wedding photographer

5 Common Mistakes Couples Make While Wedding Planning

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5 Common Mistakes Couples Make While Wedding Planning

Congratulations!!!! You’re engaged and everything is so exciting in your life right now! If this is your first time being engaged and planning a wedding…this process can be lots of fun…but you’ll also find out soon enough that things can get overwhelming and even stressful. There are so many details that need attention and decisions that need to be made…not to mention all of the money those details and decisions will end up costing you.

You’re going to probably reach out for help at some point to friends, family members, Facebook groups, Pintrest, Youtube, and Google…all of which can offer help and inspiration. This blog post will let you take advantage of a very different and UNIQUE source for helping you plan your wedding. That source is ME! I’ve been photographing weddings for almost 14 years…and in that vast amount of time, I’ve seen pretty much everything. I’ve seen almost every possible way a wedding can go wrong and I’ve condensed all of that in to the 5 most common mistakes couples make while wedding planning. I’ll go over each one with the hopes of preventing YOU from making the same mistakes I see couples making over and over so you can have a fun-filled, stress-free wedding day!

So let’s get to it!

Wedding Planning Mistake #5: Inviting too many guests

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This may seem like it doesn’t need mentioning, but you would be surprised how many couples make this simple mistake. When planning your guest list, make sure the number of guests you plan on inviting fits within the capacity limits of both your ceremony and reception venues! If your reception venue can fit 200 people and your guest list is 350…DO NOT send 350 invites out assuming that only 50-60% will rsvp YES. When your wedding day rolls around and you have 50 guests too many…it would be absolutely horrible to have to turn those guests away... some of whom may have travelled a great distance to be there for your wedding! Most venues simply can’t add 5 more tables at the last minute. Fire codes limit the maximum number of people allowed in the venue. A safer guideline would be to assume that 80% of the people on your guestlist will reply YES. Safer still is not sending out more invites than your venue can hold. If your venue can hold 200 people…do not send out more than 200 invites. Trust me…the last thing you want on your wedding day is to have to turn away a group of people who took time out of their lives to be with you on your wedding day because you sent out too many invites!

Wedding Planning Mistake #4: Not having a rain plan

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If you are planning an outdoor wedding and simply hoping that it won’t rain…you will be a nervous wreck the entire week of your wedding (especially in ND and MN)! Don’t waste your whole wedding day worrying if it’s gonna rain or not and ruin everything you’ve been planning for the last 6-12 months! Instead…have a solid “Plan B”. If the venue you are having your outdoor ceremony at doesn’t have an option for an indoor ceremony in case of rain…It would be a smart idea to start looking into companies in your area that rent tents. You may not want to put money down on renting a tent and lose that money if it doesn’t rain and you never use that tent, but the alternative is…not spending the money renting the tent and then it rains and you have nowhere for you and your guests to take shelter. Think of putting money down for a tent as insurance and a piece of mind (which, on your wedding day, is priceless). If you are planning an outdoor event, start looking for tents to rent 6-9 months in advance so you can be sure some will be available and you can budget them in.

Wedding Planning Mistake #3: Hiring a friend instead of a pro

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You’ve spent countless hours planning, not to mention thousands of dollars on your dress, venues, food, etc…and there will be no “Do Overs” on your wedding day. It’s vital that you hire professional wedding vendors, who know what they’re doing, to make sure your wedding day goes off without a hitch. Even if you are on a tight budget…your wedding day is NOT the time to let your friends “practice” their hobby. Your friend my have 10,000 followers on Instagram…but that doesn’t mean they can handle photographing a wedding. Your cousin may put together the best playlists ever and keep house parties bumpin…but that doesn’t mean they’ll make an awesome wedding DJ. INVEST money into hiring professionals for the most important day of your life and let your friends enjoy the day with you.

Wedding Planning Mistake #2: Getting trashed the night before the wedding

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Your wedding is tomorrow!! Yippie! You’re so excited and to make things even better…you get to be with all of your closest friends and family at the groom’s dinner! This is where many couples make a mistake they always regret! Drinking WAY too much the night before the wedding can turn your wedding day into a disaster. I’ve seen couples that hired me for 6 hours of photography coverage show up 3 hours late because they were sick from the night before. On top of that, alcohol makes your skin flush red which is VERY unflattering for photos. (sometimes…even Photoshop can not help). Coming in 3 hours late puts all of your hired wedding vendors behind and that can exponentially slow down your entire timeline…even bring it to a halt. If you were supposed to be a the salon at 9 am and didn’t get there until 9:45…that not only puts your hair and makeup back 45 minutes…but that compounds on top of all the other events on your timeline. Now makeup starts later, which means getting dressed starts later, which then means flowers get pinned on later, and so on and so forth! It can be a total disaster and I’ve seen it happen more than once. So have fun at the groom’s dinner the night before but skip the drinking if at all possible. You will have such a better wedding day if you avoid this common mistake…and you’ll have the entire wedding evening to have drinks with all of your friends.

