Planning your Minneapolis Elopement

Why Plan a Minneapolis Elopement?

Small weddings are big deals.

So, people come to plan their elopements for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps you are choosing something more flexible and small because COVID has affected your wedding plans. Or perhaps you are psyched that the pandemic has made it easier for you to explain to your family that you always wanted to elope in the first place!

Maybe you want to get married now, and plan for a party later.

That is awesome, and however you come to an elopement, know that you can have a beautiful and meaningful ceremony.

Choosing a more intimate celebration of your wedding means you get to focus on only the most important things – you and your partner.

I approach elopement photography with two goals – document your joy together, and make sure the photos feel natural and intimate.

If you are planning on eloping in Minneapolis or St Paul, I have some tips to keep in mind and also some suggestions for your photography. I also offer special elopement photography packages for weekday weddings (Monday – Thursday) and for winter.

Minneapolis elopement photographer

Wedding photography is changing because weddings are changing

I feel a sea change in how we think about weddings, and I am psyched.

A shift to totally reconsider the purpose of a wedding – the community we build, and the people who celebrate with us.

I see it in large weddings – being more purposeful about what elements of a wedding are truly important, from bringing in the kick-ass band you loved in Chicago to prioritizing spending time with guests.

It is in smaller weddings, too – having an elopement with just a few closest friends or family, making it feel like an amazing evening spent with people you care about.

One thing remains: Celebrations are important.

Rituals are so rare in our lives, that wedding remain a unique moment of shared experience. Weddings show a before and an after in our lives, and that kind of ritual demands documentation.

So, as you are planning, here are some tips to keep in mind to make your elopement as stress free as possible.

Minneapolis Elopement tips:

• SOCIAL DISTANCE IN MIND
Some of these ideas are focused on a non-COVID world, so as restrictions shift and the realities change, some options might also shift. St Paul still requires in person appointments for a marriage license, Minneapolis has options for in person marriage license and they have had options for remote only marriage licenses as well. You can also check out the MN Events Coalition, which compiles the current state requirements and best practices and puts it into plain English for weddings and events.

• GET CREATIVE WITH TIMING
If you want an intimate feel, choose times when spaces will be less used. At Minneapolis Government Center, this means perhaps looking at the end of the day so that you can use the central atrium space for your intimate ceremony. At St Paul City Hall, likewise using the space after hours will allow you to use the stunning art deco lobby. At Como Conservatory, mornings before opening are a perfect space for a slot of sunshine. Think about mornings and weekday afternoons!

outside st paul city hall elopement

• SMALL WEDDINGS SHOULD STILL FEATURE YOU
Choose a location you love for your ceremony, and consider an additional location that you love. You can take a walk with your new spouse and have a few portraits along the way.

• GET YOUR PAPER WORK IN ORDER
Minnesota is a gorgeous state, but it is also really into proper paperwork. Check out the requirements for your marriage licenses (most counties require a few days to process) and also make sure you line up an officiant (I’ve got recommendations if you need them).

• DOES YOUR SPACE NEED A PERMIT?
Parks in the metro can be reserved for a small fee, and many can be used without reservation but will remain open to the public. Most public spaces (theaters, museums, como conservatory, etc) have small rental fees and require a reservation.

• KEEP IT SIMPLE
Think about a few flowers and otherwise keep the details to a minimum. An intimate wedding doesn’t need anything but love, an officiant, and two witnesses!

• WITNESSES!
You do need two witnesses, but I count as one so you can keep your wedding as intimate as possible!

Location Ideas for your Minneapolis Elopement

Its the land of 10,000 lakes, and there are no shortage of amazing spaces for weddings outside. Here are a few of my favorite parks and park districts to look into, as well as my favorite architectural spaces for elopements in the twin cities. I include location ideas and brainstorming along with every elopement package, so please contact me for more info!

Taylors Falls Engagement Photos MN

Minnesota State Parks near Minneapolis for Elopements:

  • Fort Snelling is in the metro along the Mississippi
  • Afton is nearby and offers lovely woods
  • Interstate park has stunning rock formations for a touch of the north shore in the metro
minnehaha falls rose garden wedding ceremony minneapolis photographer

Minneapolis Parks for your Elopement:

  • Minnehaha Falls! It Features a pergola, waterfall, and nearby Longfellow garden
  • Stone Arch Bridge and St Anthony Main feature truly iconic backdrops for an elopement
  • Smaller parks offer more privacy- check out Gluek park in NE, Boom Island, and Lake Hiawatha
comfortable wedding photography james j hill library wedding st paul mn photographer

St Paul Parks for Elopements

  • Hidden Falls is in the Mississippi river valley, close to St Paul, and has rentable outdoor shelters.
  • Raspberry Island offers views of downtown St Paul from the river
  • Swede Hollow is a hidden gem of a park
Wedding couple on dock at Bryant Lake Pavilion, MN

Three Rivers Parks for Elopements:

Three Rivers is in the larger metro area and offers some gorgeous spaces and really well maintained trails. They also require permits and reservations. Favorite parks include:

  • Silverwood (closest to Minneapolis)
  • Gale Woods Farm (features a working farm!)
  • Richardson Nature Center has large spaces and indoor options.

Historical and Architectural Spaces for Twin Cities Elopements:

These all offer spaces that are also open to the public, and some have private spaces for rent for elopements:

Hennepin County Government center
Minneapolis City Hall
St Paul City Hall
Minnesota Capitol Building
Gale Mansion
Aster cafe
Landmark Center St Paul
Como Conservatory

Unexpected Places for Elopements in Twin Cities

The Hewing Hotel has spaces for small weddings and also offers hotel rooms for private events.

The St Paul College Club offers Micro-wedding packages in a great space.

ELOPEMENT PACKAGES INCLUDE

IDEAS AND ADVICE

I’m happy to help with ideas for locations, putting together your timeline, and other troubleshooting!

PHOTOGRAPHY (obviously!)

Coverage of your ceremony and portraits to showcase your day. You’ll also get edited images in high resolution delivered to your inbox.

TRAVEL & ADVENTURE!

Travel within 60 miles of Minneapolis is included and I’ve got options for anywhere in MN. I’ll gladly hike or get in a canoe for your perfect spot.

My husband and I were recently married in a small civil ceremony at the Hennepin County Government Center. Becca was so easy to work with and captured all of the best moments of our wedding ceremony including some portraits over at the Gutherie afterwards. Our personalities came shining through and we were so happy to have her capture the beginning moments of our lives together.

  • Melanie

Planning a small wedding?

I know its a wacky time to plan a wedding, and I’d love to talk with you about documenting your small wedding. Should we chat with you about your photography and plans?

What to expect from Minneapolis Elopement photos: