Planning an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony in Minnesota

Brides, Education, Wedding Tips for Brides, Weddings

Planning an outdoor wedding ceremony in Minnesota can be tricky because there are so many unknowns with the weather. In fact, planning an outdoor wedding ceremony anywhere is tricky and precautions should always be taken.

Picture this:

The sun is shining brilliantly and the sky is a nice mixture of blue with a few grey clouds pocketing it here and there. It’s warm and there’s a slight breeze and a gorgeous and excited bride is about to walk down the aisle to become the wife to the man she loves. Just as the bride and her dad are about to begin walking across the lawn, toward the groom, a few raindrops begin to fall and the wind starts to lift pieces of her hair and ruffle tree branches. No worries, though, it’s just a little water and a little wind, right? Wrong. By the time the bride reaches her groom, her and dear-old dad are straining against what feels like gale-force winds and the heavens suddenly open up and dump a seemingly never-ending deluge of water down on everyone.

Welcome to Minnesota!

In my eyes, there is nothing more alluring and romantic than an outdoor wedding ceremony—filled with a magnitude of florals against a gorgeous backdrop of woods or water. However, the weather here can easily turn on a dime, so when planning an outdoor wedding ceremony in Minnesota, it’s very important to take precautions and think about some alternatives in case the weather decides to suddenly change. The opposite to the above scenario can also happen if the day seems cool and inviting but turns into a desert oven by the time the ceremony begins, effectively cooking your guests.

Here are 5 helpful tips for planning an outdoor wedding ceremony in Minnesota.

Backup Plan

Don’t underestimate Mother Nature. With an outdoor wedding, you want to prepare for anything she might throw your way. Most venues are already are on top of a backup plan, but make sure to review it and agree with their plan before saying yes to the venue. You want to to be just as happy with indoor backup option as you are with the outdoor ceremony location. If you’re getting married at a private location where there might not be an indoor option, look into picking up a covered tent from a rental company or order umbrellas from Amazon Prime.

bride and groom have a good giggle during the ring exchange in their outdoor ceremony

Ceremony Location & Lighting

Ceremony lighting is crucial as it’s the most important part of your wedding day! If you get married at 1 pm, the light will be incredibly harsh, which will cause harsh shadow lines on your face (and it’s something that cannot be edited out later or avoided). Then there can be issues with squinting because the light will be so bright. Lastly, if it’s summer at 1 pm, it will most likely also be extremely hot, causing you and all your guests to sweat profusely. My top piece of advice for a ceremony location outdoors is to find a place that has shade. Shade allows for cooler temperatures and evenly lit photographs. If direct sun is unavoidable, make sure to have the sun positioned to your back during the time of your ceremony.

guests look on as a bride and groom begin their outdoor ceremony in Minnesota with a reading by a bridesmaid Planning outdoor wedding ceremonies is important in Minnesota. Comfort and Cashmere images.

Plan Enough Seating

When it comes to seating, you want to make sure you have enough for your guests. When people arrive early, they tend to leave empty chairs between them, so later-arriving guests may feel obligated to stand, rather than trying to shuffle through a row of guests during the ceremony to get to an empty seat. The rule of thumb, then, is to have at least ten to twenty percent more seating than the number of guests. The reasoning behind this is early arrivals tend to leave empty chairs between them. Plan ahead and have more seating.

bride and groom stand at the altar—a large outdoor garden patio with a fountain. Planning an outdoor wedding ceremony in minnesota. gorgeous floral hanger suspended above the head table at an outdoor wedding reception

Sound Quality

There can be outside noise (such as wind or people) that will affect the sound quality of an outdoor wedding ceremony and it can make it difficult for guests to hear the ceremony. To address this issue you may want to use wireless microphones and outdoor speakers for your officiant and for the musicians or music.

groom tears up and so does bride as they walk toward each other during the beginning of their wedding ceremony. Image by comfort and cashmere bride and groom are wed outside in a shady spot with trees as a backdrop in Minnesota during summer

No Cell Phones

While all wedding ceremonies have the potential for cell phone interference, outdoor ceremonies generally allow for more room for people to intrude on the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about your friends and family taking photos throughout the getting ready part of the day, cocktails, dancing, etc., but not during the wedding ceremony. You hired your photographer and videographer for a reason, right? There is nothing more distracting and disruptive than seeing a cell phone sticking out into the center of the aisle as a stunning bride walks with her father toward her groom. I can’t tell you how many times I gently nudge people to move over so I can avoid the phone issue. It’s not uncommon to have an “unplugged ceremony” sign at the entrance to the ceremony site or for the officiant to make an announcement once the service begins, but I do advise all my couples to make an announcement BEFORE you walk down the aisle.

If you’re one of my couples and you’re having a tough time planning your outdoor wedding ceremony, let’s chat! I’d love to help you figure it all out.

Inside of a large white reception tent, decorated for a wedding with green linens and florals.


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Fueled by equal parts strong coffee and French 75’s, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that convey distinctive emotion through intentional moments and create elevated images you’ll treasure for a lifetime. I showcase your story and your love in an exceptional, gracious way. I believe in real moments, heartfelt conversations, love stories that grow stronger through the storms and the kind of joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. When I'm not tearing up during the vows, you'll find me whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, listening to Sinatra, or snuggling with my mini me.

I’m Rohana Olson

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