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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
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Wedding venues plentiful in Fillmore County


Fri, Jan 10th, 2014
Posted in All Features

Outback Ranch between Rushford and Houston provides wedding goes with the true beauty of a Bluff Country wedding. Photo submitted by Outback Ranch

As we all know, but sometimes forget, Fillmore County is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Minnesota. Nestled in the Root River Valley, we are privy to astounding bluffs, hardwood forests and historic areas that can only be found in one place…our beloved Fillmore County.

Summer months boast of rippling waters from the Root River, long days with beautiful sunsets, lush foliage and the soothing sound of quiet in the evenings. As winter arrives, the land turns into a snowglobe with icicled trees, delicate snowflakes and mid-day sunlight that dances in the snow. Fillmore County is truly one of the most treasured places to live, love and raise a family.

That’s exactly how Craig and Michelle (Jones) Hanson felt when planning their daughter Erica’s wedding. Both Craig and Michelle grew up in southeast Minnesota and still own a home in Lanesboro, although they now reside in the Twin Cities area. The Hansons were able to plan an entire wedding using a picturesque venue in Fillmore County and almost every detail was contributed to by local vendors.

“There are probably a hundred wedding venues in Fillmore County,” explained Michelle, “Every place in the county has amazing views.” The Hansons decided on Berwood Hill Inn, located in between Preston and Lanesboro, as it had everything they were looking for. There was a beautiful barn, gardens and a great staff. From there, the mother of the bride decided they would use local vendors and found it to be more cost efficient than hiring in from Rochester or the Twin Cities. “We used Old Tyme Café out of Chatfield for the catering, Jolene Goodsell out of Stewartville for photography, The Inn in Preston for accomodations and R&M Amish Tours provided transportation to and from, we also had the Groom’s Diner at the Branding Iron, beverages came from the liquor store in Lanesboro…we knew local vendors would take care of us personally in small towns,” Hanson shared.

Many of the wedding party guests even stayed right in Lanesboro at various bed and breakfasts, arriving on Friday and staying through Sunday while making the wedding an event of festivities. Guests were able to enjoy the bike trails, Amish tours, trap shoot at the Lanesboro Gun Club and various other activities Fillmore County is known for.

Michelle stressed the overall cost of the wedding event was far less than if they had decided on a Rochester or Twin Cities location, not to mention more beautiful than the other two places could imagine being. Her son-in-law and daughter, Mike and Erica Dornfeld, were left with not just a memorable wedding day, but a lifetime of stories to share.

You can paint your special moments right in your own backyard too. While there are so many beautiful locations to choose from, here are a few to get you started. Whether you are looking for an outdoor venue, an indoor venue or a place that showcases uniqueness, Fillmore County can accommodate breathtaking views, impressionable memories and talented local vendors, all while being budget friendly.

Outback Ranch

Just outside of Rushford and west of Houston, nestled in the Yucatan Valley, lies Outback Ranch. Known for its horse trails, hiking, snowmobiling and outdoor entertainment, Outback Ranch is also perfect for an indoor or outdoor wedding as well as the reception. The banquet hall comfortably seats 240, but you will be amazed when you see that it can be opened to the outdoors to accommodate even more guests. Beyond that, the stunning views of the surrounding bluffs are what has made Bluff Country famous.

Weddings can take place by the stables, in the banquet hall or at various locations throughout the ranch. There is an outdoor amphitheater with a stage ready to set up entertainment for your guests. They offer various options for lodging all within the property as well. Reservations can be made by calling 507-896-5550.

Niagara Cave

Who knew, right? An adventurous couple or a couple in touch with nature may want to consider Niagara Cave for their nuptials. There is a wedding chapel within the cave, 100 feet below ground, that has a stunning overlook. While this is a smaller venue which comfortably seats 12 and has standing room for an additional 15 guests, it is truly magnificent and memorable. Located on the first level of the cave, access requires the descent of 100 stairs and what lies at the bottom is astounding.

If you need a little more room, you can take advantage of a covered pavilion beyond the entrance to the cave which can also double as a reception area. Located outside of Harmony, the cave has long been known as one of Fillmore County’s gems. Niagara Cave’s season is April-October and reservations can be made by emailing niagara@harmonytel.net or calling 1-800-837-6606.

Berwood Hill Inn

This estate is located between Preston and Lanesboro, in the heart of Fillmore County. The bed and breakfast offers up spa services, incredible gardens, a beautiful old barn and is readily accessable to almost everything imaginable that is offered in the area. Photo opportunities on your special day are endless on this property as you and your guests indulge in nature. The staff at Berwood will help you plan your day or weekend wedding by offering you help with local vendors, additional accomodations for guests if needed and plenty of ideas to make your planning process easier.

The wedding season for Berwood is generally May-November, however they are unique in offering winter weddings as well. They provide sleigh rides for the winter season with a trip through the woods for s’mores as you enjoy the sounds and sights of owls, deer and more. Call 1-800-803-6748 for more information or to make your reservations.

Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

Right in the thick of Fillmore County’s hardwood forests between Fountain and Lanesboro lies Eagle Bluff. Widely known for its environmental education programs, Eagle Bluff also offers outdoor pristine spaces for weddings. Completely immersed in the lush forest and surrounded by nature, Eagle Bluff is a unique place to say “I do.” With indoor offererings in the event of inclement weather, they offer a perfect contingency plan which means less stress on your wedding day.

A large dining hall is available for your reception and with onsite catering, it is hard to say no to the ease of planning. All receptions are cozily served buffet style with delectable eats without a large price tag. But that’s not all, accomodations are also available on site for your wedding party and guests making Eagle Bluff an all in one offering. Although 2014 dates are filling quickly, reservations can still be made by calling 507-467-2437.

Whether you choose a location listed or find your own gem, Fillmore County offers a plethora of wedding venues. A great way to start is by calling city clerks or tourist centers throughout the county, they are great resources. With so many unique locations to choose from one thing will be certain; your wedding day will be like none other. What a beautiful way to start a lifetime of memories!

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