Wedding Style

The Marketing Game //

Every year, I sit down and think about how we can better connect with our vendors. These include both the coordinators and creatives that we already work with consistently each season, but also the dream list of people that we strive to work with. For the Photogen Inc. brand, and frankly with all of our brands, our best clients come to us from the true relationships that we have built. You know that saying that 'word of mouth is your best advertising' ? I am a total believer of that. Whether a client hears about us thru reading the blog, being a loyal Instagram follower or was recommended to us thru their wedding planner or event designer - all of the connections that we build with each and every one of you are what matters. So this year, our team sat down to strategize a bit on how to spend our dollars towards advertising. We decided that we wanted to make it personal this year and think outside of the box to connect with you. You will see that we've stepped up our game a bit and have been more active on Instagram for both our Rivets and Roses team and myself. We're trying to show you more of our everyday adventures, along with behind-the-scenes and finished photos. We're also trying to connect on a more personal level with some key vendors, which will include a few more coffee dates and lunches, in efforts to actually see more of our favorite people - face to face. When I thought about how relationships form over social media, I also asked myself: Who do I want to start a relationship with? and Who from a far do I admire? Illustrator, Cait Courneya came straight to my mind and at the top of my list. You see, I had been following Cait's drawings via Instagram, as a fan girl myself, for a while and I thought: She's a perfect fit. So, Cait and I got together for coffee and I pitched to her the idea of creating personalized sketches of a select group of vendors that I wanted to also send my gorgeous look books to. I can send out promotional materials all day long, but I wanted to go beyond that actually give these vendors an actual gift. Cait's work was a huuuuuuge success. Not only did all of the vendors enjoy their sketches, but many of them also posted their gifts and our look books on their social media outlets. Now, there's a key point that feel is really important: We didn't ask or push anyone to promote this. We simply created a piece that was meant to inspire, so the posts that came out were genuine and organic. Their praises and words were authentic and real, not contrived to names drop or self promote.

A lot of what we are seeing on our social feeds is curated content that shows 1) how fancy people are 2) how fancy the people they hang out with are and 3) how fancy the places they hang out at are. I've been guilty of all of the above, but it is my goal to create as many authentic actions as possible. And above all, I want to create work that inspires and that people will genuinely want to share. It is too early to know if I will book any wedding work from this year's marketing, but already, we have received many comments, emails and hand-written-thank-you-notes (which I oh-so-love), from our efforts. The look books were also created to be portfolio pieces that the vendors can actually use. So, was this project cheap? No, not at all. In fact, it was a pretty good investment, but already, it is way better than any listing on a website has ever returned for our companies. And above all, I feel GOOD - like really excited - to know that every single person we reached out to has loved this work and we have successfully grown our relationships with them.

Here are some tips to think about for your next round of marketing your wedding photography business (or any business, really):

Know Your Goal // Each year, your business probably has new goals to achieve. These might be the same from year-to-year, but I bet each season, there is a bit of a shift in the way you want to fine-tune your business. If your goal for this year is to do a bigger volume of clients, then research what the best resource for advertising is - perhaps this is investing in front-page listings. If your goal is to expand your network, budget enough dollars and mark dates on your calendar to attend events and plan more coffee dates. Or happy hours, because everyone loves a good happy hour.

Know Your Brand // Whether you are putting together marketing materials to get printed or creating an online listing, be intentional about who you want to reach. Who is your current client? Who do you want your future client to be? You have absolutely nothing to lose but to try and reach out of your comfort zone.

Invest in the Future, Not the Quick Dollar // We currently live in a world of instant gratification and sometimes it seems to be the 'norm' that people become 'Instagram Famous' overnight. First of all, the internet is an amazing tool, but it's also not reality. I guarantee you that those people you think just got a 'lucky break' have been hustling for years. We hear many times about the success, but not the hard work. A solid business means putting in the hours, creating amazing work, delivering your product on time and simply being kind to people. Decide how your investments, both monetarily and socially, will be best for you in the long run. If you are lucky enough to gain worldly success overnight, then good for you. Just don't expect that or hold this as the definition of your success.

Be Remarkable // Honestly, there's no room for anything less these days. If you put mediocrity into the world, that's not enough. You must create work and pieces that inspire you and those around you. I'm a perfectionist and my standard is always: Does this inspire me? Would I care about this? If the answer is yes, then I move forward. If the answer is no, I just let it go. We all have too much going on to care about fluffy bullshit. Whatever you create, make it amazing.

Have Fun // Marketing is FUN! I mean, this is a fantastic opportunity to allow people to get to know you and create something special. Collaborate. Think outside of the traditional route. Be excited. Be proud.


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WEDDING STYLE // The Trevor Wedding

Bride and Groom Wedding PortraitEmily and Matt are one of the boldest couples, style wise, that we have photographed. Emily is currently studying fashion design and it is very clear that her sense of style and vision for fashion are unlike any other! As a bride, Emily most definitely wanted every detail of her wedding to not only look perfect, but also give her guests a total experience. She wanted everyone to be whisked away to a new space and leave her wedding feeling charmed. One thing I love, in particular, about the Trevor's wedding was their attire. Matt chose a very slim cut navy suit and Emily chose a simple dress, accompanied by a big, bold necklace and red lip to add in her style. After the ceremony, Emily put on a custom, sheer coat that was soooooo stunning in person, it was absolutely gorgeous! I love it when brides not only take risks on their style for their wedding day, but also understand the balance between making a statement and keeping a timeless look to their attire. Personally, I think Emily and Matt achieved this perfectly, so we interviewed the Trevor's to see what their thought process was like when planning their wedding! Q. You have incredible style. Hands down. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your wedding?

A. When I first got engaged I looked at a ton of blogs, one of my favorites was I loved the idea of my wedding being so much more of mine and Matt's personal style than a typical traditional wedding. I searched Etsy all the time as well for cute little things I liked, or got ideas from. Once I got one idea stuck in my head it sort of blew up into a bigger idea. The doily chandeliers for example - I found a cute DIY how-to in Martha Stewart magazine, took that, made them five feet long, super wide and made three of them. 2500 paper doilies...ha ha ha, my parents (both retired, sweet deal for me) were folding doilies for weeks. As a clothing design student, I am pretty anal about design details and went a bit crazy with my ideas...I honestly didn't think I'd be that bride. I learned to trust my instincts. I was driving to yoga about a year ago and saw a free desk on the side of the street. Matt and his best friend, Chris, picked it up for me. I painted the whole piece white and put my place settings on it.

