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Sydney and Nathan Wedding at 413 On Wacouta

wacouta event center

Wedding at 413 Event Center a Historical Downtown Venue

In my last photography post, I talk about an Indian wedding I covered in Minneapolis, Minnesota; today it’s an intimate ceremony taking place at the 413 on Wacouta in Saint Paul, MN.
After Sydney and Nathan engagement session at the Hyland Lake Park Reserve, I was happy to meet them again for their wonderful day.

They chose to get married on the first day of snow that officially launched the winter, and decided to celebrate it at the 413 on Wacouta Event Center in St-Paul, MN, a warm wedding venue that I will present to you here.

The Bride Gets Ready at her Parents House

Sydney was getting ready at her parents’ house, located in the suburb of the Twin Cities.

Details of the dress

When I arrived, they set up the wedding dress on a dress form. I took advantage of the soft natural light coming from the windows. The mother of the bride is the owner and the manager of an antiques shop. No need to say her room was filled with old objects ideal to be used in pictures.


The bride had her hair and makeup done surrounded by her close family and the very best friend. All the women from both sides were getting ready together.
I love this kind of family getting-ready time before the ceremony, which is for a wedding photographer in Minneapolis the opportunity to capture great memories. It always reserves some unexpected events. Especially when there are some funny children around, they always bring a touch of spontaneity.
True candid pictures are what I like to catch, those true family moments filled with excitation.

True candid pictures are what I like to catch, those true family moments filled with excitation.
When the hair and makeup were done, all the family members started to move to the wedding venue.

Getting ready for the groom and first look at the Wacouta, St Paul MN

When I arrived at the 413 Wacouta event center (located inside the Gilbert Building), I started to move in all directions to scout the place.
While the bride was done being dressed up with her white wedding dress, the groom was getting ready with his best men.

Nathan (the groom) is not the kind of guy who likes to pretend and show off. He is more natural and raw person. Thus, he doesn’t like much wearing suits. But given it was his wedding day, he played the game and rent a groom suit for the ceremony. We had a lot of fun with his best men, helping him with his front-only vest, and then setting the silk puff folds.

First Look on a Rooftop

When he was ready, it was time for the first look that took place on the rooftop venue. The rooftop is pretty amazing, offering a panoramic view on the Union Depot on one side (the same direction as the Harriet Island) and on the St Paul Cathedral on the other side.
Underneath his relaxed appearance, I felt Nathan started to be stressed, and he immediately felt more comfortable when his fiancée finally showed up.
I like so much the complicity they had together.

Bride and Groom session and Group pictures

The schedule allowed us to have not only the couple session, but also to capture the entire bridal party and the family pictures before the celebration started. We first headed to the Mears Park, surrounded by lots of bars, famous among the University of Minnesota Students.
During the session, we had a surprise guest, a squirrel! After that we all moved to the Skyway, which offered vault arch that we used as a backdrop for pictures.
But, given it was the beginning of winter in Minnesota, we didn’t last long and went back to a warm place.

Wedding Celebration at 413 on Wacouta Event Center

The officiant was a good friend of the couple who received her online officiant certificate specifically for the occasion. The guests were waiting in the hall, the doors were finally open, and the guests seated in the room. The bridal party and finally bride and father walked down the aisle. Everything went super fast. It was the shortest ritual I had ever assisted to. They exchanged vows, exchanged the rings, kissed and it was over. Let’s say it was straight to the point!

Reception at the 413 on Wacouta Event Center (Downstairs)

After the event all the bride and groom’s guests moved to the basement where the reception took place in order to enjoy the cocktail hour. During this time, the newly married couple signed the wedding certificate with their witnesses.
Finally, they joined their guests in the reception room, downstairs. The space looked like a restaurant, and was great for small to medium weddings groups.


The evening was pretty simple but joyful, focused on family and friends. Toasts took place during the dinner. The bridal party played a game involving signs to judge the bride and groom’s kiss.
Once the dinner was over, they cut their cake which had a funny top. Indeed, it was made with Legos including Batman and Princess Leia.
The dance opening was memorable with lots of complicity between the bride and her father, especially when someone threw them a soccer ball and they started to play with.

First Day of Snow in Minnesota

Before leaving the party, I managed to stage a last picture with the two lovers on the rooftop of the building (and its amazing view on St Paul). The snow started to fall and we had fun using sparklers (it takes only few second to shoot photos with sparklers). Unfortunately, the view on St Paul, MN was kind of difficult to catch, but luckily those two ones were so much in love that I took great photos.

Reviews: Should you get married at the Wacouta Event Center?

