Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Park River Wedding At The American Legion Coliseum With Leah And Rob

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Park River Wedding At The American Legion Coliseum With Leah And Rob.

After our initial meeting last fall, I couldn't wait to work with Leah and Rob...and after being invited out to Rob's house on a beautiful Fall morning to shoot their engagement session on his amazing property...I quickly realized that working with them moving forward towards their wedding day was going to be awesome!

When the big day finally arrived, I swung by Urban Stampede and grabbed my favorite caffeinated beverage because I knew I would need an extra boost to keep up with all the fun that was to come! I met the ladies in East Grand Forks early that morning at Salon 222 to capture the behind the scenes action of what goes into preparing for the biggest moment of your life!

Next, my journey took me to Park River where the day's festivities would take place. The sun was blazing but there was a threat of thunderstorms in the air. We had a blast taking tons of photos even though the heat was just a tad bit INSANE! Then...right in the middle of family photos, it starts downpouring! Thunder, rain, lightning, and the kitchen sink for about 45 minutes straight which, not only cut into our valuable photography time...but also had everyone worried that the soon-to-start outdoor ceremony would be a wash-out! There was a huge sigh of relief when the clouds finally parted and the sun came back out and dried everything up just in time for the ceremony to start!   

The ceremony was beautiful! Both Rob and Leah have huge connections with music which was showcased wonderfully during the ceremony with live musicians and singers sprinkled throughout. There were plenty of special moments, laughs, and tears...and soon they kissed and walked back down the isle together as husband and wife!

Their family and friends soon gathered indoors and kicked the celebration off in style! Delicious food, unique desserts (always my favorite), plenty of drinks, and of course Leah and Rob would have nothing less than a live band at their party!  

Even though we had to transition from sauna-style heat to a torrential downpour and back again...everyone was a rock-star to work with and I had a blast meeting, and chatting with, all sorts of new people. Leah and Rob are such a wonderful couple and I'm very blessed to have a job that gives me the opportunity to work closely with such awesome people! 

Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs. Brooks!!

VenuePark River American Legion Coliseum, 101 Sandwood Place, Park River, ND

Dress: Alen Evens Bridal

Hair: Salon 222

Make-up: Elizabeth Locke

Caterer: Howlerz BBQ, Mayville, ND

Band: Helena Handbasket

Florist: Wedding Designs - Edie Rygh

 

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Watch Leah and Rob's wedding day video below!

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Grand Forks Wedding At Freedom Church And The Grand Forks Ramada With Katrina And Lukas

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Grand Forks Wedding At Freedom Church And The Grand Forks Ramada With Katrina And Lukas

I met Katrina and Lukas last Fall and quickly realized how much fun I was going to have working with them! We ran ourselves ragged during their engagement session which only ended because we each had other plans set up which we were going to be late for! 

Since their wedding day was on June 2nd, we planned for some awesome outdoor locations for photos because, let's face it, Grand Forks weather is ALWAYS perfect for outdoor activities...right??? We couldn't have been more wrong! The weather did not cooperate AT ALL! It was rainy, windy, and sorta cold. Luckily, for us, Freedom Church had a cool "commons" area and some empty office space with amazing natural light coming in so we had some non-traditional options for photos. A couple of photographer "hacks" and some moved furniture later...we were able to get some creative shots and lots of memorable moments documented...(and no one had to get wet or wind blown)!

The ceremony was filled with special moments that made some teary-eyed. There were some moments that made me laugh, and others that made the guests chuckle and smile. Katrina and Lukas exchanged vows (and rings), shared their first kiss as husband and wife, and then headed back down the isle together as a new couple to join their friends and family at the Ramada for some fun!

Once the celebration began...it didn't slow down as everyone enjoyed lots of delicious food, flowing drinks, memorable speeches and toasts, dessert, and some kickin music! A huge celebration to cap off a wonderful journey for the brand new couple! Congrats to Katrina, Lukas, and their families! Thank you for trusting me and giving me the honor of documenting your special day! I had a blast!

Venues:  Freedom Church                  Ramada Grand Forks

Dress & Tuxes:  Kristen's Bridal & Tuxedo

Florist: All Seasons

Cake: Hugo's Family Marketplace

Make-Up: Carly Irene Artistry

Hair: White Horse Salon

 

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Watch Katrina & Lukas's Video/Photo Fusion slideshow below!

Click the button below to talk to me about your special day!

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A University Of North Dakota Wedding With Samantha & Trevvor At Hopper Danley And The Gorecki Alumni Center

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A University Of North Dakota Wedding With Samantha & Trevvor At Hopper Danley And The Gorecki Alumni Center.

After hearing what Trevvor and Samantha had envisioned for their wedding day way back when I first met with them...I really really wanted to be the one to photograph their big day! They told me their wedding would include elements from Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, Game of Thrones, Video Gaming, etc...

Basically all of my favorite things wrapped into wedding-form! Needless to say, I was super excited when they wanted to work with me and over the next few months we worked together to make sure when summer rolled around, we would have a solid game plan for their wedding day!

When the big day finally arrived...it was soooo hot outside! I believe it was 96 degrees! That didn't really stop anyone from enjoying every second. The fun started at The Gorecki and then over to the Hopper Danley Center as we got tons of fun photos of Samantha and Trevvor! I told them that I could've stayed at the Gorecki all day photographing all of the cool little details they had set up for the upcoming reception!!

As the ceremony began, I think everyone was a bit relieved to finally be in the cool air-conditioning! As the two bathed in the warm natural light let in from the Hopper Danley's many large windows, they exchanged their vows in front of family and friends. Then with help from their awesome ringbearer, Star Wars droid BB-8 (watch video below!), they were able to exchange rings and were pronounced husband and wife! 

Then it was back to the Gorecki to start the celebration! Awesome food, games, music, and laughter began the evening as the new couple shared their first meal and dance with their friends and family. The entire day was so much fun for me and I genuinely enjoyed talking with all the guests throughout the whole experience. As the evening drew to a close for me...I snuck the couple away for a few last photos as the sun was setting. 

I was honored that Samantha and Trevvor chose to trust ME with documenting their awesome wedding day adventure and I hope that I did them justice! They (and all of the wonderful vendors) were amazing to work with and their wedding will definitely be remembered as the most unique one I've worked at so far!

Venues: The Hopper Danley Spiritual Center                      The Gorecki Alumni Center

Florist: Sadie's Couture & Event Styling

Cake: Oh For Heaven's Cakes 'N More

DJ: Backspin Productions

Catering: Hugo's Family Marketplace-Catering

 

 

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Watch Samantha & Trevvor's Video/Photo Fusion slideshow below!

To find out how to get your very own Fusin slideshow for your wedding day or to book me for your special day...click the tab below!

 

 

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Redwood Falls/Morton Minnesota Wedding At Jackpot Junction With Lindsey And Dre

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Redwood Falls/Morton Minnesota Wedding At Jackpot Junction With Lindsey And Dre

2017 was such an amazing year for me! I had so much fun working with my couples and seeing the progress of their journeys from when they first met with me to when they were finally married! When January of this year rolled around, 2018 was already shaping up to be even more fantastic...so I was really anticipating my very first wedding of the year!

It was to be for Lindsey and Dre and take place in the Morton/Redwood Falls, MN area which is a very special place for me! (My Mom and Dad were married there and I have been visiting that area most of my life). It's a beautiful area filled with history and culture! The week before the wedding, they got 14 inches of snow dumped on them which luckily melted away before the wedding day (Mostly anyways)!

The morning of the wedding, I was to meet the girls at the salon to take some photos of their preparation...so I headed out extra early so I could go get some awesome pics/video of the amazing landscapes, waterfalls, and wildlife which always seems to recharge my soul! I don't know how many deer I came across...none of which seemed to mind me passing by on foot! 