Q. What were the first steps you took in designing your big day?

A. Booking YOU! Seriously. I then found my wedding dress. I believe we bought Matt's suit next. I knew I wanted an outdoor wedding, but for me, those two items, our clothing, were number one. I wanted them to make sense together. I couldn't completely visualize my day or start designing the details until I knew the general feeling I got from our clothes.

Q. How did you choose your vendors?

A. You were EASY. I grew up with you and you have been my rock in some pretty heartbreaking times for me. Not to mention, you are the most KICK ASS photographer in the Twin Cities, maybe the world? Do I dare? But seriously, you were always my number one vendor priority. If I remember accurately I planned my wedding date around your schedule. My best friends cousin, Alex Lehr owns Thistle Floral Design. We have been friends for a few years and I am in love with her floral aesthetic. We had very similar ideas for my flowers during the whole planning process. She is incredibly creative and is able to get her hands on some amazing flowers. When she said she could get me my King Proteas, I peed a little. (Is that legal to say?) Honestly, I chose Common Roots because they were delicious. We looked at a few caterers and they were all pretty scary. Bonnie from Common Roots was the biggest blessing to work with. I felt so taken care of and she got my humor, which was a delight. Lime Canary Vintage Rental was my vendor for those sweet vintage chairs. I really wanted to mix a vintage and modern aesthetic throughout the whole day as that is pretty true to my personal style. With the vintage chairs during the ceremony I wanted to keep the decor for the ceremony clean, hence, just the chairs and the chandelier. I have never been happier with a decision. Those vintage chairs made my heart swoon. And honestly, they are around the same price as fancy white chairs. I found that vendor through a Facebook page and got really excited. The only other things I rented were the tables, white chairs and some of the dessert table plates. All the decorations were either handmade or bought from IKEA.

Groom Wedding Portrait Q. Matt's suit was ordered online from ASOS. How did you two choose his attire?

A. RUSSEL BRAND. We were watching the Oscars in 2011 and he showed up wearing this ridiculous outfit- all navy and black and so delicious. We both were like "whoa, that's it." I went on the hunt for it, a navy skinny suit with black details. I die for navy and black together. Since I had already been obsessed with ASOS, I dove into their site every day and finally found the perfect suit. Luckily, it fit Matt perfectly. His tie was eight dollars or something too from ASOS. Ridiculous. The night of our wedding, we were giggling in our room and discussing the day. We decided his outfit was one of the best purchases for the big day. Matt has never looked so good. He has made a new mission to add 16 pieces of clothing to his wardrobe- one piece, every week for sixteen weeks. His suit inspired him. I'm cool with that :)

Q.All of your bridesmaids dresses were custom made. Why did you choose this? How was that process?

A. First off, I knew I really wanted the dresses to be able to be WORN again. So custom made or something super casual and modern was always a hope of mine.

I use to work at a local St. Paul boutique called Picky Girl. One of the local lines we sold was Calpurnia Peach. Luci Kandler and her friend owned the line. Luci has since began her own line. What I love about her clothes are her prints and really simple silhouettes. I knew I wanted Luci to make my dresses from the first time I saw her garments at Picky. I love mixing different prints and I knew I wanted my bridesmaids dresses to have a print as I was already utilizing numerous prints at my wedding. Working with Luci was amazing. Her talent for screen printing makes me jealous and she totally mixed the modern and vintage styles that I love not only within the silhouettes but within the print itself. The process of working with her was super easy. We met, I showed her stuff I had already planned for my wedding, she fed off my ideas and designed dresses I loved. We emailed frequently and I went to her studio to check out print ideas and mock dresses. Her pricing was incredibly reasonable for all the work she put into my girls dresses. Custom made was really sweet as my lady friends met with Luci a couple times for fittings as well as decisions about their own dresses- pockets, length of belt... My favorite was the halter one with the slight cowl. :) I want it.

Wedding bridal party holding bouquets

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What were the priorities for you?

A. Heh be honest. I did that all wrong. I planned my wedding much like I have lived my life thus far. Just sort of buying things as I go and hoping I have the money for everything I need. Matt just graduated from the U of M and I am in school at St. Kate' being students and trying to save up for a wedding was pretty frightening. I am happy that that part of the wedding is over. My priorities: photography, clothes, location and food. I am pretty grateful for some great in-laws and my parents to help us with some of the financial aspects of the wedding. Matt and I had an envelope in his underwear drawer (yeah, we're old school) that we would cram cash in- watch it accumulate and try not to stress out. One thing that we did do, was spend throughout the process. That was helpful, we were engaged for almost two years, so I really started buying stuff right away and tried to spread it out. That way, I didn't need to have a ridiculous amount of money at a certain point- it made it feel a little less intense. (and by a little, I mean a little)

Q. Why did you choose the Round Barn?

A. We really wanted an outdoor wedding. I searched the internet for a couple weeks nonstop browsing all the local outdoor locations. For some reason I didn't come across the Round Barn for a couple weeks- it was really hard to find online if you didn't know the place existed, which I didn't. When I saw the website I freaked out. It was exactly what we wanted. When we visited the location we knew it was the spot. The yard was gorgeous and I saw a very large tree that I ached to be wed under. Not to mention- you rent out the entire b & b for the whole weekend and get a three course breakfast both mornings you are there. Seriously. It was also WAY less expensive than any other outdoor location I found that I liked. Red Wing is beautiful. The barn was bad ass. The rooms in the b & b were super cute. We booked it immediately.

Q. When it came to your actual wedding dress, how did you choose 'the one'? You also made the perfect sheer coat to go over your dress. How did that come about?

