Jonna & Alex
Landmark Center in St Paul Mn for Engagement Session and Wedding Ceremony
It’s during the Minnesotan winter that Alex & Joanna decided, prior to their ceremony in the Twin Cities, to do their engagement session. They didn’t want to wait for the summer, so they coordinated their outfits and picked a warm and nice indoor location: the Landmark Center in St Paul.
If you are searching for the perfect indoor location for an engagement session in Saint Paul, MN, or you want to plan your wedding day in a historic and photogenic venue, then I am happy to present you the Landmark Center through Joanna & Alex’s session!
Table of Contents
First Consultation in the Cities
It’s the suburb of Minneapolis that, as professional wedding photographer, I meet them to discuss their wedding day and their ceremony. They had high expectations, and wanted someone really good. They found me on the internet, and one week later we were sipping a coffee together.
I love first consultations because it already gives the client a rough idea of what could look like their timeline. But most of all it’s an opportunity to see if it matches.
Joanna and Alex met at school. She is from Venezuela, and he is born and raised in Minnesota. She is the artist in the couple, while he is a computer guy. Fun fact, who could possibly be the reason (or not) that helped them developing a relationship and fall in love: their respective fathers are both pastors.
Yes, you read well. So the wedding will probably be quite funny, given both fathers will marry their children!
A nice couple
First of all, for a beautiful engagement session, you need a nice couple.
Alex was quite nervous at the beginning of the photo session, but step by step, picture after picture I worked on making him feel at ease and helping him to relax. I know how much it’s hard to forget the camera! If you try to take my portrait, I am one of those guys who don’t manage to lose control, whatever you could possibly do! OK, that’s probably due to my job! But that’s a fact.
The only great pictures of me I have are candid shots, stolen at the moment when I was not aware of the photographer’s presence.
Saint Paul offers many architectural building to take pictures in front. But you prefer an indoor location, then the Landmark Center is made for you! In Minneapolis, you can actually find a quite similar architecture: the City Hall!
Even if I already knew this place (I already visited it with friends a couple of times), I arrived at the location earlier, scouting the light and the rooms I would love to shoot.
The Landmark Center, being a public place, offers different types of services (museum, theater, artistic classes mostly for families). So it can be easily crowded with many people, especially during the weekend! So we would need to move from room to room to avoid tourists.
I had a lot of fun with this couple. We first started the session at the highest level, using the Landmark Center’s open hallways. With a new roof made of glass, the Landmark Center allows some natural light to enter the building. I tried, as much as I could, to include some sun rays in the images.
The most majestic place of the Landmark Center is the empty space offered by the atrium design, which is called the Musser Cortile. I like the succession of those never-ending vertical lines made of pylons. The architect designed the pylons to give the spectator the illusion that lines are circulating from the ground up to the ceiling and going back to the ground. It’s the same for the horizontal lines that make the structure of each floor. The atrium also gives the feeling that there are some infinite circular lines (even if they are actually squares). It’s a great pleasure in photography to play with this kind of line and use the perspective.
Furthermore, each vertical line seems to support a Roman arch, while they actually don’t. All the Roman arches are only part of the decoration and absolutely not designed to support any weight.
The Roman arches create a kind of frame inside the frame, and my camera is adding an extra frame.
I also paid attention to the nice iron fence and took a picture through it.
After the hallways we had fun in the Butler Room.
The lower part of the Butler room’s walls is decorated with some handcraft woodwork. The upper part is painted with a red burgundy color, while the ground is covered with a light brown carpet.
The room has two impressive wood doors, on each side of a large and massive white marble chimney. On the opposite side, stand some arch windows. The windows’ wooden shade offers a unique view on the St Paul Hotel and the Wells Fargo Winter Skate. All those elements create a low light environment.
To enhance the room’s luminosity, a tremendous Art Nouveau chandelier was lightening the space with a yellow artificial light.
On one side of the room stand an imposing wood desk and its chairs, with which I tried to compose an image.
The Ramsey County Room
First, what was striking to me at the Ramsey County Room was its emblematic glass door with an inscription on the polished glass. It reminds me the black & white movies from the ’50s, with gangsters drinking whisky and police inspectors wearing large hats while smoking cigars (or the opposite depending on the movies).
So, the Ramsey County Room is a very large room with balconies. It was probably used for famous gangster trials in the ’30s (so completely in the black and white movie theme). Two wood doors stand on each side of the room. The bottom part of the wall is covered with handcraft woodwork, while the upper part with dark green wallpaper. You may notice the vintage elegant heater system through the sophisticated copper grid on the wall.
