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Unique Elements for an Unforgettable Party

Whether you’re planning an anniversary party for your parents, a baby shower for a friend, a milestone birthday for your significant other (or yourself!), or a wedding, We can help. first things first: you need to estimate how many guests you’d like to in

Unique Elements for an Unforgettable Party
Photo by Generation Photography,
courtesy of The Style Laboratory

(page 1 of 2)


Once you’ve established a budget, you can begin looking at venues (or consider hosting at your home, if you have the space).

“Our clients are asking for more interesting and unique venues—location is becoming more important,” explains Lauren Segelbaum, sales coordinator, Event Lab. “People are steering away from traditional spaces and asking for spaces that are unique and interactive.”

From birthdays to weddings and anniversaries (and all the special happenings in life), Jax Café, a family-owned restaurant, is definitely unique. A Minneapolis institution (opened in 1933), stained-glass windows and massive beamed ceilings, a quaint outdoor patio with a cobblestone path, and a trout stream give Jax a classy (yet not pretentious) ambiance. Five different banquet rooms can accommodate anywhere from 25 to 300 guests.

If you love the rich history of a bygone era, consider hosting your big event at the 110-year-old Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse, featuring dramatic Romanesque architecture, a 345 foot clock tower, a six-story Rotunda adorned with 37 stained glass windows, a skylight, and Italian marble. The banquet facility can accommodate up to 275 guests.

If you’re seeking a memorable, not-your-typical venue site, check out local theaters. Whether planning a party for 20 or 250, there are a variety of banquet rooms for rent at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. One room, The Club, is actually a theatre with a stage, explains Kris Howland, public relations director. The rental fee not only includes a one-of-a-kind setting, but consultation services, a helpful, professional staff, free parking, and delicious food at a moderate price point.  

For a destination event that doesn’t require a plane ticket, the areas of Alexandria, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd Lakes, and the North Shore are fairly close to home, yet provide all the right ingredients for a “get-away-from-it-all” experience.

The Lodge on Lake Detroit is an affordable, luxurious, eco-friendly lakefront hotel in the Detroit Lakes area (complete with front-row seats to gorgeous lakefront views, sunset serenades in the fireside lobby, an indoor pool and hot tub, and an on-site full service spa)—perfect for business or leisure retreats, reunions, girls’ getaways, or weddings. “In the summer, the green space between the hotel and the private sandy beach is a favorite place for outdoor weddings,” says co-owner Chris Holland-Mehlaff.

Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior and Lutsen Resort are two very popular options in the Lutsen/Tofte area, perfect for large family reunions, weddings, birthdays, or anniversary celebrations on the North Shore.

Amazing Lake Superior views (think crashing waves, a rocky shoreline, expansive blue water, brilliant sunsets, and fun beach BBQs); hiking, biking, fishing and kayaking in the summer months, and skiing, boarding, and snowshoeing in the snowy months; and a blend of lodging, dining, and event facilities all in one convenient spot add up to a party that will leave a lasting impression.


The décor and lighting set the mood in the room, creating a certain ambiance. Consider an impressive entrance piece, interesting ceiling treatment, enhanced lighting, or beautiful tablescape to get guests talking. “At a dinner party, bud vases at each place setting is a nice, personal touch,” says Amy Backman, owner of Spruce Flowers and Home.  If the party should spill onto the deck or patio, candles and potted herbs or succulents help create an ambiance outdoors.  


A theme can personalize your event and make it unique. Consider hosting a black tie dinner party (how often do you get to see your friends in formal attire?), an 80s prom 40th birthday bash, a Big Top circus theme, a sophisticated high tea baby shower (with traditional British goodies), a back-to-the-50s sock hop, a Night in Paris, or even a color scheme (You could ask everyone to wear red, for example, incorporate red lighting, and serve red-colored foods). Or you can take cues from classic books or movies.

“We have one couple using The Notebook as inspiration for their vintage wedding,” says Halley Bechtold, wedding and events manager at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. “Some couples are returning to simple, more classic themes while others are going for more natural or rustic themes—decorating with lit trees, greens, and lanterns.” You’re only limited by your imagination.


Hiring a catering service is a must for a big event. The type of food you serve is so important is has the power to make or break an otherwise flawless party. Discuss your budget with your caterer and what options are available. Do you prefer a buffet style or a silver-service sit down dinner? Be clear about your proposed menu, do you have a theme or style at the event that will be reflected in the cuisine? Ask the caterer where they shop (fresh or frozen) and if they will provide a wait-staff (and if so, ask about their required dress code and the ratio of servers to guests). Also ask the potential caterer if taxes and gratuities are included in the final bid, and what happens to the leftovers.

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