A. Yes. Okay. So I could have gone two ways with my dress. Super over the top OR simple and clean. When I tried on my dress, I just knew. It felt right. Everyone I was with was freaking out. It just felt like me. With choosing a simpler dress I was able to wear tons of accessories which I love. I don't think I would have worn a huge necklace with a more highly detailed dress and I would never have collaborated with my friend Heather on that sweet jacket (which I get to see in my closet every day and smile at the memory of my wedding.) So, that being said, I went the simple and clean route. However! As it was simple, I really wanted a statement piece to wear during my reception. I searched so many stores and websites for the perfect chiffon jacket and alas, couldn't find anything. So I asked my good friend Heather King to sew me one. We gave each other sketches during work one day and kept adding on and slightly changing details until we felt really good about it. Fabric shopping was a breeze, we both are drawn to similar textiles and colors and I found my pretty hand dyed ribbon at a flower shop :) I 'm obsessed with my jacket. I want to do a photo shoot with it, a body suit and my boots from my wedding. Yum.

Q. Aside from your vendors, who did you collaborate with to bring your ideas to life?

A. I knocked a lot of ideas around with the great minds of my husband, my best friend Mary, my sisters Anne and Liz and my mom. Not only that, but my entire family seriously helped out with the DIY stuff. My mom was my own personal sweatshop. She sewed all the grey and white tablecloths, photobooth back drop and my dessert tablecloths. During my winter break from school me and my MOH Mary spray painted all those books and frames (after I primed them all twice) while my dad watched us, incredibly weirded out that I was doing this for my wedding :) Six months later, that man was busy helping me with crafts. I am so grateful for my family and their willingness to be of service and help me with all the projects. They really helped me bring my wedding to fruition.

Wedding tablescape

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many DIY details?

A. Be yourself!! Try and spread out all your projects- they are way more time consuming than you think they will be. Don't be afraid to ask for help- people seriously want to help. Make lists- they relieve stress. Try and buy/make things that you can use in your house after the wedding. Bulk wholesale fabric sites are a good thing. Paint primer is your best friend.


Also make sure to check out Emily and Matt's Engagement and Couples session posts!

WEDDING STYLE // Faith Brue of Style-Architects

Faith Brue - Style-Architects Headshot The idea of having a stylist for your wedding is a new idea to the Midwest crowd; however, brides all of the world have been hiring professional consultants to help style their looks and their overall event for their big day. Style-Architects is a company that not only offers brides professional design services for their event, but they also offer the fabulous talent of Faith Brue. Faith is the official stylist for Style-Architects and has stunning taste when it comes to choosing what to dress her clients in - and especially when there is a party involved. With the world of Pinterest, endless amounts of wedding blogs and magazines, brides know exactly the look and feel that they want for their weddings; however, they might be looking for some extra help to pull off the dream-look both flawlessly and effortlessly. We caught up with Faith and asked her some questions on why it's valuable to hire a stylist for your wedding day looks!  

Q. No matter what you are doing, you always have incredible style. How did you start as a stylist?

A. They say that you should do as a profession what you do when you procrastinate. With all of my other jobs and even when I was in school, I spent my free time reading magazines, style blogs and going out looking for the newest trends. When I graduated college, I was a wedding planner and I found that my favorite part of the job was styling the bride and groom and their wedding party. People in my life kept telling me that I should turn my passion into a career and just go for it. I finally found my perfect place at Style-Architects as a wardrobe and fashion stylist. I love giving people the confidence and tools they need to look and feel good.

Q. What is your role at Style-Architects?

A. My official title is 'Wardrobe + Fashion Stylist.' Within that, I wear a few different hats. One part of my job is to style photo shoots for magazines and photographers. For instance, I do the Style Transformation section for MN Monthly magazine every month where we do a complete style overhaul for a client. I also do various fashion spreads and look-books for our clients. I also work with individuals that need to revamp their wardrobe; weather that be through a closet detox, personal shopping or a combination of both. I also do bridal styling which has many facets. One thing that many brides need help with is styling their engagement shoots. These photos show who you are as a couple and you will have them for a long time to come. You want to look like yourselves, but the best versions of yourselves. I can help make that happen. I also help brides find their wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses and the men's attire. Sometimes you need a third party, a discerning eye to help you keep your vision in focus.

Q. What were the first steps a bride should take when styling her wedding?

A. One thing that is very important for brides to keep in the back of their mind when styling their wedding is timelessness. You are going to have these pictures for the rest of your life and you don't want to look back and regret following a fleeting trend. Also, remember to dress for your body and accentuate the features that you are most proud of. For instance, if you are sensitive about having a larger bust, don't buy a strapless gown that you will need to be pulling up all night. When it comes to your bridal party, don't feel that you need to follow all of the rules about matching dresses, shoes and jewelry. Your bridesmaids will thank you if they get to show a bit of their personality in their ensemble. It is almost impossible to find one silhouette that will look good on six different body types. When it comes to the groomsmen, they usually need a bit more structure or they will end up looking pretty sloppy. One idea that I have seen lately is to have all of the men wear bow-ties with different patterns on them. Just remember this is your day and you only get to do it once!

Q. Do you have any advice for grooms and how to be stylish?

A. There is no need to take all personality out of your look when you are the groom. This wedding should represent you and your bride and part of that should shine through in what you wear. At the same time, don't go so crazy that you will regret it in a couple of years. Bring out your style in interesting cuff links, an unusual tie or quirky socks. Another thing that a groom can do is keep it buttoned up and classic for the ceremony and then spice it up for the reception with a different jacket or funky shoes for dancing.

Q. There is a current trend to have the bridesmaids choose their own (and different) dresses. What is your opinion on this?

A. I think that this could go over fabulous or be a total bust! Read your bridal party and how they would feel about it. Some may love the idea of being able to pick out their own look while others panic at the thought of having to go shopping and be responsible to find something that the bride will like as well.

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What should the priorities be?

A. There are usually a couple of things that are most important to both you and the groom. Hone in on these things first and see where your budget finds you. For instance, photography and location were most important to my husband and I when setting the budget for our wedding. From there, decide within your own look what is most important to you. For some brides, the shoes or the jewelry are more important than the actual dress. I don't think that the designer of the dress needs to sway you one way or another because there are so many gorgeous gowns that you can get for half the price. The main objective is to find a dress that you feel stunning in and the rest will fall into place.