Wedding Planning Mistake #1: Not Hiring An Experienced Wedding Photographer

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You may have been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little girl. You’ll spend countless hours between now and our wedding day planning every important detail. You’ve spent hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars on your dream dress and thousands more on the venues, music, flowers, cake, decorations, and other key elements. It only makes sense that you INVEST in preserving all of those dreams, hard work, and money by hiring an experienced photographer who specializes in weddings!

Your dream day is not the time to hire an up-n-comer or hobbyist because you want to save a few bucks. Concerning photography, price is usually directly proportional to quality and experience (I.E…YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR). If you hand over the enormous responsibility of preserving your wedding day memories to someone who may have only photographed 1 or 2 weddings because they are super cheap…you will find out soon after your wedding WHY they were super cheap! And at that point….there’s nothing you can do…your wedding has already taken place. You can’t go back in time and do it again.

Think of it this way…you wouldn’t go to a primary care physician if you needed open heart surgery (would you?)…I bet you would search for the most experienced cardiologist around…someone who specializes in hearts and you can trust to give you the best care possible. Both are doctors, but one is WAY more qualified to help you with your special needs.

One Value that an experienced photographer who specializes in weddings offers you that others don’t is “PEACE OF MIND”…and on your wedding day….that is PRICELESS!


There you have it! 5 Common Mistakes that couples make while planning their wedding. Your wedding should be super special and the more you do in the preparation stage to squash any common mistakes…the more time you can spend having a blast on your big day! I really hope that these 5 tips helped in some way!

Want more info about MY wedding photography/video services?? Click below to reach out and say “HI!”

5 TIPS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOU

5 TIPS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOU

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Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now comes planning your big day! There’s so much that goes into wedding planning and it can definitely start to get stressful fast! This quick blog post is going to focus on hiring your wedding photographer and how to make sure you choose the right one for you and your wedding. Let’s face it…you’ve probably already searched for wedding photographers in your area via Google or Facebook and were overwhelmed with the hundreds of choices! If you are reading this, I’m guessing that you want your wedding to be the most special day of your life and that preserving those memories is VERY important to you. If your wedding photography is something you place a high value on, then finding an experienced PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer is a must.

So how can you tell if a photographer is an experienced pro who you can trust with the most important day of your life, or an inexperienced hobbyist? Many sites online such as WeddingWire, The Knot, and Martha Stewart Weddings offer articles titled something like: 20 THINGS TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE HIRING THEM…or something similar. Then you read it and it’s all generic questions that really don’t help you weed through all the photographer to find the few good ones. You’ll see basic questions like: “How many weddings have you photographed?” “How long have you been in business?” “Do you have a portfolio I can view?” “Can I see a shot list?”…etc…

Couples who haven’t gone through this process before don’t really know what to ask a professional photographer so they ask these generic questions because that’s what Martha Stewart said to ask…when in reality…those questions don’t really help you at all. Let’s face it…you should be able to look at a photographer’s website and see their portfolio, how long they’ve been in business, blah blah blah. How does that help you figure out if a photographer is right for you?

IF your wedding photography is super important to you and you want an experienced trust worthy professional… if you follow my 5 pieces of advice below, you can easily narrow down your potential photographers and save yourself tons of time and stress.

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So…without further adieu…

Here are a few key tips to help you determine if you should trust a particular photographer to photograph your wedding are:

  • Check for reviews  on places like Google Business, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Facebook…etc… Also check the photographer’s website for reviews and testimonials. See if past clients rave about trusting their weddings to that photographer. If there are no reviews…either that photographer hasn’t shot enough weddings to accumulate any, or the ones they DO have are negative and they don’t want you to see them.



  • Ask the photographer if they have liability insurance. A photographer who has liability insurance takes their business seriously. You can be sure that they are an ACTUAL professional and that they are aware that they need to protect their clients (and themselves) from any misfortune. What happens if 2yr old Timmy trips over a lightstand and gets seriously injured?? A professional who has insurance is one that gives you piece of mind on your wedding day and that’s one less STRESS you need to deal with.



  • Have they had their work published in print or on recognized wedding blogs? You can rest assured that if recognized blogs or magazines are willing to showcase that photographer’s work on their site or magazine, that they are a choice you can trust with your big day. Most publications have strict guidelines for submissions and they get thousands to choose from each day! If your potential photographer has their work published on wedding blogs or in magazines…it’s a sure sign that they know what they are doing.



  • Ask to see examples of Full Weddings (at least 75 pics) from 3 different weddings they’ve done and ask that at least one of those is an INDOOR WEDDING. You are looking to see how a photographer’s work looks when the lighting is challenging. Shooting outdoor weddings is a bit easier due to the abundance of natural lighting (from the sun). There is a lot less for a photographer to worry about and it’s easier to produce high quality, smooth, flattering images. But what if your ceremony, or reception, is indoors?  Church lighting is never ideal and reception lighting is almost unworkable for some photographers who do not have the know-how to use their own “off camera” lighting. Look for shots from inside a church during the ceremony and some from the reception (First Dances, Cake Cutting). If these images are not crisp and clean, then ask yourself if they can handle your wedding day.



