Are you leaning towards an elopement or a small ceremony instead of a full big wedding?  I would love to give you some tips as a Minnesota Elopement Photographer and a Wedding photographer who does wedding ceremonies of all sizes!

Intimate ceremonies are incredibly emotional, there are (usually) less 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 Intimate 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, there are also many new Wedding terms like Minimonys, Sequel Weddings, Petite Weddings and Micro 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 your backyard to the courthouse, 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) . There is something very romantic about running off to get married, that is all about romance and adventure. Eloping tends to save you some financial and social stress that comes from planning a big wedding! The best part: Your Minnesota Elopement photographer is used to these spur of the moment happenings!

A big thing about elopements, is that you can 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!  For elopement photos in Minnesota this is as good as it gets!

Small Weddings

Small Weddings have been a popular choice for couples who want something simpler. They are back to being not only popular but a necessity, given the events restrictions and social distance that many countries have put in place after the pandemic.

And while downsizing your weddings might not have been your first choice, this doesn’t mean that your day will be anything 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!

While we sometimes use both terms Elopement or Small Weddings for minimal ceremonies with few people, small weddings have more guests and there is more planning involved.

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.  Small weddings require a bit more planning, vendors and bookings!

Choosing a spot to elope

When choosing where to elope you can think about things like convenience, meaning and availability!

1. For an urban location that is centric and easy for everyone to find their way, you can go for a wedding in the gorgeous Minneapolis City Hall !

2. If you are wanting to find a smaller venue, you can find a restaurant like the WA frost in the city of St Paul or a place  that allows for small ceremonies outside like the Minnesota Arboretum, or a beautiful green conservatory like Como Conservatory.

3. A small and charming hotel outside of the city  is a perfect example of thinking outside the box. If you know someone with a gorgeous backyard, a lake house or a cabin, ask them.

4. Renting a cool airbnb is another great choice, specially if it’s close to the Lake Superior, or one of our ten thousand lakes so you can have a gorgeous lakeside ceremony .

5. Another thing to consider when choosing a spot is your personalities, if you prefer to be surrounded by nature and quiet, you can choose to find a place in nature.  A place outside that is secluded might feel more special to you as a couple!

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.

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 might not feel as romantic to start with but 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!

Ceremony moment during the bride at Groom during their Minnesota Elopement

Elopement Locations


There is so many beautiful smaller venues and nature areas both in the city and surrounding areas. Here are a few favorite locations that offer their space for smaller ceremonies.

COVID Update: As some of our favorite venues are still closed, we will continue to add our favorite as they provide an update or officially reopen! 

Here are a few venues that are currently offering small ceremony options:


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

You can also do your small ceremony at someone’s backyard !


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)
  • 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

These locations are all beautiful but we can also help you find something meaningful for you!

Best Minnesota Elopement Locations for Nature Lovers

The North Shore is a great way to save on decoration
First, find a Minnesota State Parks you would like to use.
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 


Fort Snelling (Minneapolis, MN)
Interstate Park (Taylor Falls, MN) 
 Tettegoutche State Park (Silver Bay, MN)
Jay Cooke State Park  (Carlton, MN)
Gooseberry Falls State Park  (Two Harbors, MN)

favorite sTATE PARKS 


Madeline Island, WI
Osceola Falls, WI * not a venue!
Enchanted Barn, WI
Big Rocks Creek (St Croix Falls, WI)
YMCA Camp St Croix 

Rivertown Inn (Stillwater, MN) 
St James Hotel (Red Wing, MN)
GunFlint (Grand Marais, MN)
Grand View Lodge (Nisswa, MN)
Moondance Inn (Red Wing, MN )
Cove Point Lodge (Beaver Bay MN)
Caribou Highlands Lodge (Lutsen, MN)
Cotton Mansion (Duluth, MN)


Minnesota Elopement Photographer

Most of my packages for Small Weddings are customized to your needs and they all include planning help, the best photos of your day, and printing rights.

 Minnesota and Wisconsin Elopements and Intimate Wedding coverage packages start at $450/ hour of photography coverage.

Message me if you would like to see some more options for your day!

Book With me!


our favorite SMALL WEDDING &

I've worked with all of the  vendors below and we can't recommend them enough! I choose them for both the quality of their work as well as their professionalism and flexibility with couples during their most special day!







If you are leaning towards a smaller wedding, you can find some options for venues in this list of Small Wedding Venues in Minnesota


A Minneapolis courthouse wedding is a great option for many couples wishing for simplicity! The city buildings can be very beautiful and have interesting appeal for the day you have in mind !

It is also a match for the adventurous couple that wants a simplified version of a wedding in the city.


There is nothing better than a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine with new friends, let’s go for one!

I'd love to hear about your special day! 


Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401 and Beyond.
Minneapolis & Beyond
+1 (612) 444-6009


I will be in touch shortly. Can't wait to chat! 
Cheers, friend!