Minneapolis wedding officiant Rev Coleman, for a chapel with a Minnesota wedding

Venues - Parks

My recommendations for wedding sites in the Minneapolis/St Paul area:
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Outdoor wedding overlooking the Minnesota River Valley

The following are my favorite parks for wedding ceremonies in Minnesota (see also 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.  

Note that most parks do not allow chairs to be set up - Irvine Park in St Paul is a notable exception because it has a large bricked area.

Parks reviewed for use as outdoor wedding ceremony sites:

     -Irvine Park
     -Minnehaha Park

New mini-reviews from my blog 
(these pop up in a new window): 
     - Rice Park  

     - More on Minnehaha Park

While 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 consistently seems to be 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, possibly because of their proximity to your wedding reception site, here are good resources:

Links to the city parks of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington, plus the county parks of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin (Three Rivers Park District), Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.

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.

Minnehaha Park - Minneapolis

I've never held a wedding ceremony from this location, but it's the most famous view
The most famous view of  Minnehaha Falls - from the stone wall on the north side

This area is set off from the rest of the park
The pergola on the south side of  Minnehaha Falls is sometimes used for outdoor wedding ceremonies because of it's classic design (this is the view from the side)

South view of Minnehaha Falls
Minnehaha Falls from one of the landings on the south side, perfect for an outdoor wedding with 2-10 guests.  You'll probably want to explore all over the park to find a spot 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.
Many Native Americans get married here
There are many hidden areas of Minnehaha Falls Park in 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.  Click here to view a 360 degree view of the statue and the of the statue and the area.

This is the view from one of the landings, perfect for a 8-10 person wedding ceremony
Like everywhere in Minnesota, Minnehaha Falls Park is especially gorgeous in autumn - Minnesota outdoor weddings in the fall work very well in this location.

The park is always crowded in the summer, but people are very respectful
Minnehaha Falls Park is actually quite large, and some couples choose to have a picnic wedding reception after their wedding ceremony.

You can't actually get this close to the falls, it's just a close-up
Minnesota weddings are rarely held outdoors in the winter, but the few times they are, Minnehaha Falls 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, and sometimes even go behind the frozen falls).  The stairs to the bottom of the falls are usually closed off the winter because of ice and snow.

It's hard to tell from here, but after the rapids is a 100 foot drop
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 held 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 view of the falls.

Minnehaha Falls Park is between Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota, 4801 Minnehaha Avenue.  For wedding with 2-5 guests you may have your wedding 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 which go down to the falls, but it 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 atFew wedding ceremonies are held here; it's usually just used as a backup rain location the viewing platform. 

Another site at the park for a small wedding (2-10 guests) is at the pergola (gazebo), which is pictured on the top right.  The pergola is about 50 yards south of the falls, across the street from the an antique railroad station called the Princess Station or Minnehaha Depot. For more on Minnehaha Park for wedding ceremonies, check out this blog article (opens in a new window.) Minnehaha Falls does have a pavilion/bandstand (pictured to the right)  for use as a backup rain location for $800.

Weddings are done in 3 hour time blocks, and couples are granted a permit to have a wedding in the park. The price for 2008 for a wedding permit is $500. For a wedding permit, call the Minneapolis Park Board at 612-230-6400.

Irvine Park - St Paul

View of Irvine Park from the west side
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 weddings.

The restaurant is only one of the gorgeous mansions ringing the partk
Up the hill from Irvine Park is Forepaugh's Restaurant, about 50 yards away.  Couples love to use it for a fancy rehearsal dinner. The restaurant also works great for a small wedding reception, and then can serve as a back-up rain location for the ceremony.

View from the east
This fountain at the Irvine Park in St Paul is a perfect 1800s reproduction.  In the background are the stairs that are sometimes used in the wedding processional.

The pergola may also be used as a rain location - the bride and groom can stand in here
Intimate wedding ceremonies sometimes use this (very) small pergola at Irvine Park.  The pergola can be used for a very small rain location.  The guests have to stand outside with umbrellas, but at least the bride, groom and wedding party can be covered.

Irvine Park in St Paul, Minnesota, is located at 281 Walnut Street, within sight on dowtown St Paul's Science Museum. I have a soft spot in my heart for Irvine Park, a town square with a fountain, located just below the bluffs of downtown St Paul.   Victorian mansions form an old-world town square around the park, 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.  Many couples choose French restaurant/Victorian mansion next door, Forepaugh's Restaurant for their reception site or rehearsal dinner. The park can host 2 - 60 guests, and it books up incredibly quickly.

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.)

My recommendations for wedding sites in the Minneapolis/St Paul area:
Chapels      Parks      Gardens      Mansions      Museums      Hotels      Farms      Historic     Amphitheatres      Restaurants     Comparison Matrix

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Photos courtesy of Gibbs Farm, Reidel Farm, and Earle Browne Heritage Center.
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