Real Wedding: Julia & Sam

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This week we're highlighting Julia & Sam's wedding that took place on October 7, 2017 at The Gardens of Castle Rock in Northfield, MN. Julia & Sam came to us in the fall of 2016 in search of a wedding planner. At the time, Julia was working toward her Masters Degree overseas, so she really wanted to have someone who could help her plan her special day from afar. A few short weeks later, we started working together and got to planning! As the months went by, Julia and I mainly emailed back and forth, but she also came in town every few months so we would meet for coffee whenever we got a chance. I also got together with Sam and Julia's Mom a few times to come along to the venue tours and such which was super exciting. Overall, it was a JOY to work with Julia, Sam, Mary, Sarah and the rest of the family!

With a blink of an eye, it was already nearing the end of summer 2017. Where did time go!? Julia & Sam's wedding was quickly approaching. At the time, Julia was just finishing up her classes and a dissertation that had her feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially with the wedding just a few months away. I may be biased when I say this, but I'm so glad she hired us to help her with her planning, final details, vendor coordination and much, much more! I'm sure with all she had going on school-wise, she had a lot on her plate and my job was to help her feel less stressed in every way possible!

As the weeks went by, we continued to email back and forth and finalize all the details. That's when I found myself waking up on the morning of October 7th, 2017. I had been helping Julia & Sam plan their wedding for a little over a year and it was hard to believe their big day was already here. Knowing their wedding was outdoors, I had crossed my fingers for perfect weather. Unfortunately, the skies were a bit cloudy the morning of and the rain came pouring down here and there all morning. My assistant and I arrived to the venue in the late morning to start setting up. Fortunately, the rain started to taper off as we moved into the early afternoon. By the time we finished setting up and guests starting arriving, the sun started to come out of the sky... just in time for the ceremony! The night continued with lots of laughs, smiles and two people happily in love. At the end of the night, I wouldn't be lying if I told you it was so hard to say goodbye. Since I had been working with them for just a little over a year, the wedding planning had become more than that. I felt like I had gained a friendship, and sure enough I did. Julia & Sam-- CONGRATULATIONS! Wishing you many years of love, laughter & happiness.

Ceremony + Reception: The Gardens of Castle Rock
Hair: Sherry Sursplinta
Makeup: Nay Danger Style
Photographer: Render Photography
Videographer: Amy Bouma
DJ: Mike Weinand
Florist: Debbie Kelly
Catering: Sonora Grill
Bartending: Minnesota School of Bartenders
Dessert: YoYo Donuts
Transportation: Marshall Lines
Hotel Room Block: Apple Valley Grandstay
Wedding Planner + Day of Coordinator: Events by Melody (Melody + Maggie)

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10 alternative guest book ideas

 Photo Credit:  Bellagala  (Anthony)

Photo Credit: Bellagala (Anthony)

A wedding guest book is a great way to look back on your wedding and remember all your loved ones’ advice and congratulatory messages. We’re all familiar with the standard guest book, but nowadays, couples are selecting more unique alternatives. Take a look at some of our ideas!

1.     For our world travelers-you’ll love having a globe for people to either sign, write a message, or offer suggestions on trip destinations!

2.     Invite guests to write a message on quilt squares. This is a great way to always keep your wedding day memories close by!

3.     Have people write on Jenga blocks that you can assemble on your first couple’s game night.

4.     If you love puzzles, you’ll definitely love having guests sign individual pieces for you to assemble later on!

5.     A wooden swing is a memorable addition to a new home. Ask guests to write messages on this.

6.     For our outdoorsy couples, consider using a pair of wooden skis for guests to sign-you can mount them in your home to remember your special day.

7.     If you have an artistic side, you’ll like using pieces of wood to create a shape for guests to sign on.

8.     For an earthy display, guests can write their best wishes on stones to keep the marriage “off the rocks.”

9.     For an upgraded guest book table, set up a photo station with polaroid cameras, pens, markers, wase tape and stickers so guests can assemble a scrapbook for you!

10.  If you choose to forgo writing altogether, set up a video station for guests to record messages for you.

Vendor Spotlight: KP Photography

 Photo Credit:  KP Photography

Photo Credit: KP Photography

This week's vendor spotlight features Kayla Warwick with KP Photography! We had the chance to work with her recently a few times this past year and she was a blast to work with! So, we reached out to do a little Q&A with her to find out more about her and her biz...

Tell us about your business.
I started my business shortly after I had my daughter in 2011. I started off small only focusing on family sessions, and then I started learning about weddings and finally found my calling. Now, after six years, I am lucky enough to consider photography my full time job. I have expanded my business and have hired on three additional employees and hopefully will continue to grow where we can train other photographers to join our team. We will be able to grow and better our clients and book more weddings while still offering the most affordable packages for wedding couples.

