following are my favorite parks for wedding ceremonies in
Minnesota. (Also see the section on gardens,
which includes many public parks.) While there are other wonderful
outdoor sites in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, I have
found that these are the ones that couples choose over and over
again, for their facilities, beauty, and location.
New: While most parks do not allow chairs for wedding ceremonies,
Minneapolis Parks now allows this practice. Irvine Park in St.
Paul also allows chairs because it has a large bricked area.
Parks reviewed for use as outdoor wedding ceremony sites:
- Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis
- Irvine Park in St. Paul
- Note: See my page on Gardens for
the Lake Harriet Rose Garden
and the Lyndale Peace Garden
the the parks reviewed here are especially recommended for outdoor
wedding ceremonies, any park in the Twin Cities area can be
used. The main criteria for outdoor wedding sites are location and
beauty. While most couples initially look for a park that is near
their wedding reception site, sometimes they fall in love with a
particular location, even if it's farther away.
Note: If you want to research parks other than the ones listed on
this page (perhaps because of their proximity to your wedding
reception site), here are good resources:
- Links to the city parks of Minneapolis,
plus the county parks of Anoka,
(Three Rivers Park District), Ramsey,
- Also, here's a map of all the
regional parks in the Twin Cities metro area. The map is quite
large so it takes a while to load (and it blinks while it's
loading), but once it's all loaded up, it's very complete.
The most famous view of Minnehaha Falls - from the stone wall on
the north side.
The pergola on the south side of Minnehaha Falls
is sometimes used for outdoor wedding ceremonies because of
its classic design. (This is the view from the side.)
Minnehaha Falls from one of the landings on the south side, which
is a perfect spot for an outdoor wedding with 2 to 10 guests.
You'll probably want to explore the park to find the exact place
that's perfect for you, but many small outdoor weddings are held
on this particular landing. A few more guests can stand on the
landing above and look down on the ceremony.
The view from the top of the falls is spectacular, and wedding
guests (especially children) love the view. However, wedding
photographs are not usually taken on this narrow bridge because
it's too difficult to get a good view of the falls from here. It's
better to go to the north or south side of the falls for photos.
To see the falls from the bottom of the canyon, view this 360-degree
of the falls.
There are many hidden areas of Minnehaha Park
Minneapolis that are wonderful for outdoor wedding ceremonies.
This spot is before the falls, on the north side, by the statue
of the Indian maiden Hiawatha
here for a 360-degree
of the statue and the surrounding area.
Like everywhere in Minnesota, Minnehaha Park
gorgeous in autumn - outdoor weddings in the fall work very well
amid the lush, beautiful foliage in this location.
is quite large, and some couples choose to
have a picnic wedding reception here after their wedding ceremony.
The park has many picnic tables (not pictured), plus the Sea
Salt Eatery restaurant
., which could make a nice spot for
your rehearsal dinner.
Minnesota weddings are rarely held outdoors
in the winter
, but the few times they are, Minnehaha
becomes a popular choice because of the gorgeous frozen
waterfall. Note that the park does not allow visitors to walk on
the frozen river (although people sometimes do - occasionally even
the frozen falls). The
stairs to the bottom of the falls are usually closed off during
the winter because of ice and snow.
The view from the top of the Minnehaha Falls is spectacular,
and wedding guests (especially children) love the view, but
wedding photographs are not usually taken on this narrow bridge
because it's too difficult to get a good view of the falls from
here. It's better to go to the north or south side of the falls
for photos. To see the falls from the bottom of the canyon, view
Falls Park is a perfect spot for a
small outdoor Minnesota wedding. For a wedding with 2 to 5 guests
you may have your ceremony on one of the viewing platforms
overlooking the falls, usually on the south side of the falls. The
landing is an extension of the stairs that go down to the falls,
but the spot is pretty private. If a person is going down the
stairs to the falls, they have to take a turn and go up 30 stairs
before arriving at
the viewing platform. Another site at
the park for a small wedding (2 to 10 guests) is at the
pergola (gazebo), which is pictured on the top right
above. The pergola is about 50 yards south of the falls, across
the street from the antique railroad station called the Princess
Station or Minnehaha Depot. For more
on using Minnehaha Park
for wedding ceremonies, check out this
(opens in a new window). Minnehaha
has a pavilion/bandstand (pictured to the right)
available for use as a backup rain location for a fee of $800.
Wedding permits are handed out in 3-hour time blocks. In a
conversation with the Minneaoplis Parks Deparment, they politely
informed me that brides do not exclusively rent the park, per se,
but rather, obtain a wedding permit. The permit ensures that no one
else will be having a wedding at the same time in the same location,
but other people are still allowed to use the park. Note: In my
experience with over a hundred weddings in Minnesota parks,
Minnesotans are very nice and never, ever interfere with a wedding.
(It's this kind of consideration that makes me fall in love with
Minnesota all over again.) The price for a wedding permit is $500.
To obtain a permit, call the Minneapolis
Capacity: 2 to 10 guests (more for a reception)
Minnehaha Ave., between Minneapolis and St. Paul
Permit Fee: $500
Phone Number: 612-230-6400 (Minneapolis Park Board)
The fountain at Irvine Park
in St. Paul often books up a year ahead of time and holds the
title of the most popular park in the Twin Cities for outdoor
Up the hill from Irvine Park (
about 50 yards away) is
. Couples love to use it for a fancy rehearsal
dinner. The restaurant also works well for a small wedding
reception and can serve as a backup rain location for the
This fountain at Irvine Park
in St. Paul is a 1970s
reproduction of the 1881 original, which was scrapped in 1927. In
the background are the stairs that are sometimes used in the
Intimate wedding ceremonies sometimes use this (very) small
pergola at Irvine Park.
It makes a good backup rain
location. The guests have to stand outside with umbrellas, but at
least the bride, groom, and wedding party can be covered.
located within sight of downtown St. Paul's Science Museum of
Minnesota and just below the bluffs
of downtown St. Paul. I have a soft
spot in my heart for Irvine Park and its beautiful
fountain. Victorian mansions form an old-world town square around
the park, as illustrated here. You
can walk about a half-block from the park down a dead-end street
to find a gorgeous cliff-side view of the Mississippi River. The
park can hold between 2 and 60 guests, and it books up incredibly
you're having your wedding ceremony at Irvine Park,
you may want to rent the Ramsey House's Carriage
House, too, which is practically next door. Note that this
is not the Ramsey House mansion/museum (which is not available for
rent), this is the carriage house next to the mansion. If you have
your ceremony in park, you get ready at the carriage house ahead
of time, then walk the short block to the park. Inside
are two rooms with tables, chairs, mirrors, and three restrooms. When
you rent the carriage house, you get it before, during, and after
your ceremony in the park - both for storage, so you and your
guests can use the bathroom. If you're renting the carriage house,
you also get all of its parking, too, so everyone, including your
guests, can park there and you don't have to worry about anyone
parking in the wrong place or getting towed. If
you're getting married in the park and rent the carriage house,
your can also take pictures in the carriage house yard, which
includes the front veranda of the Ramsey House. The
rental cost $150 per hour, with a 3 hour minimum.
For an outdoor wedding permit, contact the St.
Paul Parks Department at 651-632-5111. The
wedding permit fee is a mere $150 -
if you can get it. The park often books up the first day
it's available for booking (13 months before the wedding for St
Paul residents, 12 months before the wedding for non-residents).
Capacity: 2 to 60 guests
Walnut St., St. Paul
Permit Fee: $150
Phone Number: 651-632-5111 (St. Paul