Minnesota Elopement Photographer – Everything you need to know about eloping in MN

 Elope in Minnesota

Are you leaning towards an elopement or a small ceremony instead of a full big wedding?  I would love to give you some tips so you can rock your Minnesota elopement! Ope!

View this beautiful Elopement in the North Shore

Why eloping?

It’s a celebration about you two!

Intimate ceremonies are incredibly emotional, there are (usually) fewer complications and less structure around your day! The people surrounding you are the most special to your hearts and there is more space to be genuine.

Elopement and Micro Weddings: What’s the difference

Both types of ceremonies are minimalistic in nature and involve few, or even zero, guests. With small weddings evolving and changing in trends and complexity, they are also known as Intimate weddings and there are some Wedding terms like Mini Wedding , Tiny Wedding, Minimonys, Sequel Weddings, and Petite Weddings!


Elopements are the choice for many couples whose guest list is small or tiny, usually 10 people or less. I have been to micro ceremonies where I was counted as the witness! The ceremony can be anywhere from planning a backyard wedding to having a Minnesota courthouse wedding, lakeside or a park, where you do it is very flexible! The reception, if there is one, is usually a very, small dinner celebration.

Elopements are also known to be something more spontaneous (even though it does require a little bit of planning) and involve some sort of adventure in your day!  In Minnesota many couples choose to find a secluded nature area, or take a road trip to a waterfall or, even better, by the majestic Lake Superior!   The best part: Your Minnesota Elopement photographer is used to these spur of the moment happenings!

Micro Weddings in Minnesota

Small Weddings have been a popular choice for couples who want something simpler. They are back to being not only popular but a necessity after the pandemic (when the term micro wedding became more popular).

And while downsizing your weddings might not have been your first choice, this doesn’t mean that your day will be any less special! Intimate and smaller ceremonies are very emotional and allow you to focus on you two even more surrounded by your most important and favorite people are around you!  The main difference in a small wedding is the size of the guest list and that there is often some type of reception after the ceremony.

Choosing a spot to elope : Minnesota Elopement Locations

Minnesota is full of locations that are beautiful, accessible and memorable! When choosing where to elope you can think about things like convenience, meaning and availability.

Eloping in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is the heart of the state and we love it!  If you would like to have a romantic spontaneous wedding in Minneapolis let me give you some ideas!

Minneapolis Outdoor spaces for small ceremonies

If you want the city views in the background, you can plan for  an urban location for your elopement outside.  There are so many nature areas both in the city and surrounding areas. Here are a few favorite locations :

Outdoor ceremonies in Minneapolis and St Paul

Here are a few of my favorite locations in Minneapolis , St Paul and surrounding areas

Check out my tips for Getting Married at a Minnepolis St Paul Parks

Check out my list of the best Wedding Venues for Small Ceremonies in Minnepolis St Paul, some are beautiful and among the best venues in Minnesota

Courthouse Weddings

For an urban location that is centric and easy for everyone to find their way, you can go for a wedding in the courthouse!

COVID UPDATE: Courthouse and city hall ceremonies are now being scheduled!

Popular courthouse wedding locations in the Minneapolis St Paul Area are

  • Hennepin County  (Mpls, MN)
  • Ramsey County (St Paul, MN)
  • Government center (Mpls, MN)
  • Minneapolis City Hall (Mpls, MN)
  • Minnesota Capitol Building (St Paul, MN)
  • Family Justice Center (St Paul, MN)
  • Juvenile Justice Center
  • Brookdale, Ridgedale and Southdale Regional Service

Click for tips for Getting Married at the Courthouse

North Shore Elopement Locations

If you prefer to be surrounded by nature and quiet, a place to Elope in the Northsore might feel more special to you! Planning a Minnesota North Shore Elopement is a very unique option!

The North Shore is one of Minnesotan’s favorite spot to visit anytime of the year. The Lake Superior is truly breathtaking and the woods surrounding it serve as a great way to save on decoration . First, find a spot or even a Park you would like to use. Then you will want to reach out to the office, most of these places will be okay with a elopement but you will want to ask what times are best for the least amount of people.

