We are looking for a neat outdoor venue for a small outdoor wedding. We are a same sex couple so I don't want a large group of people gawking at us. We are coming from out of state so any help would be appreciated as we are not familiar with the area.
Congrats on your engagement and good luck with your wedding planning! My wife and I didn't have an outdoor wedding but I have been to a couple of neat outdoor venues of the past few years where friends or family have gotten married. One place is by the fountain at Water Works park. It's a beautiful area. Another location is called the Rose Garden by the Des Moines Art Center and I think its technically considered Greenwood park. Both locations are in Des Moines. Hope those may be helpful!
The Rose Garden in Greenwood Park is fantastic. I got married there in early October. The roses were still in full bloom and the trees were starting to turn. But the roses bloom from about April to late October, so it's beautiful anytime. The rate is $150 an hour. We only needed three hours total because setting up the chairs was quick and easy with the access road. And you don't need any flowers or other decorations because it's so naturally beautiful.
Afterwards you can take photos around the park. There's a neat pond below the Rose Garden.
I don't have any photos of the site without people, but I attached a few from the wedding that would give you an idea of the ambience.
This will give you an idea of the space. There are actually many different places in the garden where you could set up chairs and have the ceremony. There's a circular area and you two could stand in the middle. Or there's a grassy field with trees. And then there's this space with the sidewalk and two trees that form a natural arch.
We had about 50 people and there was room for at least 50 more. But it didn't feel empty with 50 and it wouldn't feel empty with less.
Congratulations to you and your fiance. Welcome! We hope you have a wonderful time while visiting Iowa. Greenwood Park Rose Garden has already been mentioned. My husband and I were actually married at Jasper Winery. They have outdoor space, the building is neat, and the owners were great! www.jasperwinery.com Salisbury House may also be an option for you. http://salisburyhouse.org/