The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
Named as one of the Top 10 Wildlife Destinations in the World by Fox News, Custer State Park in Custer, South Dakota isn't a typical wedding and reception spot. It has a rustic, scenic charm that's absent from many of the modern spots. Snap first-look photos in front of wildlife or grab shots of the entire wedding party in front of blooming trees when you choose this spot. With indoor and outdoor event spaces available, the state park hosts weddings and receptions all year long.
Lakeside Lawn. The Lakeside Lawn is the most popular spot for weddings at Custer State Park. The site holds up to 299 guests and sits right in front of Sylvan Lake. Granite spires surround the lake, creating a stunning backdrop for photos.
Lovers Leap Deck and Lawn. Surrounded by oak trees and overlooking Coolidge Creek, this venue has a redwood deck and enough space for up to 350 guests. The aisle is made of flagstone.
Blue Bell Lodge Outdoor Chapel. The Blue Bell Lodge Outdoor Chapel holds up to 100 guests. Ponderosa pines and rock formations surround the chapel and it has a natural stone lectern. Guests sit on pine log benches.
Grace Coolidge Creekside Lawn. The Grace Coolidge Creekside Lawn accommodates up to 100 guests. It's next to the creek and the Creekside Lodge.
Reunion Cabin. Typically used for rehearsal dinners, the 4,000-square-foot Reunion Cabin has seating for up to 25 guests and a socializing room for 50 guests. It also has a fully-equipped kitchen.
State Game Lodge Interior. Only available during the winter months, the State Game Lodge Interior holds up to 240 guests. The lodge used to serve as the Summer White House for President Coolidge.
Sylvan Auditorium. This indoor banquet space holds up to 280 guests for receptions. It has tall windows that provide views of the forest. It also has a deck that looks out at the lake.
Sylvan Lake Veranda. Located off the Sylvan Lake Lodge restaurant. you have the option of renting this for your event. It has a maximum capacity of 75 guests.
State Game Lodge Pavilion. The State Game Lodge Pavilion has banquet seating for over 400 guests. The covered venue has a group fire pit and is surrounded by pine trees.
White Buffalo Room. The White Buffalo Room hosts receptions for up to 80 people. The log building includes a deck that offers views of French Creek.
Creekside Lodge. Creekside Lodge has the Coolidge Room and the Norbeck Room. The Coolidge Room fits up to 50 people, while the Norbeck Room fits up to 30 guests. These rooms have a modern feel.
What You Should Know
Ceremony sites are only available for couples who host ceremonies and receptions on-site. You must host both in order to reserve space at the park.
The Pavilion is the only facility with a bridal changing room, so you need to get ready in your cabin if you hold your wedding or reception in another venue. Check-in is available at 3 p.m.
Ceremony start times are flexible, but most start at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. Quiet hours at the Sylvan Lake Veranda begin at 10 p.m. They begin at the State Game Lodge Pavilion and White Buffalo Room at 11 p.m. They start at the Sylvan Auditorium at midnight.
You can't bring outside food or beverages into your reception. You are allowed to bring in your wedding cake and decorations, though.
The venue runs specials throughout the year. These money-saving deals also include extras that make the day more special.
From the Vendor
Elegant. Natural. Effortless.
Home of Sylvan Lake Resort and the State Game Lodge Resort. Picturesque lakeside or peaceful creekside ceremonies. A breathtaking, natural wood Auditorium. An inspiring open-air Pavilion. All in a 71,000-acre wildlife preserve for a Black Hills destination wedding in your dream setting.
Amenities + Details
Outdoor - Not Covered
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Ballroom, Waterfront, Historic Venue, Hotel, Park, Restaurant
Bar + Drinks, Cakes + Desserts, Food + Catering, Planning, Service Staff
Would recommend over and overReviewed on 5/31/2015 Samantha S
We got married and had our reception in the Sylvan Lake Lodge Auditorium, and it was AWESOME. The banquet captain and manager were so helpful. We had about 60 candles set up throughout the building and we sent help to light them before the ceremony, and they were all already lit and gorgeous. The bartender made sure everyone was taken care of, plates were cleared very quickly, and the chairs from the ceremony were packed up in less than 20 minutes. It was perfect.
Very HappyReviewed on 7/29/2012 Amber B
The service was great. Everyone was very happy to assist and friendly. Worth every penny we spent!
Wedding planning and communication were frustrating, but the wedding day turned out great.
We had our reception at the Sylvan Lake Auditorium. The location was absolutely gorgeous and the Auditorium was perfect. The wait staff during the reception gave us and our guests the best service we've ever gotten anywhere. Now, onto the bad. Throughout our reservation process, customer service was completely lacking, not only with our sales rep but with our event coordinator. I don't know if they were tired from doing weddings over the summer or what, but many important 'pay by' dates were missed because they never answered their phones or returned voicemail messages, communicating only by email. They incorrectly charged our wrong credit card without authorization (thankfully our bank refused it), and failed to see when we did actually send them a credit card authorization. On the day of, all the doors were locked at the time we were supposed to be allowed to decorate. When we did get in (after the wonderfully helpful manager at the Lodge opened the doors) half of the tables were not set up, and there was no one at the toll-booth during our event. As a result, set up took double the time it should have and all of our guests got parking tickets (again thankfully, that got taken care of through another person not related to our event). In addition, we paid for a security guard but we never saw one. If you're willing to put up with crap customer service for the beautiful location and building, go for it. Our guests and ourselves had so much fun at our reception and it was so memorable, but we will never go through something like this again unless we are treated better. When you pay thousands for something so important as your own wedding reception, you expect much better service.
Our ceremony and reception venues were absolutely gorgeous and well worth their value! It was very convenient that Custer State Park provides a ceremony/reception locations package along with catering. The food was excellent and they worked with us about our specific menu wishes. Custer did a terrific job of communicating with us, updating our contracts, working with our requests, and offered many amenities to help the decoration and set up process run smoothly. Custer State Park gave us a beautiful wedding day and we are very thankful!
State Game Lodge WeddingReviewed on 7/08/2015 Beth R
Location was beautiful but staff was unfriendly and unhelpful the entire time. Horrible customer service to someone spending multiple thousands at their facility.
Custer State Park LocationReviewed on 8/26/2014 Jessica O
PLUS: The staff was absolutely fabulous the day of the event. I was nervous planning my wedding from out of state and not personally being there to set up. They went so far as to even light the candles on our centerpieces before my friends got there to do that after the ceremony. There staff was also very willing to answer any questions. MINUS: Read all of the fine print carefully and stay on top of dates. I feel as though they have a lot of events at this location so they don't always comb through all of the details and make sure everything is accurate on the first attempt.