Know of any cool places to get married and have a reception in West-Central Wisconsin?
April 5, 2007 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting married. We're looking for a cool place to have the ceremony and reception. We're looking for places that aren't fire stations, town halls, or church basements. Unless they're *really cool* fire stations. I'd also like to not be at a wedding factory, where they pump out weddings multiple times a day.

* Within an hour of Eau Claire, WI (West Central Wisconsin)
* Ceremony and reception at same place
* Enough space for 100 people to eat, and 200 people at the dance
* High ceilings
* Well lit
* Natural colors
* Plated service
* Not potluck food (no sloppy joes, coleslaw, baked beans)
* Won't look like a conference room being used for a wedding reception

We're pretty flexible, and mostly just gathering ideas, so feel free to suggest something that doesn't quite fit all my requirements.
posted by adamwolf to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Someday google will be able to provide results for all of these criteria. In the meantime, feed all 200 people who you expect to dance.
posted by longsleeves at 7:56 PM on April 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

a tent?
posted by Izzmeister at 8:16 PM on April 5, 2007

I recently attended a wedding reception at a Milwaukee Country Club that the bride's family belonged to. It was a great setting, and I understood that the family was able to save money due to their preexisting membership with the club. Email me if you want specific details.

I've also been to hotel receptions, but as I understand it, this tends to be expensive.
posted by WetherMan at 8:17 PM on April 5, 2007

How about meeting with some photographers you're interested in? And as you look through their portfolios, you may find some amazing settings that you can investigate further.

I do think that if you want a plated dinner for 100, you're probably best served by a hotel. But look for an older hotel that will have some unique spaces that aren't the cookie-cutter conference rooms.
posted by saffry at 8:19 PM on April 5, 2007

Is Milwaukee within an hour of Eau Claire? The Safehouse is a cool place, and they do parties.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:52 PM on April 5, 2007

My aunt got married in a mansion a few years back. It used to be Stan Getz's, the famous jazz saxophonist, but after he died it was converted to a function area. The ceremony was in the old music room and the reception was in the dining room next to it. It was a beautiful place... except it's in New York. Maybe find something along those lines?
posted by backseatpilot at 9:08 PM on April 5, 2007

The House on the Rock? That would be cool...
posted by thilmony at 9:13 PM on April 5, 2007

Having the bride slide down the fire pole would be pretty much the best wedding anyone could possibly think of. No slide down together! You can do this? I had no idea, I'm gonna consider that if/when I'm ever up.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:34 PM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

You want to book an awesome photographer asap. And ask them for suggestions.

You can also interview caterers and tell them you need a location. For this you'll want to be dealing with a decent budget. Try to interview a few caterers since they'll have access to different venues. Maybe even try a Minneapolis caterer.

Failing that, and not knowing the time of year you are getting hitched...

Open up google maps [this is how most of us in events look for venues and facilities]

Check out Elks and Masonic lodges and temples. Some of them will suck but you may encounter a gem. Remember that lighting and linens can cover a lot of sins.

Try summer camps, lodges and nature preserves. You can also look at summerstock theatres. Basically anything that is seasonal. I'm not familiar with your area of WI, but I'm from North-central IL and in my area the nature preserve did the best weddings. Having a plated dinner for 100 limits you to places with catering kitchens. A quick google map search revealed which looks pretty to me. But I like trees.

Scour colleges and Universities and private schools.

You'll have the least amount of stress if you just go to a hotel or country club. Many of them will have outdoor areas that are perfect for a ceremony.
posted by Mozzie at 10:11 PM on April 5, 2007

It's closer to two hours from Eau Claire, but Paradise Landing in Balsam Lake, WI is a beautiful restaurant with a big lawn facing the lake, and great food and wine as well as a full bar. It could easily accommodate a crowd inside and out.

I actually got married at the Polk County Courthouse and we had our reception, such as it was, at the Anglers Inn in downtown Balsam Lake. Cheap beer, fried cheese curds, and darts. Not quite big or fancy enough for your needs, I think, but a great after-party joint.

There are a few rental cabins, motels and inns in Balsam Lake and nearby throughout Polk County (Amery, Luck, Loveless Lake, St. Croix Falls, etc.) to accomodate people who won't want to drive home. There's also campground space in the downtown park.

Balsam Lake's a sweet little town.
posted by padraigin at 11:02 PM on April 5, 2007 has forums that are often useful for finding interesting wedding venues
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:39 PM on April 5, 2007

I got married at a museum. We had nearly 100 guests. It was good.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:04 AM on April 6, 2007

Seconding the museum, based on my experience at a butterfly zoo that was used in the evenings for weddings. Not in your distance range, but for example, the Milwaukee Public Museum (which I found looking for butterfly zoos) does a similar thing, including catering and room for up to 3500 people.
posted by artifarce at 7:02 AM on April 6, 2007

I have a friend who is getting married at a small organic farm this summer, on a grassy hill with a big tree that overlooks a lake. The reception will be in the old barn (animals are no longer kept there). I'm not sure about catering plated meals for 100 in such a setting, but I suppose you can work out just about anything if you find a place you love.
I have no idea how he found the farm, but if it were me I'd search for local CSAs in your area and start calling those farms to see if they have any good space for such an event. CSA (community supported agriculture) farms are typically small, family owned businesses. From my experience, the farmers tend to like having beautiful, natural areas on their properties in addition to the cultivated areas, and I'm sure they could use the extra income from a wedding.
posted by vytae at 7:33 AM on April 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Check out things in/around Stillwater, MN, which is about an hour from EC.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:08 AM on April 6, 2007

My wife and I got married at the city Botanical Center. Just don't schedule an outdoor wedding in the middle of summer. Damn it was hot. And not in a sexy kind of way.
posted by ducktape at 9:20 AM on April 6, 2007

The local Boccee court is our wedding site.
We've also seen golf/country clubs that looked very nice.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:46 AM on April 6, 2007

Milwaukee is not that close to Eau Claire, the first thing that springs to mind would be House on the Rock Resort... You can have your wedding at the same place John Kerry prepared for the 2004 debates. I'd imagine they're prepared for weddings too.

Most of my other suggestions would kind of depend on who you are as people.

There's plenty of places in the Dells that might work depending on your feelings about the Dells.
posted by drezdn at 1:22 PM on April 10, 2007

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