What do you get when you combine the talents of someone with over 20 years administrative experience in higher education, attention to detail that is second to none and one who thrives on bringing a bride’s vision to reality, with a former math teacher and coach with an eye for detail, a passion for history and architectural design and delights in creating something new out of something old?
The brother-sister team of Emily Tweed and Judd Sather, of One23 Events, one of the largest multi-purpose event venues in Minnesota, that’s what.
One23 Events is located in historic downtown Stillwater, MN in the building that originally housed the Connolly Shoe Company.
Built in 1906, the building was purchased in 2015 by Judd; renovated in 2016 and opened under the banner of JX Venue. Today the space consists of:
Stillwater Escape Company | www.stillwaterescape.com
Studio J and Judd Sather Photography
Just Cuz Beauty Boutique and Styling Squad
A Photography Collective
The Velveteen Speakeasy
The Lumberjack Axe Throwing Bar
Emily and Judd also own and operate a smaller event space on Main Street in Stillwater: The Loft at Studio J; and the Riverbend at River’s Edge in New Richmond, WI.
NOTE: When I first wrote this post in May 2020, all venues identified above were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I'm happy to report ALL are now reopened and doing well.
JX Venue does on average 60 weddings per year. Since reopening the end of June, they've hosted 11 weddings and one graduation party. And, they have now rescheduled (or cancelled) over 90 weddings and events since mid-March but also booked about 40 new weddings for 2021 so far. A positive sign indeed!
They are able to operate their Stillwater venues at 50% occupancy because they have full restaurant licenses per the new COVID guidelines.
Weddings are considered private social gatherings as you have a defined guest list and your wedding is not open to the public.
JX has ample space in their venues for social distancing. Guests are asked to wear masks unless they are eating or drinking or if they have a medical reason not to per the latest guideline revisions.
JX staff is required to wear masks at this time and their capacity limitations have not changed from the 50% in place since June.
New limited capacity numbers effective June 2020 for all venues under the purview of One23 Events are as follows.
JX Venue - maximum capacity 250
The Loft at Studio J -- maximum capacity 169
Riverbend at River's Edge in New Richmond, WI -- no change in capacity
Terrace at Stillwater Library -- 250 for outdoor occupancy; 110 for indoor occupancy in the Margaret Rivers Room. Tents are encouraged so people can stay outside in inclement weather.
Here is what one happy June bride had to say about her experience at JX Venue:
"Kailey Colvard ***** July 11, 2020 Emily & the entire JX Event Venue staff helped me and my now husband make our special day happen. We had to switch venues a month before the wedding date because of COVID-19 and JX was so helpful and spacious & worked with us to make our day happen. Our reception turned out absolutely wonderful especially since we had such a short amount of time to get everything switched over and planned at the JX Event Venue. In all honesty I am so glad that we had to switch venues because it was such a gorgeous place. I highly recommend the JX Event Venue!!"
123 Second Street North
Stillwater, MN 55082
Emily Tweed, Director, Events and Venue Operations | Expert Planner
651.342.0176 | Emily@One23Events.com
Check out the picture perfect view of the space through the videography talents of Judd and his videographer partner and lead bartender, Jesse with narration by Emily at www.One23Events.com. Read on for my detailed site visit report for a description of what I saw. It was all pretty amazing and made for a fun afternoon.
This 14,000 square feet event space, located on the 3rd floor, is an elegant mix of historic charm, contemporary accents, and a state-of-the-art sound and light system.
Access via elevator or the beautifully restored grand staircase with black metal railings.
The space works extremely well for weddings, award ceremonies, fund raisers, galas, silent auctions, and cooking challenges as well as corporate meetings. It converts easily from wedding and reception space to dinner space with the use of soft floor-to-ceiling curtains between the Ceremony Area and the Big Reveal (dinner area) creating an element of surprise and splendor once opened after the ceremony and reception as guests move into dinner.
The room has lots of natural light, exposed brick walls, wood floors, three crystal chandeliers, 18’ exposed wood beam and pipe ceiling, and a large built-in lighted bar top.
Seating Capacity (pre-COVID)
100-400 for Ceremony Area (wedding and post-wedding reception)
400 max seating capacity in Big Reveal dining area at 72” rounds of 10.
720 for standing reception (Ceremony and Reveal combined)
250 classroom style at 6’ or 8’ banquet tables or seminar style with 72” rounds.
Customized seating charts included per individual events.
Touchscreen photo booth + digital files with immediate sharing of photos via FB or email.