Once at the salon...the day went into full swing! The hustle and bustle of wedding days can make hours go by in what seem like minutes! The ladies were all having a blast getting ready for the ceremony and once I made it to the casino and met up with the fellas, I could tell they were enjoying themselves as well! The weather was a bit too windy and chilly to do much outdoor photography...but we all braved it for a few fun photos!

The ceremony was filled with emotion as tears of happiness were not short of supply! You could feel the love from everyone involved as Lindsey and Dre exchanged vows, shared their first kiss as husband and wife, and walked down the isle towards the giant celebration waiting for them in the ballroom next door!

The reception and dance truly showcased the fun nature of this couple! Besides the awesome food, flowing drinks, jammin' music, and fun dancing...guests also enjoyed the photo booth,  pool tables, and bean bag toss games! There was something for everyone and as the evening came to a close, Lindsey and Dre had experienced their first kiss, first meal, and first dance as a brand new husband and wife! 

It was such a fun day for me and I'm so happy I was able to be a part of it! Congrats to my very first new couple of 2018!

VENUE: Jackpot Junction Casino/Hotel

DRESS: David's Bridal (Mankato)

DESIGNER: Oleg Cassini

FLORIST: Blossom Town

CAKE: Custom Cakes By Michelle

DJ: DJ By Will

HAIR/MAKE-UP: Salon Cella - Sarah Okins

DECORATORS: Rockin Red Barn

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Please Enjoy The Video/Photo Fusion Slideshow Of Lindsey and Dre's Big Day!

(BE SURE TO TURN ON HD IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE PLAYER BY CLICKING THE SETTINGS GEAR ICON) 

If You Would Like To Meet With Me To Discuss Your 2018 or 2019 Wedding...Please Click The Button Below!

How To Plan Your Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Area Wedding. Grand Forks Wedding Photographer

He finally popped the big question!

You said, “YES!”

Congratulations!!

Now that you're engaged, everything is exciting! You're probably bursting at the seems with happiness and have announced it to everyone you know...literally! 

Everything in your journey together has led you RIGHT HERE! Your BIG DAY is coming and if you haven't already found out...planning everything is going to be ALOT of work! It can be fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. If you're reading this right now...it probably means that you're hoping for a little guidance on where to begin. 

When my wife and I first got engaged (almost 4 years ago), the world of wedding planning was completely new to both of us. Though, at that point, I had been photographing weddings nearly 8 years...I really didn't pay much attention to everything that went into making someone's wedding day so special. Neither of us really had any idea how much things cost, or how far in advance certain things book up. We got married in Duluth, MN and even with the access of the almighty Internet and Smart Phone...it was difficult (and stressful) trying to find everything we were hoping to make part of our wedding day. 

Doing Google searches for venues or dress shops can give you dozens of results for each service you search. How do you know which one will fit your needs, story, and personality the best? You can waste countless hours of your lives contacting each one and waiting for replies or relevant information. Some websites don't even address your specific questions or concerns! You may need to make decisions fast or the service, or venue, you are hoping to have for your wedding may book up while you're waiting to hear back with the answers to your questions. Trust me...it's frustrating!  

Though our wedding was super special and we both were so happy with everything...we still wish the planning process could have been a lot less stressful for us. So I wanted to do something for future Brides (and Grooms) to help their planning process be as stress free as possible so they can focus on enjoying the engagement phase of their journey and have more time to just be in love!

That's why I developed this guide. I've been photographing weddings and engagements for 12 years now and in that time, I've worked with tons of other wedding professionals and vendors. When I got married, I wish I had an industry professional who, not only would've pointed us in the right direction, but also provided us with contact information and answers to most of the basic questions asked for each service in question. 

I hope that this guide will provide you with some direction and/or useful information. It may be updated so check back often. The vendors highlighted in this guide are all elite professionals with tons of wedding experience. I have worked with each one and am proud to have their names and businesses highlighted in this guide! 

Without further adieu...

 

 

The Dress

One of the most important pieces to your wedding day puzzle is, of course, THE DRESS. This is a big one! Some women have been dreaming of the perfect dress since they were little girls.

Bridal gowns have had a long and changing history...going back to ancient Rome where brides wore white robes as a tribute to Hymen, the god of marriage and fertility and were accompanied by their bridesmaid. Medieval weddings were mostly arranged and were more political than for love. Therefore, the bride's appearance reflected directly on her family. Her garments were of rich and bold colors and expensive materials like furs, silk, and velvet.

The all white bridal dress is relatively new, tracing back to 1840 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and wore a relatively plain white satin gown adorned with orange blossom wreath headdress with lace veil and eighteen foot train, carried over her arm. The wedding photo was published around the world and all white wedding dresses became the rage overnight! Back then, garments had to be hand washed and getting an all white gown completely clean by hand was impossible...therefore, all white wedding gowns were for society's elite who could afford to buy such a gown and only wear it once. The white color was never a sign of the bride's purity...but an elite status symbol.

Being such an important symbol of the modern day wedding, many women can feel overwhelmed at the prospect of picking out a dress. So how do you make sure you find that ONE dress that is perfect for you and your special day? Consider finding a trusted full service bridal boutique/store. 

Kristen's Bridal

Grand Forks, ND                                      Kristen's Bridal on INSTAGRAM
2650 32nd Ave South                              Kristen's Bridal on FACEBOOK

701-775-0567  

www.kristensbridal.com

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Kristen's Bridal's business is "BRIDES"....so who better to ask, than owner Nancy Zalewski, what are some of the most common questions brides ask when coming into Kristen's Bridal to seek out their perfect dress? 

1. How long have you been in business?

Nancy - "We are a family owned business which is happy to be celebrating our 40th year in business! We have worked with thousands of brides in the Grand Forks (and surrounding) area to help make their big days even more special!"

2. Do you offer in-house alteration services?

Nancy - "Yes, we are a full service shop offering an in-house alteration department and have an alteration staff on hand to make sure your dress will be perfect for your special day!"

3. How Early should a Bride-to-be choose, and purchase, her dress?

Nancy - "To make sure there is adequate time to get everything just right for your wedding day, a bride-to-be should decide on (and purchase) her perfect dress at least 9 months before the wedding date."

4. Besides Bridal Gowns, do you offer any other wedding related attire for purchase or rent?

Nancy - "Yes...we have one of the largest selections of Mother's Dresses in the area along with bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, and tuxedos for the men in your wedding party!"

5. What sets Kristen's Bridal apart from the rest?       

Nancy - "As mentioned before, we are a Full-Service shop with an on hand alteration staff who is dedicated to your happiness...but more important than that is our experience helping brides' make their dream days come true for over 40 years! Being a family owned business, it is our goal to make each bride feel like they are part of our family!"

 

 

Venues

One of the first things to take care of when starting to plan your upcoming wedding is finding (and booking) the perfect venues that will help round out the look and feel of your special day.

There are so many factors to consider while searching for the venue that you'll end up celebrating your wedding at with all of your family and friends. It can seem overwhelming if you don't know where to start, what you should be asking, and who you should be talking to.

Now...If you're planning to have a religious ceremony, chances are that you already have your ceremony venue chosen. It may be your family's life long church and that's fantastic! However, for the purpose of THIS guide...I am going to focus on a couple of uniquely amazing venues that are open to everybody and can accommodate BOTH the ceremony AND the reception! 

 

The Gorecki Alumni Center

3501 University Ave Stop 8157
Grand Forks, ND 58202

Contacts: Keeley Gregoire    Keeleyg@thegorecki.com

                Amy Sansaver       Amys@thegorecki.com

(701) 777-2611                                       The Gorecki on INSTAGRAM

www.thegorecki.com                           The Gorecki on FACEBOOK

The Gorecki Alumni Center on UND's campus is a remarkable venue. It is a sleek, contemporary, architectural masterpiece! It's massive walls of windows allow for an unlimited supply of natural light to bathe your ceremony in...which, during the summer months will last until late into your reception! The staff are all amazing to work with and the Gorecki can handle many different styles, and sizes, of ceremonies and/or receptions! Without a doubt...the most versatile venue in the Grand Cities (in my opinion)!

