VENDOR LOVE // Munster Rose

Bride with floral bouquet in hair The first time I went to the website for Munster Rose, I thought to myself, "Who is this? I MUST meet her!" For a florist site, it was bold, edgy and very sassy. Basically, it had SO much personality that I couldn't help but want to know more about this company! Fortunately, over the last couple of years, I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Jackie, the owner and artist of Munster Rose, on several jobs. Her work always blows me away and we've collaborated on everything from test shoots, engagement sessions, weddings and even editorial work for magazines and ad campaigns. In my opinion, Jackie is one of the most professional and also one of the most artistic florists I've ever worked with. If you give her an idea, she will totally go above and beyond to create something beautiful! We wanted to know what makes Munster Rose so special and also, what advice such a great florist has for all of you brides planning your big day!


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

A. Thanks so much! Well, of course we follow all the popular wedding blogs (Style Me Pretty, 100 layer cake, Wedding Chicks), but maybe more importantly we try to stay in touch with current fashion and design trends via websites like Trendland and Dezeen, which help us draw from an inspiration pool that lies outside of the wedding industry.

Q. What are the first steps a client should consider when booking their florist?


The kinds of flowers and style of the arrangements are in part determined by all of the other factors in your wedding—the venue, the dress, the shoes, the décor—so the better you understand the look and feel you want for your wedding day, the more productive you’re initial meetings with your florist will be. But most importantly: Find a florist whose work gets you excited about flowers!


After finding a style that you gravitate towards, make sure you hire a florist that you actually like. A good florist is a florist that “gets” you and your vision and that should be fairly obvious in your initial meeting. The planning process should be fun!

wedding floral bouquets

Q. How would you describe the style of Munster Rose?

A. We try to create pieces that are appropriate for each couple and their venue, using a “floral language” that is smartly-styled and up-to-date. Sometimes that means we do vintage and barnyard. Other times it means we create florals that are elegant and modern. Mostly, we just try to design flowers that help make your wedding a little more awesome.

wedding tablescape

Q.  You tend to go above and beyond as a florist. What is a unique piece you have made for a client?

A. We’ve been blessed with a lot of brides who are looking for something unique or extra- ordinary, but one of our favorite pieces to date was probably the bridal bouquet for Alyson Newquist. She asked for a “gigantic cascading” bouquet with tons of texture and earthy bits. In the end, the bouquet weighed 15 pounds and was 2 feet long--full of seed pods and petal-y goodness. We LOVED it!

Q.  How does the venue choice and time of year affect the choice of flowers and design?

A. The venue choice is HUGE! Venue affects the flowers probably more than anything else. I almost always advocate for adjusting your flower choices so that they are in tune with their surroundings rather than ignore the architecture and style of the venue to get a certain flower. Flowers are flexible and can be tailored whereas most venues just are what they are!

We also like to embrace seasonality. There are many blooms that are unique to each season. Generally, spring weddings warrant spring flowers; fall weddings warrant fall flowers.

wedding tablescape

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the florals / details of a wedding day (money wise)?

A. You only get married once, so do it up! Decide what’s important and delegate funds to those aspects. Our top recommendations for investments are:

  1. Photographer (the photos of your big day will decide, in part, how you remember it. So get a good one!)
  2. Florist/designer (of course)

Details make the wedding day, and make your wedding unique. Pay attention to those aspects. And don’t forget that, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Q. How many weddings to you do each year?

A. This season we have about 45 weddings on the books, but that number really depends on the size of the weddings. Some weekends we’ll only take on one wedding (if it’s a large event) while other weekends we’ll take 2-3 smaller events. We are hands-on studio and it’s important to us that each client get the attention they require and deserve.

Q. What are some hot trends for florals right now?

A. Ombre arrangements are pretty hot. Also, looser botanical designs with more depth and movement are on-trend this season. After a few years hiatus, foliage and fillers are making a comeback--people are straying away from the perfectly-compact bouquet of the Noughties.