Q. How does the time of year and venue effect the style of the wedding party's attire?

A. Make sure when you are shopping for your self and your wedding party, that you put yourself in the season that the wedding will be in and what colors and fabrics will be appropriate. I also think that it is important to dress for the venue that your wedding is at. For instance, if you are getting married at a country club, you will want to keep your attire classic and timeless with a simple silhouette and tuxedo's for the men. Bring elements of your surroundings into the overall look of the bridal party to make it feel seamless.

Q. Do you think brides benefit from using a professional stylist for their wedding day? Why?

A. Having a stylist for your wedding takes the pressure off of the bride to make all of the details fall into place. Having the stylist there who's goal it is to make everyone look their best. There are so many weddings where the groom and groomsmen don't know how to wear a suit correctly and end up walking down the aisle looking disheveled. There is also a lot of confusion surrounding the bride's veil and train. Although there are very specific directions given to the mother of the bride or the maid of honor at the final dress fitting, it is hard to remember on the wedding day when there are so many other things going on. I also help to make sure the dress looks its best during your photos, when the photographer can miss little details that are out of place.

You can also check out Style-Architects on Facebook.

L'atelier Couture Presents Tara LaTour!

For those of you who know me, you know I never miss a thing. Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon, I was struck with a sudden illness that kept me from being at the AMAZING event put on by L'atelier Couture Bridal for Tara LaTour! The good thing is that I was able to photograph some details for the event earlier on in the day - and I have an incredible team of photographers and friends who were able to step in a capture this incredible evening! I have to seriously thank Marc, Louisa and Nate for stepping up to the plate last minute and doing an amazing job! As many of you know, Tara and I have collaborated for a few years now on her collections. We photographed her 2013 collection a couple of months ago and it is absolutely one of my favorite! L'atelier Couture is the premier bridal salon in Minneapolis and when they began carrying Tara's gowns, they found the perfect opportunity for a party! Last night's event was a true celebration of the Minneapolis wedding industry! Munster Rose put together some amazing florals and Gateaux Inc created some amazing deserts - all styled around the inspiration of Tara's collection, which was the children's story "Where the Wild Things Are." Paperista made the stellar invitations, Emily J offered a super-fun Lash Bar and the brand new clutches and perfume (yes! perfume!) were on display in the Nelle Showroom!

Even though I wasn't able to be there, it was great to have some BIG images around the space of our shoot with Tara! We are so lucky to be in a market and an industry that is centered around collaboration and encouraging one another! For those brides out there that are still looking for their perfect gown, definitely make an appointment at L'atelier - I'm convinced they carry nothing but the best!

WEDDING STYLE // Wearing Color

Jessica Biel wore pink and all of a sudden the wedding world is a buzz with colored dresses! However, celebrities and brides alike have been wearing color for years! There's no doubt about it that celebrity weddings set trends in the industry. I was just at Bridal Fashion Week in New York City and all of the major collections included sleeves and lace - clearly inspired by Kate Middleton's choice in her gown. An upcoming wedding that everyone is on-the-edge of their seats for is Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold's wedding. Her dress has been kept top-secret until Martha Stewart Weddings magazine will reveal all of the exclusive details in an upcoming issue. Because of the hype, her dress is bound to start trends. Many people think that the reason brides where white is because it is a symbol of purity; however that is not the reason behind this trend at all. In the mid-1800's and thru much of the 20th Century, wedding dresses were formal dresses that would be re-used for another formal occasion. Brides could wear any color, besides Red or Black, which were associated with prostitutes and mourning, respectively. When Queen Victoria was married in 1840, she wore white. This was very controversial, because white was the color of mourning in France.  Around the same time, the printing press had become quite popular, allowing photographs to be published, reproduced, and shared with the world. Yes - Queen Victoria was the first 'celebrity' wedding to set the trend of the white wedding dress. Brides all over the world began to wear white, and it also became a symbol of wealth to wear white, because if you could afford to wash and re-wear your white dress, that meant you had money. In the mean time, the middle class continued to wear color. It wasn't until the 1950's that the white wedding dress really became the mainstream choice for brides. It has become classic and timeless in our culture and I think it's fascinating that this statement came around because of celebrity trends and not necessarily religious or ceremonial needs.

I love color and I love the impact a colored wedding dress adds to the party. They have a little more personality and WOW factor for your guests; however, if you are choosing a colored dress, make sure it is absolutely a color that fits your personality, party, and theme. Brides who embrace colored wedding dresses can look radiant, but if all of the pieces don't come together, you could look back at your wedding pictures in 30 years and think you look like a bad trend...and no one wants that!

Color can be done absolutely beautifully and a good rule of thumb to make everything cohesive is to plan your color scheme and details around the color of your dress. Vera Wang's  Spring 2013 collection showed bright reds to deep burgundy and even straight black. Tara LaTour's latest collection incorporates her signature color-fading treatment, a periwinkle blue dress and even a copper number.

There's no doubt about it - color is changing the wedding industry. Below are some examples of some of those current dresses on the Market from Vera Wang and Tara LaTour. For those local brides in Minneapolis, there is an exciting event coming up for you to test-out-color! On November 7th, L'atelier Couture is hosting a fantastic party to celebrate Tara LaTour's latest collection. From 6:30-9pm, you can join the best of the wedding industry for a night of drinks, art, and colorful dresses! See the invitation below - we would love to see you there!

WEDDING STYLE // The Brooks Wedding

bride and groom at reception Lane and Edward are one of those couples that are SO incredibly beautiful and classic looking. They just look like they should be in old issues of LIFE magazine. They are both timeless and when it came to planning their wedding, they most definitely brought their sense of style and classic beauty to their event. Their ceremony took place in the Brook's backyard, which is right where Edward proposed! Their reception was at the Lafayette Club, which is one of Minneapolis's most classic and luxurious venues. I loved so many things about Lane and Edward's wedding, but most importantly, the details that Lane planned into her day to create some honest moments. For starters, after the couple's first look, Lane planned for the two to go on a private boat ride to exchange gifts. Now, this was not only a great photo opp, and a gorgeous boat, but she also added some lace-tied balloons to the boat to add a little DIY touch. Lane created a perfect backdrop for us to capture such a special moment! We caught up with Lane to talk to her about where she came up with some of her style ideas for their absolutely stunning wedding!


Q. I absolutely loved the style of your wedding, it was so timeless. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your wedding?