1. How many people can your venue accommodate? 

Amy - "Our venue is one of the most versatile venues within the community. We are flexible on our guests' accommodations pending the type of event you host.

a.       If you are looking for a wedding ceremony, we host up to 250 guests inside the room for theater style seating.

b.      If you are looking for a seated wedding reception we can host up to 215.

c.       If you are looking for a reception style wedding reception we can host up to 350."

2. Can anyone book the Gorecki, or is it exclusively for UND Alumni? 

Amy - "The Gorecki Alumni Center is open to anyone!"
 
3. Do you have an In-House caterer, or a list of preferred caterers…or do I need to provide my own? 

Amy - "We do not supply catering. Catering must come from one of our approved licensed vendors that is found on our website. For reference, this list consists of: Ground Round, Blue Moose, Hugos and UND Campus Catering. We actually do not allow guests to bring in their own food/alcohol. Catering services will also provide all service ware, tables cloths, etc."
 
4. Are you licensed to provide alcohol services? 

Amy - "The center does not provide alcohol serviceGround Round and El Roco are the approved licensed vendors to supply alcohol service."
 

5. How far in advance can I reserve my date?  

Amy - "We accept reservations as far in advance as you would like to make. Typically, wedding dates book out about 1 year in advance. Most of our 2018 weekends are chosen, however we accept weddings any day of the week. If you're flexible with your date; you can book on any notice that is adequate for you."
 
6. What else would you like a potential Bride and Groom to know about The Gorecki? 

Amy - "We would be thrilled to host your special day! Booking at the Gorecki Alumni Center provides you with an event coordinator that assists in your wedding planning needs as much, or as little, as you want. We specialize in making sure your wedding day is exactly as you envisioned and successfully portrayed at our venue. We hope you find the Gorecki Alumni Center to be a good fit for your special day!"

 

 

NAASTAD ACRES

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14969 16th Street NE (22.68 mi)

Hatton, North Dakota 58240

(701) 317-8221

Naastad Acres on FACEBOOK

Not too far outside of Grand Forks near Hatton, ND lies Naastad Acres and if you've just become engaged...it's well worth the short drive to go out there and see what they're all about! When my wife and I were planning our wedding, we wanted a barn wedding and the closest one we could find at the time was in Wisconsin. Now...our wedding ended up being super special and everything we wanted...but if Naastad Acres was around back then, we would have definitely booked with them!

What started out a little over a year ago as a backdrop for a lovely family wedding has snowballed into one of the most grand and unique venues around the area! Naastad Acres is WAY more than a small little barn wedding venue. They have literally EVERTHING you need to have the perfect wedding on their beautiful property! AND...they are still adding amenities! 

Please...don't take my word for it...hear what owners JoAnn and Jon have to say:

1. Tell everyone how Naastad Acres came to be what it is today.

JoAnn - "Naastad Acres, has been a dream of ours, since leaving the hospitality business in the early 1990's. We knew it was something we wanted to get back into. John and I had been employed with Tharaldson, Enterprises Inc.,  John was on the development end and I was on the operation side.   Learning from different franchises, helped us to understand what we needed in order to have a product that stood out. Our favorite franchise was the Marriott brand as their moto was not to satisfy, but to go above and beyond and "IMPRESS" your guests.  We knew that we wanted a higher end venue and our main focus is the quality of service that our guest received.  We are committed to going that extra mile in making sure that we have guest that want to return.

This piece of property has some unique qualities, as it rest on the plains, is surrounded by tree rows, is conveniently located with paved roads from all directions, including the driveway.  It has been our home for the past 18 years, and we wanted to share it with others.  We love adding to our family and everyone who comes to the farm becomes family. We wanted that warm touch that made you feel comfortable like home, with a resort feeling, so you could relax enjoy your event and let us serve you.

We can handle many events; weddings, family reunions, retreats, company picnic, small or large group events. We are here to serve."

2. Are the ceremonies held INSIDE or OUTSIDE of the Barn? 

JoAnn - "We have not yet had a wedding in the barn, but it certainly could happen with a smaller group. We call the barn the "Little Red Barn" , the size of the barn is 34 x60. At this time, our weddings have been in what we call the court yard. We have a large pergola as the main focal point of the yard. The pergola has a complete sound system, it is set up for handling the entire service. The barn is surrounded by stamped plank concrete, and most dances have been out under the stars with the barn as the back drop and the tent for covered seating. We are open to work with whatever our couple wishes are. We have had a bride come from the barn, and we set up her chairs and another alter." 

3. Do couples drive way out there for their ceremony and then have to have everyone drive elsewhere for the reception? 

JoAnn - "We are set up to handle everything for the event. Our weekend packages have the party coming in at 8 am on Friday for decorating and rehearsal. We have an outdoor kitchen along with a commercial kitchen, in order to handle the grooms supper. We have sleeping quarters for up to 22 people in our Grain Elevator, so people would not have to leave the property at all.

 Second day would consist of getting ready for the wedding. We have two salon chairs for hair and makeup, we call the dome the "hen house", as there is plenty of room for the ladies to relax and get dressed. The dome consists of a small kitchenette, sleeping for 4 and a complete bathroom. The evening of the wedding the dome is included for  the bride and groom to stay. Our gift to them. "

4. What size ceremonies can your venue accommodate?

JoAnn - "We have done weddings as small as 100 and the largest has been 300 wedding /400 reception. It is 10 acres so there is lot's of room and many options."

5. Are there hotels close by so the wedding party doesn't have to drive so far?

JoAnn - "Our Grain Elevator can sleep 22. The Dome "Hen House"  could sleep 4 and the Barn has a pull out sofa in the loft and a futon. The wedding party should not have to leave the property at all! We will be adding more rooms in the future. At this time we do allow for 5 campers $50 per night and $10 tents. 

For wedding guests and family...we have a list of hotels in the area, along with some bed and breakfast places. We recommend bus services if they have guest staying in the Grand Forks area. We have a listing for that as well."

6. Are you licensed to provide alcohol services?

JoAnn - "We are a full service bar, and are able to serve adult beverages, wines, beer and mixed drinks. It is run as any other bar, no outside alcohol is allowed due to liability. Our bartenders are trained and carding is done when guest come on to the property. They are wrist banded before any serving of alcohol. Safety is the utmost importance to us."

7. Please tell potential couples looking for wedding/reception venues anything else you want them to know about you! (Why should they come book their wedding with you?). 

JoAnn - "We would love to have people come out and have a personal tour with us. The property is set up for our guests, and we are committed to making their events... Impressive!"

 

 

Florist

Flowers can play a giant role in your wedding day. The right flowers can be the heart for your celebration and really set your wedding apart from the rest. Finding the right florist is key when it comes to bringing your wedding day vision to life!

EAST GRAND FLORAL/Wy's Floral

  • 1521 Central Ave NW
  • East Grand Forks, MN 56721
  • 218-773-3400    
  • www.eastgrandfloral.net

With locations in both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks...Shelly and Jeff Duchscherer know what it takes to make your wedding day come to life. When I spoke with Shelly, she gave me the answers to some common questions she gets asked by brides-to-be on a daily basis. 

1. How many weddings do you handle per year?

Shelly - "Between both of our Grand Cities locations (Wy's and East Grand Floral), we average 50-60 weddings every year!" 

2. Do you have examples of your work to view (Live or photos)? 

Shelly - "We have photos of our work all throughout our website (listed above)...as well as plenty of photos at both locations. If you come into our stores, you can also view some of our beautiful pre-made Live floral arrangements to see our quality of work first hand."

3. Do you provide other decor or services?

Shelly - "Besides providing your wedding day with Bridal bouquets and groomsmen boutonnières...we also specialize in amazing accent arrangements and full centerpieces for your reception, as well as, table set up. Our bouquets, boutonnieres, accent arrangements, and reception centerpieces can provide your entire wedding day with the beautiful and consistent visual flow that will breath life into your special day!"

