10 Best Outdoor Wedding Sites in Minnesota

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1. Elegant Estate

Cedarhurst Mansion in Cottage Grove looks like a scene out of Gone With the Wind: Site-catered receptions for 200 can take place in the ballroom and brick veranda lined with towering white pillars or under a tent on a lush lawn for up to 300 guests. The garden holds 200+ for ceremonies and needs little decoration when the flowers are in bloom. (651) 769-8918, CedarhurstMansion.com

2. Top Terrace

From the Johnson Terrace at Stillwater Public Library in Stillwater, your guests can take in views of a historic courthouse, church steeples and the St. Croix River. Exchange vows under the dramatic pergola in front of 250 guests; then hold an alfresco or tented terrace reception with a menu from one of the approved caterers. (651) 275-4338 x129, SPLEvents.org

3. Island Hideaway

Can’t decide between urban and tranquil? The Nicollet Island Pavilion on a small island in Minneapolis gives you both. The park-like setting right on the Mississippi River has a clear shot of the skyline, the Stone Arch Bridge and the river dam and seats over 600 guests. Mintáhoe Hospitality Group will provide catering on any of the multilevel patios. (612) 253-0255, Mintahoe.com

4. Orchard Oasis

Laid-back weddings are at home at Minnetonka Orchards in Minnetrista. Seat up to 300 guests in a tent set among apple trees and nature trails. You can use any caterer, but the orchard’s own menu is packed with picnic-style, apple-infused bites (caramel apple s’mores in the outdoor fire pits is one of their specialties!). (612) 825-6994, MinnetonkaOrchards.com

5. Romantic Botanicals

The eight ceremony gardens at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska range from the Nelson Shrub Rose Garden, which holds 250 guests, to a Japanese garden with room for 12. Site-catered receptions can be hosted in indoor rooms with adjoining terraces; book the restaurant to get access to Newton Terrace and its gorgeous waterfall. (952) 443-1411, Arboretum.UMN.edu

6. Rustic Retreat

The entire resort is yours for two days at Elbow Lake Lodge in Cook -- guests can stay onsite before and after your lakeside wedding, catered by the lodge. Skip the arbor and exchange vows in front of a giant rock; then have dinner on the waterfront patio and dance under a tent on the woodsy property. (651) 492-7092, ElbowLake.com

7. Waterfront Luxury

At the Minnesota Boat Club on Raspberry Island in St. Paul, you can watch boats sail under the Wabasha St. Bridge on the Mississippi River during your wedding. Get more of a city scene from the terraces and patios, which have views of the St. Paul skyline. Ceremonies can be held in the island’s riverfront gardens, while site-catered receptions for up to 170 take place in the clubhouse and balconies. (612) 253-0255, Mintahoe.com

8. Artist’s Abode

The Walker Art Center in downtown Minneapolis has three outdoor terraces with great skyline views. The indoor spaces are window-walled, so you won’t miss out on the scenery in bad weather, and the contemporary art galleries can be rented along with the event rooms to entertain your guests. The center holds up to 400 guests, and its exclusive caterer, Wolfgang Puck, is as impressive as the setting. (612) 375-7553, WalkerArt.org

9. Grand Gardens

Planning an intimate ceremony? The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul has a Japanese Garden with a reflecting pond, waterfall and room for 40 guests. Or go for The Excedra, a park landscape surrounded by towering trees and overlooking a frog pond adjacent to a butterfly haven, which can hold 50 guests. Receptions, catered by Como’s exclusive vendor, can be held indoors or on a covered porch overlooking the gardens. (615) 487-8250, ComoZooConservatory.org

10. Urban Legend

The ruins of the Washburn A Mill in downtown Minneapolis are now a courtyard at the Mill City Museum. Rusted-iron scaffolding frames the broken walls, giving the space an old city vibe. The courtyard can hold 200 guests; you must use the museum’s exclusive caterer. (612) 238-4444, MillCityMuseum.org

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