First of all, what’s fallow is only a personal point of view, and if you need more reviews on the 413 on Wacouta, you should check their Facebook page and other reviews on the web.
If you are planning your event and are in search of the perfect space in Saint Paul, you should consider these points on the Wacouta event center:

  • The marriage room has a beautiful detailed ceiling, but no windows. This is a very bad point for your photographer, especially to catch great pictures during the preparation. Thus I would highly recommend that you get reading in a nice adjacent hotel suite.
  • The venue’s space is designed for small groups. If you are planning to invite 300 guests, you will need a large-capacity venue.
  • Rooftop: There is as great rooftop perfect for bridal portraits.
  • Brick Alley: there is a little alley with red brick walls on the side of the building that can be used to take couple pictures and the bridal party.
  • Check the nearby Mears Park, you might find it a bit smaller for a 1-hour photo session.
  • There is a bridal suite, which is pretty convenient! There is even a groom suite (or at least a groom area which is perfect to get ready).
  • Food: you must choose among four vendors.
  • The bar: you can bring your own alcohol beverage and they provide you with the bar service (most venues don’t offer to bring your own beverage!)
  • Located in St Paul downtown area, your guests will have easy access to the nearby hotels and restaurants through the skyway, and they won’t need to drive back home, or take the bus to find a room for the night.
  • Coordinator: When you are in the process of getting married, having an experienced coordinator if highly recommend. Britty and her team make everything easy for their client and offer you a stress-free experience.
  • If the venue’s hall is shared with other business companies during the week, the Cass Gilbert Building (name of the original owner) is closed to the public during the weekends.

13 Locations near the Wacouta event center to have your picture taken

Now that you have booked the 413 on Wacouta Event Center for your wedding, where can you go (except the Mears Park) to have your pictures taken?
Here is a list classed from the closer location easily reachable by foot, to further locations where you would need to drive.

  1.  Union Depot’s frontage
  2. Take advantage of the historic door at Hyatt Hotel (which used to be Custom Office so have some amazing cooper revolving door)
  3. Climb on an adjacent Parking rooftop and take advantage of a view on the city
  4. Use the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary (under the Highway 94)
  5. Kellogg Mall Park, its view, its fountain
  6. The Harriett Island
  7. Use the St Paul Library (exterior and interior)
  8. The St Paul Hotel Lobby (which would be a good reason to take a room there)
  9. The Landmark Center (interior)
  10. Irving Park and its fountain
  11. The vintage Mickey dining car
  12. The Capitol
  13. The St Paul Cathedral
  14. The James J. Hill House
  15. The Summit Avenue
  16. Nina café building
  17. And, of course, Como Park and its conservatory

The Wacouta Event Center is already booked? Consider the Lowertown Event Center.

If you like the venue style but your date is already booked, don’t cry might still have a chance to book a very similar venue: the Lowertown Event Center! Located in the same block on N Silbey Street, the Lowertown event center is also a basement venue, with no natural light and sharing some public spaces. It features the same kinds of limestone walls, a low ceiling, and a dedicated room for marriage rituals.

Nevertheless, the Lowertown Event Center has only a few differences with the 413 on Wacouta. The major difference is the lack of a dedicated room for the groom to get ready, and not access to any rooftop.

3 alternative and affordable event spaces for your big day in Minnesota

If you are planning a small intimate ceremony, or medium size wedding, and you are looking for a smart solution allowing you to save money, here is a 3 ideas of type of venue you can easily find in Minnesota. I hope they will be helpful.

trellis outdoor gardens

Garden Weddings

In summer the Minnesota weather allows venue such as the Trellis Outdoor Gardens to host outdoor ceremonies and receptions emerged in an enchanting nature. What’s more they are perfect for photography. Indeed, most of the time the cottage gardens are nothing but a succession of small photo spots with different ambiance.
Finally, some garden venue can offer nice room to get ready.

Nevertheless, people who host a wedding under a nice decorated tent, or a covered courtyard are always taking a bet with the weather. Indeed, even if you get married in summer there are absolutely not guarantee that you don’t have rain or a storm.

river boat

An Historic Boat

You can find in Minnesota some historical River Boat companies that host receptions. It’s the guarantee of unique memories! Indeed, not only the boats are more spacious than it seems from the outside (and their 2 or 3 floors can welcome a lot of people), but also the scenery is breathtaking.
The old-style wood interior is charming (even if it’s not the best for photography), but
there is enough room for a caterer to set up and prepare food.
Of course, you would plainly enjoy such ceremonies on a sunny day.

outpost center

A Simple Center surrounded by a beautiful landscape in Minnesota

There is in Minnesota a bunch of simple venue, such as the Outpost Center in Chaska, MN, allowing you to choose your caterer and other vendors.
But let’s be clear, simple does not mean without charm! Indeed the surrounded landscape could be absolutely amazing and delightful your guests. Indeed, nice nature, it’s an easy solution that works all the time. That’s why I highly recommend that you visit the location one year before your event in order to have a real opinion about what I would look like.


Conveniently located in Downtown the 413 on Wacouta is a nice and charming venue. It probably offers a competitive price that would work well for small ceremonies to medium weddings.

Nevertheless, the lake of windows (and natural light), is a big downside for photography. That’s why you would need a very good photographer. Indeed, you need someone who knows how to use flashes to properly light such venue. That’s a mandatory skill to offer you a good quality service!

So, if you are planning to get married at the 413, I invite you to send me a message!

Black and White Portrait of Alexandre Mayeur, photographer at French-Touch-Photography

Born and raised in Paris, I am now a proud Wedding Photographer in Rochester, MN, serving MPLS.

I don’t only capture emotions in candid pictures, I also create timeless images and artful photographs.
Recognized as one of the best photographers in the Twin Cities.

I serve Duluth and also far beyond the 10,000 Lakes State (Wisconsin, Iowa, and destination). I am more than happy to discover beautiful landscapes and new horizons.

Have a look at my previous publications to learn more. As an experienced professional photographer, I don’t limit my field to lifestyle, family, or event photography! I invite you to visit my portfolio and discover my photography and work out of the studio.