7 Tips from a Wedding Planner if You’re Getting Married in South Dakota or Southwest Minnesota

Getting married in the South Dakota or Southwest Minnesota is unlike any other area around. We have about three months of “good” weather, huge families (on both sides), and of course, our “Midwest nice” friendly, downhome spirit. Now, trying to manage all of those things plus about a thousand more details and coordinate them into one special wedding day seems next to impossible, right? Not for us and our hard-working, Midwestern-selves! Here are five quick tips that brides getting married in South Dakota/Southwest Minnesota should keep in mind.

  1. Weather Backup

Good ol’ South Dakota summer. Finally we can leave our houses because that snow drift no longer blocks the front door! We can’t get enough of the sunshine and long, beautiful days. Naturally, it comes with humidity…rain…mosquitos…and that Midwest wind. So maybe summer isn’t the perfect season like it is on the coasts, but that’s what makes the Midwest charming, right? The wedding planners at Hitch Studio recommend having a backup plan.

Here’s what we suggest:

  1. If you’re having your wedding outdoors, a tent is always a nice backup plan. Read more here in our “7 things you should know about planning an outdoor wedding” blog.
  2. If you’re having your ceremony outdoors, consider booking a church as a rain plan. Have a calling tree ready to inform guests of the change as early as you know.
  3. If your reception will be indoors, setting up the tables and chairs in the room to have an “aisle” for you to walk down is always a nice alternative as well. Guests can be seated at their dinner tables and watch you get married “in the round” if you’d like, or you can set up an altar at one end of the room.
  4. If you’re having a barn wedding, consider having your ceremony up in the loft instead of in the rain. If it’s not windy, you could also get married under a large awning, like at Bennett’s Barn or McCrory Gardens in Brookings, SD
  5. If it rained the morning of your wedding, but has since stopped, it may have left your outdoor reception a little soggy and muddy. Perhaps you lay down some boards or other stone walk way for your bridesmaids to stand on (so their heels don’t sink into the grass) and so your guests can make it under the tent without walking through a mud hole.
  6. Every venue can help you recommend rain plan options — or contact Hitch and we’ll help you think of a reasonable and great plan.
  7. Speaking of an outdoor wedding, don’t forget some sunscreen, bug spray or flip flops for your guests.
  8. If you’re having an outdoor wedding reception in the middle of a Midwest summer, choose a cake with buttercream frosting. It’s by far the best option for heat (as opposed to cream cheese or other types). Ask your wedding planner to bring out the cake just before photos and before you cut it. You don’t want gnats, mosquitos or heat to ruin that perfect three-tiered beauty!


  1. Treat yo’ guests

Aunt Martha just drove 6 hours to watch you walk down the aisle and for heaven’s sake, she just wants a little something to take home with her! She’s sentimental like that. Giving your guests a wedding favor is a great way to show your thanks to them have a little fun doing it. You and your partner love to fish? How cute would a box of Swedish fish be at each place setting?! Your grandma makes the best chocolate chip cookies? Wrap them up and leave them at each place setting! You two met at a friend’s house while playing games? Put a custom deck of cards (with your photos on them or a special message!) as a gift for each guest to take home. They can be practical and/or delicious; whatever brings out the personality of you — the bride and groom.

Here are a few wedding favors that we love:

  • Chalk painted wine glasses. It’s a great way for your guests to doodle and have some fun interacting at their tables. Plus, it’s a cute keepsake to take home and remember how much fun they had they had that day whenever they use it!
  • “Thanks for popping by!” Popcorn bags are a great wedding favor. Simple, cost effective and something your guests will totally appreciate as the night goes on. Who doesn’t need a little snack after the cha-cha slide?!
  • Succulents are beyond popular right now. Low maintenance, and easy to travel with, these cute little plants come in a variety of sizes and styles that your guests would love to take home with them. It’s a perfect little gift from the couple with the green thumb. Here are a few more plantable ideas to offer guests.
  1. How to trim down your guest list (if you have to)

Your families are both huge, plus you’ve got your high school friends, your spouse’s softball team, your childhood neighbors, and what about that lady that used to babysit you 20 years ago (she was so nice!)? Where does list end? Do you really have to invite all your cousins and their kids? What if those “kids” are over age 18? Do they also get to bring a “plus one”? But you’re venue can only hold 200-250 people, so where do you draw line? Here’s a few rules to help you make those cuts.

  • If the person’s number isn’t saved in your phone, they can safely be removed from your invite list.
  • The one-year-rule: No friends that you haven’t talked to within one year can also get cut.
  • Parents’ friends rule: Unless they were a major part of your life, leave them off.
  • Anyone who you are only inviting because you feel guilty about leaving them off. Maybe you have a lot of mutual friends or they invited you to their wedding, but either way, you have permission to leave them off.
  • If you decide to leave off kids in some cases, be very clear on the envelope and invitation that it you “saved two seats at the reception in your honor.” (Instead of inviting the entire clan of kids.)
  • Read more here about how to have an “adults only” wedding, which includes some wording options for not inviting kids to your big day.
  1. Personalize Your Wedding

Your wedding day is all about you as a couple. You want your guests to immediately think, “this is so them!”  There are tons of ways to add a personal touch to your wedding day. Here’s a great article to snowball some ideas off of.

  1. Custom Invitations

Personalizing your wedding can start as early as your invitations and save the dates! At Hitch Studio, we can help you totally create and customize your wedding invitations. We have pre-designed options if you’re in a time-crunch for sending them out, but truly, we know that you are 100% unique and we want to help make your wedding day reflect that. Take a look at some of our unique, customized invitations.

Sydney&Josh_Invitations2_web SaraBunkers&Joe_SaveTheDates_web Abby-and-David_web Maggie&Andy1_web Molly&Ryan_Invite_Set_web Nicole&Nathan_InviteSet_web Jessie&RessaWedding_web Kristin&Kevin_wedding-set_web Julia-and-Andrew-Program_web6. Sending gifts

One thing Midwest brides do much differently than guests and brides in other parts of the country, is not having their gifts send to their home. In the Midwest, especially here in South Dakota and Minnesota, we as wedding guests, bring our gifts and cards to the reception (or even church). Be sure you have a plan to lock them away at a certain point of the night. At Hitch, we like to put them in someone’s vehicle, hotel room, trailer or lock them in a secure room during the first dance. All eyes are on you, and it’s the perfect time before people get too “curious” about money and gifts setting on a table.

If you’d like to adopt the coastal tradition of sending the bride and groom a gift for their wedding so they don’t have to move it or babysit it at the reception, follow the 30/60 rule. It’s polite to send a wedding gift to someone’s home 30 days before the wedding and up to 60 days after. Married couples — be sure to have a house sitter for your home during that time. If you’re gone on a honeymoon, you’ll want someone picking up those valuable packages and cards for you…so nothing can happen to them.

7. Picking your date

Let’s be real. In South Dakota or Southwest Minnesota, most of the men in our wedding will be wanting to know about the dates of Pheasant Hunting Opener, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the Brown County Fair, festivals, tournaments, harvest season and more. It’s the charm of the Midwest. Even certain football games can hold dates to avoid. I mean, don’t hold them too sacred that it prevents you from choosing a great wedding date, but they’re good to keep in mind for hotel reservations and availability for some venues.

Let Hitch know if we can help with anything as you plan your very special South Dakota or Minnesota wedding!

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