Lake weddings are honestly my favorite kind of wedding. There’s nothing like getting all of your favorite people together for a weekend at the lake – and then you get to marry your best friend at the same time? BEST WEEKEND EVER!
Amanda and Tim got married on a property Tim’s grandfather had recently purchased (an old bible camp). So they had all the buildings there to make their wedding vision come to life!
Not everyone has a private summer camp property to get married at, BUT there are many options for your lake wedding, like resorts and rentals.
Depending on what lake you’re getting married on, if it’s private property, a resort, or a rental house, there can be a few more details to think about when you’re getting married in lake country. So here are my top 10 tips to make your lake wedding go swimmingly (pun very much intended)!
1. Find a location that you LOVE
In the land of 10,000 lakes, there are LOTs of options for your wedding location. Find one that you and your partner both love. A great way to do this is to sit down and talk about what you want to focus of your day to be. Pick three things you want to focus on, and then choose your venue around that. Is there a specific region of Minnesota you want to stick to? Maybe your guest list is essential to you, so thinking about what accommodations boxes a location needs to check would be helpful. Whatever your focus is, being on the same page with your partner will help you decide on a location a lot easier.
2. Has this location ever had a wedding on the property before? How big was it?
There are a lot of SUPER cute resorts in lake country. Many would-be picture perfect for a wedding. But have they hosted a wedding before? What size was it? Just because a location hasn’t hosted a wedding before doesn’t mean you should rule them out. But it is something to discuss. What aspects of the day will you be responsible for? And what extra costs will be associated? Having an honest, upfront conversation with the location owners from the start is the best way to tackle the planning.
3. Will there be enough room to lodge all of your guests?
Lodging is a big one. If you plan on having a large wedding, a more established lake resort or hotel might be a better option than an Airbnb. There are still TONS of options for large lake weddings. If you plan on partying with 100+ of your closest friends on the lake, I recommend finding a venue sooner rather than later, as lots of large lake venues book well in advance.
4. How far is the nearest town? Nearest vendors for the day of?
If you are going the more remote route with your wedding, it could be difficult to find nearby vendors such as florists, hair and makeup artists, or bakers. Expect to have lodging for your photographer, DJ, and officiant if you are reallllyyy remote. Many vendors are used to traveling to weddings within their region, but some do charge extra for places that take a little longer to get to and from. Your biggest help here will be preparation, family, and friends.
I got married 60 miles away from the nearest salon. So I knew I wouldn’t have a hair or makeup artist at my wedding. I made up for this by setting up a few appointments with a stylist in the town I live, paying her for her time, and she taught my mom a few tricks so she could do my hair on the morning of my wedding. I did my own makeup and played around with it probably a dozen times before the actual day. You can get creative with so many elements of your wedding. I’ve seen brides arrange their florals, grandmas make deserts, and grooms make their own Spotify playlist for their dance. It all depends on your personal preference.
Large wedding venues usually have policies and advice on food and catering for your wedding. If you choose to go the route of a smaller venue like an Airbnb or a small lake resort, this is another thing to consider. There may be rules or physical aspects that make it difficult for caterers to do their job. These are all things to check on early, so you don’t have surprises closer to your wedding day.
6. Power and electricity
With smaller lake resorts, campgrounds, and Airbnbs, ask about power sources. For example, do you want lights anywhere for your ceremony or reception? Is there power for a DJ or a speaker? What are your power needs, and can your chosen location accommodate them?
7. Cell service & internet connection
This is a simple fix, but if you are getting married in a place with little to no cell service, download all desired music to your phone or laptop. Ensure everyone has all instructions or directions saved to their phone as a photo or something they can access without any service.
Weather is one thing you can’t predict no matter how hard you try. I’ve seen many couples move outdoor ceremonies indoors due to rain. I’ve also seen couples get married outdoors in the rain. Take some time to think about your plan if you don’t have perfect weather so it won’t feel like a shock if you have to make last-minute changes.
Ask your vendors about what rules/costs might be associated with different types of alcohol at your wedding. Often, with lake weddings, your guests are staying on the same property. So rules might differ between when your guests are in their designated cabins or camp sights vs. at your reception.
10. Temperature control
One thing to think about with summer weddings is your escape from the heat. Some lake venues have no air conditioning. In the middle of July in Minnesota, no air conditioning can be brutal. If you and your guests aren’t hydrated, things can quickly become unsafe. Another thing to think about is where your dance will be. I’ve seen a few indoor dances moved outdoors due to lack of air conditioning. Ask about this ahead of time. Outdoor dances are gorgeous and can be cooler than a building with no ac in the middle of the summer.
Lake weddings are forever my favorite. I got married on a lake myself. But there can be a little more planning than your average wedding venue. So my best advice for you is just to ask every question you can think of. It will help you prepare so well that you can just sit back and relax when your wedding comes along and don’t have to stress about any last-minute things.