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Planning an Outdoor Wedding in Lawrence

Updated: Feb 20

By the time most of my clients are talking with me about my services, they have already chosen a venue. But in a lot of cases, especially when I talk with couples at wedding and bridal expos, they are in the very earliest stages of planning. Choosing an outdoor venue, to me, is a no-brainer, especially if you live in Lawrence, KS. I'm biased a bit because this is my hometown, but I've also found through photographing so many weddings that there are a ton of gorgeous locations to choose from.


If you've found yourself at this blog post, let me help you find the perfect place!


The Rotary Arboretum

5100 W 27th St, Lawrence, KS 66047


Maybe my all-time favorite location? Probably helps that my husband and I were married here in 2016!


This location is beautiful all year, and easy to reserve through the Parks and Recreation department. There's also a great variety of places to have your ceremony; the pavilion overlooks the pond and provides overhead shelter, while the wooden stage gives a different perspective of the water.


Erin and Cormac's summer wedding, lush and green, was held under the pavilion...

Couple kissing at wedding ceremony in Lawrence, KS

Wedding portrait by a pond

while Scott and Ivy's Autumn wedding, full of maroons and golds, was held on the stage.


Bride and groom laughing during ceremony at arboretum

Golden hour portrait of bride and groom

1365 N. 1250 Road, Lawrence KS 66046


Variety in landscape is a wonderful thing to have as a photographer, especially when you're photographing a shorter session. The wetlands have so many options; trails meandering through tall grasses and native plants, wooden boardwalks over the water, trees providing shade as they did on this sweltering day for Laura and Chad's elopement. The session was 30 minutes, and we didn't have to waste time looking for multiple locations. More time to capture beautiful images.


Bride and groom portrait after elopement

Summer wedding at the Baker Wetlands

Black and white photo of bride and groom

N 1402 Rd, Lawrence, KS 66049


If you're looking for backdrops, you've come to the right place. This is another of my favorites for elopements, like Melissa and Montana's below. This session was an hour, which allowed for more portraits and family photos after the wedding, and even though we didn't have to move far, it's still a panorama of gorgeous trees, the lake, a long sloping hill, and sky for days.


Bride and groom portrait at Clinton Lake

Fall elopement at Clinton Lake

Small wedding at Clinton Lake in Lawrence, KS

810 Pennsylvania St, Lawrence, KS 66044


For the couple looking for more of an urban outdoor setting, you can't go wrong with the Cider Gallery. Located in East Lawrence, the gorgeous outdoor space is a mix of stone, brick, and green trailing ivy, with plenty of space for even larger weddings. The same outdoor space can be used for the reception, or you can take it inside (which can be a good thing for unpredictable Kansas weather).


Cider Gallery wedding

Summer wedding at Cider Gallery

Summer wedding at Cider Gallery

1200 Oread Ave, Lawrence, KS 66044


This was one of the most clever locations for an elopement, and you could not beat the sunset framing the couple as they exchanged vows. Erica and Jesus booked a room at the Oread Hotel on the KU campus, with an adjoining terrace. They set up this beautiful arch for their intimate ceremony with only three friends, their amazing officiant (seriously, go book with Anna Johnson of Bel Amour LLC), and myself. This also worked wonderfully as it was an especially frigid October day, so it was easy to duck inside afterwards.


Oread Hotel elopement on balcony

Honorable Mention: Wells Overlook

Wells Overlook Rd


Okay, admittedly I haven't had the chance to capture a wedding here. But! I did have the amazing opportunity to be part of Kayn's surprise proposal to Steph, and what an absolute dream that was. He proposed to her at the top of the overlook while the sun was going down, and it was just stunning. So, I include it here as an honorable mention for a wedding location, but can't recommend it enough for proposals and portraits.


Wells Overlook sunset proposal

Sunset engagement in Lawrence, KS



Engagement at Wells Overlook in Lawrence, KS


So there you have it. When it comes to Lawrence, there is no end to the possibilities of a gorgeous wedding outdoors. And if you're looking for a place nearby but out of city limits, check out Dana and Genea's wedding at Midnight Farm in Baldwin, or Kennedy and Virgil's wedding at Just The Place in Ozawkie.

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