Unique reception venue in Sioux Falls?
January 30, 2007 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Please help us find a unique but elegant wedding reception venue in Sioux Falls, SD!

My fiancé and I are planning a Spring 2008 wedding. We have met with much frustration. At the risk of sounding like a Bridezilla, I'm having trouble picking a site that fits my "dream wedding." My fiancé seems content with wherever, but I am adverse to the thought of a reception in a tent, church basement or hotel meeting room.

The kicker is our capacity needs. He has a HUGE family and is inviting EVERYONE, so we need room for at least 240 people. This blew away my dream of getting married in the Old Courthouse Museum, which has a capacity of 160.

Can mefites suggest anything just as unique and elegant? Sioux Falls isn't a very big town and it's making this choice frustrating. Personal experience or pictures/websites is a huge plus.

Thank you!!!!
posted by bristolcat to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
I haven't been anywhere near the great state of South Dakota, but a few Google searches reveals the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau where they explictly mention that they will help people plan an event. And with 240 people, you sound like you have an event on your hands.

Also, Sioux Fall's Wikipedia page mentions several colleges and universities which often have unique places to hold gatherings.
posted by mmascolino at 7:48 AM on January 30, 2007

Oh...and congratulations....and try not too be too stressed out about this...you have a huge jump on the game with your wedding being 13 - 15 months out. Most people start planning with far less time than that.
posted by mmascolino at 7:53 AM on January 30, 2007

Not familiar with Sioux Falls, but I know that many museums and aquariums (aquiria?) rent space for events.
posted by qldaddy at 8:06 AM on January 30, 2007

This doesn't specifically answer your question, but I had 200+ people at our wedding too and that forced me to give up a few of my top choices for reception spots as well, in favor of a hotel banquet room. I was really open about most aspects of planning, but it disappointed me a little.

Well, we had a TON of fun and it was a great reception (we ended up going an hour later than planned) and I think it would have been the same no matter where we were just because having all of our friends and family were there and having a good time.

Anyway, I don't mean to derail, but it'll probably be a great day no matter what and the more comfortable your guests are (i.e. enough space for everyone to sit and mingle comfortably), the better.
posted by stefnet at 10:22 AM on January 30, 2007

Best answer: The Washington Pavilion rents out space. Capacities can definitely fit what you need; click here for details.

One thing to remember with all event venues, especially if their catering is onsite: don't let them screw you with a 'wedding package'. They're often priced higher than standard event menus, for the exact same food.

Okay, another thing: 90% of the time, if you guarantee a minimum F&B to the venue, they'll waive rental costs.

Here are the questions you want to ask them:

1) Are the dates free (and see if, maybe, they'll throw in the evening before for rehearsal)

2) Is the catering onsite, or outside caterers? If the former, insist on customizing the menu; give them a dollar figure per pax, and your ideal menu. They'll come back with as much as they can. If they use outside caterers, find out if they have a 'preferred suppliers' list. Also, if you have your heart set on a particular caterer, find out what the commission fee is (often called a Landmark Fee; 10-15%, usually).

3) What is their F&B minimum to waive rental costs? (this really only applies for venues with onsite catering, of course)

4) What is their critical path timeline? When do you need final guest numbers to them? What is their refund schedule?

5) How early can you go in for a food tasting? If they really want your business, it'll be early.

6) Do they have decor onsite, subcontract decor, or can you bring in anyone?

7) Surcharges for A/V.

8) Actually.. surcharges for everything. We always negotiate out as much as possible of that. Common bill-padding is table rental, china/glassware rental, utensils.

That's everything I can think of offhand. Don't be afraid to negotiate, but be willing to compromise. Set a budget and stick to it.

Also, as a little hint.. one of the women at my work got married recently, and had a midnight food service at her reception: mini grilled cheeses sandwiches and fries. Everyone loved it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! Lots of good stuff to consider here! Wish I could mark everyone best answer. Well, I could, but that would be weird. :)

posted by bristolcat at 3:19 PM on January 30, 2007

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