Breaking New Ground: New and Renewed Venues
Minneapolis Event Center
Starts at $1,000
Available for: Rehearsal Dinner, Ceremony, Reception
With construction beginning in July 2013 and wrapping up in late November, the vision for Minneapolis Event Center (MEC) was born from an event planner’s perspective, and not a corporate perspective. “We wanted a gorgeous space that first and foremost functions properly,” says Michael Basler, the Marketing and Design Manager for MEC. “We wanted jaw-dropping beauty when guests first arrive, and comfort throughout the event experience.” This atmosphere Basler alludes to may best be described as upscale chic meets historic charm.
Basler says same sex couples will love the attention to detail infused into the space. Outdoors, MEC offers a romantic, lush, private-walled garden space for outdoor ceremonies, complete with brick and slate patios, modern sculpture, a gas fire pit, patio heaters and a wide variety of perennials and annuals. Inside, guests will find a light-filled atrium with fourteen-foot ceilings and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the garden. The ballroom features African hardwood dance floors, historic exposed brick walls and wood beams, LED lighting, LCD flat-screen TVs, and spa-inspired bathrooms complete with real cloth hand towels. To sweeten the deal, MEC offers convenient off street parking for 1400 cars across the street (with discounted valet service also available).
What differentiates MEC from many other venues is the ability to offer a turnkey event (read: no hidden fees). “We include all staffing needs, coat check, servers and event personnel,” Basler says. “Tables with linens and mahogany Chiavari chairs are also included at no additional cost. Our full service, in-house catering offers unique dining experiences for every mood and budget. All china, glassware, flatware, linen and candles are included with the space fee. We also have a killer in-house sound system and advanced audio visual capabilities.”
212 Southeast 2nd Street
Green Acres Event Center
Starts at $1,600
Available for: Reception, Ceremony, One-hour Rehearsal
Steven Schussler, well-known as the creator of the Rainforest Café Restaurants, fell in love with the original architectural, character & charm of the historic barn. He bought it to save it from being torn down and almost immediately, Schussler was inundated with requests to rent the barn for various events. Because he loves to share his creations with others, he took the idea of becoming an event center (which came from the community) and decided to go for it! After almost three years of renovations and approvals from nineteen government agencies, the vision to restore and preserve, as much as possible, the historic barn’s authentic character, charm and structure was completed. Green Acres opened March 1, 2013, as the first and only event center in the city of Eden Prairie.
Using original materials when and where available, the barn’s quaint beauty is now complemented with the modern conveniences of heat, air conditioning, new up-to-date bathrooms, an elevator, and sound system. The barn’s décor appeals to the five senses with crystal and candlelight chandeliers, a collection of antique jukeboxes, an extravagant Italian water fountain, old fashioned player pianos, music, color and theatrical lighting. Cozy seating areas around warm fireplaces with weathered horse saddles, antique kerosene lanterns, aged furniture, and artwork makes guests feel comfortable and transports them back to those bygone days.
Although valet parking service is required at an additional expense (due to limited parking) and there is less flexibility in terms of catering (due to an in-house caterer), the experience truly is customizable. “The only limit at Green Acres is your imagination,” says Sunhi Ryan, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Schussler Creative, Inc. “There are so many options for creating the event of your dreams.” Couples are able to bring in any sort of décor, photos, and belongings that speak to their personal style and the feel they want for their wedding. Ryan shares the story of one same-sex couple who wanted to both feel like brides and not have one assuming the role of groom and the other as bride as they walk down the aisle. With two staircases leading to the upper level loft, they loved the idea of each of them using a stair case where both would enter at the same time.
14150 Pioneer Trail
Eden Prairie, MN