What do you love most about being a wedding photographer?
What I love most is meeting new clients and couples. We love hearing their stories and sharing their special day with them. Usually by the end of the whole wedding process, we walk away with new friends. It is amazing to take engagement photos, then their wedding, and continue to stay in touch for either a maternity session, birthing session, anniversary session or family session. Being able to capture such timeless and memorable moments is truly a blessing.

What led you to the wedding industry, specifically?
What led me to photographing weddings was simply the amount of photos I can truly capture in one day. The amount of happiness being seen in each and every photo. I also love working with each individual couple on planning out their perfect day and specifically getting to know their style and what is important to them. I also really enjoy having flexibility. I work pretty much every Saturday with some Friday and Sunday weddings where during the rest of the week I can be at home with my family. I usually do editing and office work at the end of the night when the kids go to bed. Its been such a blessing from God that I am able to be at home with my family as much as I am.

What are your favorite wedding trends right now? 
I have a few favorite wedding trends right now. I love and get so excited when I get mix match bridesmaid dresses or even sequin dresses. Turns out to make such stunning photos. I also really enjoy any type of send off photos. We have had quite a few sparkler send offs which are so much fun. As always any type of open food bar is great. S'mores bar, donut bar, pop corn bar, pie bar, etc. So fun to see what couples can come up with.

Tell us about your most memorable and fun wedding/event.  
In 2017, so far one of our favorite and memorable weddings have to had been Erin & TJ. This was a wedding that Events by Melody also was part of. There was not a dry eye during the ceremony when Erin read her vows to her husband. The grand entrance when the best man and maid of honor literally switch clothes (yes the best man was in a dress!) and the best father / daughter dance we have ever witnessed. Since we always have two photographers I had to switch over to video to capture it while my second shooter kept taking photos. You can view the video on our Facebook Page. Some of our favorite venues this year have been Edgewood Farm in Henderson, MN, Pine Peaks Event Center in Pine River, MN and the Outpost Center in Chaska, MN. These are just a few of my favorites!

What makes you unique from other wedding photographers? 
Something that may make us more unique from other wedding photographers is the amount we have to offer for a more realistic price. With all our wedding packages we offer two photographers (we will never shoot solo) engagement session and albums. Also, we are super easy to work with to create packages to fit budgets and needs of the wedding couple. We love doing more candid photos rather than posing. It overall just captures true love and happiness with each and ever photo we take.

Can you tell us about your packages and price point? 
Our packages roughly range from $2,000 to $3,000, give or take if things wanted to be added to packages. We love to customize packages. We hold lots of contests and giveaways on our Facebook page that can be applied towards wedding packages. Also, we offer discounts to military, first responder, firefighters, and law enforcement. Not to mention we are doing a huge exciting giveaway with other wedding vendors for one lucky 2019 couple you wouldn't want to miss! I truly believe we do more contests and giveaways to make sure our clients always stay involved and participate.

Tell us one thing we might now know about you otherwise. 
Something people might know now is how truly passionate I am about wedding photography and making amazing new friends along the way. Something that always speaks true to my heart is when I read new reviews and how happy every client is. I can't even call being a photographer a job, its more of such a fun hobby I am so lucky to do. I am always willing to help every client out to the best of my needs and will do whatever it takes to make them 110% happy. Also a funny hidden secret is usually there is a point of time during every wedding where I might possibly be crying...happy tears, of course. Whether it's during the first look, father of the bride speech, vows, or first dance... I'm secretly hiding and crying behind my camera. Oh and each couple will most certainly at some point during their wedding day be taking a selfie with me and my second shooter. I have a wall in my office of all the wedding couples with us!! 

 Photo Credit:  KP Photography

Photo Credit: KP Photography

Owner of Events by Melody Featured on WeddingLovely's Blog

Check this out... Owner + Lead Planner, Melody Hall, of Events by Melody, was recently interviewed and featured on WeddingLovely's blog! Learn all about Melody, how the company started, her best wedding advice to engaged couples and more!

Meet a Wedding Planner in Minneapolis, MN: Events by Melody

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
My name is Melody and I am the owner + lead planner of Events by Melody based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have a background in marketing & communications, but I always knew I’d someday start my own business… and, well, here I am! I started the company in early 2016 and since then we’ve grown significantly. In 2016, our first year in business, we did 11 weddings, and in n 2017, we did a whopping 41 weddings! The growth of our company has been so exciting! What started with just me has turned into two additional lead event coordinators, a communications assistant, and a handful of assistant event coordinators. Not to mention, my team is pretty awesome!

Read the full article here.

Stillwater Wedding Experience 2018


Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see us on Sunday, February 11th at the Stillwater Wedding Experience at JX Event Venue! We had a great time meeting all of the brides and grooms that came out!

Finally, a big shout out to the awesome vendors we got to meet and catch up with!

