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Photo by Kate McGough,
Perspective Studio

It all begins with four simple words: “Will you marry me?” And with that question, your life is forever changed. You are no longer a “me,” but a “we.” A wedding marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life.

And once you’re engaged, the planning begins! First and foremost, you need to estimate how many guests you’d like to invite. Do you want an elaborate bash with all of your friends or an intimate wedding with less than 50 guests? Do you want a casual wedding or a formal affair? The size of your guest list and type of wedding you envision will help determine the size of your budget.

Once you’ve established a budget, you can begin looking at venues, since that’s where the majority of your wedding day dollars will go. This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choosing a venue is–quite possibly–one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You’ll spend most of your wedding day here, celebrating your marriage with loved ones, so it’s vital that the venue is exactly what you want.

According to The Wedding Guys®, ambiance and environment set the tone of your wedding, and the smallest details tie everything together. This trend was demonstrated over and over again at the lovely Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard during Trend Wedding 2007. The winery, set within the rolling hills of Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley, is a “little piece of Europe” right here in the Midwest. The grounds and ballroom offer an intimate, elegant, and unique setting different from the typical box-shaped hotel room. In order to make the event truly original and unforgettable, The Wedding Guys thought outside the box.

“We took something as simple as the art gallery and used it for the cocktail reception, and then later reinvented that same space as the ballroom for the entertainment and the dance,” Vassar explains.

Aaron McCallum, the Director of Events and Chief Operations Officer for Three Sons Signature Cuisine, agrees that the traditional wedding is falling by the wayside. Three Sons Catering operates Blaisdell Manor and Saint Anthony Main Event Centre.

“Newly engaged couples may be going to 4-6 weddings a year for their friends and there is a huge push to do something different.” says McCallum. Couples are looking for ways to interject their own unique personalities into their celebration. One easy way might be the food. McCallum says they are seeing a rise in weddings using multiple Food Stations versus the traditional buffet. This set-up creates a relaxed atmosphere that encourages mingling.

Photo by Kate McGough,
Perspective Studio

Three Sons Catering specializes in designing and creating each menu to fit their clients’ unique tastes. Their goal is to never serve the same meal twice. Using only fresh ingredients, they prepare everything from scratch. McCallum says his staff is trained to keep their eyes and ears open throughout the event so they can jump on anything that might improve the couple’s day. In one incident, an employee ran down the street to get a case of Red Bull because the Best Man mentioned it was the Groom’s favorite drink. This type of attention sets exceptional apart from adequate service.

Couples wanting to turn back the clock and relive the past by will love the University Club of St. Paul, whether it’s the regal Summit Avenue Clubhouse, refined Downtown St. Paul Clubhouse, The Commodore Hotel, or Stout’s Island Lodge, the beautiful facilities–all built prior to 1920–offer “the mindset of a bygone era in very romantic settings,” says Judith Keough, The University Club’s director of catering.

Ornate plaster ceilings, historic architecture, spacious windows, and marble floors set the tone, further complemented by exceptional service and incredible food.

“We will customize menus for any taste,” Keough says. “We work closely with couples to plan creative and ethnic menus or favorite family recipes.”

A local landmark since 1910, The Saint Paul Hotel has a reputation for being a sophisticated, timeless fixture in St. Paul’s Rice Park District; a historic icon of the highest degree.

 

Photo by Kate McGough,
Perspective Studio

When the bride and groom arrive, they’re greeted in a formal fashion with personal assistance, from the top hat doorman to professional wedding coordinators. For the rest of the day, the couple is treated like royalty. The talented, experienced support staff are readily available should any need arise, rich ivory linens and beautiful china, glass, silver, and crystal are part of the wedding day experience, and specialty décor items such as ceiling drapes, backdrops, and candles add an extra touch of elegance and class.
 
The Saint Paul Hotel’s renowned Promenade Ballroom is perfect for weddings of up to 300 guests, and the newly remodeled and expanded Hill Room can easily host events up to 150.

The Depot, built as a downtown Minneapolis railroad station over a century ago, is a beautiful example of Renaissance Revival architecture, says Rick Harms, director of catering.

“With 33-foot gilded ceilings, white marble floors, magnificent arches, and intricately paneled oak details, the Depot’s Great Hall is a one-of-a-kind venue for weddings and events for up to 350 guests,” he comments.

The Depot Pavilion, another wedding day option, can accommodate up to 1,100 guests. The Pavilion features 190 feet of floor-to-ceiling windows providing gorgeous views of the Minneapolis skyline. The vintage feel of the venue can be complemented with an old-fashioned carriage ride near the Mississippi River.

Couples not only want a venue that will take their breath away, they want to go the extra mile to make their wedding completely unique, Harms says. Couples are doing this through personalizing or “branding” their wedding celebration with logos, interesting color palettes, or signature items.

