Sarah & Paul's simple and fun outdoor wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015


The Offbeat Bride: Sarah, Social Worker and student

Her Offbeat Partner: Paul, Web Developer at Minnesota Public Radio

Location & date of wedding: Minnehaha Falls Park and our back yard in south Minneapolis, MN — September 20, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was offbeat for several reasons. First, we had a short engagement (four months) and we stuck to a very reasonable budget. Second, we kept everything really simple, we had a small wedding party of my sister and Paul's best friend.

We tried to do as much as possible ourselves or find help from friends. Paul has skills in graphic design so he made our super simple post card style invites. We folded hundreds of paper cranes to use as decorations. To stay within our budget, Paul traded his skills in website building with our friend for her photography skills. She was amazing and it worked out great for everybody!

For food, we ordered from a local middle eastern deli. This satisfied our vegetarian/ vegan friends and our meat eating extended family. It was a hit!

Our ceremony was held a few blocks away from our house in a beautiful park and we had a great reception in our backyard. It was so amazing that we were able to pull off a beautiful event, yet it was flexible and laid back.

Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was worrying about the weather. Having an entirely outdoor wedding in September in Minnesota is a pretty risky thing to do. It turned out to be beautiful!

But, we planned for the worst… We reserved extra tents for the party and we painted and cleaned out our garage for the reception (over 170 people). All the worrying and obsessive weather website checking was totally worth it. Having an outdoor event of this style was totally us.

My favorite moment: My favorite moment was before the wedding at the park as everyone arrived. It wasn't like getting married in a church or something where I was hidden away. I was able to hang out and greet a lot of people. I kept getting choked up at the idea of so many of my closest friends and family coming together in this beautiful place to celebrate Paul and me.

The anticipation was fantastic, after that the rest of the day just flew by.

My advice for other offbeat brides: I worried a lot about being too traditional. I was scared of being demanding, almost to a fault. I wish I would have appointed somebody to be sort of an information holder. Somebody else who knew everything that was supposed to happen and when.

Also, take the time to eat some food before the big event. Try to get some sleep and let others take care of you.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?: Sure.

  • My sister found a great dress at Anthropologie.
  • I'm not sure if my dress is still available. But, I got it at J. Crew. I took a chance and ordered the dress online and I'm so glad I did. It was beautiful, the fabric was lovely.
  • Our photographer, Kimberlee Whaley, was amazing.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!:

  1. Every time I passed by the spot in the park where you got married, I always thought to myself, "This would be a beautiful place for a wedding." Minnehaha Park is one of my favorite places, and you were very lucky to get married there on such a gorgeous day! Congratulations!

  2. Who did the catering?? I am also planning a very simple MN wedding and I am currently looking for catering

  3. We went with Holy Land Deli. My only complaint was they were about 45 minutes late with the food. But, it didn't matter. Besides that the price was very reasonable and we had more than enough food.

    • To follow up Sarah, Holy Land was awesome because it catered to our vegan, vegetarian, and carnivorous guests, as well as those few people who don't know what hummus, falafel, or gyros are. 🙂

  4. Your dress is absolutely lovely — I'd seen it on eBay and it looked pretty, but it looks even better on you!!

  5. It was a great wedding, one that will be remembered for sure. Now here it is a whole year later and the future is still looking great for these two who were meant for each other. Cheers, G.

  6. Holy Land is the best. great idea! we used Pizza Luce for our wedding, SUPER cheap and who doesn't like pizza?

  7. We're planning a public park wedding, too, and I was wondering about where to hang out nearby beforehand where I won't be seen, because I kind of do want to make an entrance, even though we're not doing an "aisle" thing. Anyone dealt with that?

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