4. What sets you apart from other florists?

Shelly - "We pride ourselves on our amazing customer service, as well as, the quality of our flowers and craftsmanship."

5. What's the most important thing you want a potential customer to know about you?

Shelly - "We are a local florist and love serving the Grand Cities! We pour our heart and souls into making sure our product and service is second to none!"

 

 

CATERING, CAKES, & FLOWERS

You have tons of family and friends gathered all to join in the celebration of your wedding day. After the ceremony...it's time to feast together and and toast to the amazing day you had and the bright future that lays before you. The food you choose as your very first meal as husband and wife can make a significant impact on your entire day...not only for you...but also for all of your starving guests. What a couple chooses for their wedding day meal/s could be the talk of the evening between guests (whether it's good or bad talk depends on the choices you make). 

The reception venue you decide to book may have their own food service that you must use...or it may give you a small list of approved caterers that you can hire to bring food into their venue. If the latter is the case...odds are, that Hugo's Family Marketplace is on that list of approved caterers! If so...you cannot go wrong having them cater your wedding reception. There are so many choices...all of which are delicious. 

 

Hugo's Family Marketplace

Mitch Vervalen - Catering Manager   701-738-2935   catering@gohugos.com

Ann Vossekuil - Event Coordinator   701-746-0688   ann.vossekuil@gohugos.com

HUGO'S ON FACEBOOK

HUGO'S ON INSTAGRAM

I asked Catering Manager, Mitch Vervalen, some questions that brides and grooms often have when thinking of hiring a caterer for their wedding day. 

 

1. How long has Hugo's been catering weddings?

I have been at Hugo’s catering for over 7 years. My predecessor was here for a few years prior to me.

2. Is Hugo's licensed by the state?

We have state and city licensees and get special permits for events as needed.

3. If a future bride and groom were thinking about having Hugo's cater their wedding...how do they start the process? (Who should they contact? What information should they bring with them? Etc...)

They can contact myself for catering at Catering@gohugos.com or 701-795-2935. Cakes at Cakes@gohugos.com. Floral at centralfloral@gohugos.com. They should bring their wedding date, time, estimated number of guests, possible menu, any questions they have, and also a deposit to hold the date.

4. Does Hugo's offer event packages or is everything A' LA CARTE? 

We are flexible to the customer’s needs. If they need the whole meal catered or just a few party trays delivered, we can make custom quote for them.

5. Does Hugo's offer any other wedding related services? (cakes, Flowers, etc...)?

Yes, cakes, and flowers. If you book your cake, flowers, and catering through Hugo’s, we offer a 10% discount.

6. Add anything else you want potential brides and grooms to know about you/your business...(Why should they choose you?). 

We also cater grooms dinners, gift openings, brunches, etc. and we have a grilling wagon in which we can grill on site for you or do whole hog roasts. Feel free to ask any questions you would like and we will do our best to accommodate them.

 

 

DJ/Reception Entertainment

When the bride has walked down the isle, the couple has kissed and has become husband and wife, the meals have been shared, the speeches have been said, and the cake has been cut...it's time to cut loose and celebrate! 

When capping off your wedding day celebration...the DJ, or band, you choose to hire will be the LIFE (or Death) of your reception. So how do you navigate the sea of entertainment choices for the celebration of your wedding day? Easy...you skip right to the front of the line and ask to talk to Dance Man Dan! 

Grand Forks Wedding DJ 6

Dance Man Dan

dancemandan@hotmail.com

701-741-3343

 

I've had the pleasure of working with Dance Man Dan on numerous weddings and he ALWAYS has the dance floor packed! When I meet with my brides and grooms weeks after the wedding to deliver their wedding photography packages...they always rave about Dance Man Dan and how much fun they had at their reception! He always goes above and beyond for his couples and is one of the best at what he does!

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Grand Forks Wedding DJ 2

1. How long have you been doing weddings? 

Dan - "I have been a wedding DJ for almost 18 years!  Time flies when you are having fun, and entertaining wedding guests is still a blast, after all these years!"

2. Do you use lighting or other effects?

Dan - "I do have special effect lighting.  I also have a few uplights that I put behind my setup for more visual effect.  I do not charge extra for lighting.  The amount of lighting I set up depends on the size of the area I have."  

3. How extensive is your music collection? How do you keep it up to date? 

Dan - "My music selection is vast.  I belong to a music service so I get the newest of the new every month. Working at iHeart Radio also keeps me in the loop of what is hot in both country and top 40." 

4. What sets you apart from your competition?

Dan - "I think what separates me from the competition is my experience and my passion.  Every wedding I book, I DJ myself.  I also take the time to meet with couples to go over all the details a couple weeks beforehand.  It's fun to listen to what couples want to do with their dance that makes it different from other wedding dances they have been to.  I have a lot of fun doing what I do, and I have heard people say that it really shows!

Think about any person you meet while they are at work.  If you can tell they are having fun, doesn't it make everyone around them have fun too?"

5. What else would you like future brides and grooms to know about you?

Dan - "I am very aware that not one guest is there because I am DJ'ing...the focus is always on the bride and groom.  This is kind of interesting...but I keep the church program from MY wedding with my equipment at all times, as a reminder that this day is just as special to the bride and groom as my wedding to my wife Sherry was to me!"

 

 

Wedding Cake

 

The history of the wedding cake is strange...but quite interesting! In ancient Rome, the groom would smash a barley cake over the bride's head and this, somehow, was to bring the new couple good fortune! 

As Sugar became plentiful in England during the mid 16th century...the wedding cake became a symbol of status. The more refined the sugar, the whiter it was...so pure white icing soon became the staple. So, now the color white not only symbolized the bride's purity...but the whiteness was now a status symbol and a display of the family's wealth. A family with a multiple tiered, white frosted cake was held to be society's elite!

Modern day cakes serve as a centerpiece to the couple's wedding celebration and some couples use the cake to reflect their personalities or creativity. A cake can be large or small and still encompass the feel of that couple's wedding day! With so many combinations of flavors and styles...how is a modern day bride and groom supposed to decide on the perfect centerpiece for their wedding reception?? This is the best part of wedding planning (for me anyways)...CAKE TASTINGS!

PAOLA'S PASTRIES is a rather new addition to the Grand Forks' community but the moment I saw some of their amazing cakes...I had to reach out and learn more! Being an extremely "VISUAL" person myself...I find myself admiring their wedding cakes like I'm staring at a Monet painting in a museum! Their wedding cakes are literal works of art. If you are looking to make an impact at your wedding reception with a totally unique masterpiece, then Paola's Pastries is where you want to go! If the cakes look so wonderful, I can only imagine how they taste! Yum! 

Paola's Pastries

Owner - Maria Chaparro

110 N. 3rd St.

Grand Forks, ND 58203

701-757-2253

Paola's Pastries on FACEBOOK

 

Paola's Pastries on INSTAGRAM

 1. Tell us more about you and your business. How did you get started? How long have you been in business? How would you describe the style of your wedding cakes?

Maria - "I started baking from home, which I did for years. I've always loved sweets and felt the desire to work hard to turn this dream into a reality. Paola’s pastries opened the doors in May 2017, and we love to make as many different styles of desserts as we can, for us every cake is an experience on it’s own, but we are particularly passionate about unique cakes."

2. How far in advance should a bride place her order for one of your wedding cakes? And how far before the wedding will it be prepared? 

Maria - "Depending on the difficulty of the design the couple has in mind, we would usually need a couple of months in advance to plan everything, we make the cakes as close as possible to the special date but the sugar art decorations can be made weeks before."

3. Besides the wedding cake...do you offer any other related services such as cake stand rentals, ceremonial cake knives, delivery to the reception site, or cake set up? 