A. I missed the Pinterest launch by a few short months, so I actually had to gather inspiration the old fashioned way. I started with magazines, wedding blogs, and actually different photographers websites. You can find tons of wedding inspiration by looking at other peoples’ big day. I created my own idea pages by cutting out pieces of jewelry, colors, dresses, shoes, flowers, etc that really spoke to me. Once I had all the things that I loved in one place, it was so obvious to me what my style was. I made a lot of decisions based on those pages and showed them to all of my vendors so they could see what my overall wedding vision looked like.

Bride getting her hair done

Q. What were the first steps you took in designing your big day?

A. One of the very first things I did was find my bridesmaid dresses. I knew that I wanted bridesmaid dresses that were unique and ones that would allow each girl to look different but still similar. I actually went to Nordstrom’s, saw a collection of dresses from one designer and then ended up designing other wedding details around them. The flowers, the tablecloths, the invitations, all tied back to these beautiful dresses.

Q. How did you choose your vendors?

A. I did a lot of online research to start and then also asked around. I did not spend a great deal of time shopping or consulting with different vendors. In most cases, if I did a little research on the vendor first, when I met them, I knew they were the "ones".

Q. Both you and your groom added personal, hand made details for your day. How did these come about?

A. I saw a lot of DIY inspiration in the blogs and magazines and I wanted to add my own personal touch to the day, without being overtly DIY. So, I only did a few. My groom’s personal touches came about when we needed a solution for something and he just wanted to keep it simple by using what we already had.

Bride and groom in a boat with ballons

Bride and groom in a boat with ballons in black and white

Q. All of your bridesmaids had slightly different dresses. Why did you choose this?

A. I just really wanted everyone to feel special and look beautiful.

Bride and Groom wedding bridal party walking

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What were the priorities for you?

A. I admit, I splurged on quite a few things. I had a budget for everything when I started out and then as little things popped up, I decided that I was OK going over budget. I also cut out a lot of things that I originally thought I wanted, which made some of the splurges easier. I was really focused on what my guests would like to see and what they wouldn’t miss at all. When it came to transportation, which was an area where I exceeded my budget, I decided I wanted to create as much convenience as possible for my friends and family. If that meant busing them from downtown so they didn’t have to rent cars, then so be it! I would say that everything was a priority but entertainment and fun was at the top of my list.

Bride and Groom kissing in front of the Lafayette Club

Q. Why did you choose to have your ceremony on a private property? Why did you choose the Lafayette Club for your reception?

A. At first, we really struggled with where to have the ceremony. We looked at a few local venues but nothing really stood out and matched what I had envisioned for this very important part of the day.  We knew we wanted to be married outside (which brought its own natural beauty and meant we didn’t have to decorate). And we wanted to be married in place that was comfortable and meaningful to us. That ended up being my in-laws backyard, which was where we were engaged.  We knew from the start that we wanted to have the reception at Lafayette Club. Both of us grew up near Lake Minnetonka, but went to college out on the east coast.  For years we boasted about how amazing Minnesota was to our east coast friends and we knew we had to use this occasion to really show it off to them. Lafayette Club was the perfect venue to express why Minnesota is so beautiful and special to us.

outdoor wedding ceramony

Q. When it came to your actual wedding dress, how did you choose this? What about Eddie's tux?

A. I tried on sooooo many dresses and I liked them all! It was so hard to choose. What it came down to was really which dress matched the style of the day and which dress made me look unique and feel like a bride. Your wedding day is the one day where you get to wear a big, beautiful gown and I wasn’t going to miss out on that opportunity!

bride looking at herself in wedding dress in a mirror

Q. Aside from your vendors, who did you collaborate with to bring your ideas to life?

A. My best friend, my mom, and my sister. These three special ladies understood my style and encouraged me every time I had a new idea. It was so much fun to have brainstorming sessions with each one of them. They all spent time listening to me, sending me inspiration, and coming up with fun ideas of their own. Collaborating with them was the best part about planning!

wedding tablescapes

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Know what your vision is and really go for it. Every detail should have a purpose and make sure it’s worth the time and energy to get it there. Understand what your priorities are early on so you can eliminate what you don’t need and really go after what you do need. This is one of those great opportunities where you get to call the shots and be the designer, take advantage!

Bride and Groom walking to wedding reception

WEDDING STYLE // The Stoa Wedding

Bride and Groom Wedding PortraitClare and Ryan are some of our clients who tied the knot earlier this season! From the moment I met Clare, I knew she had impeccable style and taste. She had also hired some of the most amazing vendors in the area, so I also knew that their wedding would be nothing short of fabulous! However, the thing I love about Clare and Ryan was their approach to their wedding. Yes, they had hired wonderful people to bring together stunning details, and yes, they 'went all out'; however, if none of that came together in the end, they honestly could have cared less! All that Clare and Ryan cared about in the end was that the two of them got married and shared it with their family and friends who were close to them! I love this mentality and from my perspective, they were SO much fun and easy to photograph, because of their easy-going attitude towards their day. Everything went absolutely perfect for this wedding and it is so so so so so gorgeous! I wanted to get in touch with Clare and see if she had any advice for future brides on how to style their wedding!  

Q. You have incredible style. Hands down. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your wedding?

A. We gathered inspiration from EVERYWHERE. Design websites, magazines, lifestyle blogs, Pinterest, home decor catalogs, etc.

Q. What were the first steps you took in designing your big day?

A. Once all the excitement of getting engaged settled down, the first question we asked ourselves was, "What do we want the feel of our wedding to be?" We simply wanted our guests to be comfortable.

Q. How did you choose your vendors?

A. After narrowing down the vibe of the day, the Enchanted Barn was an obvious choice. Rustic. Vintage. Chic. Next up, we snagged Photogen Inc. I've been a HUGE fan of Eliesa's work for years. The third vendor we booked was Laura Mullen Event Design. Laura has amazing grace and vision. She pointed us in the right direction with Munster Rose, Bridgemans, Midway Party Rental, and Blooms and Tunes.

Q. Both you and your groom added personal, hand made details for your day. How did these come about?

A. We did! Ryan makes fishing lures in his spare time and he wanted to incorporate those elements into his wardrobe + day. I just love to create. From the chalk cups to the framed guest book to the giant L-O-V-E sign, our friends and family spent tons of hours (and lots of wine) creating the special details.

