Map by MaeMae Paperie; Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Map of minneapolis by MaeMae Paperie
It may not be a destination wedding for you, but the Twin Cities is definitely a destination for your out-of-town guests. And though you’ll be way too busy to play tour guide, it’s up to you to show them a good time. Thankfully, with a little planning, you can create a tailor-made toolkit that will help them make the most of their visit without you having to hold their hand.
The first step is easy. “Put together a list of attractions,” says Joan Nilsen, owner of Ambiente Wedding and Event Planning. But don’t stop there. Your guests aren’t coming to town because they want a whirlwind tour of our most famous places (though you definitely want to include those); they’re coming because they want to celebrate you.
“Give your guests an itinerary of destinations that has significance to you,” say Brian Durk, co-owner of Dick and Jane Letterpress. The destination of your first date may not be a top-rated restaurant, but pointing it out to your guests will make them feel included. So will a personal note about what the places on your list mean to you. “Instead of just saying ‘go to the Walker,’ give an explanation of why it’s significant,” says Amy Rubins, owner of Fête Perfection. “Then take all this information and put it on your wedding website so guests can plan ahead.”
Organizing your list by time, with suggestions for Friday night, Saturday morning, and so on, will help guests navigate their schedules and put them at ease. And for key players in your wedding, a detailed itinerary that includes ideas for how to spend their free time is especially crucial. “It’s too late when they get to the hotel to find they have these big lags of time,” says Rubins. “Then they’re scrambling to find something to do.”
As the day nears, turn your suggestions into something tangible to leave in the hotel room. This can mean a printed map or a welcome bag filled with local goodies. Your guests will be so busy noshing on the FunkyChunky you left them that they won’t care that you’re too busy to be a personal tour guide.
Not sure where to start? Check out these tips from the pros.
- Make downtown Minneapolis the home base. “For most of my weddings, I recommend people go downtown because you don’t even have to pay for a taxi from the airport,” Rubins says. “Just hop on the light rail and they can get to their hotel rather easily. Plus, downtown Minneapolis is a vibrant place and very walkable.” Downtown Minneapolis is a stone’s throw away from nearly every attraction the city has to offer and is just a quick jaunt from St. Paul.
- Get sporty. See if the Twins, Vikings, or Timberwolves are playing during your wedding weekend. Even if they’re not in town, Nilsen notes that many venues such as Target Field offer interesting tours.
- Go arty. “Minneapolis is second only to New York with theaters, so push that,” Rubins says. See what shows are coming up at stages such as the Guthrie, Orpheum, State, and Pantages. First Avenue and Dinkytown favorite Varsity Theater are concert staples, and you can always count on the Walker and Minneapolis Institute of Arts for an exciting installation.
- Be foodie-friendly. Send the farm-to-table fans to North Loop gem Bachelor Farmer. And in the warmer months, “patios and rooftops are always a hit,” Nilsen says. So tell guests to hit up Solera, Crave, and Butcher & the Boar. Bonus points for its open-year-round rooftop: new hot spot Union.
- Shop around. MOA is always a novelty to out-of-towners and just a quick ride on the light rail. Nicollet Mall is on the up-and-up, and suburban go-tos such as Southdale Center and the Galleria are worth the trip to Edina. St. Paul’s Selby and Grand avenues offer a throwback boutique experience. Or keep it close to downtown: “St. Anthony Main is an easy walk,” Rubins says. “And you’re on the water, which people love.”