Maria - "We do have some cake stand options available for events and we do delivery of the wedding cakes with the set up to ensure a good final result."

4. Do you offer Cake Tastings? 

Maria - "We do cake tastings, we like to set up an appointment in advance to make the flavor combinations the couple is looking for."

5. Tell potential brides anything else you would want them to know about you and your business (why should they come to YOU?). 

Maria - "We always want to give our very best to make an unforgettable day even more special. We offer a customized experience to work every detail to give you a beautiful and one of kind cake."

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHER

Last, but definitely not least, is choosing a wedding photographer! Now...I MAY be a bit biased (I definitely AM)...but who you choose as your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you face when planning your wedding. 

"Usually", when a couple gets engaged and starts planning their wedding...they first book the venues, then find a dress, then look for a photographer. I say "Usually" because the order in which couples book their vendors can vary depending on the value the couple puts on each vendor. It may be more important for a certain couple to book their dream Band for their reception than to book a certain photographer. Typically, though, couples tend to look for a photographer 3rd on their list.

Choosing a photographer is such an important task because unlike all of the other vendors you will hire...your photographer will be by your side your entire wedding day. Some vendors you may not even see on your wedding day. Others you may only see at the beginning, or near the end of your day. Your photographer, on the other hand, will be with you for anywhere between 6-12 hrs straight! So it's SUPER important that you put time into choosing someone you LIKE and can get along with. 

Secondly, your wedding photos/wedding album will be your very first family heirloom and the only thing from your big day that you will get to actually take home with you and will keep for years to come! 

For these reasons, you want to make educated choices when it comes to hiring a photographer who has the technical know-how AND experience to not only capture amazing photos of your wedding, but do whatever it takes to make sure your day is stress free and enjoyable. 

*FREE BONUS*

(CLICK HERE TO READ MY GUIDE ON HOW TO HIRE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER)

 

Shawn Morrissey Photography

701 741 1407    Grand Forks/ East Grand Forks

ShawnMorrisseyPhotography.com

Shawn Morrissey Photography on FACEBOOK

Shawn Morrissey Photography on INSTAGRAM

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Shawn Morrissey Photography has been around for over 12 years. I've not only photographed tons of weddings, I specialize in them! To help ease your burden of searching through the hundreds of area photographers, I've decided to give you answers to questions I am most often asked by couples who are looking to hire a photographer for their wedding day.

So...here they are:

1. Our wedding is somewhere other than Grand Forks...Do you only photograph weddings in Grand Forks, or will you travel?

ME  -  "Though I am based in Grand Forks, I absolutely love traveling and I photograph weddings in all sorts of places other than Grand Forks! In 2018, so far, I have weddings booked in Redwood Falls, MN...Park River, ND...Turtle River, and Fargo! In the Past, I've photographed weddings in amazing places like Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and even Key West! If you are getting married outside of Grand Forks...don't let that stop you from contacting me!"

2. My Uncle said he would take pictures of our wedding for $300...Why should we hire you and pay you what you're asking? 

ME  -  "If there ever was a time to pick an experienced "PROFESSIONAL" over a "hobbyist" or an up-and-comer, this is it! When it comes to photography, experience is usually proportional to the quality of the product (YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR). A Hobbyist or a bright-eyed young photographer simply won't have the know-how or instincts to turn out the best photos possible for your wedding album. Consider selecting a more seasoned, if slightly more expensive, professional to get the results you crave. If you are spending hundreds (or thousands) on your dress, and thousands more for the rest of your wedding, it only makes sense to INVEST in a professional who will capture your entire day in photographs you will cherish for decades! Remember...THERE ARE NO "REDO's" FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY!" 

3. In which part of our planning process should we REALLY start looking for our wedding photographer? How far in advance do couples' book you for their wedding dates?

ME - "It depends on how important your wedding day photography is to you. If having amazing, high-quality, professional images of the most important day of your lives is something you really want...contact potential photographers as soon as you set your date! I, personally, have had couples book me 19 months in advance. Most couples, though, book me 9-12 months out. I only take on a limited number of weddings each year so I can give each couple the time and attention they deserve. So if you set a date that's 10 months away...don't wait 3 months to start contacting photographers. Chances are...if they are in demand...they will be booked by then." 

4. What makes you different from any other potential photographers we could hire for our wedding day?

Me  -  "My 12 years of wedding experience and my unique style aside...I think what past couples enjoyed most about working with me has nothing to do with my camera! It's the experience as a whole I try to provide for each couple.

This journey of yours is leading you to the most important day of your lives...and that is how I treat our experience together. I take the time to meet with my couples numerous times to really get to know what is unique about them. This is vital for me being able to tell their one-of-a-kind love story through my lens. I've actually made some amazing friendships working so closely with my couples and that is something that is priceless to me! Your big day is all about YOU and I will do whatever I can to make sure it's a happy, stress-free success!"

(Be sure to see what other have to say about working with me recently HERE!)

 

5. My fiance and I are not very photogenic people and nervous in front of the camera...How do you work with couples like us? 

Me  - "I'd say that 75% of couples feel like you do...so you are not alone. Don't feel like everyone else I've photographed has had modeling experience and loves being the center of attention. There's nothing wrong with feeling that way. In fact, I felt the same way when my wife and I met with our wedding photographer! I ALWAYS recommend booking an engagement session with your wedding package...for many reasons. Most importantly, it gives us a chance to work together BEFORE your wedding. Consider it a practice run for your big day. I want to have time to get to know you as a couple and for you to get to know me a bit. That way...we can not only get a bit more comfortable working together, but we also build trust. You'll have a fun time and once you see your photos...you'll realize that you're both ROCK STARS in front of the camera and that will melt your insecurities away and make for a stress free wedding day!"

6. We would like to meet you in person to ask some questions and see if you are the right photographer for us...Can you meet with us and do you charge a FEE for an initial meeting?

ME  -  "AWESOME!!! I WANT to meet with any potential couples in person and I strongly encourage it! It is SO important to meet your potential photographer in person BEFORE hiring them. How else are you going to get a feel for them and see if they'd be awesome enough to be by your side your entire wedding day? In fact...it should be a HUGE 'red flag' if a photographer won't meet with you before you hire them. Look elsewhere, if that is the case!

I feel so strongly about getting to know each other BEFORE we work together that not only do I offer initial consultations FREE of charge...I actually REWARD you for booking a consult!

If you book a FREE no-strings attached consultation with me and afterwards decide you'd like to book me for your wedding day...you will get $200 off your entire wedding photography package!" 

If you'd like to see samples of my work...please check out my

ENGAGEMENT PORTFOLIO

WEDDING PORTFOLIO

 

 

So there you have it!! If you are recently engaged and starting to plan your wedding in the Grand Cities area...I hope this small guide has provided you with SOME value! My goal with this guide is to arm new couples with knowledge to help them relieve some of the stress and frustration of wedding planning so they can spend more time being happy and engaged! Time will fly and your wedding day will come faster than you think...and with everyday life taking up most of your time, getting all of your wedding planning tasks completed can seem impossible at times. 

Having an industry professional point you in the direction of elite businesses, provide you with answers to many common questions, give you contact information, and give you some helpful tips...is something "I" wish I had when I was going through the planning stage of my own wedding. So...If you found this guide at all helpful...I will consider it a success.

If you know someone getting married...please forward this guide to them. Also...if there are some questions you may have that aren't covered here, please contact me and I will do my best to add them in. Remember...this guide will be updated as I get new information to help make it better and keep it up to date. 

So...congratulations on your engagement...and best wishes on your upcoming wedding! If you haven't yet picked a photographer, click the orange button below and lets meet for coffee and talk about your big day! If you already have a photographer, I wish you the very best in this amazing journey you have begun!

Click the button above to schedule your FREE No-strings attached consultation and get $200 off if you decide to book with Me! 