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

A. Three words: Hire a planner. Even the most organized bride or groom will need someone to keep things running smoothly on their wedding day. A planner is essential for organizing all those details and giving you time to enjoy the day rather than worry about whether or not the tables will be cleared in time for the band to setup.

Bride holding floral bouquet

You can also check out Munster Rose on Facebook.

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS // An Interview with Liz Banfield

Liz Banfield Headshot

Liz Banfield is one of my favorite photographers. Personally, I love how refined and simply gorgeous her work is and I believe she is a person in our industry who is going 'to go down in the books.' What do I mean by this? Liz's work is timeless. As an artist she has stuck to her film roots and has still continued to run a successful business by not making the switch to digital. There will always be an aesthetic to film that no action can every compare in digital. It's pure, beautiful and should remind us why we are all photographers. Stylistically, Liz's work has notes of photojournalism, along with a more editorial tone that simply comes together to create stunning imagery that will continue to inspire for generations to come!

Q.  How did you first start to photograph weddings?

A. Before I was a professional, I was that person who was taking pictures all the time. When I got to the age when my friends were getting married, shooting pictures at their weddings was a very natural extension of what I had always done. This was also the era when wedding photography was transforming from a rigid, traditional approach to one with it's roots in fine art and photojournalism. At the time I was working as an executive in advertising and my stylish advertising colleagues were at the forefront of this trend. Soon I graduated from "friend" photographer to "official" photographer and was shooting their weddings on weekends.

Q. What were the first steps a photographer should consider when deciding to become a wedding photographer?

A. Make sure you are pursuing it for the right reason -- because the assignment inspires you, not because you think you'll make money. Assuming your motivation checks out, carefully consider the lifestyle choice you are making. Are you willing to work evenings, weekends and practically every holiday weekend throughout the year? And that's not just shooting. Wedding clients usually have full time jobs and will want to do consultations, engagement sessions, and conference calls all during their spare time and almost never during the regular work day. Also, ask yourself if you are willing to miss the weddings or other celebrations of your own friends/family because you booked a particular date a year in advance. I have missed many over the years.

Brides and Groom in classic car

Q.  How do you view your relationship with the vendors in your industry? Why are these relationships so important to you?

A. I can tell you that without a doubt, my relationships with other creative partners in the wedding business has been essential to my business success. You never know who will give you your next great referral. It can come from unexpected places, even someone you might consider to be your competitor. I always go out of my way to help and connect with other industry professionals. Many have become close personal friends in the process.

Q. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration?

A. I was an Art History major in college so my favorite place to gather visual inspiration is at a museum. When I'm traveling I always try to make time to visit one or two while I'm in town. At home, I love the Minneapolis Institute of Art for it's vast mix of art throughout the ages. I also read fashion and interior design magazines for inspiration. I try to live an artful, aesthetic life. Everything I do feeds into my life as an artist, from the shoes I'm wearing to the restaurants I seek out. I embrace inspiration and celebrate good design every day.

Q. Describe the perfect 'Liz Banfield' client.

A. I have a wide range of clients from school teachers to art collectors, all of them "perfect" in different ways, but the most important factor is that they appreciate what I do and put their trust in me.

Q. What is one of the coolest weddings you have ever photographed. Why was it so special?

A. Oh, it's so hard to play favorites! As an artist I thrive on photographing things that are new to me, visually. My first Hindu wedding was for CNN Correspondent Sanjay Gupta. He arrived at the ceremony on a white horse. And the festive, expressive nature of a traditional Indian celebration, not to mention all the bright colors -- I was in heaven!

