansion was originally built in 1901 for Charles Schuneman—owner of Schuneman department store, which later became Dayton’s—but has been owned since 1971 by the McLaughlin family, who run a full-service operation providing many of the big-day details (linens, centerpieces, etc.) so couples don’t have to worry about them.
• The Deets: Up to 150 seated guests; $325 per hour; in-house catering. • find it: 275 Summit Ave., St. Paul, 651-387-3283, summitmanor.com
University Club: If you’re looking to add a little Great Gatsby flair to your wedding day, you could do worse than the University Club, where author F. Scott Fitzgerald used to socialize. This grand Tudor clubhouse occupies the top perch on St. Paul’s Ramsey Hill, serving as home to the private-member club since 1913. It’s also open to the public for weddings, offering classy rooms of varying sizes and décor, including several with great views of downtown St. Paul and the Mississippi River Valley.
• The Deets: Up to 160 seated guests; $200–$1,500; in-house catering. • find it: 420 Summit Ave., St. Paul, 651-290-7135, universityclubofstpaul.com.