This next wedding is especially for all you out-doorsy kinda ladies out there. It’s the idyllic setting in the woods, by a lake, in a lodge and Matt Lien did such an amazing job capturing the essence of this wedding that I can smell the pine needles from here! I’m loving all the rustic goodness from the wood tables topped with lace to the antique rocking chairs. See the rest here in the gallery!

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My husband and I both share a love for the outdoors, especially in the fall. The bark of trees, shapes of leaves, and the feel of sunshine on our faces are inspiring to us, we wanted this same breathtaking experience at our wedding. I can only remember wanting to get married in front of a giant tree that droops around you with a covering that would protect you from every element, remaining beautiful and strong all the while. This search for the “tree” would be our venue, and we only had five months to find it and plan accordingly. My plan was completely altered when my husband and I were visiting his family in northern Minnesota. I realized I was trying to find northern Minnesota near the Twin Cities, where we met and resided. In that moment, the search was over. We had our destination wedding “Up North” at Eagle’s Nest Lodge, where James had worked when he was young. It had everything we both were looking for, not just one tree, but thousands of trees, cabins for everyone to be close, and it even came with its own 12 piece jazz band, “Swing Delivery.” Just the day before, the weather was freezing and rain poured from the sky. It all changed when it came time for our wedding, the still lake calmed people’s souls and served as the perfect place to exchange our vows. The ceremony and reception reflected my appreciation for vintage, hand-made touches, and small details. The bridesmaids all had antique jewelry, selected from Long Lake Antiques, where I worked when I was young. Every table had flowers that were grown by my mother-in-law, displayed in her canning jars, and at the base held rocks from the north shore of Lake Superior. The plates and wines glasses were each individual as they came from various thrift stores, garage sales, and antique stores. The wine glasses displayed a hand stamped tag reminding our guests how much we appreciated them for being at our wedding. Great detail was put into various guestbooks, we wanted to make the wedding special to our guests as well. We had a photo guestbook, where kids and adults alike could have fun capturing memories. It was not in the budget for a typical photo booth, so James’ cousin built a photo booth and ran the station through software on his computer. We used a vintage typewriter to collect advice and messages from our guests. We also wanted a way for guests to sign their name, not just type, so we had a hand-drawn “Leaf Thumbprint Tree,” where they could stamp their thumbprint into the shape of a leaf and sign their name, leaving their own hand-made touch for us to look back on. Our wedding was quite literally put together by our friends and family, who doubled as our vendors. My Great Uncle Kenny and Aunt Faye Waloch own Waloch Cafe, and created homemade pies for our entire reception, a favorite tradition on my mother’s side. My Aunt Mary Gibbon owns Mainstreet Coffee, and served our guests a needed hot beverage of mochas and hot chocolate at the coffee bar. Our caterer was James’ neighbor, Tom Tolrud, who amazed people with his distinctive twist on traditional dishes. Most of the decorations included antiques, plants, and inimitable pieces that came right out of my mom and aunts own shabby chic and vintage collections at home. Lastly, I knew I needed to find a photographer who could capture every detail that I poured into the wedding, to make it last for a lifetime, not just a day. I trusted only one artist to really capture each thought and detail of the wedding, Matt Lien, who did so with every bit of integrity and creativity to match.

Venue: Eagle’s Nest Lodge / Photographer: Matt Lien / Planner: Alli Sullins / Tent: Lefty’s Tent and Party Rental / Dance Floor: Midway Party Rental / Band: Swing Delivery / Caterer: Tom Tolrud / Hair: Denae Fair / Wedding Dress Belt: Ciao Bella