Sanjay Gupta Indian Wedding

Q. What kind of work are you personally drawn to?

A. I'm a sucker for great design with a touch of the human hand. Objects and images that are perfect and balanced but with a little imperfection or spontaneity thrown in.

outdoor wedding reception tablescape

Q. What are some innovative trends you are seeing in the wedding industry right now?

A. Extending beyond the wedding day, clients are wanting to chronicle more and more of their entire wedding experience, from the engagement party to celebrating their first anniversary. I can easily see this blossoming into other events, such as the bachelorette. And I know it sounds a little crazy (and it hasn't happened yet) but I'm hoping that some day to be invited to capture travel highlights of the honeymoon. Wouldn't it be amazing to have your once in a lifetime trip documented professionally? Romantic shots of the new couple wandering the streets of Venice, sailing the Caribbean, up close and personal with the lions on a Safari... I see so much potential here!

Q.  You are so respected in our industry. How do you continue to stay inspired?

A. I have always been careful to respect my workload. I don't take more than 15 weddings a year and that has allowed me to stay fresh over a long period of time. This is my 14th year as a full-time professional and I still feel excited as ever to be shooting weddings.

Q. What is the best part about your job?

A. I have to say it's the shooting itself -- the actual creation of images and the challenge of always looking for the next one that really excites me. When I get a shot that I know is really good, a surge of happiness goes all the way down to my toes.

Kissing couple at wedding

Q. What kind of differences do you see in weddings in Minnesota vs other parts of the states?

A. In general, I think regional differences are really diminishing because people share ideas over the blogs, pinterest, etc. I've actually seen this change take place throughout my career. People travel more than ever to attend weddings all over the world. While doing so they are curating their ideas and notions for their own celebration.

I will say that midwesterners tend to be more pragmatic when it comes to planning their day. They aren't as hung up on traditions or how it's "supposed" to be done. Also, the culture of the midwest influences the style of the wedding, which tends to be more understated and less flamboyant than in other regions. The ultimate compliment to a Minnesota wedding might be "pretty!" whereas in Texas it might be "wow!"

There are lingering traditions in other parts of the country that I find charming. Down South, for example, the Best Man is usually the groom's father. I think that's so sweet! Also, many other regions have started to adopt this, but a "Southern-Style" reception is a stand-up affair with food stations. In the North, a sit-down dinner is much more typical.

Be sure to check out Liz Banfield on Facebook!

VENDOR LOVE // Skinner Jones

Abby of Skinner Jones headshotI love meeting new people, and I especially love meeting talented new people. A few years ago, I met a woman named Abby who made some GORGEOUS bouquets for one of my clients. I was absolutely blown away by her style. It was fun, refreshing and easy! After the wedding, I had to know a little more about her and I found out that she was officially starting her own floral business under the name Skinner Jones! Several of my clients over the years have now used Abby and her team and we are always over the moon with her arrangements! We caught up with Abby to talk her about what makes Skinner Jones so special!


Q. Abby, you create some stunning arrangements. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for designing florals for your clients?

A. I draw inspiration from books that my grandmother handed down to me (an outstanding floral designer herself!), magazines, art, gardens, current fashion trends, and it cannot be denied for quick, of-the-moment trends - Pinterest!

Q.What were the first steps a could should consider when booking their florist?

A. A connection w/ the designer and also loving photos of their past work - Your big day is personal and your florals reflect you! If you like what you see and feel comfortable with/love the energy of the designer then I think you should feel confident that they will create something spectacular and perfectly you for your special day.

wedding floral bouquets

Q. How would you describe the style of Skinner Jones?

A. The style of Skinner Jones is clean, fresh, wild and abstract with classic nuances. I like classic and traditional looks but I also like to throw them off and make them a bit unexpected with strange or more edgy details or combinations. Those unexpected bits are very often a nod to the bride's style!

Q.You tend to go above and beyond as a florist. What is a unique piece you have made for a client?

A. I love my work, and I have a hand in each piece I create. So it only feels natural to go above and beyond for all of my clients. A piece that I loved creating was the bouquet for a photo shoot for Anna Kristin's latest lingerie line. She gave me an idea of the looks she liked and the look she was going for but left it up to me to pick the combination of flowers, look of the bouquet and color scheme. I love all the different textures, colors and shape of this bouquet. To me this bouquet is juicy and perfectly messy - my idea of a stunning bouquet.

