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The University Club of St Paul, a sophisticated wedding venue that guarantees you unique memories!

The University Club Of Saint Paul Wedding Photos

In the previous article, I boasted about on my talents of advertising photographer in the Twin Cities, Edina or Minneapolis, and how it helped me to capture natural images of my clients.
Today, we will see how I used them to make Sam and Ben relax and fill at their ease in front of my camera to create impacting images.

We will discover their preparation that took place in one of the most luxurious hotels in St Paul. Then they had their couple’s pictures and family pictures taken, their civil marriage at St Paul City Hall, and finally stunning reception at the University Club of Saint Paul, MN.

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Passionate kiss in front original ceilings

A Wedding Placed Under the Label of Elegance

Sam and Ben didn’t let much detail chance! He is an engineer reading poetry, and she is the artist organizing events and creating partnerships (among other things) in order to raise money for the Minnesota Department of History. Both characters are complementary to each other.

Given they had family coming from other states, and want to make everything as easy as possible, they decided to host their rehearsal dinner in town. They also took a suite at the luxurious Saint Paul Hotel (behind the Saint Paul Rivercenter).

None of them wanted a religious wedding. Instead, they preferred to go to the city hall to get married. Sam reserved an appointment with a judge (a friend) to sign the marriage certificate. She also booked a small and luxurious restaurant to hold their reception. It was located in front of the Irvin Park, where the bride and groom planned to have their pictures taken.

Unfortunately, two months priors to the event the restaurant closed and canceled their reservation (yes, only two months!)
In less than one week, the bride and the groom found a great alternative for their reception by booking the University Club of Saint Paul.

Powerful memories

When I first met Sam and Ben in a cafe in the Twin Cities, they were looking for a professional wedding photographer to cover their one-lifetime event a non-denominational ceremony at St Paul City Hall. Thy wanted a true and authentic reportage. They loved and cherish the inherent value of veracity carried by the photography medium. What’s more they also appreciated aesthetic pictures and were eager to have artistic images.

After meeting them, I covered their engagement session. I last all the afternoon! At the beginning they were not very confident, but in the end, I finally manage to win their trust. As a result they relaxed and just had fun.
That’s how I manage to have to great expressions on their big day despite the fact that they are shy: because they knew me and trusted me.

Then we worked together to design the best wedding timeline ever.
As a result, on their wedding day, I had all the time and all the location I need to cover one of the best wedding days ever.

Some of my best recall from their day:

  • The details shots in their magnificent room, helped by the bride’s sister
  • The emotion while the bride had her makeup done, and the continuous support of her mother
  • The groom preparation, full of excitement with his brothers and emotion when he read his fiancé letters
  • The first look at the Rice Park, How the groom hugged his fiancée
  • The limousine we used for the bride and groom picture
  • The grandmother, during the family pictures
  • How they both started to relax during the photo session
  • The amazing St Paul Courthouse (that is most beautiful than a lot of venue)
  • The City hall grand exit with the bubble and the wind
  • The pictures we took on the rooftop just after
  • The intimate cocktail hour they had, and how it shoots picture of everyone
  • How the bride and and the groom was always motivated when I required them for pictures.
  • The sublime decors offered by several room of University Club of Saint Paul
  • The romantic dinner lightened by candle
  • The delicious food

Should you plan to get married at the University Club of Saint Paul, MN?

The venue

This Tudor-Style building is perched on the top Summit Hill, at the intersection of the Summit Avenue and the Ramsey Street. The private club was built in 1913 and reminds me of a Harry Potter School.

Beside their sports activity (fitness center, swimming pool) they offer 4 rooms for events and receptions:

  • The Summit
    It’s the biggest one with its spectacular ceilings and stained glass windows. It’s the main one used for ceremonies. It can handle up to 200 people standing, and 150 guests seating.
  • The Terrace
    With its sweeping views on the city, it’s the one chosen by Sam and Ben for their small reception. After the dinner they turned it into a ballroom. It can handle 48 people seating.
  • The Library
    Significantly, darker (with a lot of wood panels and wood furniture), it can handle up to 40 peoples seated.
  • The Varsity Grill
    Its vault ceiling reminds me European basement. It can also handle 40 people seated.

The Service

I have seen and heard nothing but good reviews about this venue. They have been able to set up the wedding in less than 2 months, taking care of the decoration.
The food was succulent, and as a French guy, I am very picky about food.
Each time I solicitude them, the staff members shoes responsiveness and flexibility, especially Julia Struve the manager.

A strong company

Finally, you might be interested to learn that this venue belongs to a big company, the CommonWealth Proprieties (also hosting the New Villa Maria, The Stout island lodge, the Hotel 340, the adjacent Davidson Hotel and the W. A. Frost company).
In other words, they are a big company who will not bankrupt two months before your wedding (which as happened to Sam & Ben).

Would I recommend university clubs for your wedding celebration?