  • Meet with them in person before hiring them to see if you “CLICK”. Whoever you decide to trust with capturing your wedding day memories will be by your side more than any other person during the day (quite literally). From hair and make-up to the reception dance floor, your photographer will be attached to you the entire time. So…this may seem obvious, but you want to make sure that person is someone you get along with, have shared interests with, makes you laugh, helps you through stressful moments, and is calm/cool/professional. Set up an in person meeting with them just to chat over coffee. If distance prevents meeting in person, set up a Skype (or Zoom) call. Think of it as a blind date. You are trying to see if this person is a good fit to invite into your life on the most important day ever! If they annoy you or butt heads with your personality, it will most definitely make spending 8 hours with them on your wedding day, miserable. AND…if any wedding vendor refuses to meet with you before you hire them, it should be a HUGE red flag! Save time, money, and stress and move on to the next possible person.

There you have it! 5 Tips For Finding The Perfect Wedding Photographer For You. Finding the right photographer for your wedding day should be fun and exciting…not a stressful frustrating hassle. Use these 5 tips to instantly narrow down the mine field of photographers to the select few that can be trusted with the giant responsibility of preserving your wedding day memories!

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If you would like more info on MY wedding photography/video services, just click below to reach out and say HI!



Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: North Dakota Wedding Show At Naastad Acres - 2019 Bliss In The Barn

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: North Dakota Wedding Show At Naastad Acres - 2019 Bliss In The Barn

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Late last Fall, I was having a talk with JoAnn who is one of the owners of Naastad Acres in Hatton, ND and we had an idea of putting on our very own wedding/bridal show right at Naastad Acres. It didn’t take long to decide that we wanted to bring that idea to life and so…Bliss In The Barn was created!

Over the next few months, we got together with some of the area’s leading wedding professionals and, together, we all started planning Bliss In The Barn. We wanted to do something unique where brides-to-be could not only talk to wedding vendors about products and services, but could also see those products and services “in action” during Bliss In The Barn’s 4 different styled mock weddings!

After months of hard work, April 14th finally came and we were so pleased with how everything turned out! We learned a lot throughout this process and we are already figuring out improvements for next year’s event because, after all, our goal was to create something that will be around for years to come!

We had 26 top notch wedding vendors, 48 V.I.P. brides, a V.I.P. Experience, 4 styled mock weddings, and even a Grand Prize that was valued in the thousands of dollars! And we can’t wait to do it again next year….and even bigger AND better!

All of our event’s wedding vendor’s were so amazing and you can see some of their incredible work in the photos below! Our vendors included:

Naastad Acres wedding venue and HOST

Shawn Morrissey Photography Wedding & Engagement Photographer/video

Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Styling Wedding Planning, Floral, Event Design

Brooke’s Floral/Events/Styling Floral & Event Styling/Design

Tip Top Tux Formal Wear Rental

Kristen’s Bridal Wedding Dresses & Formal Wear

Katie Aasen Photography Wedding & Engagement Photographer

Paola’s Pastries Wedding Cakes/Desserts/Bakery

Ground Round Food/Catering

The Pedal Health/Fitness/Wellness

Rodan & Fields Skin Care/Eyelashes

Generations Salon Hair/Spa

Signature Jewelers Jewelry

Jadie Shue Hair/Make up

Point Paradise Stables Horse & Carriage Rental/Stables

Dance Man Dan DJ/M.C./Reception Entertainment

Hud Sun Wellness Health & Wellness

Abbergail Graphic Design/Stationary/Invitations/Save-The-Dates

Oh For Heaven’s Cakes n’ More Bakery/Wedding Cakes

An Elegant Affair   (Decor and rentals

Harmon Entertainment   (DJ and Music)

Bon Voyage Travel   (Travel Agency)

Herbie The Photobooth Camper owned by Gathered - Boutique Rentals & Events     Moorhead, MN

Deitrich Bus Service Bus Rental

Heart & Soul (Live Musicians/Band)

And a very special THANK YOU to my models before the event Klaudia & Nick Holkup who are a past wedding couple of mine and I enjoy working with again and again!

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If you were one of our Bliss In The Barn Brides and are in need of a photographer/videographer for your wedding…I would love to sit down with you and hear all about it! Let’s go grab some coffee or drinks and chat!!

 

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Grand Forks Wedding At St. Michael's Church And Rhombus Brewing Co. With Lena & Collin Show more

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: A Grand Forks Wedding At St. Michael's Church And Rhombus Brewing Co. With Lena & Collin

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Working with Lena And Collin the past 8 months has been an awesome adventure! I met them early last March at Rhombus Guys Brewing Company with snow on the ground and again last night to deliver their final wedding photos/video at Rhombus with snow on the ground. Our journey has come full circle and It's so wonderful to see them finally married and starting their new life together! Thank you both so much for choosing ME to help tell your incredible love story!

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!