  • Palisade Head in Silver Bay, MN
  • Lighthouse in Beaver Bay, MN
  • Pebble Beach in Beaver Bay, MN
  • Black Beach in Silver Bay, MN
  • Park Point in Duluth, MN

Venues in the North Shore offering Minnesota Elopement Packages

Many Venues and Vendors are now offering Elopement options

GunFlint (Grand Marais, MN)
Grand View Lodge (Nisswa, MN) – View a wedding here
Moondance Inn (Red Wing, MN )
Cove Point Lodge (Beaver Bay MN)
Caribou Highlands Lodge (Lutsen, MN)
Cotton Mansion (Duluth, MN)

Getting Married at a Minnesota State Park

Call the office at the park and inform them about your plans . While there is no rental fees, they want to make sure you are pre-empting a popular view or something so that others can’t use it as well. The park manager may also be able to make some recommendations for pretty spots that you might be unaware of, or times of day that will give you a little more privacy.
MN DNR   888-646-6367

 A few of my favorite State Parks in Minnesota

Other elopement locations in Western Wisconsin

Getting married at a Picturesque town

Choosing a smaller town to elope is a wonderful idea. You can find a charming spot that is uniquely yours!  A small and charming hotel outside of the city  is a perfect example of thinking outside the box.  A small town like Stillwater might be a good choice!

Stillwater Elopement by the bridge

Some fun towns that have lots of wonderful spots are:

  • Stillwater, MN
  • Red Wing, MN
  • Anoka, MN

Finding a city with an stunning overlook such as  ed Wing, make for great spots to Elope.

Elope by the Water: Lakeside, Riverside and Fall ceremonies

Getting married by the lake is totally doable and absolutely gorgeous. How about a river or falls? Pick from  our ten thousand lakes so you can have a gorgeous lakeside ceremony . 

  • Excelsior Bay Beach, MN
  • White Bear Lake, MN
  • Lakes in the Twin Cities
  • Minnehaha Falls (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Minnahaha Creek (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Summit Overlook (St Paul, MN)
  • Stillwater, MN
  • Interstate Park (Taylor Falls, MN and WI)
  • Osceola Falls, MN

Other cities by the St Croix river like Stillwater, are a wonderful backdrop and are full of options to celebrate afterwards.

These locations are all beautiful but we can also help you find something meaningful for you, such as  the beautiful studio we found for this Small Elopement with complementary photos outside!

Timing your Outdoor Elopement

If you are thinking of eloping and getting married outdoors, timing will be important! It’s no secret that sunrise or sunsets are way more romantic than middle of the day sun. This is mainly because is when the light is more flattering on people, as it is soft and warm. Think of it like nature’s best filter .It’s best to have your ceremony near sunrise or sunset.

Timeline for an outside elopement

If you are planning to have a ceremony outside, I recommend planning your ceremony around golden hour. You can also choose to have a sunrise ceremony, which is super special!

You can choose to have portraits done before the ceremony, or after the ceremony.  If you are dreaming on having a ceremony at sunset, then you will be planning to do 30 to 45 minutes before the sun sets.

Example timeline for an outdoor ceremony with portraits after the ceremony
4:30pm – Meet for ceremony

5:00pm – Ceremony starts

5:30 – Leave for location

6:00 – Portraits

7:00pm – Sunset

7:15pm – Last portraits at twilight

7:30pm – Approx finish time

8:00 Dinner reservations

Elopement by the lake Minnetonka

Preparing for the Season of your Minnesota Elopement

Whenever you are outdoors in Minnesota, you will want to have a plan B for when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Wether that is bracing some umbrellas or finding a covered shelter! The good part about having a small wedding is that the pieces are easier to move 🙂

Check out my Minnesota wedding guide for tips on handling Minnesota seasons

Avoiding crowds

If you are thinking of an iconic place that is outdoors and maybe in a State park even, you will want to think of crowds. You can probably google this and see how “busy” this place is at certain times and seasons, or you can try calling if there is an office there. Most likely Saturdays will be the busiest so you might need to get creative with the timing. A weekday it’s a great way to avoid crowds!

Make sure to check with your Minnesota Elopement Photographer, since we are usually aware of the best timing form any particular spots!

Make it a whole day thing

I have a little guide on non-traditional ideas for your wedding to make your day truly unique!  From the way you transport yourselves to your elopement, to other ways to toast or dress, you can make your day truly yours!

Elopement Photos in Minnesota : The Importance of awesome photos

When it comes to celebrating your love YOUR way, planning for photography is important. Even if it’s just the two of you and witnesses, or if you have a small guests list, your wedding day is still one of the most special days of your life!
Try to keep as a priority hiring a professional wedding photographer for your ceremony with experience!

Elopement Photography Packages


All custom packages include:

Let's do things your way!

All packages are customized to your day and include planning help, creative vision, location scouting and vendor recommendations, as well as the best, fully edited high resolution files delivered in a private online gallery.

The best of your event fully edited with high resolution files delivered in a private online gallery.


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