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Grand Forks Wedding At Hope Church And Grand Forks Ramada With Crystal And David

A Grand Forks Wedding with Crystal & David at Hope Church and The Grand Forks Ramada:

Last Spring, I had to ship off one of my camera bodies to Canon to get repaired. The day it came back, I had to go out to FEDEX to pick it up. As I was driving there, I received a call. It was David calling to inquire about possibly hiring me to photograph his upcoming wedding. Being a military B.R.A.T. I have been all over the country and right away over the phone, I could tell David wasn't from ND. I told him that I could tell he was from the South and I asked where.  "New Orleans", He replied. Right away, I connected with him because I was born a mere 70 miles away in Biloxi Ms and my family's favorite place to getaway is...New Orleans! So I was super eager to meet with David and his fiance Crystal to learn more about them and hear about their big day!

After our meeting I was pretty excited that they wanted me to photograph their wedding! Once summer rolled around, we had a blast doing their engagement session (read about that HERE) and I couldn't wait to photograph their winter wedding.

November 10th finally rolled around and it looked to be pretty cold out. As usual, the wind played a huge part in that. The day started off with me meeting Crystal and the girls at Salon Seva for the preparation of her big day.  Then off to Hope Church where I hung out with David and the fellas for a short while. One of my favorite parts of the day was the guys were pretty set on having their photos taken outside. I told them that it was freezing out and they reminded me that they were "grown men" (their exact words)...so we went outside for some photos. The first few were fine...then some yelling about hurrying up....then finally screams and yelps. I was laughing pretty hard but we DID manage to get some great shots! It was fun listening to all the great folks from New Orleans trying to make sense of our weather and why we choose to live up here! 

The rest of the day was more of the same: laughter, excitement, anticipation...and so much positive energy! As the ceremony began, Crystal and David were all smiles. As they exchanged vows, rings, and literally "tied the knot"...they were pronounced husband and wife and shared their first kiss as a newlywed couple. And after my very first "broom jumping" we all headed downtown while all the guests headed to the reception.

We wanted a few outdoor photographs and with the windchill it was 0 degrees outside...so we worked super fast and then made our way into the Urban Stampede to warm up and ended up getting my favorite photo of the day! After that, it was off to the Ramada where Dance Man Dan had the party waiting for us! The rest of the night was a giant celebration of food, speeches, cake, drinks, music, dancing, and laughter. I could definitely tell there were folks from New Orleans in attendance! 

It was an amazing experience to be a part of and I wish the newlyweds all the best for a bright future together! It was my last wedding of 2017 and there's no other way to cap off such a great year than a celebration like Crystal & David's! Thanks to all the other awesome vendors who made this day so special for Crystal and David! 

VENUES:   Hope Evangelical Church, 1601 17th Ave S, Grand Forks, ND 58201   701-772-1884     

                  Ramada Inn, 1205 N 43rd St, Grand Forks, ND 58201    701-775-3951                          

Dress: Your Day By Nicole, 102 Broadway N, #103, Fargo, ND 58102    (701) 478-1970            

Florist:  Wy's Floral/East Grand Floral, 1521 Central Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721                         218-773-3400     eastgrandfloral.net

Bridesmaids Dresses: Kristen's Bridal & Tuxedo: 2650 32nd Ave S, Grand Forks, ND 58201   (701) 775-0567    www.kristensbridal.com

Tuxedos: Tip Top Tux: 2100 S. Columbia Rd #103, Grand Forks, ND 58201   (701) 775-9303

DJ:  Dance Man Dan   701-741-3343    dancemandan@hotmail.com

Hair/Makeup:  Salon Seva, salonseva@midconetwork.com   (701) 795-0156                               

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If You Are Getting Married In 2018 And Are Looking For A Photographer To Capture Your Special Day...Schedule Your FREE Consultation With Me Now to See If I'm The Right Fit For You!

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: Julia & Kameron's Grand Forks Wedding At The Myra Museum

July 29th was finally here! For Julia and Kameron, it meant they can finally get married! I've been getting to know Julia and Kameron since November of last year and I can honestly say that they have been super excited about their marriage the entire time!

Their engagement session in May was one of the more fun ones I've done in quite a while. From us almost getting pulled over for illegal U-turns downtown right in front of a police car (oops)...to coffee, to talking about favorite movies and some life experiences...I really got to know them and it was that day that I knew I would have a great time spending the day by their side capturing all the amazing moments of their wedding come July 29th.

Like I said earlier...July 29th was here and man...was it a hot one! It was 97 degrees and humid and lucky for us all...we would be outdoors most of the day! (Light sarcasm). As me, Kameron, and all the groomsmen took off to get some pics in front of Ralph Englestad Arena...I knew I was gonna be a sweaty mess the entire day! I quickly had to shed my button-up dress shirt and immediately felt much respect for the entire wedding party who were in tuxedos and beautiful dresses all day and didn't complain a single time!

Everyone met up at Myra Museum and as we would photograph one group, everyone else sheltered themselves inside in the air conditioning and awaited their photo-op! Time flew by and soon it was time for Julia to walk down the isle. The ceremony was perfect as family and friends watched Julia and Kameron exchange vows, I couldn't help but notice how big the smiles were on the bride and groom's faces! All of their excitement to marry each had been building for the last 8 months and now they were letting it all out!

Everyone continued the celebration at the reception and as the sun began to set and the air cooled a bit, I pulled the bride and groom outside for one last photo...and as I left for the night, I knew I was lucky to watch 2 people as their life long dreams were coming true in front of my eyes (and lens). As happy as that made me...I was MORE happy to get home, sit down, and crank up the A.C. as cold as it would go!

Congrats Julia & Kameron!! 

Venue: Myra Museum  2405 Belmont Rd, Grand Forks, ND

Florist: East Grand Floral 1521 Central Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721 218-773-3400

Cake: O For Heaven's Cakes N More 1726 S Washington St Ste 68, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58201701-757-2253

DJ: Killin' It Entertainment  1234 s 14th st, Grand Forks, North Dakota, ND 58201701-317-8044

Hair: Dawn @ Ultimate Look  701-330-2574

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Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: Kathy & Kevin A Grand Forks Wedding At St. Michael's Church and The Alerus Center

Last winter is when I met Kathy and Kevin for the first time. Right away, I could tell they were the perfect couple for me to work with and I was so excited when they chose me to photograph their special day! 

It was late morning when the hustle and bustle of the day began in St. Michael's Church. I could hear laughter filling the church basement as I arrived and I could see everyone's excitement in their body language while they prepared for the ceremony to come.

I really enjoyed chatting with members of both families, as well as, friends of Kathy and Kevin's throughout the day and the photos seemed like they were taking themselves! As the start of the ceremony neared...the church got quiet as everyone took their places. 

One of my favorite things about photographing Catholic wedding ceremonies is that I love the art and symbolism used. St. Micheal's is a beautiful historic church and every time I photograph inside...it feels different somehow. 

As Kathy and Kevin's ceremony went on, emotions ranged from tears to laughter as the couple exchanged vows, kissed, and took their literal "first steps" as husband and wife back down the isle and out the church. 

The celebration continued at the Alerus Center where family and friends met to share heart-felt speeches, drinks, great food, cake, and dancing to help the newlyweds ring in their first evening as husband and wife. By the end of the evening I realized 2 things: I ate WAY too much gourmet popcorn! More importantly, I realized how blessed I was to be a part of such a meaningful day in the lives of such great people! 

