How to take advantage of the most beautiful of locations on your big day.
Take it Outside: Explore all Your Wedding Options in the Great Outdoors
What's more blissful than a fresh spring day or lazy summer evening in Minnesota? After being cooped up all winter, enjoying the kiss of warm breezes is a celebration in itself. Brides have plenty of options for taking it outdoors (and Minnesota Bride has a few special favorites). First, though, here are some general considerations as you’re planning your big day.
Find out if there are regulations at the location you want. A local park, for instance, may make a beautiful setting, but before you order a tent, tables and other necessities, check with the parks and recreation department. Some cities or counties require event permits and/or have rules on closing time, noise or serving alcohol.
Wherever you decide to hold your event, note beforehand the height and angle of the sun throughout the day. You can download a sun position app to track it so your guests won’t be squinting into the sun during the ceremony.
Also determine whether your location is marked and accessible to all your guests, whether there’s enough parking and if alternate transportation to the ceremony or reception is available.
Unwanted guests also are a factor. We’re talking the flying kind: Mosquitoes and wasps flourish in spring and summer, and are busier at certain times of the day. Be prepared with insect repellent for yourself and guests, and consider having some remedies on hand in case of bites or stings. Also note whether feathered friends frequent the locale you’ve chosen, especially if it’s near a lake or pond. These guests can be noisy intruders and often leave behind messy...presents.
You’ll want to do everything possible to make your guests comfortable. Even the most glorious day can end with a sudden thunderstorm, so make sure you have a place to shelter in case Mother Nature has plans of her own.
Keep temperature in mind. In the heat of summer, a shady place to escape is a must. Note whether the venue has outdoor spaces to provide cover for guests, like a large pavilion, or places where you could set up a canopy or tent. Have water available for your guests, too. If the evenings tend to be cool, a bonfire where guests can gather is a cozy option.
If your chosen spot doesn’t include existing restroom facilities, don’t despair: You can rent luxury restroom trailers, which are allowed on most properties (check with the venue to be sure, though). Amenities can include private stalls with flush toilets, heating and air conditioning, and hot and cold running water, as well as lighting and mirrors. Even if you choose a more modest option, you can customize the signage, offer scented hand sanitizer and wipes, and provide a waiting area with seating and a floral installation.
Dancing in the moonlight sounds lovely, but safety comes first. Rent outdoor lights or hire a company to hang them to enhance the setting and to make sure guests can see where they’re going. Strings of Edison bulbs are a gorgeous way to add ambience to your reception space; battery- operated lanterns look beautiful hanging over the dance floor. If you plan to hang mason jars or tea lights from trees, always opt for battery-operated lights to avoid fire hazards.
FOOD AND DRINK
With the onset of COVID-19, guidelines on food and drink service have seen constant change. If you’re planning to serve refreshments, check for safety advisories from the local government. Plan accordingly, depending on your location and the available food preparation facilities. Will there be refrigeration or will you rely on coolers? Will you have access to ice for drinks as well as for your coolers? Will you have cake or desserts that can withstand warm temperatures?
What kind of utensils and dishware will you require? This is a situation where a wedding planner or catering company can be especially helpful navigating the best options for your wedding.
CHOOSING YOUR SPACE
Minnesota boasts an almost unlimited number of gorgeous outdoor spaces where you can say your “I do’s,” whatever the size of your event. Options range from rustic barns on historic farms to pristine formal gardens to your own backyard. Here are a few we especially like for this spring and summer.
Imagine walking down a path surrounded by a glorious landscaped display of flowers and greenery; perhaps you’re accompanied by the music of a trickling waterfall or the heavenly scent of roses and peonies. A garden wedding can offer the most delightful combination of sights, smells and sounds of the outdoors. In nature-loving Minnesota, venues range from elegant rose gardens to natural spaces featuring ornamental grasses and towering oaks and maples. Some gardens bring the outside in, in the form of a conservatory or greenhouse.
Make any location your own by setting up a tent and decorating it to express your personality as a couple. From a simple canopy to shield guests from the sun to a grand structure that offers air conditioning, dining, dancing and kitchen facilities, tents are available to rent in all sizes and with an array of amenities. Many tent rental companies also have other rental pieces— tables, chairs, linens and lounge furniture—to create relaxed, intimate spaces for the couple, their attendants and the guests.
Barns just might be the perfect balance of indoors and outdoors. Often surrounded by picturesque fields and forests (get ready, Instagram!), a barn can serve as home base for your wedding, providing a place to primp before the ceremony as well as serve as a reception site, dining area and dance floor. While some barns show evidence of their age and former four-legged residents, others are newly built to function solely as event centers. Almost all have that boho, rustic vibe that outdoor enthusiasts especially prefer.