Top 5 Places for Wedding Photos in the Parks

By: Alyssa Schauer

September 27, 2019

Category: Sustainability

Imagine standing next to your partner under lush canopies of giant maple trees, eagerly waiting to say “I do” as rays of sunshine illuminate the forest and a cool breeze rustles through the leaves. Butterflies flutter past, birds soar above and family and friends surround you for one of the most memorable occasions of your life.

One of the incredible things about getting hitched in Three Rivers is the wide variety of lovely spaces and natural settings to capture that beauty of your special day. From hilltop views to cozy ski chalets to formal gardens and more, the choices are endlessly beautiful.

Here are just a few of our favorite spots:

1. Silverwood Park, St. Anthony

Silverwood Park is truly a hidden gem right in the metro and a fabulously gorgeous place to take wedding photos.

The landscaping, flower pots and well-maintained gardens give an incredible backdrop, as does its majestic Great Hall that features a cathedral-style ceiling and large glass windows that overlook Silver Lake.

Forested trails that wind through the park and the boardwalk leading to the island also offer unique spots to capture those special moments.

wedding party on a boardwalk
The boardwalk crossing Silver Lake brings rustic charm to any wedding photo taken at Silverwood.
Photo courtesy of Isabel Fajardo Photography.
wedding couple hugging in the woods
Turf trails at Silverwood wind through towering oaks and offer a more natural setting.
Image by Blessings Photography, LLC.
couple standing on a brick patio
Silverwood Park is also a lovely location for winter wedding photos.
Image by Iris Studios Photography.

2. Hyland Hills, Bloomington

Hyland Hills is one of the most stunning locations to get married in the metro area and a magnificent place to take photos. What makes this place so special is that couples have the option to wed at the top of the hill, which is one of the highest points in Hennepin County.

From panoramic views of the Minneapolis skyline and rolling hills and river valleys to tall pine forests and chairlifts, there are a variety of different landscapes for beautiful wedding scenes.

bride and groom at the top of the hill
"Top of the Hill" at Hyland Hills.
Photo by Blessings Photography, LLC.
wedding couple on a chairlift
The chairlift adds so much character to wedding photos at Hyland Hills.
Image by Shelby Brion Photography.
wedding couple walking along tall pines
Hyland Hills is located in Hyland Lake Park Reserve and feels like a wild oasis right in the heart of the city. Photo courtesy of Glasser Images Photography.

3. Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove

With its seemingly infinite forested hills and large stone ski chalet, Elm Creek Park Reserve offers an abundance of backdrops for photo ops and is a perfect place for those seeking a rustic and woodsy vibe.

bride and groom with rolling hills in the background
Elm Creek Park Reserve is the largest park in the district and its vast landscape of woodlands, prairies and old farm fields will take your breath away. Image by K Solberg Photography.
wedding party standing on a trail underneath a walking bridge
The trail near the walking bridge outside the ski chalet serves as a simply beautiful setting. 
Photo courtesy of Eric Vest Photography.
wedding party alongside a wall of leafy green vines
"The Vine Wall" is an infamous and fabulous spot for photos at Elm Creek, especially when the foliage is in full bloom and so very green. Image by Studio 220 Photography.
couple under the night sky
The night sky at Elm Creek is a perfect backdrop for those enchanting nighttime images.
Photo by Brian Bossany.

4. Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista

Gale Woods Farm, located in the forested rolling hills of Minnetrista, is one of the most picturesque places for photos in the parks with its secluded location and spectacular vista over Whaletail Lake. An ideal spot for more private ceremonies and anyone looking for that classic country wedding style.

And if you're lucky, you just might have the chance to meet Mardi the Llama.

brides walking a fall trail with a red barn in the background
The farmscape setting at Gale Woods offers so many opportunities for country-style feels.
Image by Love.B Photography.
couple kissing at an outdoor overlooking the woods and whaletail lake
Sunset is an especially gorgeous time of day to capture photos overlooking Whaletail Lake.
Image courtesy of Shuttersmack.
bride and groom outside by a large oak tree at sunset with Whaletail Lake in the background
The tall oak behind the pavilion is another wonderful natural backdrop at Gale Woods.
Image by Terra Sura Photography.
wedding couple standing by a tree with a llama in the background
Photo bomb by Mardi the Llama!
Image by James Sawatzky Photography.

5. Noerenberg Gardens, Wayzata

This gorgeous location is known for its tranquility and striking beauty. The formal gardens display a wide variety of unusual annuals and perennials, an assortment of grasses and a large daylily collection.

The brick pathways and ornamental gazebo overlooking Lake Minnetonka also add charming character to any photos taken at Noerenberg.

bride with gardens in the background
The extraordinary gardens are one of the most impressive locations in the park district for wedding photos.
Image by Bit Klecker.
gazebo overlooking lake minnetonka
The decorative gazebo at Noerenberg overlooks Lake Minnetonka and is a romantic location for any wedding shoot. Image by Adam Kennedy Photography.

Professional Photography in the Parks

Interested in taking photos in the parks? Portrait and professional photography on park property requires a pass. Passes need to be purchased in advance and are available online. Learn more about photography guidelines in Three Rivers and get creative in the parks!

Three Rivers Wedding Fair

Are you planning a wedding and looking for photographers? Don’t miss the annual Wedding Fair at Hyland Hills on Sunday, September 29! Browse a variety of photographers and other vendors and find ideas and services for all your wedding planning needs. It’s also the perfect chance to meet with Three Rivers staff to ask questions, book your date and learn more about getting married in the parks. See you there!

Archive and banner image at Gale Woods Farm by Barclay Horner.

About the Author

a smiling woman wearing a straw hat

Alyssa Schauer is part of the marketing team at Three Rivers. She earned her Bachelor's degree in poetry writing and communications at Winona State University and formerly worked as a journalist at a small-town newspaper. After college, she volunteered with the Minnesota Conservation Corps to clear and maintain trails in Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters. Outside of work, she spends time in the woods looking at everything up close (especially ferns and spiders), writing poems about nature, canoeing with her husband, planning Halloween costumes year-round, playing Nintendo and raising a pride of four naughty (but cute!) cats.

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