Tips and Ideas for all things Wedding
A lot of thought usually goes into planning the party that follows your wedding ceremony. Finding a nice place to hold your reception can be fun or it can be challenging. I am hopeful that this post can be helpful and possibly bring some places to your attention that you didn't know were available.
BWB Ranch is located South of Bemidji near Laporte.
It has a beautiful rustic barn available for receptions. There are also many outdoor spaces available for you to have your ceremony there as well. They can hold up to 200 guests (in addition to the wedding party) comfortably but have options for going bigger than that if needed. Various linens and decorations are available as part of the price. The cost for the whole package is $6000.
Beaux Arts Ballroom is located on the BSU campus in Bemidji. They have a large attractive room with windows overlooking Lake Bemidji that seats up to 450 people. Onsite catering is available. A downside to this venue is limited close parking. There is a lakeside yard available that can be used for activities or potentially a ceremony. Around $700 is the daily rental rate but they will work with you to try to customize things just for you. Also on the BSU campus are the American Indian Resource Center and the David Park House which are attractive (but smaller) locations that could be used for a wedding reception.
Hampton Inn and Suites is a very popular reception spot in Bemidji, MN. Located on Lake Bemidji you can also hold your ceremony out on the beach if you desire. Their banquet room can seat up to 300 people.
Buena Vista Ski Area is a fun place for your reception (and wedding too, if you desire). They have a 3 story chalet with a rustic feel. Located next to 2 small lakes. This venue is not very handicap accessible so that is something you should keep in mind when making your decision.
The Bemidji Curling Club is a place you may not have thought of to use for your reception. It might take a bit of decorating to make it look elegant but it can be done. I saw some pretty pictures of it decorated up here.
Bemidji Eagles Aerie is a nice option for large receptions that won't break the bank. You can seat up to 450 people at a reception here. It was recently remodeled. It isn't the greatest looking (especially from the outside) but it can be decorated and it is practical. They have onsite catering.
Chester Charles 2 - a tour boat on lake Itasca is a fun and unique venue for smaller weddings. There is room for around 140 on board. This is located in Itasca State park a half hour drive south of Bemidji. This can be used for both your wedding and reception.
The Boys and Girls Club has large spaces that area available for rent. They have a commercial kitchen that can be used as well.
Old Salem Hall just north of Bemidji in Turtle River is a quaint place to hold a smaller wedding reception (and ceremony if you like). There is room inside for banquet seating for 80. I have seen couples add tents and tables outside on the pretty lawn for additional seating. It costs $400 to rent for your wedding and/or reception.
Concordia Language Villages is a neat option for smaller wedding receptions held from September through May. They have facilities available at 5 different villages each having its own unique and fun look. They can seat around 130. These are around a 15-20 minute drive North of Bemidji. The scenery around the villages is beautiful too. They provide catering and have lots of different ethnic food choices. They have a pretty detailed rental price sheet here.
Rail River Folk School is a community center with modern rustic charm. They rent out their River Room which can seat up to 140 people. They have what they call a DIY package which includes access to a lot different kitchen items, PA system, decorating items and various vintage/industrial/salvage type furniture. You may need to rent some items (such as tables and chairs) to round out what they have on hand. They charge $1000 to rent that room out. You get the room from the afternoon before the wedding to around noon the day after. I have also seen a couple have their ceremony on the grounds down by the lake and then have their reception in the River Room.
The Sanford Center is largest venue that Bemidji has to offer. They offer onsite catering and a modern facility on the banks of lake Bemidji.
Bemidji National Guard Armory is a utilitarian but very practical place to have a larger wedding reception. It can seat just under 500 with tables and chairs provided. There is also a nice kitchen that you can use, good bathrooms and a handy nice sized parking lot. The cost is $1000. You do have to provide your own table cloths, dinner ware, food, decorations, etc. It is quite basic.
Bemidji Town and Country Club is a pretty place to have your wedding reception. They can seat approximately 200 people. In is a bright place with lots of windows that overlook Lake Bemidji on one side and the golf course on others. The main entrance does include a lot of stairs. They require that you use onsite catering. They include most of their prices on their website.
Northern Town Hall is an option for receptions of less than 100 people. It is a basic but attractive building just north of town. Tables and chairs are provided but that is about it. There is a very small kitchen that you can use. The cost is under $100. No alcohol is allowed on the premises. If you are having a small reception on a budget there are many town halls around Bemidji that can be rented for a small fee.
Holiday Inn Express (218-751-2487) in Bemidji has a banquet room that can seat up to 120 people. There is nothing fancy about the room or special about the setting (right in the heart of Bemidji) but it can be made to look quite attractive. You would need to bring your own food and drinks in. The cost is under$400 for the day.
Diamond Building and Diamond Point Park is a pretty location for a warm season wedding reception. It can seat 80 and they have tables and chairs for that number. It costs $200 plus a $300 deposit which I think is refundable. It is right next to lake Bemidji. You will have to bring your own food and drink.
Beltrami County Fairgrounds is a very basic (industrial is a word that could be used for it) venue that some couples are using. I believe it is fairly economical and it also has a good amount of space and enough bathrooms as well. This would mostly be an option for warm weather weddings as only a smaller building is heated.
Bemidji State Park has a rustic cabin with a large stone fireplace down by the lake that has seating for around 60 people with more seating available outside. You can see pictures of it here. A beautiful but rustic setting for your wedding reception. That costs $85 dollars a day. It has electricity in the building but that is basically it. There is a water spigot outside and bathrooms not far away. They also have another building called the dining hall that is up by the campground area (the above link also has pictures of this building). It is a larger building seating around 100 people (with more tables outside on the lawn) and it has a full kitchen and it also has a stone fireplace. That one costs $125 a day. No Alcohol is allowed in the park.
Your own backyard. This has the potential of being both an economical and beautiful place to have your wedding reception. However - you may want to be sure you have thought through all the different logistics such as parking, bathrooms, seating, potential bad weather, etc. Price out all the you might need to rent (or maybe you can borrow things) and then see if you still want to host or not. Many couples also use their parents or some other friends or relatives yards.
Church Buildings, Resorts, Restaurants and Schools are other reception venue options that I haven't so far covered. Church buildings usually have good space and seating but might limit your activities more than you like. Resorts don't usually have large indoor spaces but often have beautiful outdoor spaces that can be used. A fun part about doing it at a resort is that out of town guests can stay in the same place as the party. Restaurants are often limited in size but can have very good food and a fun atmosphere. Schools often have good size to them but it can take some decorating to make it so they don't look like a gymnasium.
What did I miss? Do you know of any great reception venues in the Bemidji area? Please comment and tell us all about them!