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

Venues - Gardens

My recommendations for wedding sites in the Minneapolis/St Paul area:
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The following are my favorite gardens for wedding ceremonies in Minnesota. These Minnesota 

wedding and reception sites are all public gardens available for rental for wedding ceremonies, but the reception must be held elsewhere.

Gardens reviewed for use as outdoor wedding ceremony sites:

  • Lake Harriet Rose Garden
  • Lyndale Peace Garden
  • Walker Sculpture Garden (officially known as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden)
  • Como Conservatory Japanese Garden
  • Normandale Community College Japanese Garden 

You may also wish to view other areas of the Como Conservatory in the section on Historic wedding sites.



Lake Harriet Rose Garden

Some weddings take place in front of the fountain, instead of at the arch
The Lake Harriet Rose Garden fountain is terrific for wedding photos, whether or not you have your wedding here.  Here's two 180 degree movable pictures of the main Heffelfinger fountain - note that the pictures take a while to load.   This bronze and marble sculpture was imported from Italy. 

Great for pictures, but not usually used as a wedding site
Here's a 180 degree movable picture of the and smaller, north-side Phelps fountain of the Lake Harriet Rose Garden - note that the pictures will take a while to load.

The Lake Harriet Rose Garden is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on thThe roses are always the same, but some of the annuals are changed each yearEast Lake Harriet Parkway.  Also known as the Lyndale Park Rose Garden, the Lake Harriet Rose Garden is on the northeast side of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   Summer vacationers in the early 20th century would escape the city's heat by traveling "all the way" to Lake Harriet, and these visitors built this second-oldest rose garden in the US.  For the most part, guests must remain standing, but a few chairs are allowed for the elderly.  One of the reasons I love this site is that if you decide to get married here on these gorgeous, sculpted grounds, this site will always be meaningful to you and whenever you go to the Lakes, you'll have this special spot.  The Lake Harriet Rose Garden's flowers bloom all summer, with over 250 varieties of roses, totaling over 3000.

The Lake Harriet Rose Garden can accommodate 2 -150 guests. Blooms start in mid-June. 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 for the Lake Harriet Rose Garden, contact Minneapolis Park Board at 612-230-6400.

Lyndale Peace Garden

The Lyndale Peace Garden has many areas appropriate for a wedding ceremony - this is the largest
This is the view of the Lyndale Peace Garden from the road, and even when it's not used for wedding ceremonies, couples often come here for pictures because it's such a beautiful site.

You can see here how small many of the areas are, but that can be good for intimate wedding ceremonies Despite the waterfall, the area is really very quiet and peaceful
The park's rock waterfall at the Lyndale Peace Garden is one of the favorite spots for an outdoor wedding ceremony, or just for wedding pictures.

This area is not used for weddings, but it can be nice for picturesFor a very small (2-20 guests) wedding, I highly recommend the small, but beautiful Lyndale Peace Garden in Minneapolis.  The Peace Garden is to the west of the Lake Harriet Rose Garden, on the north side of Lake Harriet.  The Parks Department sculpts the grounds with carefully placed rocks flowering shrubs, and it melds into the adjacent Perennial Trial Garden, which contains mostly flowers (great for pictures).  The flowers here start blooming very early, in mid-April.  I have performed wedding ceremonies at three different spots in this Minneapolis park, and each worked very well - your choice depends on the size of your wedding and the mood you are looking for.  Also known as the Lyndale Rock Garden or the Lake Harriet Peace Garden.  More pictures here, and here.

 

The Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary is next door (pictured to the left).  The sanctuary is not large, but it has a beautiful path and is very peaceful - I've seen a Great Horned Owl there and feels very secluded.  The sanctuary is not used for weddings, but can be good for pictures of the bride and groom walking down the paths.

Weddings at the Lyndale Peace Garden 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 for the Lyndale Peace Garden, contact Minneapolis Park Board at 612-230-6400.

Walker Sculpture Garden

Many wedding couples take pictures here, even if they don't use the site for their ceremony

Some adventurous couples choose the Walker Sculpture Garden, the most famous photo opportunity in the Twin Cities, for their wedding ceremony.

