Our good friends Brad & Danielle asked me to photograph their awesome family and I had so much fun with them. We were in Northern Minnesota for the last of the Fall backgrounds around their cabin and got some great shots.
I love how you can tell in these photos how amazingly close this family is! Everyone was great sports too about the chilly weather, and the guns the guys brought out ended up getting some pretty cool shots too (so manly).
I can’t believe my niece Vivienne is already 6 months old! She is soooo adorable (I would say I’m bias, but really, look at her?!) and she is such a good & happy baby. It was so fun (and pretty easy!) to get these awesome shots of both her and my sister’s little fam. They are just too cute.
We shot these at my parents house where the natural barnwood and fields made for gorgeous backdrops on this perfect Fall day.
When planning my wedding I became slightly obsessed with the idea of using barrels for floral decor at our outdoor ceremony. In particular, I fell in love with this pin:
(no point in giving the link, it was a “dead” pink as I like to refer to them as (no link…boo! Hate it when that happens!)
Thus the attempt to execute a wedding “pin” off Pinterest begins. Dun dun dun! But I was up for the challenge.
I loved the idea of the baby’s breath flowers in a simple barrel. So the barrel search began.
Well folks, let me just tell you how difficult it is to find affordable barrels. VERY! Knowing I was planning on about 200 guests with 10 rows of chairs (10 chair on either side of aisle), I knew I would need at least 10 barrels if I were to do every other row on either side. I knew I didn’t want to skimp out on the aisle decor either and have it look ‘puney’ or unimpressive in photos.
There are resources in Minnesota for buying/renting barrels. They can be found by a simple Google search. However, they are quite expensive (upwards of $70/barrel to purchase, and around $40/barrel to rent). In looking for 20 barrels for my ceremony layout, I wasn’t about to spend $800-$1,400 on barrels. Argh, what was a bride to do?!
It really is the truth that you find things where you least expect it. In my case, my savior was none other than the great and powerful……..Fleet Farm. (cue cricket noises & awkward silence). Ok, I admit, Matt and I were totally at Fleet Farm for something completely different (perhaps the camper floor?), when I came across these barrel planters in the gardening section:
….beautiful? Umm, no. Honestly, I was underwhelmed with them at first. Spoiler alert, they are not wood, they are actually plastic! However, this photo above was taken on my iPhone and they actually photographed pretty well (didn’t look like shiny plastic). One of the best parts? The price. At a mere $6/planter, I was able to achieve my barrel planter look for about $75 (we ended up getting 12 barrel planters and using them around the wedding since they were so dang cute) AND, side note, easy to transport (lightweight & stackable!)
Here is the final product, I couldn’t have been happier with how they turned out! Vision accomplished! You can even see my adorable flower girls making their way down the aisle with those fabulous flower barrels along the aisle!
For all you brides out there who were your own wedding planner- I may hold the key to making your lives a million times easier. When my oldest sister planned her wedding in 2000, she carried around an expandable accordion folder with all her papers filed neatly. Well, that was great then (and may even work for some people now), but in my experience, the organization that saved me was as easy as:
(cue heavenly music & clouds)
*note, not endorsed by Google
Monumental, right?! It sounds like such a no brainer, but brides really should utilize Google docs and I will share how and why I did because I used it for 7 months straight.
1) Have one central spreadsheet
As a very type-A individual, I love spreadsheets, color coding, formatting, and really just anything that makes information easy to communicate. My Google Docs spreadsheet, “Wedding Planning” was my central database of all my wedding details all buttoned up into one pretty package.
Arguably, I went a little “tab crazy”, but what can I say, I’m a “thorough” person who likes more information than less. Here were the tabs that my Wedding Planning spreadsheet included:
Questions for Venue
Shower Guest Lists
Personal Attendant Duties
*I will continue to do more detailed posts on each of these tabs (like the venue) so keep checking back or leave me a comment for specific questions!
Oh the internet. Where would we be without it?! Since Google docs is stored “on the cloud”, it can be accessed from ANYWHERE. I personally loved this as sometimes I’d be wedding planning at home, at work (guilty, but perhaps just a little bit , my phone, my parents computer, so on and so forth. To be able to access the most recent updates to the spreadsheet from anywhere was so invaluable. Also, to always be able to update the spreadsheet from any location (vs. having a million post-its and notes in 10 places) was fabulous. Real world example: I would often pull up the spreadsheet when I was shopping at Macy’s for the groomsmen shirts and I could pull up all their sizes on my phone.
I shared certain tabs of my spreadsheet with my sisters (Bachelorette Party tab) and my (now-husband) to help delegate tasks out.
Pretty sure brides check-lists of “to-dos” is long enough, I say, why add more stress/chaos to the mix by having all your info stored in a million different places? I used this spreadsheet almost daily and became very familiar with all the information and where it was so I could utilize it in my planning.