Wedding Details Triptych

Wedding Groom Triptych

Q. All of your bridesmaids had different dresses. Why did you choose this?

A. I wanted the bridesmaids to feel fabulous. It would have been difficult to find one dress that fit everyone's personality, body type, and budget. Plus, they all have great, unique taste! It was fun to see it come together. When I sent them invitations to the be apart of the bridal party, I included a swatch of five ribbons that encompassed our overarching color scheme and let them do the rest!

Wedding bridal party walking in grass field

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What were the priorities for you?

A. Basically, the order in which we booked our vendors. Everyone says that this day is about "you." We didn't really feel that way. Maybe it's our MN upbringing, but hospitality was important to us, we wanted people to be well fed, thirst quenched, and entertained enough to stay until the doors closed for the night.

It was also super important for us to have AMAZING documentation. Our favorite thing (out of many) about Eliesa and crew at Photogen Inc. is their photojournalistic style and raw talent. They capture the emotion while they shoot, and that's pretty special.

Lastly, I just wanted to show up on the day of the wedding and have an amazing time enjoying my husband, family and friends. The LMED team took care of everything, I did not worry about one thing the entire day! Just pure bliss!

Q. Why did you choose the Enchanted Barn?

A. No doubt that the Enchanted Barn is a gorgeous venue. We loved the details about the site that made it unique. The stone in the milking parlor, the horses in the field, the lit hanging candles during the dance. The owner of the barn, Lorin, has revamped this barn with such and eye for design. Plus, he is SO wonderful. His team really made our day feel special.

Bride and Groom Wedding Ceremony at the Enchanted Barn

Q.  When it came to your actual wedding dress, you had two. Why did you choose this? How did you choose your dresses?

A. I actually found my reception dress first, Ryan has always had a thing for my calves (weird!?) so I knew I wanted to surprise him with a short dress! I was working a job in Santa Monica and walked into a vintage clothing store and found the most amazing piece of clothing ever! I walked out of the store with it that day! I found my ceremony dress when I was living in Colorado at a local bridal shop. It just felt "right." I knew I wanted the dress to feel classic with a rustic twist. I loved the texture of the lace and was sold when I found out it had pockets!!

Q. Aside from your vendors, who did you collaborate with to bring your ideas to life?

A. My mom. I get my "creative vision" from her. And my dad for being the MacGyver of these visions.

Beautiful Wedding Reception under a tent

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. In the grand scheme of things, the details really don't matter. The whole week leading up to the wedding day, I kept telling everyone that even if the Uhaul (yes, Uhaul) died on the side of the road, the day will still be amazing. And it was. Ryan and I have the BEST friends and family and that's what it really boils down to. But, if you are like me and anal retentive, hire Laura Mullen. I literally showed up, said yes, cheers'ed, and danced the night away with my husband and friends.

Wedding  Invitation Details

WEDDING STYLE // Anne Kristine Lingerie

Anne Kristine Archambault Headshot

Anne Kristine is a designer who focuses specifically on bridal lingerie for your wedding night. I first met Anne a couple of years ago when she hired me to photograph her new line she was about to launch! I fell in love with the idea that there was something more custom out there and that brides no longer needed to go to Victoria’s Secret for their intimates! Everything about Anne Kristine Lingerie is bridal. It’s light, feminine, and drop dead sexy…while still being very classy! Her goal is to help the bride transition from her dress to a beautiful piece of lingerie for the wedding night. Fun, right? We caught up with owner and designer, Annie Archambault to dig a little deeper in to why we should invest in some custom lingerie!



Q. What makes Anne Kristine Lingerie so unique?

A. I would say it’s the details that makes Anne Kristine Lingerie stand out. It’s the silk satin shoulder ties, the handmade rosettes, the ruffles, the soft fabrics, and the finishing techniques used on each piece. It can be a sad moment when a bride takes off her gorgeous wedding gown, but not if she gets to slip into fabulous lingerie!!

Bride in lingerie sitting on bed

Q. What were the first steps a bride should take when choosing where to purchase her intimates?

A. There are two different categories for “bridal intimates”. What is worn under the wedding gown, and what is worn for the wedding night. My first suggestion for deciding what and where to buy “under the gown” intimates is to ask a wedding gown consultant or seamstress. They will know exactly what will work. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the proper undergarments. Many salons sell bustiers, bust cups, etc., and if they don’t, they usually can refer a lingerie boutique. As for “wedding night” lingerie, look no further than Anne Kristine!

Q.What are the benefits of having fancy/custom lingerie?

A. I love the idea of wearing bridal lingerie for a wedding anniversary. Making the pieces keepsakes. There’s something so romantic about having that special lingerie piece to remind you of your wedding day and the love you share with your spouse.

Anne Kristine Lingerie Website screenshot

Q. Where do you pull inspiration from?

A. For the bridal lingerie line, I find inspiration from wedding gowns. I want the wedding night lingerie to be a continuation of the wedding day. I love the romance and whimsy of wedding gowns. It directly correlates into lingerie. The lace, bows, ruffles, and soft fabrics are all perfect for creating bridal intimates. And I just LOVE wedding gowns! (It’s no wonder since I was a wedding consultant for 6 years before starting Anne Kristine!)

Q. What are some key trends for bridal attire right now? What about Bridal Lingerie?

A. It’s all about a bride showing off her personal style. Accessories are a great way to do this. The wedding gown is still so important, but accessories are huge. From sparkly Louboutins to Hunter rain boots, a bride has so many way to express herself through accessories. She can even change her look from ceremony to reception. I love when a bride changes from her long gorgeous veil to a fantastic headpiece! As accessories are becoming more important to the bridal look, bridal lingerie is also becoming more important. Brides are more determined than ever to have a complete and coordinating wedding day, and that includes after the sun goes down! Also, I LOVE the idea of wearing bridal lingerie for a boudoir shoot before the wedding!

Q. What are some tips on buying lingerie online that have the ‘perfect fit’? Tell us more about your online store…

A. Pay very close attention to the size charts. Every designer has different sizing, so it’s important to know your measurements. On Anne Kristine Lingerie’s website there is a video on how to measure. There are also videos further explaining the different pieces. I want customers to see the lingerie in different ways. I also encourage customers to contact us if they have any questions regarding sizing, or which piece of lingerie would be best.
Anne Kristine Lingerie Website screenshot-2

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that want something ‘different and unique’?

