Reception Sites 101: Outdoor & Tents

August 12, 2014

If you’re planning a Wisconsin wedding, the great outdoors might be the perfect option. Outdoor ceremonies and receptions are largely limited to late spring, summer, and early fall — and even then we’ve had snow in April and autumn in August. But outdoorsy wedding ceremonies and receptions are definitely worth considering. If the weather cooperates (and even if it doesn’t) a wedding in nature is a unique and unforgettable experience, and the coordinators at outdoor wedding sites will stop at nothing to give you a beautiful day, rain or shine.

Of course the main draw of a garden, park, or lakeside wedding is that Mother Nature is your decorator. In warmer months, trees and flowers are in bloom, sailboats and yachts are out on the lakes, and surrounding wildlife adds to the music of the day. Just think of the gorgeous views and photo-ops: sunsets, tall grasses, blossoming flowers, charming foot bridges, white gazebos, open stone courtyards, wooded trails, and walks along the shoreline.

Many outdoor venues offer space for the ceremony and reception, making it easy on you and your guests since there’s no in-between travel involved. So while you’re busy being photographed in nature’s most romantic settings, your guests will never be bored during their down time with all there is to explore. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that people other than your guests might also be exploring. County parks, nature centers, and gardens are open to the public even during your wedding. If you’re set on privacy, look to a resort, club, or other private venue.

Of course, the big questions on any Wisconsin bride’s mind: What if it rains? What if it’s cold? Don’t worry — outdoor venues always have a backup plan for inclement weather. If you were planning to have the ceremony just outside of the reception building, it can be moved indoors in the event of rain or cold. If you’re having a tented reception, the sides of the tent can be raised or lowered depending on the weather, and the temperature inside can also be regulated. And — bonus! — white tents are a blank slate, just waiting to fulfill your decorating dreams.
Check out our Tent and Party Rentals information here!

If you like the sound of all this (the romantic atmosphere, the photo-ops, the fun exploring for your guests), there are a number of beautiful garden wedding sites in Southeast Wisconsin listed below. These venues offer outdoor options for either your ceremony and/or reception. In addition to private locations, museums, and resorts, other options include county parks that offer rental options. Whatever your choice, they have both the scenery and experience to make yours a magical wedding day.

For more information on reception venues, check out our Advanced Venue Search at There you can search by the number of guests, price range, and type of venue.

To get you started, here’s a list of outdoor facilities in Southeast Wisconsin. We’re also including a few “Real Wedding” links from venues!

Outdoor Weddings/Receptions/Tent Option

Abloom Farm
Canal Street Yacht Club
Carriage House
Chandelier Ballroom
Charles Allis Art Museum
Clubhouse at the Bog
Delafield Brewhaus
Geneva Ridge Resort
Golden Mast Inn
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
Hawk’s View Golf Club
Hilton Milwaukee City Center
The Ingleside Hotel
Lake Geneva Cruise Line
Lake Lawn Resort/Geneva Ballroom
Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee County Parks
Racine Civic Centre
Red Circle Inn
Seven Seas
Veterans Terrace at Echo Park
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
War Memorial Center
West Bend Country Club
Waukesha Department of Parks Rec & Forestry
Watertown Country Club
Washington County Fair Park & Conference Center

Real Weddings Held at Outdoor Venues

Stephanie and Shawn at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Mandy and Drew at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum and River Club Mequon
Aleah and Donald at Geneva National Golf Club
Erin and Kenny The Red Crown Lodge
Hannah and Austin Royal Oaks Apple Farm

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