Nontraditional wedding venue users: How did you find your venue? Bonus points if it was in St. Louis
May 22, 2011 6:23 PM   Subscribe

What are some off the beaten path wedding venues in the St. Louis Missouri region?

Good evening, all:
My fiance and I thought we had found the perfect wedding venue in St. Louis, but it turned out the person in charge of it was very unreliable. After he cancelled two meetings with us within a week, we decided we need to move on.

I'm not sure what kind of a presence STL has on Metafilter, but askmefi hasn't failed me yet.

What we are looking for:
A nice venue that is outside of the "wedding industrial complex"
The place we had found previously was not a typical wedding venue at all. There were no "preferred caterers," the rates were very reasonable, the rate was for the space for the whole night rather than having to pay by the hour, and perhaps most importantly to me, they did not impose the per person per hour bar system.

What I've found so far suggests that these annoyances are going to be present at just about anywhere that advertises they do weddings... so where to from now?

If you aren't in St. Louis but you've done something similar where you live, it would be great if you could let me know how you found your venue. The wedding industry is making me feel mighty taken advantage of, and that is probably my least favorite feeling in the world.

Thank you
posted by plungerjoke to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a friend who got married at the 9th St. Abbey and it was lovely. I also found the Soulard Preservation Hall while I was trying to identify the Abbey, and it looks potentially helpful.

Yelp also seems to have a list if you look under Wedding/Event Venues.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:30 PM on May 22, 2011

This depends on how far outside of the city you're willing to travel, but I was in a lovely wedding at the Quail Ridge Lodge in St. Charles County. The bride's mother made all of the hors d'oeuvres, the creme brulees (no cake!), and they brought in an outside caterer. I can imagine that the pictures would be lovely in the summer and fall, too. The only drawback was that we had to do most of the clean-up.
posted by honeybee413 at 6:39 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, I just went to a wedding at the Wyman Center camp (near Fenton). It ended up being cool and rainy for May, but the facilities are really nice. There was a pavilion with tables, a building with the buffet, and an open green area (where the ceremony was supposed to take place, but we ended up using the pavilion due to rain.) They catered the food themselves (the bride's Mom is crazy like that) so I assume there aren't many rules about caterers. If you want more info you can MeMail me and I'll try to get some from the bride.
My husband and I got married in Carondelet Park (in the boathouse) and had our reception at the Schlafly Tap Room. (We like beer, and the party room has that nice restored-warehouse-exposed-brick-and-hardwood-floors feel. Pllus the food was good and reasonably priced compared to a few other places I checked out. The event planner there was really really helpful, too. It wouldn't be appropriate for a really big wedding, though.)
My sister had her wedding by the lake in Forest Park. I would not recommend it. It was horribly hot and there was no shade, the parking sucked, and there were dozens of ya-hoos wandering by the ceremony since the park is always so crowded.
Another option was the Mad Art Gallery. The ceremony was on the patio, and the reception inside the gallery. (Also probably not big enough for a really big wedding.)
The City Museum does weddings, too.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:52 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I think all of the attractions in Forest Park do weddings, but they have pretty strict rules about catering. And feel free to MeMail me with any other questions. I did this whole thing three (wonderful) years ago.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:55 PM on May 22, 2011

I've been to St. Louis once, so I know nothing. However, a friend of mine lives there and got married last fall. Here is a blog entry that has most of the details about the wedding. From what I know, it was a smashing success of an event.
posted by stefnet at 7:01 PM on May 22, 2011

I don't know from experience, but when I was at the most magical place east of the Mississippi, The City Museum, there was a wedding reception going on. They do do facility rental: but I lack any personal knowledge of what the rules and strictures about catering etc would be.

As it is one of the most wonderful places I've been to, however, I'd think it's sufficiently off the beaten path.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:32 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

2nding Cold Lurkey: some good friends got married at the City Museum and it seemed like a great place for it. I think they are fairly cheap (as these things go) and have flexibility in catering and other vendors (our friends did all vegan catering, brought all of their own decor, and I think they might have bought their own beer and wine).

Also, there is this crazy human-sized hamster wheel there that is a fantastically terrible idea to run around in after several champagne toasts. Take my word for it.
posted by EmilyFlew at 8:27 PM on May 22, 2011

This is captainawesome's wife--we just got married in St. Louis a couple of months ago. The City Museum is amazing, but the rooms (as far as I know) are all run by Windows off Washington, which is definitely part of the wedding industrial complex and does the prepackaged wedding thing.

I'm not sure where you want to be, but the Third Degree Glass Factory on Delmar could be an option. I don't know how their weddings work, but it's definitely an offbeat (and very cool) location.

I don't know much about it, but you might also want to check out the Polish Heritage Center. I'm not sure if they have the whole preferred caterer thing, but it might be worth checking out.

If you have any questions, feel free to MeMail me/us.
posted by captainawesome at 8:34 PM on May 22, 2011

My buddy got married at Shaw Arboretum, and it was beautiful. If you're interested, I can put you in touch with him.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:02 PM on May 22, 2011

Unfortunately, Shaw Nature Reserve no longer does weddings as of exactly one year ago today. ;)

The Mad Art Gallery linked above is fun, and not too far to walk to Mcgurk's afterwards for a formal pub crawl.
posted by schyler523 at 9:22 PM on May 22, 2011

We got married at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and just opted to have the reception elsewhere. Well worth it! Congrats!
posted by Ostara at 11:10 PM on May 22, 2011

I did attend a City Museum wedding, once, too. It was neat - the couple just did appetizers and skipped the sit-down meal. Windows Off Washington handled it nicely.

My sister-in-law did her reception at the St. Louis zoo pavillion. It was interesting.

Maybe check into Laumeier Sculpture Park or the World Bird Sanctuary? Or the Butterfly House near St. Charles?

If you are up for a little bit of a drive, Hermann Hill Village is AWESOME.
posted by Ostara at 11:19 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

(happy anniversary, Schyler!)
posted by Afroblanco at 11:32 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

My b-i-l got married at the Zoo. Really nice place.
posted by scruss at 4:51 AM on May 23, 2011

captain awesome's wife is totally right about City Museum -- cool but definitely part of the wedding industry.

we attempted Mad Art but couldn't get anyone to return our calls, & also attempted Off Broadway (my husband's in bands & i used to be active in the local scene) but the dude flaked on us there, too.

we actually wound up getting married at a relative's house & having our reception at McGurk's & it was WAY more reasonably priced than you'd think.

9th street abbey is a good idea but was also pretty expensive, catering-wise. most places seemed to be when we were looking to get married (2.5 yrs ago).

anyway, the trick (for us) was to think of places that hold events that aren't wedding-specific but still have events (music venues or theatres, for example). tower grove park had some nice venues (piper palm house, i think), & so did some of the other city locales, but we had some tight scheduling to work with which is why we wound up doing the ceremony at a house.

good luck!
posted by oh really at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

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