Participating Vendors:
Bread Art
Camrose Hill
Champagne Press
Coldwell Banker Burnet
Danielle Lund Photography
Day One DJ
Des Jardins Studio
Events by Melody
Green Mill
Ignite Lighting & Entertainment
Just Cuz Beauty Boutique & Style Squad
Lake Elmo Inn and Event Center
Lakeside Floral
Linen Effects
Lucky's 13 Pub Catering
Marna's Catering
Midwest Sound DJ Entertainment
Mind of Mo Photography
Residence Inn by Marriott St. Paul Woodbury
Sitting Pretty Decor
Stillwater Escape Company
Stillwater Liquor
Stillwater Trolley Co.
Studio J & Judd Sather Photographer

Real Wedding: Jasmine + Jimmy

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This week we're highlighting Jasmine & Jimmy's wedding that took place on September 2, 2017 at Sinclair Depot in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jasmine reached out to us in early 2017 after she was referred by one of our wedding planner friends, Mary with Pure Event Planning & Design. Unfortunately, Mary already had a prior commitment on 9.2.2017, but sent Jasmine our way knowing she'd be in good hands. We met up with Jasmine & Jimmy for coffee and breakfast and hit it off right away. That's when they decided to move forward with our day of coordination services. We were so excited for the chance to work with them! About a month out from the wedding, we met once again to discuss the final details of her wedding. It was so exciting to hear that everything came together as Jasmine was ready to pass the baton off to our team so we could handle all the details on her big day! From there, we helped her put together a final wedding day timeline, confirmed this and other details with vendors, and more.

Fast forward to a few short weeks later... the BIG day! It truly was the perfect weather - the sun was shining and it was a warm September day. Our team arrived on site at the Sinclair Depot around 2pm to take care of the final touches before guests arrived. Shortly after, the ceremony started and Jasmine & Jimmy were SO ready to tie the knot. Their vows to one another were so touching and genuine (tear jerker!). From there, the party kicked off with a cocktail hour and of course all the jams played by DJ Madi Johnson! Jasmine + Jimmy decided to have a food truck (Butcher Salt) for their wedding was was so awesome! Dessert was just as good -- cake pops from Cocoa & Fig and baklava! After dinner & speeches, it was time for some good old fashioned fun, and by that I mean DANCING! Jasmine & Jimmy -- CONGRATULATIONS! Wishing you many years of love, laughter & happiness.

Ceremony + Reception: Sinclair Depot
Hair: Jason Stern
Makeup: Merry White (Salon Junallo)
Photographer: Kellie Rae Studio
Videographer: Trevor Vaubel
DJ: Madi Johnson
Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth
Catering/Food Truck: Butcher Salt
Bar Service: With A Twist Bartending
Dessert/Donuts: Cocoa & Fig
Rentals: Ultimate Events
Officiant: Nancy Waters
Wedding Gown: Posh Bridal Couture
Day of Coordinator: Events by Melody (Melody + Maggie)

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A Proper Way to Assemble Your Wedding Invitations

 Photo Credit:  KLEE Design Co.

Photo Credit: KLEE Design Co.

Your wedding is less than three months away... it's time to assemble and prepare to send out those wedding invitations to your guests! Ideally, these should be sent out 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding -- so plan on assembling about 3-4 months out, if possible. Here's a step by step process that you can follow below:

1. Lay the invitation down (wording facing up)

2. Lay the details card on top (wording facing up)

3. Tuck the response card in the small response card envelope and place it on the very top (just under the flap, not actually in the envelope). Also, tuck it under the flap so that the word "Response" is showing.

In short, it should go from largest to smallest on top with all wording facing up.

Does your invitation suite include both an outter and inner envelope? If so, the inner envelope will have everything stuffed inside of it (invitation, response card/envelope, details card), and then will go in the outter envelope. Leave the inner enevelope unsealed. The outter envelope is used to protect the inner envelope from getting dirty or smudges when it gets send through the mail. The inner envelope is optional, so if you didn't get those, no worries. The outter envelope will be formally addressed for mail purposes (names and address), whereas the inner envelope is addressed to be specific as to who is invited (in your case, they'd realize that no kids are invited) as it would only say "Mr. and Mrs. Johnson", for instance. Again, if you don't have the inner envelopes, don't worry and just address the large envelope.

A few tips...

Response card envelopes: 

  • Make sure you add a stamp to each one which will encourage your guests to send the response back and plus they won't have to pay for postage themselves. 
  • Make sure you put your address on this envelope (or where they should be mailed back to). This address should go on the front of the envelope.
  • You should also put the guest's return address on it for each guest. This address can go on the back flap of the envelope.
  • Leave unsealed!


  • Address response card and outer envelopes first (that way you won't get any writing marks or indentations through to the invitations themselves)
  • As for addressing the envelopes, are you hiring a calligrapher? Utilizing printing services somewhere? Hand writing? Just something to think about.