In the background, beyond the hedge, is the Hennepin Avenue Church

The Walker Sculpture Garden has a section called the Living Series works well for weddings.  Guests are standing, but you can use the benches for anyone who needs to sit down.

I have a soft spot in my heart for this great glass fish
Both wedding ceremonies and receptions can be held in the atrium of the Walker Sculpture Garden.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (also known as the Walker Sculture Garden), is at 1750 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is right outside the Walker Art Museum and  provides a wonderful unusual wedding site in Minneapolis.  You can get married by the pond next to the spoon and cherry, or in one of the private gardens.  Here is a 360 degree view to give you an idea of what the park looks like.  

Some couple choose the private garden called the Living Series for their wedding ceremony at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  Weddings may be held right in the middle of the garden and the elderly may sit on the benches (but no chairs allowed in the park).

You can also reserve the Cowles Conservatory for the wedding ceremony, which is also known as the atrium, or just as "the greenhouse with the big glass fish" for $500, or, it can be a great ackup rain location.  If you want to use the atrium for a reception, (and not just the ceremony,) they charge a higher fee (a couple years ago, it was $1000, but the price has probably gone up) and it seats 75 guests.  Here is 360 degree view of the inside of the atrium.

Another outside wedding option is rent the Walker's Gallery 8 Cafe's outdoor terrace, which is on top of the Walker Art Center ($2,000).  Wolfgang Puck's restaurant caters there. Feel free to view the indoor room here.  The paint on the wall looks odd in this picture, but when you see it in person, it works well with the outdoor terraced roof.

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.

The Walker Sculture Garden can accomodate 2 - 150 guests. For a wedding permit, contact Minneapolis Park Board at 612-230-6400.


Como Japanese Garden

View of the Japanese Garden, just as you enter it
The incredibly intimate Japanese Garden at the Como Conservatory in St Paul

This spot is just large enough for the Bride and Groom
The bride and groom usually stand on this flat, white, rectangular "Viewing Stone" of the Como Japanese Garden, although you may select any spot for your wedding ceremony.

The Japanese Garden at the Como Conservatory is at 1250 Kaufman Drive North in St Paul, Minnesota. The outdoor Japanese Garden at the Como Conservatory is perfect for a small wedding.  It's quiet, intimate, and hidden from view.  Since the garden is not very big, it might not be immediately obvious to some how special it is, but it's incredibly detailed and it took much more time to build than gardens many times it's size.  The Como Japanese Garden was personally designed and landscaped in the "Sansui mountain-and-water style" by the famous designer Masami Matsuda from Japan.  A person has to spend some quiet, contemplative time there before realizing just how marvelous the garden is, but the fact that over two hundred volunteers take care of it is an indication of just how special the garden is.  Most visitors to the Como Zoo or even the Conservatory don't even realize it's there - a hidden gem!  You actually have to go through the Conservatory, go outside the back door of the "North Garden" section, and then down a hill to get there.  A direct gate is opened up for weddings, though.  Here is a 360 degree panorama of the garden.

Here's a map showing where the Japanese Garden is located at the zoo, a map of the garden itself, and here are some other spots available at the Como Conservatory, both indoor (Sunken Garden & North Garden), and outdoor (Exedra.) The rental fee is for the Japanese Garden is $600, and the phone number to try and reserve the site is 651-487-8250.



Normandale's Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College
The highlight of the Japanese Garden at Normandale is definitely the bridge, and it's often used for pictures of the wedding party

Entrance to the Japanese Garden
The entrance to the Japanese Gardens at Normandale College

Designed by Tokyo's Watanabe Takao, the Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College is located in the southwestern suburb of Bloomington, close to I-494 and about 7 miles (13 minutes) from the Mall of America.  The actual address is 9700 France Avenue South.  Normandale's Japanese Garden is not as technically intricate as the one at Como, but it is larger and has a more relaxed, almost playful feel.  The plants are mostly natives of Minnesota, designed in the traditional Japanese way.  The rental fee is $200, with a capacity of 2-20 guests.  Call the college at (952) 487-8145 for booking.




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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