Destination Wedding: North of Uncommon
We love talking about the most exotic and amazing destination wedding locations on the planet here at Invitations by R Squared.
So much so that sometimes we forget that there are amazing destinations right here in the United States.
Minnesota has something for everyone as far as fabulous destination wedding venues. Minneapolis and St. Paul offer the chance for a chic, metropolitan backdrop for your big day. But maybe you’ve pined for a more rural celebration, or you’re enamored with the current wedding trend toward rustic elegance. Or maybe you dream about a relaxed weekend getaway with your nearest and dearest. Whether you and your fiancé have your heart set on exchanging vows amid a field of wildflowers, in the warmth of a sun-dappled meadow or overlooking the world’s greatest lake, northern Minnesota just may be your dream wedding destination.
The far-northern region, from the rocky Lake Superior shores on the east to Detroit Lakes on the west, is known for a landscape dotted with quaint cabins on the lake, whimsical towns and dense old-growth forests. With drives from the Twin Cities ranging from two to five hours, northern Minnesota can be the perfect destination: close enough to be convenient and still far enough away for the feeling of seclusion and romance.
This combination of travel ease and destination wedding seclusion leads us to the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. The Grand View offers a beautiful lake setting, creating a real getaway experience for you and your guests. They can make a vacation out of it if they want, but it’s still close enough that those who aren’t able to stay longer can make it work as well.
If you and your fiancé are wanting a very personalized destination wedding celebration, the Eagle Ridge Resort is probably perfect for you, just a scenic gondola ride away from Lutsen Mountains’ Summit Chalet. Lutsen is perfect for nature enthusiasts who want a location with beautiful scenery. It is an adventure your guests can share with you that really gives them a sense of who you are as a couple and what you like to do.
The most beautiful part of getting married in Northern Minnesota just might be the natural surroundings. That’s why most venues offer outdoor ceremony venues that highlight the very best views their area has to offer.
near Crosslake, five acres of manicured lawn, a 40-acre cornfield, a babbling brook, and a wooded setting create virtually endless opportunities for ceremony sites. They have even held several ceremonies right in the middle of the cornfield! It’s really up to what you, as a couple, want.
Regardless of whether the ceremony is on the beach or in the woods, be sure to ask what Plan B is in case of inclement weather. Some venues will allow you to wait until up to two hours before the ceremony to make a plan, which is awesome. The staff and management at Juliane James Place, a secluded, picturesque 40-acre site among the woods and ponds between Finlayson and Willow River has offered just such Plan B’s to their couples in the past. But more often, people will want to decide one or two days in advance. Find out the venue’s specific protocol and what you might be responsible for doing in the event of a site change.
Part of the fun of a northern Minnesota wedding is embracing where you are. You won’t need red lumberjack plaid tuxedos or fishing lure bouquets. Unless, of course, you really want them. But small touches such as birch bark-wrapped votive holders, local wildflowers or locally brewed beer are a great way to infuse the character of the area into a destination wedding event.
Because many guests take the opportunity to arrive early or stay late, consider organizing group adventures or providing information on area activities. Many northern Minnesota resorts offer private fishing charters, guides or boat rentals, like Appeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort, Lutsen Resort or Whitefish Lodge. Host evening bonfires with s’mores by the lake, or for resorts with golf courses, check for any greens fee discounts that may be available.
Regardless of the outdoor activities you and your guests choose to explore, when planning an event up north, be sure to consider the locals. There are a few things people are going to have to consider with a wedding up north. Travel, weather and mosquitoes. Provide guests with mosquito wipes (include some without DEET for kids) in silver bowls on charming outdoor tables. It’s the little things like providing bug repellent, sunscreen or even blankets rolled up in a basket if the weather is cool all let guests know you’ve thought about the fact that they’re away from home.
A remote destination may not offer the large vendor roster of a metropolitan area, but that doesn’t mean that the local vendors aren’t great at what they do. There’s a lot to be said for working with vendors who really know the area, local and seasonal fare for dining, and the weather they’re going to be working in. For example, a great local party rental company like London Road in Duluth understands how to set up a tent to withstand the winds off Lake Superior or what size tent heater you might want on hand for the chilly North Shore nights.
Another bonus of hosting a ceremony in a scenic locale is that there’s often a ton of natural character, minimizing the need for extra décor. When moving indoors for a reception, however, it’s helpful to turn to a local professional, like Petals & Beans of Nisswa, who knows the local floral look firsthand. They can really help you feel like you’ve brought the great north woods indoors.
Not every couple who heads north is looking for the rustic charm of a lakeside resort. For these couples, the striking architecture, pebble beach and impeccably manicured garden of Glensheen Mansion and the opulent reception halls of Greysolon Ballroom in downtown Duluth cannot be beat for metropolitan sophistication with the scenic backdrop of Lake Superior.
For a more offbeat event, consider a reception or rehearsal dinner at Bent Paddle Brewing Co., an urban-industrial taproom and craft brewery in Duluth. Duluth has an amazing brewing culture, and we’re told that hosting an event in this space is just a really fun twist on the traditional north woods vibe.
The gently lapping waves of a nearby lake can be a lovely backdrop for a wedding up north. But these locations have something magical to offer beyond the vows, the dinner and dancing. Minnesota is not like some anonymous ballroom in a hotel that you have no reason to visit again. You can go back together or for family events and always remember just how special this location really was.
Of course, we’re here to help with the dozens of choices you’re going to be making in your planning process. Allow us to lend a hand with destination wedding stationery like this or this. Or just get in touch with us, and let’s chat about your dream day and how we can help.
In the meantime, check out the fabulous inspiration boards the team has put together to help keep your creativity flowing. You can find those here.
We know your day is going to be the best day ever, and we couldn’t be happier for you both!