Located in a renovated mattress factory in St. Paul, you’ll find Paikka, a brand new event venue adjacent to a beautiful train-track-turned-courtyard. The design of the space embraces the raw industrial aesthetic of the building, but is equally warm and imbued with character.
A Finnish word meaning place, owners Marlo Munch and Angie Trygg are eager to share their paikka. As the website says, “Welcome to our place.” The name holds even more special meaning than its literal definition, Paikka is a name borrowed from a cabin on an island on Namakan Lake in northern Minnesota. Pikku Paikka, “Little Place,” was in Angie’s family for decades, but is gone now. It is their hope that “Paikka will capture the same spirit of a lost place that was shared by many and treasured immensely.”
The lease was signed in December 2014, just before the new year, but they began improvements in late fall of 2015. A good friend was their broker and new the space was up for lease. “This is the only space we looked at and fell in love immediately!” Munch says. “We sought out a space with character and history in which we could envision all different types of events. The adjacent courtyard, high ceilings, and striking architecture really sold us.”
At this time, they are happy to make vendor recommendations to clients, but don’t have a required or preferred list, meaning couples are free to make their big day according to their own specifications. Paikka requires a licensed and insured bar staff to serve alcohol at all events, but clients can, however, purchase their own alcohol from anywhere.
Couples are also encouraged to bring in their own decor, including hanging florals, lights, and installations. Candles are permitted if contained, and Munch and Trygg have a collection of furniture that is available for use as well. Couples should note that, although Munch and Trygg do not install the decor, they are happy to brainstorm with clients. This openness for customization should prove to be a huge draw for couples planning their big day, but clients should note that restrooms are gender-specific, though they offer plenty of stalls.
A collection of floor lamps, ambient lighting, and ceiling pendants illuminate the space when it isn’t flooded with natural light during the day. This is in addition to the vast amount of space for couples to bring in a DJ with their own lighting setup.
The onsite parking lot has upward of 200 spaces, but if carpooling is an option, Paikka can house even more guests. Munch and Trygg can accommodate a seated dinner for a reception or rehearsal for up to 220 people, or a cocktail reception for up to 350 people. For events with up to 200 guests, Paikka can also host a ceremony. A rehearsal is included in the rental fee any time during the week leading up to the wedding, pending space availability.
The rental fee for the handicap-accessible space also includes access to the catering kitchen (although there isn’t a stove; cooking must be done off-site), private suite for the wedding party, coat racks, furniture and some decor, and a one-hour planning and design meeting.
“Every element of decor and design has been handpicked by the two of us,” Trygg says. “We have made a space that we feel is beautiful and modern and still very customizable. We stand apart from other venues because we don’t have restrictive policies regarding vendors. We want couples to have freedom and flexibility so every event feels really personal.”
Operating an event venue should be a natural step for Munch, who has a professional background in florals, and Trygg, whose background is in installation and fine arts. The two women add, “We feel like the most important role we have as venue owners is to make Paikka a place that feels valuable to our community. We want Paikka to be accessible and beautiful and impactful for everyone.”
550 Vandalia St. #165, St Paul