As always, if you have further questions on this topic, feel free to send us a note!

Vendor Spotlight: Krista Reynolds Photography

Are you still searching for an amazing photographer for your upcoming wedding?! Look no further... introducing Krista with Krista Reynolds Photography! We worked with Krista last summer at Jenni & Max's wedding at Legacy Hill Farm in Welch, MN. Krista is such a sweet person and we really enjoyed working with her. The best part? Her photos are AMAZING. Seriously - we told her to submit the photos from this particular wedding anywhere and everywhere! With that being said, we just HAD to find out more about her and her biz!

What do you love most about being a wedding photographer?
I love that I get to hear so many stories and be a part of them. The love stories are what get me every time! I get to be around people on the happiest days of their lives and its such a good reminder about how beautiful our world really can be. If I think about it to much I honestly get a little overwhelmed at the idea that I carry such a big responsibility on a wedding day! These are the images and memories that I get to freeze in time forever. The pictures that will someday be looked at by great grandchildren on a bedroom floor and held so dear. Its all about the stories. 

What led you to the wedding industry, specifically? 
I have always loved love and weddings. I originally wanted to be a wedding planner but never fully got the drive to take off with that business. I have always photographed things starting in the 4th grade for my science project. That makes me sound super nerdy! In 2007 I got my first professional camera and was encouraged by my husband to give it a go and I have been in love with weddings ever since. 

What are your favorite wedding trends right now?
I am really loving the boho vibe!!! The wild bouquets and the fact that every wedding is so different. Couples now are really putting every thought into their day and details to tell the story about who they are as a couple and show that through the wedding day! 

Tell us about your most memorable and fun wedding/event.
This is such a hard question. I have so many things that come to mind!! If I have to pick just one time that really sticks out it would be the time that I was raised way up into the air on a fork lift to get a shot of the entire barn and reception going on below me. I was all excited to do it until I got up that high and realized how high I actually was. It was pretty scary. But, the photo turned out great!! 

What makes you unique from other wedding photographers?
I have been told by others in the industry and by my sweet clients that its the overall experience! That I never made them feel like they were just another client to me. I truly believe in loving on my clients like family. I stay friends with many of them after we meet and then I get to watch families grow! Its such a life giving and rewarding thing that I get to do, I still can’t believe that I get to call this my job! 

Tell us one thing we might not otherwise know about you.
I have a crazy dream to one day own a venue and bed and breakfast! That would be a big step for my business but I think it would be so much fun!

 Photo Credit:  Amy Rae Photography

Photo Credit: Amy Rae Photography

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Real Wedding: Kaylee & John

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This week we're highlighting Kaylee & John's wedding that took place on September 22, 2017 at Minneapolis Event Centers - The Riverside in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kaylee found us on the Minnesota Brides Facebook group earlier this year when she was looking for a day of coordinator for her upcoming wedding. We exchanged a few emails back and forth and just like that Kaylee & John were ready to relax and unwind on their big day now that they had us by their side! In March 2017, we finally got the chance to meet Kaylee when she came by to see us at the Dream Day Dressing Rooms Open House. We briefly chatted and sent her off with a bunch of Events by Melody swag.

As the months went by, we kept in touch with Kaylee and even attended one of her meetings at Minneapolis Event Center during the summer. It was so exciting to hear that all of the final details coming together! At the end of August/early September, we really started to nail down all of the final details and wedding day timeline. A few short weeks later, we attended their rehearsal and helped coordinate those efforts which ran SO smoothly! As a bride, rehearsals are so exciting because it's like being a kid on Christmas Eve. Well, at least that's how I felt anyway when I was a bride myself (haha). The night came and went and it was finally Friday, September 22nd, 2017 -- Kaylee & John's BIG day! We arrived on site to setup all of the pretty details & decor along with some other vendors. Our favorite part of setup was the donut wall -- SO FUN! It's also SO tempting not to want to 1 (or 5) donuts in the process. Ugh, talk about self control! Anyways, everything came together beautifully. The ceremony was beautiful, the cocktail hour was amazing, and the reception and party to follow were a night everyone would remember for the rest of their lives! Kaylee & John -- CONGRATULATIONS! Wishing you many years of love, laughter & happiness.

To view more photos from Kaylee & John's wedding, click here.

Ceremony + Reception: Minneapolis Event Center-The Riverside
Hair + Makeup: Warpaint International
Photo, Video, DJ + Photo Booth: Flow Event Group
Florist: Lily of the Lakes
Dessert/Donuts: Lunds & Byerly's
Officiant: Keith Kemnitz
Decor + Rentals: Sunkissed Events
Ceremony Musicians: Mill City String Quartet
Cocktail Hour Musicians: Great Songs Trio
Day of Coordinator: Events by Melody (Melody + Maggie, Hannah & Tina)

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