Q. How does the venue choice and time of year effect the choice of flowers and design?

A. I think that the venue choice should play a huge part in what flowers you choose and what your centerpiece design is. Work with your base and accent that instead of working against it. Use the venue as a guide for the 'feel' of the arrangements but would make sure that they centerpieces also reflect the personality and style of the bride and groom and their other wedding day details.

Wedding Tablescapes

 Q.  What was your philosophy in investing in the florals / details of a wedding day (money wise)?

A. Each bride places a different value on the flowers. So many of my recent brides have done very minimal centerpieces or add DIY touches off their own but I always encourage them to make sure to spend enough money on the bouquets and personal flowers so that they are sure to love the look because those flowers are the ones that will show up in your photos for years to come.

Q. How many weddings to you do each year?

A. Totally depends on the year. I have done 12 - 15 some years, and I have done 5 so far this year because I have just recently had my second baby. I only take on weddings when I know I can fully devote myself!

Q. What are some hot trends for florals right now?

A. Hot trends right now: lots of texture, vintage feel, little greenery, succulents, and anemones and peonies always seem to be a fave.

Bride with floral bouquet on bed

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

A. Be clear on what flowers, colors, looks you absolutely want/need to include. Then let your florist also run with it and guide you. I feel strongly that you should hire people who you trust and whose work you love. Remember that you are paying them to do what they do best. So let those vendors, or florist in particular, work their magic and give them a bit of creative freedom to come up with a most gorgeous combination that is uniquely yours.

You can also check out Skinner Jones 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.

For Photograhers // Getting Your Wedding Published

Megan Mccarty Headshot As a photographer, getting published is invaluable. Seeing our work in print is the ultimate experience as well, because not only does it put a few more notches in our belts of being a professional, but it also gives us the opportunity to share our work with the world! In my business, I have always followed the idea to publicize, not advertise. This means, I choose to spend time submitting to various wedding magazines for print and also to wedding blogs for publication, instead of spending the money on an expensive advertisement to sit in the pages of the magazine. I want people to see more of our work and you should, too! Here in Minneapolis, we are super lucky to have a great bridal publication that supports our industry greatly, called Minnesota Bride.

We caught up with the Web Editor, and oh-so-fun Megan Mccarty, to ask her some questions on the submission process and some things to keep in mind when you are considering submitting a wedding to be published.

Q. What is the best part about your job?

A. So be it if this makes me sound like a big ol’ suck-up, but I’ve always said my job goes ‘round because of photographers. You hit the ground running, capturing the weddings that make our magazines and websites what they are. From those we hand-pick what we want to portray to the next round of brides-to-be. If the worst part of my job is being forced to look at Zapfino, the favorite font of the industry that makes my eyeballs hurt, I’d say I’m a lucky gal.[quoteRight]Photographers happen to be some of my favorite people in this big, bad world, and I thank my Taurus stars to call many of them my friends.[/quoteRight]

Q. How did you start writing for Minnesota Bride and how long have you been there?

A. Some days I feel as if I’ve been with Minnesota Bride forever, and that’s a good thing. At the wide-eyed age of 19 I walked through the front door of Tiger Oak Publications, asking for an internship. Ten minutes later I walked out with one. My former editor (hi, Mary!) took me in as her editorial intern and a year and a half later created this position, Web Editor, for me. After a large handful of years I’m still here, lucky enough to look at pretty things all day. My business card squeezes it all in: Web Editor for Tiger Oak Publications’ bridal titles: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Seattle and Oregon Bride.

Q. What are the first steps a photographer should consider when deciding to submit a wedding for consideration to be published?

A. First off, become familiar with the publication. Know the departments, the editors’ names and the type of content we regularly publish. Then be honest with yourself: Is this wedding of the caliber that we feature? A terrific photographer can capture a ho-hum wedding, so be your own editor before you submit. Keep in mind deadlines, presentation and the submission directions too.  ...And please, don’t spell my name with an “h.” That “ouch” you hear is you stepping on my wrong foot.

