2022 Guide to Meeting and Event Venues
Choosing a venue is about more than size and space. The place itself can be part of creating a memorable experience. Often, this requires some adventurous thinking. Your next business conference could take place at a beach club.
Elevate the company anniversary bash and host it at a museum. A soccer stadium can serve as the venue for a fashion show. Indeed, St. Paul’s Allianz Field, home to the Minnesota United FC, hosted its first fashion show in April as part of Fashion Week Minnesota. Called Coalesce, the show featured Asian American and Pacific Islander designers. The sold-out event drew many who’d never been to the stadium before.
Last fall, the producers of Coalesce were searching for a partner for the new event and sent out a mass email to a wide variety of local venues. Minnesota United FC special event manager Sophia Landry responded.
Although Allianz Field had never held a fashion show, Landry knew how to make the space work. A panoramic view of the field provided the backdrop to the runway in the Allianz Stadium Club, featuring two bars and a large video wall. Many guests remarked on the versatility of the space, others wondered why it hadn’t been done before.
“We’ve realized there’s so much opportunity with our special events business at Allianz Field, we just need to talk about how do we amplify that? How do we fill every non-game day on our calendar?” says Landry.
Between games, Landry has about 250 calendar days open for other events. She’s constantly thinking about ways to use the stadium and working with potential clients to think beyond soccer.
“I get them thinking outside the box: You’re at a new stadium, let’s change it up. What about setting the layout this way? Or what about we add this to the program?” Landry says. “But also I get to teach them a little bit about the stadium and get them interested in attending a game or in hosting another event with us.”
Since the fashion show, Landry has received a rush of inquiries about booking events there.
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And the space itself isn’t the only opportunity to delight guests at your event. At the Annex in Minneapolis, co-founder Heather Rose-Dunning says the most successful events include an element of the unexpected.
Increasingly, couples are breaking with the traditional wedding format of sit-down ceremony followed by a sit-down dinner, she says. Instead, the entire affair can be treated as a party with “pauses” between segments.
“The current event climate feels energized; there is pent-up demand. But I also think there’s been a change in approach,” Rose-Dunning says. “The pandemic made people think differently about social gatherings; folks are looking for more intimacy, more connection to the guests, more inherent beauty, and more flexibility.”
Click here to view the 2022 Meetings and Events Resource Guide listings.
The 2022 Events & Venues Resource Guide contains listings chosen by our editorial team. It is not a comprehensive guide.