Sublime decorations, good location, responsive staff, amazing food are all essential qualities required to be a great wedding venue and offer a great picture.
Nevertheless, this club might not satisfy all situations, and thus not satisfy every couple.
So here is a list of the club limitations:

  • The club does not have any garden or lawn to host an outdoor event.
    They do recommend 3 adjacent park to do so: the Cochran Park (border by fences and cars park behind), Boyd Park (and its kids’ playground), the immediate Nathan Hale Park, at the intersection of the street which does offer any shade during a sunny day.
    In my opinion, you would have much better pictures if you do it at Irvin Park.
  • The park doesn’t have any parking.
    If you have a lot of friends and family invited, they might struggle to park at the Summit avenue.
  • The venue does not have the bridal suite which is not a big problem. You just need a nice home, or to book a spacious hotel room.
  • If you want your fur animals to join you, it won’t be possible, which is also the case in most of the venues.
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Adjacent locations to the University Club of St Paul for your pictures

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State Capitol

Located close to the University club of St Paul, The Minnesota State Capitol is a great place for engagement session. And attract visitors from Minneapolis area and beyond.

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Cathedral of Saint Paul

Located on the top of the Ramsey Hill, it is the pride of Minnesota residents. It features a copper dome. It’s beaux-art style architecture is inspired by the world-famous French Cathedrale Sacré-Coeur (which is slightly more Byzantine), and from the Cathedral of Périgueux.

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Irvin Park

Located on the north side of the Mississippi River, on the top of the hill, the Irvin Park is a very cute park. It features a large fountain, and it’s definitely a great park for couple pictures, but also to host a small marriage ritual.

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Nina’s Cafe

Sam and Ben ended their engagement session at Nina’s cafe. More than the cafe shop, it’s the building that is remarkable. It’s a 100-year-old Richardson Romanesque style reminds us of the universe of Gatsby the Great. The building on the other side of the street has the same architecture, with a vault doorway and arched windows, glass doors and hosts the famous W. A. Frost Restaurant.

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St Paul Downtown and Its Rooftop

Located at 5 min driving from the venue, the center of the town provides a riot of options for photos! From the post-industrial buildings and their red brick walls, to modern parks or constructions. Let’s think of the Union Depot, the Mears Park, the St Paul Library, the Landmark Center. Finally, all the parking rooftops that is just amazing!

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Harriet Island

Located alongside the river shore, an offering is breathtaking view on the city skyline, it’s a park love for families and St Paul residents. It also features some steam boats and a Renaissance Hispanic building (the Harriet Pavilion).

A variety of Venue you might also consider

It’s always great to compare in order to really judge of the quality of something.
So find here 6 venues in relation to this club.

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Minneapolis Club

Located in the center of Minneapolis and surrounded by buildings, this club also offers a refined decor for weddings. It doesn’t have any garden, but it has a private parking with a breathtaking rooftop! In my opinion, the view from the rooftop deserves to host a reception, or at least of photo session! No kidding!

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St Paul College Club

Not to be confused with other clubs (yes, they all have pretty similar names), this club is a little historical manor, also located on Summit Ave. It has a backyard garden to host outdoor events, a modern room for large capacity and some charming old parts. It also features a nice bridal suite, with lots of natural light.

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St Paul Athletic Club

The Saint Paul Athletic club is by far one of the most beautiful venues I have even been. It has been designed in an English Renaissance Style, by Allen Stem, the same architect who designs the New York City’s Grand Central Station. The Saint Paul Athletic Club is one of the most famous Minnesota landmarks and will definitely make you fill special!

The Saint Paul Athletic Club lobby has an enormous fireplace, a surprising art deco ceiling, several art deco chandeliers, and balconies. It’s tremendous!
But the St Paul Athletic Club main room (also featuring balconies) is nothing but a jaw-dropping place! It offers all the amenities of a club and a hotel (given the top of the Saint Paul Athletic Club building had been converted into a hotel).

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Town and Country Club

Hosting a Golf club (and thus a golf course for pictures), it is located on the top of the Merriam Park Hill. Town and Country club offers an amazing view on Minneapolis skyline. The building is a mix of modern and gentleman’s club wood-style. It doesn’t have any bridal suite, but has a private parking lot.

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The American Swedish Institute

One of the most beautiful Mansions of Minnesota for receptions is The American Swedish Institute located in Minneapolis. The 33-room aristocratic mansion has some exceptional wood carved furniture, some stained glass windows, a veranda, a spacious backyard (for outdoor ceremonies and outdoor dinner). It is composed of a modern aisle (the Nelson Cultural Center) and the Historical Aisle (the Turnblad Mansion). It also provides a private parking.

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The Modern Millennium Hotel

If you want a spectacular view as the background of your ceremony and ballroom, then the Millennium Hotel and its dome and its hotel amenities should please you. Of course this floor ceiling windows venue would offer you a 360° view of the modern city Skyline that you would enjoy instead of the view on St Paul River Valley.
Nevertheless, I don’t have


Depending on your expectation (outdoor space) and your number of guests (150 maxi seated), the University Club of Saint Paul could be the perfect place for your one-lifetime event.
But it’s for sure one of the more beautiful venues in Minnesota!

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.