Gathered Oaks Wedding. Michelle + Justin.

I met Justin after he joined the team as the residential science nerd at my husband’s brewery. He’s so funny and kind, and my daughters adore him. Shortly after getting to know Justin, he got engaged, and I got to meet his beautiful other half, Michelle. She is incredibly selfless and so sweet, and she and Justin make such a good match! When they asked me to shoot their wedding at Gathered Oaks, I was pumped beyond words. 

This wedding was so cool, you guys. Gathered Oaks is a gorgeous venue in Alexandria, MN. Michelle and Justin’s day was full of emotion and personalized touches and lots of loved ones coming together to celebrate. They celebrated two cultures coming together, two families being joined. It was pretty magical, and I’m so thankful I got to be a part of it.

Every detail was thought of, and when their planned outdoor ceremony had to be moved inside because of weather, the staff and Gathered Oaks made it happen and it was just as beautiful inside the barn! We decided to use the location where the ceremony would have been held as the spot for their first look, and it was such a special moment. Lots of great memories from this day. I’ll stop talking and let you see the photos now. So, without further ado, please enjoy the beautiful Michelle and Justin and the images from their gorgeous wedding!

Venue: Gathered Oaks
Florals: European Floral
Officiant/DJ: Mark Haugen

2018. Year in Review.

2018 has been such a great year! I got to meet some really kind, generous, hilarious, and just plain fun couples. I got to photograph my first birth.  I also started to play with food and beverage photography, which has been a learning experience. Of course, I also went on a few adventures with my family. So, this is a conglomeration of all of that.  Thank you all for supporting my business this year.  It means the world to me.

On a personal level, and not included in the photos, my year was full of big changes! We sold our perfectly lovely neighborhood home that we built 3 years ago and bought a 1969 fixer upper on a beautiful little piece of property.  It’s been fun starting to renovate it and make it our own, but I do miss having a dishwasher. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten. She goes to a cool little charter school, so I’ve officially been promoted to that mom that drives back and forth to school to drop off or pick up kids in our new (to us) SUV. I promise I won’t get any bumper stickers or window clings. Anyway, that’s enough about me! So, without further ado, here are the photos….

Leona + Mike. Wedding at Maplelag Resort.

Leona and Mike had such a cool wedding at Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN.  It was the perfect place for them.  Leona + Mike live on 40 acres of land.  They love the outdoors and the quiet lifestyle it lends itself to. BUT they also know how to have fun.  Leona grew up in New Jersey, and we all know Jersey likes to party. So it was important that they had a place where all their family and friends could come from all over the US and celebrate with them, and not have to worry about finding lodging. Maplelag Resort delivered everything and then some.  A beautifully scenic location, all the lodging you could possibly need, and a great big dance floor. Not to mention delicious food and homemade cookies always out for the taking. 

Now, let me tell you about the bride and groom. The first time I met them in person was at their home right around Christmas 2017.  They wanted to do their engagement session at their home and around their property.  They had a Christmas gift for me! A bottle of red wine from a local winery for me, and a crowler of beer from one of their favorite local breweries for my husband Ben, who happens to be a brewer himself.  It was so very thoughtful.  And as I’ve spent more time with the two of them, that it the one word that continually comes to mind to describe them.  Thoughtful.

Each interaction was intentional and made me feel like I was part of their family. At the wedding, they even gave Ben and I the most darling little caboose to sleep in. When checking in, the Maplelag Resort employee said “Woah. you must be special if they gave you the orange caboose!” Later we found out that the bride and groom were staying in the red caboose right next door. Leona said that most of the lodging had shared spaces. They wanted to make us feel comfortable, and give us a fun little weekend away, so she gave us the nicest, most private lodging. So so sweet! 

I’m so grateful to have met these two beautiful people, and so thankful that they chose me to capture their wedding day at Maplelag Resort. Leona and Mike included some unique things into their wedding day. Instead of a unity candle or sand ceremony, they each took a jar of dirt from their childhood homes and poured them together onto a tree that they planned to plant at their home together. They also mixed up the entrance into dinner with a New Orleans-style second-line wedding parade with a live jazz band.  SO fun.  Take a look at all the beautiful moments in these photos, and please leave a comment to let me know what you think of their gorgeous fall wedding at Maplelag Resort!

Venue: Maplelag Resort
Bridal Gown: Jenny Yoo
Bridal Shoppe: Affairs by Brittany 
Florals: Sola Wood Flowers
Band: FM Kicks
DJ: Now, That’s Entertainment

Nicole + Jacob. Stonewall Farms Wedding.

Nicole and Jacob got married at Stonewall Farms in the middle of nowhere AKA Willmar, MN. It’s a gorgeous venue and the family the runs the place is just as lovely. BUT this story isn’t about them. It’s about two of the kindest, most caring high school sweethearts and the day they said “I do.”