Q. What goes into your decision as to what to publish?

A. A number of questions rotate through my head: Has it been published elsewhere? Is it timely? What’s different about this? Is there an interesting story to back up the pretty pictures? A couple years ago, when Minnesota Bride was choosing between two Photogen Inc. weddings to feature, we ultimately chose this Guthrie Theater ceremony because, in typical Eliesa fashion, you exclaimed—literally, using a slew of cap letters and exclamation points—in your submission that the groom had donated a kidney to the bride. (That’s what they call love, I believe.) But ultimately it mostly needs to stir up some sort of emotion from that indescribable spot in my stomach.

Then, of course, there are other factors that you can blame on procedure: How many pages do we have to work with? Is it too similar to something else we’re running? Have we featured this photographer or venue recently? Was it submitted on time?

Q. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration?

A. In terms of bridal, I consider, Real Simple Weddings, New York Weddings and all things Martha top-notch. But my own inspiration—which then translates into my 9-5’s—is stirred up from sites such as The Everygirl, magazines like Kinfolk (my Bible), products sold on Fab and books of blank pages that I fill with my own thoughts.

Q. What makes Minnesota Bride different and unique in an industry filled with wedding blogs and magazines?

A. It’s all about the “Minnesota” in Minnesota Bride. That Monique Lhuillier gown on the cover? 50th & France is just a drive away. That bride on page 62? She could be your old roommate from college. For such a large state, we live in a tiny city, so at the end of the day (whether that’s a summer Friday at 4 p.m. or a deadline day at midnight) our big, beautiful magazine seems like a glossy scrapbook of friends.

Q. What is one of the coolest submissions you have ever seen? Why was it so special?

A. A few years ago, as I was coming into my role as Web Editor, I came across this wedding by Gene Pease of Geneoh Photography. He was new-ish on the Minnesota photography scene, and I nearly snake-bit his arm to submit it. Not only was the wedding creative, detail-rich and photographed to perfection, but I had a guttural reaction to feature Gene’s not-so cookie cutter work before everyone else did. Fast forward a few months and Kelsey and Jacob’s wedding was the two-page opener to Minnesota Bride’s Newlyweds feature. Worth a little arm twisting, no?

Q. What kind of work are you personally drawn to?

A.  Though our Pinterest-y world is attracted to details, I’m a sucker for moments. No thanks to forced poses, but yes please to first looks, rogue groomsmen and genuine belly laughs. I’m looking for a story—a beginning (getting ready), middle (ceremony) and end (reception). Even better? A prequel (engagement session) and sequel (day-after, maternity).

Q. What are some innovative trends you are seeing in the wedding industry right now?

A. I could not care less if succulents are popping up in bouquets or when yellow and grey will seize to be the color scheme of choice. However, personalization is now the norm for weddings, so your photography should be too. Sure, to appease the bride’s mother, you’ll need to capture the frame-friendly family photos, but others (ahem, me) would rather see the couple plunging into the ocean or a mascara-streaked face of tears. Make me study a photo, wondering what yoga pose you wiggled yourself into to capture it, what the subject is thinking or even what the hell is going on.

Q. What do you, as an editor, want in collaboration with photographers?

A. Help me help you. Submissions don’t need to be accompanied by a singing telegram—actually, please, never do that—but including a vendor list and the couple’s contact information is certainly helpful. The easier you make my job, the more likely you are to creep up my mental list of reliable, organized, go-to photographers.

Send your submissions (or just say hello!) to Megan—no "h"—at

VENDOR LOVE // Amy Zaroff Events + Design

Amy Zaroff

Amy Zaroff is the powerhouse behind one of the Twin Cities best wedding planning and event design team, Amy Zaroff Events + Design. We wanted to get some advice from Amy on what couple's should keep in mind when designing and planning their events! What I love about the Zaroff team the most is that no idea is too big. This crew can pull off magic by collaborating with some of the best vendors in the midwest to create the must stunning space for your event!