And brides- you should be focused on the FUN parts of wedding planning vs. keeping track of a bunch of paperwork. Let’s end on a happy fun wedding photo since this post was heavy on information! (Remember that this is how happy you will feel on your big day!)
I hope this helps some brides in their planning!
I had so much fun shooting Matt’s coworker’s family a few weeks ago. Their son, Collin, was so adorable and did such a great job in front of the camera (I even bought M&Ms for bribery in case things went south, and never needed them!) Matt was my assistant on this shoot too, which was fun
We shot at Lake Ann Park in Chanhassen and took advantage of the lush greens of the end of summer along with some playful fun twins theme family photos that turned out great as well.
Your wedding venue sets the tone for the big day that you envision. Some people know exactly what they want (a blessing and a curse in my opinion), and others are open to many types of venues.
My wedding venue search started with a few parameters that immediately eliminated most popular venues in the Twin Cities area:
1) No hotels
2) No golf/country clubs
3) No ballrooms
Well, there goes all the easy venues to book Don’t get me wrong, I have been to plenty of weddings in these types of venues that were absolutely beautiful. That type of setting just wasn’t my “vision”. For my wedding, I wanted a vintage/rustic feel with an emphasis on the outdoors/nature and mixing rustic with modern for a romantic theme.
Enter, the creation of my wedding venue Matrix/Comparison chart. I used this to compare venues I was looking into to keep all my questions/information I received straight. These are all more non-traditional/unique venues that I felt were strong possibilities to achieve my vision.
My Top Contenders that made the comparison Matrix were:
I hope gathering this information helps some Minnesota brides on their venue search if they choose to go a non-traditional route like me!
*Which one did I choose?! Oh the irony of the chart, none of them. :) I ended up booking the amazing venue The Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale, WI, and couldn’t have been happier with my choice. I would highly recommend this venue to any bride.
Well we (Matt & I) have been just a tad bit busy as of late. Not only are we in the midst of wedding planning, but we are moving in together! Matt was able to rent out his half of his duplex (income property-holla!), a month earlier than expected, so our move-in together was “bumped” up in schedule. Matt & I have lived 2.1 miles apart for about two years, we both felt it was important to have our own spaces and to keep moving in together with the excitement of getting married. Although we are moving in together sooner than planned, we couldn’t be happier or more excited!
Yes, you read correct, Matt is moving into my 700 sq ft house (from his 1200 sq ft house). No we aren’t crazy (well maybe we are), but we had always envisioned/planned for Matt’s house to be an income property (and yes, that is his favorite show and is set on our DVR). Regardless, moving Matt and his 1200 sq ft of stuff accumulated over 3 years into my tiny (ok, we like to call it “cozy”, not tiny) — my “cozy” 700 sq ft house, is well, interesting!
When I moved into my house by myself a few years back, I did what any typical girl would have done. I used the second bedroom for what you ask? Obviously a walk-in closet! Fashion/shopping/clothes are a total love of mine (I call it a hobby, Matt thinks that’s a stretch), but in an age where I was able to focus a lot of my time/money/attention on fashion, my very own girl world walk-in closet was pretty much my favorite room in my house. I am such a proponent of being able to visually see everything you have in order to best combine/accessorize into the best looks. SO, prior to Matt moving in (and me allowing a boys’ things into my glorious closet), I documented my exclusively 100% girl closet to always remember it
*Side Note, since these photos Matt and his clothes are in the closet and it has been revamped to fit both of us, and I admit, it is still fabulous- I will post pics of the co-ed closet soon, we are still doing some finishing touches/battle of the sexes.
I thought it would fun/helpful/useful/smart to go through some of the areas/organization of my closet and review them after living with them, because, let’s face it, things ALWAYS look perfect on Pinterest, but the reality of living with certain organizational tactics is a whole different story. Hopefully this will be useful or may spark some other organization lovers dream closet ideas!
I actually purchased two of these leaning bookshelves off Craigslist (2 for $80, so $40 each, not bad!). The other one is in my living room (well, it was, now it is in our storage unit). I really love not only the look of this shelf for my shoes (umm who wouldn’t want to display a bunch of gorgeous shoes?!), but I also really appreciated the ability to customize the heights of the shelves, allowing me to display my beloved boots too (very important).
The metal wood looking bin (Target clearance find) does house my flats & sandals due to my shelves displaying all my ‘pretty shoes’, which I’m fine with
I also purchased my vanity off Craigslist (hmm seeing a pattern here?) for $50 I believe. A few reasons why I love my vanity. (1) Girls, are we really neat and tidy when getting ready?! Umm, no. Do we love drawers where we can shove our makeup/junk into to LOOK like we are neat and tidy?? Yes! (2) I actually used drawer divider organizers in my drawers for my makeup for more organization (3) Beyond utility, the vanity is adorbs and I love the vintage/girly look. It makes getting ready there everyday a little more fun like I’m playing dress up (4) I love hair products and always have an excessive inventory of them, if you see on the left of the vanity top, I have a granite tile, this is for my appliances so I don’t burn into the wood (my construction father has made us girls do this for years, but great tip!) p.s. This vanity was originally going to be a ‘reno’ project for me to refinish (the original owner started priming it then stopped), but it has a rustic charm that I sort of love. I can see myself holding onto this piece for years and eventually doing it in some fabulous pop of color.