Venues: St.Michael's Church   520 N. 6th St., Grand Forks, ND 58203  701-772-2624

              Alerus Center             1200 42nd Street South Grand Forks, ND 58201  701.792.1200

Florist: All Seasons Garden Center 5101 S. Washington St, Grand Forks, ND 58201 701-746-7777

DJ: Backspin Productions   1815 Demers Ave., Grand Forks,ND 58208  701-757-4300

Dress: Affairs By Brittany   224 N. 4th St., Grand Forks, ND 58201    701-772-3022

           Designer: Maggie Sottero

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Grand Forks Engagement Photographer: Engagement Session With Crystal & David-University Park, Downtown Grand Forks, And Sunflower Silo Farms In East Grand Forks

When I first met with Crystal and David, I had so much fun talking with them that I knew they were going to be a blast to work with! Before their engagement session, we met a few times...and each time, it felt like I could've stayed and talked with them for hours. The last time we met, we set a date and a time for their engagement session and looking at the forecast a week ahead of time...it looked like it was gonna be a scorcher! (97 and humid). We were all sort of dreading that, but it was the only date we could schedule.

Luckily...when the day finally came, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening! I think it was 82 degrees and not humid at all. So we accepted our perfect evening and began at University Park. The mosquitoes were instantly eating us alive so we worked fast, had some great laughs, got some sweet photos, and packed up to head downtown. 

As we walked all over downtown, we were able to share some life stories in between photos and really enjoy ourselves and before we knew it...we had already been shooting for a couple of hours! But before we called it quits...we had one last stop!

Earlier this summer, I reached out online to small business owners in the local area looking to see if anyone had a unique venue, space, or business property that they would possibly let me showcase in an engagement (or Bridal) session. Ashley, from Sunflower Silo Farm in East Grand Forks, was awesome enough to give us access to their amazing property and we took full advantage! We got to the farm right as the sun was setting for some of my favorite photos ever! Thanks so much to Sunflower Silo Farm for their gracious hospitality!

As we finished up for the evening, I was covered in bug spray, sunscreen, sweat, and my feet were aching from the thousands of steps we took...but it was all worth it because I think we all had such a fun time. It was a pleasure spending time with Crystal & David (again!) and I can't wait for their wedding this fall! Thanks Guys!!

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Grand Forks Engagement Photographer: University Of North Dakota, Downtown Grand Forks, Sertoma Park with Kitty & Scott

When I first met Kitty and Scott in the late Fall of 2016, we had discussed doing a "split" engagement session with some Winter photos AND some Spring photos. Engagement photos are one of my favorite things to shoot, so I was all for it.

The only downside is that getting photos outside in the snow in North Dakota without everyone involved freezing to death is easier said than done. So when the day we scheduled to shoot our outdoor winter engagement photos came...it was the coldest day of the year at -22 degrees (without the wind chill).

Luckily, we set up a "backup plan" and had scheduled to use Merrifield Hall on UND's campus just in case! So we had some fun AND stayed warm! 2 days later it was supposed to be 30 degrees ABOVE zero so we figured we'd try again for some evening outdoor pics.

That worked out much better, but it was still really cold out and we had to work fast! I have to admit that we captured one of my all time favorite photos that night in front of the paddle wheel in town square. 

Fast forward a few months after the snow melted, it warmed up enough, and everything was green...we met once again for our Spring session at Sertoma Park. Though, it was just a modest 64 degrees outside, it was still 85 degrees warmer than our first session together! 

All in all...I enjoyed BOTH sessions and I had such a great time getting to know Kitty and Scott. With their July wedding fast approaching, I am honored to be the one they chose to tell the story of the happiest day of their lives! I can't wait! 

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Grand Forks Engagement Photographer: Sertoma Park & Downtown Grand Forks With Julia & Kameron

With their wedding fast approaching (in July), I was eager to finally get to work with Julia & Kameron who I first met back in October 2016! With everyone's hectic schedules, the Spring Holidays, and all the cold rainy weather...finding time for an engagement shoot was quite the task. 

We set Saturday, May 20th as the day we would try for our shoot. Friday's outlook for Saturday's weather had it 50 degrees and raining from 8am-11pm...so things didn't look good which made me super nerveous! Our shoot was scheduled for 9am at Sertoma Park in Grand Forks, but I showed up around 8:15 am and other than being a bit chilly...things looked pretty promising.

Once Julia and Kameron showed up, we had the entire park to ourselves and it was a fun and peaceful start to our session! As time went on, the park started filling up, so once we got all the shots we wanted, we packed up and headed downtown where we met at The Ember to warm up and refuel with some caffeine! 

Once we were warm and recharged, we walked all around downtown and got some great shots while exchanging stories about some of life's adventures! When it was all said and done, we spent the entire morning getting some great shots, getting to know more about each other, and what was supposed to be a drab, cold, rainy morning ended up being a super fun-filled adventure! 

I had such a great time and I am anxiously awaiting Julia and Kameron's wedding in July!

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Grand Forks Engagement Photographer: Sertoma Park Engagement Session VLOG

Engagement Session season is in full swing and keeping in the spirit of that...I made a super quick video featuring Julia & Kameron and our session we captured in Sertoma Park last weekend! Can't wait for their July wedding!! 

Grand Forks Photographer: California Landscape Photography

In the summer of 2015, my wife Sherry and I combined her birthday, our 1 yr anniversary, and our honeymoon and took off for a west coast adventure. I am just now editing some photos I was lucky enough to get the chance to take so I thought I would tell you the story behind one of my favorites! 

Being married to a photographer has it's advantages and disadvantages. I'm guessing that one disadvantage (for my poor wife anyways) is that whenever we see something amazing, we MUST stop and capture it. Well...imagine being with a photographer down in Yosemite National Park! One stop in our 2015 summer adventure was Yosemite...However, while in those neck of the woods, we chose to stay in Mammoth Lakes (which is amazing!). We spent 2 days in Mammoth and one morning the locals told us to check out Horseshoe Lake...so we did. 

We pulled up, got out of the car, and immediately I was stunned. Now, 2015 was the year California had a drought and there were huge forest fires in Canada so all the smoke was blowing into California causing a weird haze. Anyways...we were way up in the mountains and there was a small lake next to this big mountain side. At the base of the mountain side was this old wooden building that looked like a school house. The trees on one side of the mountain were crushed flat and the trees down by us were all drooped over like wet flowers. It was so weird! I remarked to my wife that it looked like a volcano blast had flattened everything. (I found out later that it WAS a volcano but the flattened trees were caused by an excess of carbon dioxide in the soil seeping from the volcanic gasses in the earth underneath causing the trees to die off). 

It was mid day and the sun was way too bright for any quality landscape photos. Plus there were too many people around...so we walked around and took some pics with our phones and had a great time. I told my wife that I was definitely gonna get up before sunrise the next morning and come back to get some great shots. She said, "Good luck with that! I'm not waking up at 4 am and going to sit in the woods up in the mountains in the cold!" I couldn't blame her. 

The next morning I got up, grabbed my gear, hopped in the rental car and headed back to Horseshoe! I have to admit...I was a bit freaked out thinking I was going to be alone up there. I kept visualizing fighting off a bear like Anthony Hopkins in THE EDGE! I got there and it was just before the sun rose. PERFECT! While I was waiting for the sun to rise...it dawned on me how truly amazing this all was. Most everyone I knew was most likely at home just heading to work for another normal day. I, on the other hand, was up in the California mountains, all by myself, about to watch the sun come up! There wasn't a soul for miles...the mountain air felt great...it was the most peaceful I've ever been...and it was a very spiritual moment. That moment was all MINE! I remember thinking..."It would be the greatest thing in the world if this is what I did for work!" 

As the sun came up, I got some great shots...but the most valuable thing I took were those 10 minutes I had all to myself on an ancient volcano up in the California mountains right at sunrise one August morning in 2015! I was bummed that my wife wasn't there with me to experience it...but then I realized that every once in a while, Mother Nature/God/The Universe (whatever you choose to believe in) gives you a moment that is just for you...and only you can appreciate it! 

I told my wife about my morning but there is really no way to do it justice. We went on to have an amazing time for the rest of our journey. I just got around to opening those photos up and I had a great time editing them. The one below is one of my favorites and every time I look at it, I'll think of the story I just told you. 

And that is what photography is meant to do...evoke emotion and memories!