Q. Hiring a wedding planner and designer in Minnesota is a bit of a new concept. Why is this important?

A. Many people have the false impression that hiring a designer and planner is an extravagance. We believe it is quite the opposite.  The time and money saved typically pays for itself. Often, clients are concerned that they will end up spending more with a planner, but if you work with a fee based design and plan firm, the savings they receive from the vendors are typically passed on directly to the client.[quoteRight]Hiring a design and plan firm allows you, as a couple, to enjoy the wedding planning process while placing your trust in the experts to translate your vision in to a reality.[/quoteRight]

Q. How did you start Amy Zaroff  Events + Design and how long have you been planning /designing weddings?

A. Myriad career paths have led me to this high point in my life. An early career as a television producer and later as a marketing director allowed me to refine my skills in design, planning and time management. Along with my husband, I fine-tuned my skills in event planning at our authentic, New York-style delicatessen. In 2004, I purchased the invitation, stationery and gift store, Give My Regards To, and added full-service event planning to the company’s repertoire of services. Over the next several years, I  began to build an all-encompassing event planning company that would deliver exceptional customer service by working intimately with clients to understand every aspect of their special event. My vision, built on the vast possibilities that both my background and Give My Regards To’s 32-year reputation could deliver, came to fruition in June 2010 with the launch of Amy Zaroff Events + Design.

Q. What were the first steps a couple should take in designing their big day?

A. Solidify your guest list! Believe it or not, the list is the most important starting point because it determines everything from how far the budget will go to which venue the couple should choose to what decor will be appropriate with the size wedding that is planned.

Q. How do you help your clients choose your vendors?

A. No two clients are alike and that is why we work hard to match them with the appropriate vendors based on the couple's desired style, budget and personality as a couple.

Q. You create some pretty amazing spaces for your weddings. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your weddings?

A. Inspiration is everywhere! Magazines, blogs, window displays, museums, restaurants and industry events all provide great ideas, but getting to know the couple as individuals is truly the best way to exude their personality on their wedding day.

Q. Describe the difference between a wedding planner and designer? Where do you fall in this?

A. A wedding designer conceptualizes and develops the creative vision of the event while the planner organizes the design ideas to make them functional. The planner then acts as the master orchestrator to ensure the event runs smoothly and the design was executed flawlessly.

Q. Lets talk money. What is your philosophy in investing in the details of a wedding day? What are the priorities for your clients?

A. Every client has a budget, but each client has a different idea of how to spend it. When planning a wedding, it is important to prioritize the budget based on the personal preferences of the couple. Some will want decor to be the big ticket item while others will prefer photography. A foodie couple will put the dollars into the food and bar while some couples put it all in to the entertainment. While we definitely suggest that photography and videography are two of the expenses that produce a memory that will last forever, it is crucial for the clients to put their ranking on paper prior to meeting with a designer and planner.

Q. Describe the perfect Amy Zaroff Couple.

A. Our perfect client loves our personality and feels at ease with us from the moment they meet us. As with any chosen vendor, enjoying the time we spend together and knowing you can place your trust in us is the key to a great relationship. In many cases, we are connected for well over a year and sometimes will speak multiple times a day. Trust and open lines of communication are the two most important aspects of working well together and enjoying the design and planning process.

Q. When it comes to choosing a venue, what are the most important things to keep in mind?

A. When choosing a venue, remember that it is better to choose a space for what it innately is rather than choosing it to then completely transform.

Check out this amazing video by Capture Studios that shows the behind-the-scene action of what it takes to bring a Zaroff wedding together! I love the collaboration of all the vendors!

Q. What do you, as a planner, want in collaboration with your vendors on a wedding day?

A. The most we can ask for from our vendor partners is that they share the same commitment to excellence on behalf of our shared clients.

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

A. Hire a planner! Whether you work with a start-to-finish, design and plan firm or opt for day-of assistance, a planner can help clients gain access to the best vendors for their desired style and budget.