Podium and arbor with greenery for ceremony area.
(2) hand held wireless mics, (1) lapel mic, (2) mic stands, 18 speaker sound system, (3) HD projectors; (3) 64” TVs, and (2) 55” TVs.
Two Getting Ready Rooms: 1) Oxford Suite, located on 3rd floor; 2) Bourbon Room, located on 2nd. Cool features of the Oxford Suite include the beauty bar, full-length mirrors and private rest room with Bidet. The Bourbon Room is more like a gamer’s lounge with casual seating and a wooden high top table, PlayStation4, Dartboard and a PacMan Arcade Game. Both rooms have touch pad key access for safety and security.
Secret hallway between the Oxford Getting Ready Room on 3rd leads to Ceremony area for a perfect bridal party entrance.
Lounge on 3rd with casual furniture, games, etc. serves as play room for small children.
Stylish Men’s and Women’s Restrooms.
Cane back Chivari chairs, 72” rounds. Wood plank farm style tables for wedding party.
Standard white, ivory or black linens. Floor length specialty linen rentals upon request.
Customized bar menu.
Parking ramp across street with 250 spaces. $3 per car, winter months; $5 summer months; overnight parking available.
Rental fees vary per event type.
Wedding rentals, weekend fundraisers and galas are based on a 12-hour block which includes set-up and tear-down time, VIP getting ready rooms, building host, security and insurance. Standard access is 1pm-1am with last call 11:30pm.
A day-of coordinator is required for all weddings. JX can provide one for you, or you can designate someone of your own choice.
Room rental includes 18% service and a 2% non-refundable damage waiver.
Day meetings or evening social events are based on hourly rates.
Bella Vida Catering, with Chef Tim O’Brien of Sterling Catering is the exclusive caterer. Food is prepared in the new kitchen facility located on the lower level.
The Connolly Conference Room
Located on the 2nd level of JX, this multi-purpose room has movable wooden tables (with multiple built-in electrical hookups down the center of the tables) that convert from a conference or board style to cluster pods. Seating is at ergonomically correct conference-style chairs.
Maximum capacity set conference style: 20.
Maximum capacity set cluster style: 50.
Casual furniture grouping available for in-room breakout space.
Full day rental package is $65 per person and includes room rental, breakfast, lunch and two snacks.
Half day and hourly rates also available.
The Stillwater Escape Company (www.stillwaterescape.com) | 651.357.8844
Escape Rooms are “puzzle experiences” and can be creative team-building exercises or just plain fun for friends and family get-togethers.
The Escape Rooms, brainchild of and designed by Judd Sather are located on the 2nd level.
1. The Cave: You’re trapped in a cave and you and your group must find your way out. Participants wear headlamps to see their way through the dark. Limit 15 people.
2. Mr. Connolly’s Office: A Crime has been committed in the office of the former shoe company president. Here you’ll see some of the original office memorabilia while you look for clues to solve the mystery. Limit 10.
3. Space Emergency: Your mission to space to solve a health crisis is suddenly interrupted and you and your crew need to find your way back. Limit 15. (Opening by year's end 2020.)
4. Runaway Train: Solve the puzzles in your train car before the train runs off the tracks! Limit 4. (Opening late summer 2020)
Studio J and Judd Sather Photography | 651.342.1476 | (www.One23events.com/judd-sather-photography
Wedding photography and videography; portraits, commercial, school and dance studio photography done in studio or off-site.
The Loft at Studio J | 651.342.0176 | (www.one23events.com/the-loft-at-studio-J)
214 Main Street, Suite 301, Stillwater, MN 55082
This 4,000 square feet venue is located on the 2nd floor of another historic building that once housed the lumberjacks working on the St. Croix River, the Jandas Department Store and Connolly Shoe Store.
Built in 1895 and completely renovated in 2013, the space has the same warm, rustic charm and all the modern conveniences found at JX. It’s truly a conversation piece with its historic memorabilia and repurposed materials: from the unique upside-down staircase made from reclaimed wood, metal joists and original floor boards; wall boards salvaged from fires; rusty tin back drop; to the bar with its wrap-around bar top and bar lights made from tin salvaged from the roof.
Perfect for smaller weddings, fund raisers, casual meetings.
Max capacity seated at 72” rounds of 8: 200 - 225. (Uses same style tables and chairs as JX, including wood-plank tables for bridal table).
Max capacity reception style: 300.
Max capacity for meetings: Classroom style: 100; U-shape: 40; Other: 200.