A. I think the key is to keep things personal. Instead of just a table number, the couple could have the numbers on engagement photos, or on travel pics they’ve taken together. I like the idea of offering a signature wedding drink, or if the couple has a favorite dessert, serve that instead of cake. Every couple has different interests and a different style, so incorporating them into the wedding ensures it will be unique!
Bride with floral bouquet in lingerie on bed

You can also check out Anne Kristine Lingerie on Facebook.

WEDDING STYLE // Juliane James Place

Alyson and Jesse brides

The Newquist wedding will always hold a special place in my heart. First, it was my first same-sex wedding that I had the pleasure of documenting and it was also an awesome collaboration with the brides leading up to their wedding day. Alyson and Jesse are the definition of Do. It. Yourself. These ladies didn’t just bring together some details, they created an entirely new venue that is now open for other couples to rent out for their wedding! Juliane and James Place is located a little over an hour north of the cities and is the ultimate wedding retreat. We caught up with Alyson and Jesse to learn more about why they decided to open a new wedding venue, in the midst of planning their own perfectly styled event!

Q. You have incredible style. Hands down. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your wedding?

A. We used everything from historical images of turn of the century weddings to the weddings of some of our favorite wedding vendors like Hello! Lucky co-owner Eunice Moyle, whose wedding was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings a few years ago. In fact, we used Hello! Lucky’s website to see what their past clients have done because we love their work so much. Most of our influence to go with our theme of a turn of the century exploration/discovery/invention theme though came from watching Sherlock Holmes a few years ago. We loved the costumes and the depiction of London in Guy Ritchie’s interpretation of that world. So we tried to recreate it in the woods.

Q. What were the first steps you took in designing your big day?

A. Coming up with a feel we could both agree with. I have fairly outlandish tastes and Jesse needs to reign me in a lot and keep me focused, especially because as a wedding planner I see so many things I like all the time. I also don’t have that part of the brain that controls impulse and I tend to think I can do anything, and then try, and keep trying until I succeed, so she needed to put the breaks on some of my crazier ideas. Anyway though, Jesse has much stronger opinions on what she likes and doesn’t like so I would present her with a ton of ideas, ask her what she liked about each one and then go back to the research table (aka the inter-web) and then find more stuff I thought we would like.

We also spent about 16 months up to our wedding renovating a property in the middle of the forest just thinking and coming up with ideas and running them by each other. What we were doing was so utilitarian that a lot of our ideas, such as creating our invites as a shadowbox that guests could use as a photo frame after they were done with the invite (the invite slid out and then photos could slide in) came naturally to us. We also were doing a lot of discover about gardening and grounds-work with our 40 acres so creating things like terrariums or test tubes with feathers in them came to us from nature and just living so close to it.

outdoor wedding reception

Q.  How did you choose your vendors?

A. Mostly by reputation and word of mouth and price. I didn’t want mid-range vendors, I wanted high-end luxury vendors who marketed themselves that way and valued the services they provided enough to price themselves in the upper echelon within the Twin Cities.

Q. Both you and your Bride put in TONS of work to get your venue up and running. What was that process like?

A. I’m pretty sure answering this questions would take up an entire novel, let a lone a blog post! To be concise though, we had to first renovate the main house and then the cabin, then get the grounds ready via clearing spaces for the tents and various cocktail areas. We had to tame and reign in the garden spaces. We had to hunt down church pews and antique folding chairs across the Midwest and build tables for the reception area. We had to build a stage and landscape a space that was formerly (a month prior!) the middle of the woods and then two weeks prior to our wedding we decided to build an aisle using stone we found on the property. Then we had to let other people know about our space and get people excited about what we were creating. At our first wedding that wasn’t our own, I had to remove myself from the ceremony because we had just work SO hard to get to that point, to see another couple as happy as we were getting married. Standing in the same spot. To know that so many people are going to commit to themselves in a space we created we our bare hands is an unbelievable feeling.

Q. All of your bridesmaids had different dresses. Why did you choose this?

A. I like the look of different colors together and different women have different bodies. My maid of honor could never have pulled off blush but two of my bridesmaids could. And one of my bridesmaids was pregnant and she would have been the odd one out. I just love the look of the same material in the same length in different styles with different colors. Luckily, Flutter Boutique carries both Jenny Yoo and Amsale who both make a silk crinkle chiffon.

same sex bridal party

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What were the priorities for you?

A. Our priorities were:

Guest experience: almost all our guests traveled from out of state and we wanted to treat them to everything they could ever imagine being at a wedding, food and drink wise.

Creativity: making sure our wedding was unique and represented us.

And lastly, creating a mode for other weddings at the property.

Q. Why did you choose to start Juliane James Place?

A. My parents died a couple years apart from each other in my late twenties (I in my (very) early 30s now) and I wanted to create a place where happy things happened. Jesse and I had just been through so much in our 20s and moved around so much that we wanted to create a place to be anchored to where everyone would feel safe. I also wanted to have a tangible example for others to see of what same-sex weddings, marriage, and participation in the business community surrounding weddings look like. I feel that through our creating JJP, many other people feel comfortable reaching out to same-sex clients or talking about same sex weddings because they now have a language to do so with. Every person who comes for a tour at our property who saw our wedding in MN Bride knows how to talk about our marriage and wedding. We create a space where folks can feel comfortable asking if they should say partner or wife, which is awesome, because gay people are still figuring all that out, and we can create an environment where people who know how important getting married is, feel comfortable talking about all weddings as equal (besides the boring, unthoughtful ones, obviously!).

Q. When it came to your actual wedding dress, you both chose local designer, Joynoelle. Why did you choose this? How did you choose your dresses?