This was a gift from my older sister Adrian who did a fabulous job DIY-ing a Vintage Letterpress drawer into a fabulous work of art and very useful jewelry holder. Not only is it beautiful, it does such a great job of showing everything you have. I believe Adrian bought the drawer off of ebay and then used hardware store hooks to screw in (very time consuming)- but totally worth it. The vintage “up-cycled” look is totally up my alley.
Closet Rod System:
I have always loved/needed big closets — my dad actually built me this clothing rod system (the white with the dresser in between) for my college bedroom and since it is ‘freestanding’ we took it and low & behold I got a few more years of use out of it I designed it to fit my ikea malm dresser perfectly between 2 upper rods. Now, before all you ikea haters start, I hear ‘ya. Ikea furniture is not a vintage 1960′s made piece that will last forever, BUT, I got my dresser in 2007 and here we are in 2013, and it’s still kickin’ and serving it’s purpose The rod to the left of the dresser was to be used for longer garmets (dresses, etc.) and the right side was for shorter garments, due to the pants hanger below…..
*Another great feature about the closet rod system is the storage space ON TOP of the unit. I put my laundry basket up there and other misc. things for added storage, when you live small– you need to think up up up!
Again, iKEA, nice work. This $10 KOMPLEMENT pants hanger was fabulous and I totally loved not wrestling my pants onto hangers every day. Due to lack of space, this piece did not make it into our revised co-ed closet, but mark my words, someday it will be used again….
All in all, I loved my girly closet and it was really my favorite room in my whole house– luckily I’m marrying such a great guy that living with him will bring me lots of joy and laughter as we ‘slumber party’ every night, it’s worth it.
Farewell, Girls only Closet! It’s been real.
I am a very proud Auntie again! I am so excited for my sister and her hubby on their very first bundle of joy, Vivienne Beth. She is beyond adorable and I had so much fun photographing her at a mere 6 days young. She was such a good subject sleeping through most of our posing and giving us an adorable yawn here and there.
A few fun facts about the props/background. The paper rosettes on the wall were hand-made from my sis & her hubby’s wedding back in July 2011, and the tiny chair from their baby annoucement shoot here, now has Viv chillaxin’ on it
Let me just start off by telling you how much I love our photographer for our wedding, Erin of Erin Jean Photography. I search LONG & HARD for a photographer that was the style Matt & I liked. We were drawn to soft light, natural candid poses, and photos that had personality and life to them. Enter- Erin Jean Photography! Now, Matt & I are based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Erin is based in….essentially Green Bay, WI. It is so me to pick a photographer 5 hours away, but we coudn’t be happier with our choice. So us crazy love-birds took a Friday off work and drove 5 hours over to Green Bay, had our INCREDIBLE photoshoot (umm can you say PERFECT snowfall!?!), had lunch at Lambeau Field (we had never been there, nor knew if/when we’d be back) and headed 5 hours back home.
It was well worth the trip as we love how our photos turned out. P.s. sorry there is a lot, they are all pretty much my favs and I couldn’t choose
A few details about our props…We are coffee addicts & the northern heart on our MN cutting board symbolizes where we met- Duluth.
Obviously Matt crafted all of these on his own, NOT! When I asked Matt if he wanted to ask his groomsmen in a creative way like my ladies, he said “Sure!” Obviously he knew I’d be the crafter of the idea. But I was excited he let me create these boxes to help ask the guys. At first I worried the guys would think these were lame, but I was very happy that they all seemed to appreciate the sentiment/unique way of asking and thoroughly enjoyed their cocktail (I witnessed at least one round of cheers following the opening of these boxes!)
First off, I knew they couldn’t be all girly and mushy like my Be My Maid boxes were (we ladies can get away with such, the boys– not so much on board). So, I wanted to keep the boys boxes centered around things I know boys like:
2) Keepin’ it short & sweet
I found these paper mache boxes at Michaels. We found the glass cups at the dollar section at Target- win! The mini Maker’s Mark was ironically the most difficult thing to find, after a few different liquor store runs, I finally found them! I added the nostalgic glass Coca Cola bottle to provide a ready to make celebratory whisky coke for the stud-ly men of our wedding party. Finally, for the cardstock with our wedding info, I kept it in ‘man talk’ and wanted to communicate to the guys that thing isn’t a burden to be in our wedding – it will be fun, we promise!
*Funny thing to note, boys don’t typically open boxes & look under the lid – it took a minute for most of the guys to see the question, which was kind of funny- but hey, we got 100% ‘yes’ from our 7 groomsmen & 2 ushers!