It was a beautiful August day, and when my husband and I got to the venue, Nicole was quietly getting her hair and makeup done. It was so peaceful in the room. You could tell Nicole was ready to marry the man of her dreams.

And he was DEFINITELY ready to marry her.  When Jake talks about Nicole, his eyes light up. Not just his eyes. His entire face. He genuinely cares more about Nicole than he does himself, and it’s pretty awesome to see. (If you ever meet Jake. Just ask him about his wife.  You’ll see what I mean.)

Nicole and Jacob’s ceremony at Stonewall Farms was one of the most Christ-centered, beautiful ceremonies that I’ve been able to witness. It took place under rows of tall pines while standing in front of a cross. They had a foot washing ceremony to symbolize their willingness to put themselves aside and serve one another. Then, they took communion together before turning and serving communion to all of their guests. It was truly special. The entire day was.

At the end of the night, Nicole asked if we could grab some night portraits. I don’t often shoot portraits at night, but I’m so glad she stretched me to do it! I think they turned out so well!  Afterwards, they were going to get ready to leave straight from Stonewall Farms and head to a family cabin for their honeymoon. I’m sure they had a fabulous time! Now, go ahead and take a look into their wedding day!

Venue: Stonewall Farms
Hair and Makeup: Cristina Ziemer Beauty
Bridal Gown: Allure Bridals
Dress shop: Aubony Bridal
Florals: Blessings & Blossoms
Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations
Videography: Narrate Studios 

Clair + Brian. Intimate Backyard Wedding.

I am sort of in love intimate weddings.  The small group of friends and family that are present always make me feel like I belong there. I get to hear stories about the couple from the people that know them the best.  The guests don’t treat me like a wedding vendor, but like I’ve been a friend all along.   Clair and Brian’s intimate backyard wedding was no different.

Last year, Clair and Brian bought a property with lots of windows and a gorgeous 5 acre lot. The house may have been dated, but the natural light and vision for what the place could be made them excited about buying the property.  So, they’ve spent the last year or so upgrading and making the house their own.

Both of them wanted a small wedding. Since, they’re both homebodies, having an intimate backyard wedding on their own property seemed like a great way to have their friends and family over to see all the work they’ve put in at the house, AND have a beautiful outdoor setting for their wedding.  It was truly a win-win situation.

Anyway, their wedding was one dreams are made of.  Clair spent so much time perfecting every detail and shopping thrift stores for flatware and glasses.  They built permanent structures to drape lights across their yard.  It came together beautifully in a vintage, soft, romantic way. But still fun! There were yard games galore and an outdoor dance floor. And 7, yes, SEVEN different cakes!  I didn’t try them all, but the ones I had were all delicious.

I could going on and on, but I’ll stop.  Let’s face it. You’re really here to see the images.  So, here is a glimpse into Clair and Brian’s intimate backyard wedding…

Florals: My Own Creations, St. Croix Falls, WI
Cakes: Theresa Kornitzer
DJ:  Day One DJ

Jess + Dave. MN Elopement Photographer.

Originally, Jess and Dave had talked of having a MN elopement, but eventually decided on having an intimate wedding where they could share the day with their immediate families and closest friends. Only the people that mean the most to them.

Jess and Dave spend most of their summer weekends exploring, hiking, and camping with their dog Jasper. They have a goal to hike each of Minnesota’s 67 state parks. They’ve crossed about half of them off their list so far. When deciding on a wedding venue, it only seemed natural that they got married at one of their favorite MN state parks, Temperance River State Park. (We did their engagement photos at another MN park. You can check those photos out here.) For me, their intimate wedding was a dream come true.

I always strive to connect with the couples I get to work with, but sometimes I get really lucky. From the first time I met these two, I felt as if I were meant to capture their story. They embraced not only me, but my husband and kids as well! They met my family at our very first meeting. My hubby, Ben, and baby came along for their engagement shoot. Ben even second shot their ceremony while wearing baby Parker in her Ergo. After the ceremony, the 5 of us (Jess, Dave, Ben, Parker, and I) hiked around Temperance River, spent some time exploring and took some gorgeous photos along the way.

Then, we all joined the rest of their family and friends back at the cabin for some burgers and folk music, and ended the night with a bonfire down by the lake.  It was a perfect day. Take a look and don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts with me! I’d love to hear what YOU think of their simple little wedding.

Getting Ready/Reception Venue: Cedar Cliff Retreat
Ceremony Location: Temperance River State Park
Bridal Gown: BHLDN Calla Gown
Groom’s Suit: Indochino
Florals: Saffron & Grey
Bakery: Rustic Inn Cafe
Band: No Tent
Bride’s Jewelry: Saressa Designs
Groom’s Tie Bar: Will Alderfer Metal Art
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