Laying the groundwork: visiting our top ten reception sites

After Mr.A and I decided on the Twin Ports as our wedding destination, the next big decision we had to make was where to have the reception (Note to brides out there: the decisions never end! They just keeeeeeep coming.). This was another particularly important decision for us because we felt that the reception site really sets the tone stylistically and financially for a wedding.

Since I’m the kind of gal who will comparison shop for socks, I spent a considerable amount of time online researching potential sites. Once I had it narrowed down to a ‘top ten’, we planned our trip to the Twin Ports so that we could tour each site and obtain the details to necessarily for us to make our final decision.

In no particular order, here is Our Top Ten Reception Sites for the Twin Ports:

10. UW-Superior: Ahh, my Alma mater. In 2010, UWS opened the doors on a new student center and my mother was completely enamored with the idea of having the reception there (part of the reason for her UWS spirit could be that she, and my father & uncles & aunt & two sisters & three cousins, all attended and graduated from UWS). Major pluses for this space were the price (very reasonable) and architectural detail (fairly modern and clean).

9. Sacred Heart Music Center: The SHMC started it’s life as a Catholic church built in 1896 and is now a performance center and unique reception site- cool, right? I thought this was one of the most unique locations for a wedding reception in the Twin Ports.

8. Barker’s Inn: A reasonably priced option, I also liked Barker’s Island because guests could stay on site. Since we are planning on having MANY out-of-town guests, this was a big bonus. The reception room at Barker’s Inn is a bit of a “blank slate”; it’s a huge open room that could be easily decorated and transformed into a completely different space.

7. Greysolon: Beautiful. That is what Greysolon is. Elegant, 1920’s architecture that screams GLAM and EXPENSIVE. lol. I really loved the look (obviously!) of Greysolon, but it was a *tad* expensive. You might be asking “if you knew it would be too expensive, why’d you visit?!” but the thing is, reception sites ALWAYS have hidden costs that you found out about after visiting, and this site’s hidden costs put it over our budget. Another thing I found out after visiting was that it was booked until NOVEMBER of 2011!! Um, why didn’t the site coordinator think that was relevant information to tell me via email when we were coordinating my visit and I specifically said I was hoping to get married on a Saturday in June 2011? So that is two important lessons I learned at Greysolon: 1. Always confirm (double confirm!) they have a date open that will work for your wedding and 2. Inquire as much as possible about the costs. Ask for a complete cost breakdown and do NOT just work off of the promotional material they send you about the site.

Greysolon Ballroom- so elegant! (Personal Photo)

6. Belgian Club: Ah, we go from the most expensive site to the least! The Belgian Club (BC) in Superior, Wisconsin is practically free for me to rent as a reception site…actually, that’s not correct. It IS free! What?! That’s right. Since my family is Belgian and belongs to the Club, we can rent the BC for free anytime. Another cost saving measure that the BC offers is the ability to choose your own catering and bring your own booze. Lastly, the BC is another “black slate” type location would benefit from thoughtful decorations to transform it into a fancy reception site.

5. Elk’s Club: The Elk’s Club is similar to the BC in that it is practically free to rent since my family are members of this club as well (We like to be involved- and it pays!). The Elk’s Club is in a historical brick building, most likely built in the 1920’s, that has elegant features. The only drawback for the Ek’s Club is the fact that the reception room is in the basement and it is a a titch *less elegant* than the rest of the building.

4. Billings Park Civic Center: This space is another one that is a “black slate” and would be fairly inexpensive to rent. If someone had vision, I can really see how they could walk in and create dream wedding in Billings Park.

3. Grand Superior Lodge: I *really* liked a lot of things about the Grand Superior Lodge. The lodge is on the North Shore of Lake Superior and the wedding ceremony spot overlooks the Lake. Hello, awesome! The lodge was super cozy and nice. Only drawbacks are that the reception room is a bit small and the lodge guest rooms are a bit  on this expensive side.

View of wedding ceremony location at Grand Superior Lodge. (Personal Photo)

2. Superior Shores:  We loved the wedding reception room at Superior Shores. And the resort’s guest rooms were awesome- priced reasonably with a cozy northwoods feeling. This is one of the higher costing locations we looked at, but it still within our budget.  The only real negative at Superior Shores was the additional distance our out-of-town guests would have to drive to reach the resort (the location was about 40 minutes North of the closest major city).

View of Superior Shores Resort lawn and shoreline. The wedding ceremony location would be somewhere on this lawn, "overlooking" a portion of Lake Superior. (Personal Photo)

Superior Shores Resort. The reception room is on the first floor, under the deck. As part of your wedding reception they serve cocktails on that patio area! Awesome. (Personal Photo)

10. Spirit Mountain: Spirit Mountain is a ski resort in Duluth, Minnesota and the wedding reception location is in the ski lodge itself. Spirit Mountain, being a ski resort, has that rustic-ness you would expect but also exhibits a fair amount of elegance as well(the lighting, high ceilings and wall of windows overlooking Lake Superior all add a elegant charm to the site). The location is very convenient, since it is situated in Duluth, near a highway traveling to Superior (making the travel time between the cities approximately 15 minutes). Lastly, Spirit Mountain has 12 individual cabins for rent (each with two bedrooms, two baths) and two nice hotels located close to the ski resort.

Reception Room at Spirit Mountain. Try to imagine this at night, when the lighting would really add to room. Nice, right? (Personal Photo)

View of Lake Superior from Spirit Mountain. (Personal Photo)

This is one of the super cute cabins for rent near Spirit Mountain. As a bonus, each cabin has great views of the Lake. (Personal Photo)

Whew! And just imagine, I gave you the cliff notes version of our search for a reception site! The good news is, Mr. A and I had a TON OF FUN visiting all the sites…with our entourage in tow. That’s right- my mom, dad and two sisters ALL came along for the ride. Having my family along really made the weekend we spent visiting sites extra special.

Now that you’ve read about my “top ten” reception site locations for the Twin Ports, which do you think we choose?

And, Twin Ports readers!, are there any sites in the area I am missing from this list? I would love to hear about any sites I forgot to mention…


About annlili

ecofreak. wino. explorer. small feet.
This entry was posted in planning, reception and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Laying the groundwork: visiting our top ten reception sites

  1. Pingback: the WHEN | Joyfull Wedding

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