Two enormous arch windows facing north let some natural light enter, but not enough to light up the entire room properly.
That’s why four interesting art deco lamps were hanging from the ceiling, adding a yellow artificial light to the room.
The spirit of the room is somewhere between a private men’s club and a pool table club (due to the green walls).
The Chief Justice Room
After, we headed to the chief room, which looked quite similar to the Butler Room, all wood made and a marble chimney, except it featured an outstanding vault ceiling. In the center of the room’s ceiling stood a very large chandelier, made with stained glass, and a massive lamp hanging from the ceiling. It seemed to be inspired by Byzantine architecture. Indeed, I had the sensation to look at an Orthodox Church’s ceiling.
We didn’t use the Sanborn Room (the fourth courtroom) given it was full or tourists.
If today the St Paul City Hall Courthouse is on Kellogg Bd, it was previously located at the Landmark Center. Wedding vendors, such as photographers, were probably delighted.
This place is a real piece of art and carries a fascinating history! Built in 1902, it was first used as the United States Post Office and Custom House. During the ’30s, it served as the federal Courthouse and was used for famous gang trials!
The Outside of the Building
Until here, I have written about the indoor environment but haven’t mentioned the outside. Actually outside looks like a big German castle. It’s built with pink granite ashlars with a rooftop and many green turrets. It has two massive towers on each side.
In other words, you have no idea of what you will find inside. It just looks like a massive and strong building (probably tornado proof).
A great place for marriage, conveniently located in the heart of St Paul
Not only is the decoration sophisticated, but also the landmark center is located in the center of St Paul MN. It’s surrounded by the St Paul Hotel (very great pace to get ready and have your honeymoon), the Rice Park, the George Latimer Central Library (which also hosts weddings), the Ordway Center and the historic Hamm Building Administration. Located at the cross-section of 75 West Fifth Street and the St. Peter St, it’s 10 min away from the Capitol, and 5 minutes from other downtown hotels and rooftops.
You prefer to avoid planning an outdoor wedding with all the associated incertitude. Instead, you prefer in indoor wedding with good vendors.
The Landmark Center, which is aptly named, is a real jewel. It’s photogenic with the Musser Cortile (the first floor atrium) turned into a wedding venue.
Indeed, The Musser Cortile Atrium can easily be turned into a dinner reception room, and later into a dancehall. It can handle up to 320 guests seated.
The four Courthouses can also be individually rented and used as you wish. Actually, you can privatize the entire building for a wedding.
For example, courthouse would be a great place for the bride (plus the bridal party) and the groom to get ready, or for the same family and wedding party pictures. Check the landmark center reviews, this center is known for their professionalism, responsiveness and flexibility. If you are planning a small or a large wedding (or elegant events) in Minneapolis or St Paul, this is definitely a place to consider!
A unique backdrop
Check out the beautiful Atrium; picture you on your wedding day getting married in this gorgeous event room. After a beautiful ritual, you could enjoy the cocktail with your guests, or if you have time to escape in a nearby park for more photos, you could also stay in this beautiful location and we would use your favorite spots.
After the dinner, you would dance in the middle of the Musser with your friends. While some guests would dance too, other friends would drink champagne on several open hallway levels. This day would be a one-lifetime event!
Finally, you could easily organize a grand exit, like the final point to the party.
A choice of Caterer
As most of the venues, they have some favorite caterers they work with for years and that guarantees a good quality service.
It’s a Public Space. It means they are LGBT friendly for your wedding and your engagement session in Minnesota. But given their main mission is to protect Minnesota’s history and legacy, you might face a limited flexibility if you want to go out of the lines.
Also make sure that all the rules fit your wishes.
Given there is no good room for the bride to do her makeup, you could, as they did on this Jewish wedding, take advantage of the adjacent hotel: The Saint Paul hotel, and it’s ‘L’étoile’ suite.
Of course there is no room for groomsmen. But, actually, the old club style looking would work great for groomsmen pictures.
What to Consider If You Are Planning a Photo Session at the Landmark Center
Given it’s a public indoor space, the major concern you should have is to make sure that it’s open on the day you want to plan your session.
Also you should check their online calendar and see if there is any reception scheduled. You don’t want many people on your pictures, and you wouldn’t want to disturb a couple getting married!
The Lightning and Makeup
The second concern I would have is that there is not much natural light. As a result you might seem yellower than you wish.
So a bright day would be better.
And finally, being surrounded by plenty of other photography spots outside the Landmark Center (indoors or outdoors), gives you the possibility to pick an extra place to have different kinds of pictures.