wedding planning

Grand Forks | East Grand Forks | Fargo Wedding Photographer - Summer Wedding In Crookston

Grand Forks | East Grand Forks | Fargo Wedding Photographer - Summer Wedding In Crookston

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I first met Ariel last Fall at a bridal show and when I got to hear a little bit about their wedding plans up until that point, I knew I wanted to be a part of their big day! June 22 came extremely fast and the day began with steady rain showers which worried us because we all had high hopes of doing a majority of our photographs outdoors at various locations.

By the time everyone was dressed and ready to go, most of the rain had stopped and I was able to take the groomsmen and 1 groomswoman (groomspeople) outside and get some great shots in downtown Crookston. Then we hid the groomspeople as we sneaked the bride and her bridesmaids outside for some fun shots around the church.

As we were finishing, it started raining again which put a damper on our plans to head to a nature center for Ariel and Bryce’s First Look. We had a “plan B” for this to take place inside the church but when I asked Ariel what she REALLY wanted to do…she said, “Let’s go to the nature center!” (My kind of bride!).

The groom and I drove out to the nature center and the gate was locked! I had to find a place to stash the groom because the bride was about 5 minutes behind us and if he simply stayed in my vehicle...they would've seen each other. So he hid around the corner of a nearby building (outside in the rain). When the bride arrived and her father unlocked the gate, we had to cover the car she was in with umbrellas so we could move the groom into position. Once we did that, we had to have the bride's father drive her right up behind the groom because the grass was knee high and it was soaked from the rain! At this point, my feet were soaked and my pants were as well from the knee down. We finally got them both into position and the father (and other helpers) drove back out and we did their first look. All of that was totally worth it because the groom's reaction to seeing his bride for the first time was priceless!

The rest of he day was so much fun and everything else went off without a hitch! We DID have some slight coordinating to do as we literally stopped traffic to get a shot of the entire wedding party in the middle of the street in downtown Crookston…but other than that, everything was amazing!

The church was packed with friends and loved ones who all came to see Ariel and Bryce become husband and wife. There were plenty of laughs and tears and soon the entire group was partying and celebrating as the brand new husband and wife shared their first meal together!

It was quite the adventurous day and I couldn’t be more honored that Ariel and Bryce chose ME to capture all of these amazing moments! Congrats to the newlyweds!!

Venues: Trinity Lutheran Church Crookston Inn

Dress: LeAnn’s Bridal Fargo

Florist: Crookston Floral

Cake: Susan Winger

D.J.: Thunderbolt Sound & Light Show

Make-up: Evan Hartjen

Photographer: Shawn Morrissey Photography

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If you would like to chat with me about your upcoming wedding…simply click below to reach out and say HI!


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 your 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!”