 Cell phone pic of my wife at Horseshoe Lake mid day! Normally, she would be under some water...but it was during a drought! Harsh bright sunlight....I had to go back before sunrise!

Cell phone pic of my wife at Horseshoe Lake mid day! Normally, she would be under some water...but it was during a drought! Harsh bright sunlight....I had to go back before sunrise!

 Me at Horseshoe Lake the following morning right before sunrise! The only one around for miles. The entire mountain was mine for about 30 minutes and it was awesome!

Me at Horseshoe Lake the following morning right before sunrise! The only one around for miles. The entire mountain was mine for about 30 minutes and it was awesome!

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Grand Forks Event Photography: The 701 Grand Opening

I usually don't post any non-wedding related events I may shoot...but the event this post focuses on was awesome to be a part of and it gave me the chance to meet some amazing people...all while having fun. 

A couple months ago, I got wind of a new place opening up in downtown Grand Forks and from what I heard, I was eager to find out more. I met with Collin Hanson who was kind enough to give me a tour of the work in progress and explain to me what it was going to be all about. 

It's called "The 701" and it's a co-working space by Evolve Grand Forks designed for freelancers, remote employees, and independent professionals to work together and share resources and ideas. Located in the heart of downtown Grand Forks, The 701 provides a unique environment that promotes creativity and provides a sense of community for remote and independent professionals. Building a vibrant community of professionals not only makes for a fun place to work, it allows for access to a broad range of disciplines, practices and personalities, making it possible to expand one’s professional network in diverse and exciting directions.

Sounded like an amazing concept and I thought it was something that our area definitely needs. So when Collin told me about the Grand Opening I surely wanted to show up! Then I was asked to photograph the whole event with the Mayor and both ND Senators in attendance for a literal "ribbon cutting". Heck yeah!

The grand opening was pretty cool. The place was packed and there were no shortage of speeches from supporters including Mayor Brown, U.S. Senator Hoeven, and U.S. Senator Heitkamp just to name a few!

I was honored to be asked to photograph the event and would urge anyone interested in a place like The 701 to contact Collin Hanson or Brandon Braumbach and go check it out. It's always amazing when a community supports new ideas...especially ones that promote entrepreneurship, creativity, and individual growth.  

The 701

33 S. 3rd St. Suite D | Grand Forks ND 58201 | 701.335.7638

The 701 Facebook Page

Evolve Grand Forks Facebook Page

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GRAND FORKS & FARGO WEDDING RECEPTION VENUE PHOTOGRAPHY

One of my favorite things of being a photographer is getting the chance to meet other business owners and being able to collaborate with them to create something special while helping each other in the process. As 2016 neared it's end...I was fortunate enough to be able to meet and work with some great people, businesses, and amazing venues! 

Though, almost all of my time as a photographer is spent photographing people, these collaborations focused on venue, design, and detail photography...which are all a bit out of my comfort zone. I always feel that if you continue to stay inside your comfort zone, you will never increase your skill set and you will eventually become stale and boring...therefore I usually try to push myself to try different things...even if I am uncomfortable (fake it till you make it)! 

Ann Vossekuil, from the Ramada in Grand Forks, gave me the chance to come in and shoot the reception hall for one of their last weddings of the year. I got to meet, and work with, Sadie Gardner of Sadie's Couture Floral & Event Styling, North Dakota who beautifully transformed the, already  beautiful, Ramada Ballroom into something truly elegant and unique! Then, a couple of weeks later, I ventured to The Avalon Events Center in Fargo, where I met Jackie Bruenjes (the social events & marketing manager), who gave me the chance to capture Sadie's talent yet again.  

Photographing both events was an awesome experience! I love being even just a small part in helping to create something great and I hope that I did Ann, Sadie, and Jackie proud. Thanks to all of them for trusting me to show off their talents and venues!! 

 

Grand Forks Ramada, 1205 43rd street Grand Forks, ND 58203

Ann Vossekuil (701) 775-3951

 

Sadie's Couture Floral & Event Styling, North Dakota

Sadie Gardner (701) 317-3255

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Avalon Events Center 2525 9th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103

Jackie Bruenjes (Social Events & Marketing Manager) 701-219-3433

 

 

Sadie's Couture Floral & Event Styling, North Dakota

Sadie Gardner (701) 317-3255

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ASHLEY, NATE, & EASTON - GRAND FORKS PHOTOGRAPHER FAMILY SESSION

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WINNERS OF MY GIVE-AWAY DRAWING FOR A FREE FALL FAMILY SESSION.

Back in September, I held a give-away drawing for a free Fall family portrait session on my Facebook fanpage. I was overwhelmed with all of the interest and participation. Ashley and her family were the lucky winners from the drawing!

When I contacted Ashley to tell her she was the winner, she seemed surprised and really excited to win! We immediately started planning and trying to schedule her free session. Uncooperative fall weather, along with the busy schedule of the beet harvest, foiled our plans numerous times until we finally got our chance this last Sunday (Oct 23)!

Though our shoot started out cold, windy, and cloudy...as we eased into it, it became a gorgeous October afternoon! Meeting, and working with, Ashley and her family was well worth the wait! Little Easton was a ball of energy...and though SOME of his smiles were paid for with bribes...he was a natural model and I even got a HIGH 5 from him when we were all done! 

All and All, this was an awesome experience for me (and I hope Ashley and her family enjoyed it too)! I will definitely be holding more give-away drawings in the future so if you'd like to be notified and take part...be sure to "LIKE" my Facebook Page HERE...and follow me on INSTAGRAM HERE!

Thanks to Ashley, Nate, & Easton!

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Janelle & Mike / Grand Forks Wedding Photographer

The morning air was a bit chilly the day of Janelle and Mike's wedding...WELL...maybe that's because it was 7:30 am as I drove through the nearest coffee shop to make sure I had the caffeine fix that would supply me with the energy I would need to jolt myself awake. Normally...my wedding day shoots don't start until much later. This day was different though.

8 am sharp, I was to meet the bride-to-be and all her bridesmaids at OLIVIERI'S SALON & SPA in downtown Grand Forks and begin my day capturing the excitement, anticipation, and laughter as the women all got their hair and make-up done for the festivities that were to come later in the day.

The hustle and bustle of a normal wedding day usually brings a bit of stress along with it for the bride and groom. But both Janelle and Mike were super laid back all morning...and as the ceremony played out later that afternoon at the alter inside beautiful ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, everything Janelle and Mike had been planning for all the months before had finally come to be. There were both smiles and tears as the couple exchanged vows and became husband and wife. 

If any of you know Janelle and Mike, you know that the party definitely did not stop there! It continued at the recently remodeled RAMADA in Grand Forks. Everyone enjoyed an amazing dinner, some heartfelt toasts, lots of cocktails, and then DANCE MAN DAN cranked up the music and lights and kept the party going the rest of the night! Janelle and Mike spent their first evening as husband and wife surrounded by hundreds of close friends and family...all who were there to celebrate the new couple's amazing wedding day. 

It was an awesome experience and I'm honored that I was asked to be a part of Janelle and Mike's wedding day! 

If you would like to book me for your 2016/2017 Wedding...Contact me Now!

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A Bridal Session With Janelle

In mid-March of this year, I met Janelle and her wonderful Mother, Robyn at Janelle's Aunt's home for her Bridal Session. (For those of you who aren't familiar with what exactly a Bridal Session entails...you can find all the info you need RIGHT HERE!) 

Our intent was to capture some relaxed photos of the Bride-to-be in her stunning dress with no stress or time restrictions. Not only did we get to do that, but we also filled the afternoon with plenty of storytelling, laughs, idea sharing for the big wedding day, and even a bit of fun with Janelle & her Fiance, Mike's dog! 

All in all, I got some great images I think we could all be proud of, I met some awesome new people, and best of all...I think we all had a great time! 

If you are getting married in 2016/2017 and would like to book me for your wedding, bridal session, or engagement session...

Contact Me NOW!

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