A. We chose Joy because she is the established name in local bridal couture. She also just got it that we wanted dresses that went well together but didn’t compete. She had also done same-sex bridal dresses before. Her boutique was an amazing space too that I knew that Jesse would feel comfortable in. I LOVED my experience with Amanda and L’Atelier and would recommend them and their amazing space and collection to anyone, but when it came down to it, I felt we needed to have dresses created in conjunction with one another so that neither of our dresses took precedence over the other.

brides walking down the aisle

Q. Aside from your vendors, who did you collaborate with to bring your ideas to life?

A. Each other mostly and Jesse’s family. Jesse’s parents have built their home from scratch in the middle of the woods in a gorgeous valley outside of Winona, MN. My father in law, Pat, is a genius at figuring out creative ways to make anything you want to have happen, happen. And he inspires us constantly. Jesse’s mom, Julie, has the most amazing aesthetic that utilizes a lot of muted pastels. Even her collection of bathroom towels inspired our love of muted pastels for our color scheme. And Mitch, Jesse’s brother, came and helped us so many times when we needed him and it just made so much more possible. He is always networking for us and thinking of things we can do to run our business better. I feel so fortunate to have married into such a great family.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Hire a planner! You can access the services of a skilled planner for just consulting to organize your ideas, for partial planning, or for full-planning. I know plenty of planners who offer hourly consulting to just get you on the right track toward organizing and achieving your wedding goals. We are lucky to have planners like Laura Mullen Event Design, Mimi Design, Amy Zaroff Events + Design, Rocket Science Weddings & Events, Lizzie Anne Weddings, and other great planners locally (who are too modest to list their own company!). Utilize that vast resource!

To back up the suggestion above: Do not rely too heavily on your family and friends. They are there to celebrate with you; not work for you.

Utilize Pinterest.

Create a well-thought out craft and DIY plan so you know what gets done when and invite friends and family over to help with those projects and make it fun. And feed them and give them wine for helping you (include that sort of thing in your DIY budget if you are going to ask for a lot of help)!

Make sure you have the budget to be able to execute all the ideas you would like to or you may financially over-commit and be left with only half an idea executed.

Do not cut corners on floral. It makes the biggest impact of all. Take a look at our photos and imagine them without flowers. It’s a different wedding.

Focus on a few key style elements. Your guests can’t possible take in everything you create and you may end up feeling upset that the thing that took you a month to work on is tossed aside because your guests are doing what you want them to do: HAVING FUN!

Hire a photographer who values details and understands capturing them. If details, crafts, styling, and DIY projects mean the world to you, then make sure your photographer knows that! And be willing to pay more for a great team of photographers.

wedding tablescape

You can also check out Juliane James Place on Facebook.

WEDDING STYLE // Freedom From Doubt

I am a sucker for good menswear. I absolutely love it when guys have great style, and especially on their wedding day! One of my favorite accessory designers is Jared Zachary, the genius behind Freedom From Doubt, which is a custom neckwear brand. This company makes bow ties, neckties and pocket squares that are THE perfect, unique and perfectly chosen accessory for any groom, groomsmen or wedding guest. Freedom From Doubt has booth an Freedom From Doubt and also specializes in custom design. The company is also hand-makes everything, right here in the U.S.A. Jared was so gracious to take the time and answer some questions into dressing like a gentleman and the mystery of tying a bow tie!

Q. What makes Freedom From Doubt so unique?

A. I would say there are few key things that allow Freedom From Doubt to remain unique in the wedding industry. First of all, my clients don't have to worry about a thing, because they are in safe hands. Custom orders are specific to the needs of the wedding party, so they don't have to stress about finding the right color, pattern, or fabric content on the rack. Being a small business, clients are able to meet with myself, rather than a representative, and I am very flexible to create exactly what they want. I can also work with them to develop their ideas in the most tasteful and most efficient way.

Secondly, I am able to create their custom designs in a hassle-free, ready-tied bow. This makes it easy for the groomsmen, but best of all, the bows look like they are actually tied by hand. Groomsmen don't have to look like you are re-living their junior prom.

[quote]Freedom From Doubt is all about confidence. My job is to take the client's idea and bring it to life to express their character and radiate their confidence.[/quote]

Q. What are the first steps a groom should take when choosing what attire to purchase for their wedding day?

A. Communicate with your bride first. Communicate with your groomsmen next. Do all this with your own style in mind. Obviously, the brides dress and bridesmaid dresses take precedence over the mens looks. That's not a bad thing, because it give the mens looks direction. Once you know your color palette, you can hit the ground running.

Q. What are the benefits of having custom neckwear?

A. Everybody wants to make their wedding day special, intimate, and unique. That being said, there are not many ways to have a totally custom wedding or even custom clothing without spending a considerable amount of money. If you can afford to purchase custom tailored suits, do it. If not, make your groom and groomsmen's outfit unique in more budget-friendly way -- the accessories. The accessories make or break the outfit. Go for custom neckwear and even custom pocket squares, and you can have the unique look you want, without breaking the bank.

Q. Why should we care about the pocket square?

A. Sometimes, an outfit can be a puzzle -- Each piece needs to be present for the puzzle to work. A pocket square is a simple accessory that can tie your outfit together in order to complete the puzzle. I usually wear one to unite my choice of neckwear with the rest of my outfit.

Q. What are some key trends in menswear / neckwear right now?

A. Men are finally having more fun. Just all the lifestyle accoutrements like fancy shaving kits, facial care, and hair grooming products that have been around for years. This is evidence that more and more men are becoming more interested in the way they look and feel. They care. And that is a great thing. This has sparked many trends like the use of narrow ties, bow ties, and pocket squares. Within these categories, I am seeing bold colors and bold prints with the importance textures increasing each season.

Q. What are some tips on buying neckwear online and finding that 'perfect fit'?

A. I can't speak for every company, but I know that this world is only becoming more and more technology-driven. That means designers like myself are designing with their online customer in mind. Honestly, it's difficult to sell a product to somebody that can't see it with their own eyes or touch it with their own hands. However, I am always going to make sure that my customers are able to see the exact color and texture of each piece with true, high quality images. All of my bow ties are adjustable, so they are sure to fit. If there is any uncertainty or any problems with fit, I always urge my customers to let me know so I can meet their needs accordingly. I feel like most online stores realize the importance of a personable customer service team and are more than happy to field questions a potential customer would have. My online store is a simple tool for my customers, new and returning, to have quick and easy access to my products. The best part is that anyone in the world can be free from doubt.

You can also check out Freedom From Doubt on Facebook.