(2) HDTVs, (2) wireless mics; (1) lapel mic; (1) projector; (5) downlights with multiple color options.
Photo booth + digital files.
Large built-in bar with pin lights made from tin removed from roof during renovation.
Natural lighting from tall windows overlooking Main Street.
The Rose VIP Room with sofa, chairs, makeup bar.
The Lounge VIP Room. Perfect for gaming and relaxing prior to events.
Men’s and Women’s restrooms.
Catering provided by Bella Vida Catering as well as six other preferred caterers.
Rental structure same as JX.
Also housed within the JX Building (former Connolly Shoe Company Building) but under separate ownership:
The Velveteen Speakeasy
Lumberjack Axe Throwing Bar (I’m not kidding!)
The Velveteen Speakeasy (www.thevelveteenspeakeasy.com) | 651.342.2571
Contact: Marcus Clark, GM | email@example.com
NOW OPEN SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FOR LUNCH!
This 1920s-like speakeasy owned by Dariush and Sarah Moslemi and opened August 2017, is located on the lower (underground) level. (Enter the doors on 2nd and “follow the rabbit” plaque and signage and you’re sure to find it.)
It’s dark and dim (in a good way) and full of character with prohibition-era décor, Victorian furniture pieces, exposed brick, an ebony-stained stone bar, with tufted leather bar stools, curved blue velveteen upholstered booths, and wood-plank tables. You’ll even find a doorway somewhere in the speakeasy to the tunnel that once ran from here to across the street to what was once the Connolly Shoe Store (but, it’s no longer in service.)
The Velveteen continues to serve up delicious small tapas-like plates, contemporary and prohibition-style cocktails and craft beers but their newly expanded menu now includes seasonal soup, sandwich and salad selections.
Open to the public 4 -11pm Wednesday and Thursday; 4pm-1am Friday; 12pm-1am Saturday; and 12pm-11pm Sunday. Available for private parties.
In addition to the fabulous inside space that can accommodate up to 70 per COVID guidelines, in June they added outdoor patio seating street-side and in the Secret Garden complete with a beautiful waterfall for 40.
The Velveteen is ideally suited for bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthday and anniversary celebrations or just fun gatherings of friends. It's also a great place to stop after a day of shopping.
Lumberjack Axe Throwing Bar (www.thelumberjackmn.com)
123 2nd Street North, Stillwater, Suite 102 | 651.705.6005
Contact: Sara Jesperson | 651.308.3552 | firstname.lastname@example.org
(Entrance is ½ block from North Main on Commercial)
If a comfy-cozy cabin setting is more your style, you’ll want to check this place out.
Owner Sara Jesperson opened this unique space December 2019 complete with a new twist: axe throwing. Yup, that’s right!
Playing into Stillwater’s lumberjack history, you’ll find five “axe throwing” pits with circular wood targets where you can test your throwing prowess. Not to worry, coaches are provided – but you will be asked to sign a waiver before your training begins.
If axe throwing isn’t your thing, they’ve got shuffle board, bags and plenty of other board games to keep you occupied.
The bar has a rustic upscale feel with lots of exposed brick, wood floors, a soft U-shape bar, pot-belly fire place, wood tables and stools.
Comfort food with a modern twist is what the menu is all about and they use locally grown products whenever possible. Hardy sandwiches, Carnitas tacos and Asian beef sliders are just some of what you’ll find.
Open to the public 5-10pm Wednesday and Thursday; 5-12pm Friday; 3-12pm Saturday; and 3-8pm Sunday. Live music Friday and Saturday evenings. Gospel music Happy Hour Sundays 3-6pm. Available for private parties.
In addition to the inside seating, in June they opened a new outside seating area for 30 along with two axe throwing pits.
Total indoor capacity pre-COVID: 150; under current COVID guidelines: 75. Outdoor capacity: 50. Seating capacity indoors currently: 75; outdoors: 30.
Stillwater, MN is a quaint, picturesque, historic river town located just outside of St. Paul on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border of the St. Croix River with many unique shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants, and only 30 minutes from MSP Airport and the Mall of America (MOA). Known as the wedding capital of Minnesota, Stillwater is one of those unique locations where you feel like you’ve gotten away, without having to leave the city. There are plenty of overnight accommodations available within easy access to One23 Events and The Loft at Studio J. Visit www.discoverstillwater.com to learn more.
Prepared and written by Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP | Author, “The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings” | https://www.maryjo-wiseman.net