Q. What are some innovative trends in weddings right now?

A. Designer furnishings and well propped tables are fast becoming a wedding trend for today's couples. We are seeing many more brides and grooms opt for unique accessories on the table that are both meaningful and functional. Think antique photo frames from your grandmother's collection or old books that double as tabletop decor. Furniture beyond the standard table and chair rental options now include decorative chaise lounges, over-sized couches and tufted chairs and assorted curios and mirrors to add whimsy and texture to the event space.

You can also check out Amy Zaroff Events + Design 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.

Society 6 // Store is Live!

Hello friends!

I wanted to share with you a little project we have been working on over here at the studio! I have a pretty solid shelf of images from my personal work, and for some reason all they were doing was sitting on my hard drives! So, with the help of our crew, we put together an official store on Society 6!

If you haven't heard about Society 6 yet, I highly recommend checking out their website! Basically, it is a fantastic resource for photographers, designers and artists to get their work in front of the public for purchase. From Society 6, you can browse around and see a whole bunch of work from some amazing artists. You can then purchase products of our work from their site!

In my store, you will be able to purchase prints, canvas, laptop skins, iphone cases and the occasional t-shirt :-o  Make sure to check out the store to see if there is anything you love!

I will be updating the store on a regular basis with fresh work as well!


2011 Photogen Inc Wedding Photography Giveaway: Vote now!

2011Wedding_GiveawayVote.jpgI'm SUPER excited to announce the top 3 couples in the 2011 Giveaway contest as well as open voting to the public! Each of these couple have an amazing love story, so now it's up to YOU to chose who wins their dream photography + video package! **This contest is highly based on voting with integrity. Please do not abuse our voting poll**
 22668_811992458542_10104937_46945003_7394012_n.jpg Couple #1: LORI & DAVIDLocation: Arizona Story: Lori and David have known each other since they were little kids, yet they only met one year ago. Both of these two are from Romania and their families immigrated to the United States when they were very young. They just to play together as little children, but were separated when their churches split. Both Lori and David went on with their lives and as chance would have it, they both decided to go to the University of Arizona for college. Lori's friends would always talk about a Romanian boy they were friends with, but they never had a chance to meet. Lori eventually went off to Chicago for work, but came back to Arizona for medical school. Last year, while filling the role as a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding, Lori was magically paired up to walk down the isle with David! This mysterious Romanian boy she has been wondering all of her life was right there by her side and that is where he has been ever since! These two truly feel that the powers-that-be have brought them together and they have each found their soul mate!


Location: Northern California

Story: Joslyn was a 25 year old American girl who was beautiful, smart and full of life...and she knew she would never 'sell out' when it came to love. She believed that her soul mate was out there...somewhere! Marcelo was a 27 year old Brazilian who decided to come to America to expand his international horizons with his law degree! 30 days before his year in America was up, he was invited to a dinner by Joslyn's father. Little did he know, this would be the day that would change his daughter's life forever! The two young loves started chatting it up at the party and from that point on, they built a super strong relationship in the next month! By the time Marcelo had to leave the country, they both knew this was more than a crush, this was IT. The couple spent hundreds of hours on skype, and after 3 international trips to see each other, Marcelo finally proposed!

IMG_5295.jpg Couple #3: ALLISON & ALEX

Location: Minneapolis

Story: Allison met Alex in high school, and they are a true story of how opposites attract. She was a junior, he was a senior. She was the artsy girl and he was the 'slacker' guy. However, after his grad party, they decided to hang out. A thunderstorm had descended and the couple got caught in the rain! They spent the rest of the night cuddled up on a couch watching a movie and quickly realized they were interested in each other! When it came time for Alex to go to college, he was 4 hours away from Allison and for 5 years, they had a long distance relationship! The distance only made them stronger and Alex proposed to Allison, a photography enthusiast herself, in a photo booth!

VOTE NOW! (If you don't see the voting poll below, click here!)