Another first-class Minneapolis venue brimming with personality and history is Jax Café. From the unique ambiance of stained-glass windows and massive beamed ceilings to the gorgeous outdoor patio with a cobblestone path and trout stream, the environment is perfect for a wedding or rehearsal dinner. Jax is known for quality food and service–the staff exudes a certain sincerity and warmth that only comes from working in a family-owned and operated restaurant–and it all adds up to a classy, classic venue that feels more meaningful and personal than other venues, says Jane Benavides, banquet coordinator.

At Golden Valley Country Club, floor to ceiling walls overlooking the golf course provide a spectacular backdrop for a wedding. GVCC is the only Private Country Club that allows non-members use of their first-class facilities. “Because we are unique in this fact, we often exceed our guests expectations by treating them as members,” says Ron Nelson, Director of Sales and Catering. GVCC can host up to 500 guests and a spacious pre-function area offers an elegant atmosphere and memorable first impression. Nelson advises engaged couples to consider not only the facility, but also the people they will be working with for the next year! They will want to feel a connection with both the facility and the people in charge of making their wedding day perfect!

The charming ballroom at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club in Lakeville is the perfect Cinderella setting, complete with exquisite chandeliers, a large dance floor, and the remarkable Brackett’s Terrace, offering breathtaking views of the golf course. In addition to remarkable views, weddings at Brackett’s Crossing are notorious for excellent catering and a professional, courteous, attentive staff. Sales and catering manager Karen Bohnert says the staff will do “anything it takes” to make sure brides and grooms are happy, whether that’s mending a bridesmaid’s dress or groomsman’s tux, steaming the wrinkles out of dresses after outdoor pictures, or helping with floral arrangements.

Customized bridal packages, a full-service spa, overnight guest accommodations, outdoor receptions on the deck, and award-winning cuisine are part of the wedding experience at The Marsh, A Center for Balance and Fitness, based in Minnetonka. The Marsh also offers pre-wedding services such as massage, manicures and pedicures, and The Shop, a designer boutique perfect for custom-ordered bridal accessories and wedding party gifts.

The Marsh strives to provide a peaceful retreat from life’s everyday demands, and Jennifer Allen, marketing coordinator, advises couples to “keep things simple” to eliminate wedding-day stress.

“A great measuring tool is to ask yourself, ‘Will it matter to me in five years?’” she says.

Another way to stay relaxed and focused before the wedding is to plan in advance, so you’re not frantically trying to get things done at the last minute.

“Many brides wait until the week of the wedding to do simple tasks and miss out on embracing this very special time in their lives,” she says. “So many people get caught up in the planning, they forget to enjoy the experience!”

 

Photo by Kate McGough,
Perspective Studio

It’s all about the experience at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing. Whether celebrating in a tropical banquet room, outside on the grassy lawn, or afloat on the 150-passenger “Spirit of the St. Croix” two-story cruise liner, the atmosphere at Treasure Island is unique. Inside the 250-room luxury hotel’s entry, there’s a waterfall, rock pool, and a pair of large tropical fish aquariums to set a tropical tone. The restaurant area resembles a Caribbean village, and the hotel rooms are Caribbean-themed. This fun and festive resort also features a little something for everyone with live entertainment, a golf course, 2,500 slots, 44 blackjack tables, and high stakes bingo.

Minnesotans love the tropics almost as much as they love the water, and what better place to exchange vows than on a boat? Cruises aboard Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines, located in the quaint town of Afton on the beautiful St. Croix River, are available from April through October. After celebrating on the river, many couples (and up to 130 guests) stay overnight at the Historic Afton House Inn. A wedding on a boat is memorable, and guests like that everything is in one location–no driving necessary–making it convenient for out-of-town guests.

Convenience, amazing Lake Superior views (think crashing waves, a rocky shoreline, expansive blue water and brilliant sunsets), and the fun and excitement of an out-of-town wedding appeal to many couples–all reasons why weddings on the North Shore are so popular.

“It’s all about location, location, location,” says Nadya Maravigli, Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior’s food and beverage director. Bluefin Bay, located near Lutsen in the town of Tofte, is an award-winning destination resort with a unique lakefront setting.

Not only is Bluefin Bay’s natural setting fit for a king or queen, the area is “wedding friendly” in every way, from the newly-remodeled and contemporary Bluefin Grille Restaurant, with split level dining (perfect for weddings of up to 100 people), a talented chef offering a wide range of menu ideas from salmon or trout to organic meals (a growing trend), and lodging options from hotel suites to townhomes overlooking the water.

Whether it’s a beach wedding in the warm months or a pretty wedding inside when the temperatures drop, weddings at Bluefin Bay are simple, elegant affairs, says Maravigli, who adds that Bluefin is also known as a premier honeymoon destination. 

Another Lake Superior wedding destination is Superior Shores Resort and Conference Center, where “we specialize in making North Shore memories for our couples and their guests,” says Laura Otsea, Superior Shores sales director.

Families love the evening bonfires on the beach, the indoor pool, and the variety of fun activities in the area (hiking at scenic state parks, golfing, site-seeing), while the couple loves that everyone is together in one location on Minnesota’s beautiful North Shore. There really is no “wrong” time to get married at Superior Shores. The area is breathtaking during every season.

According to Otsea, the staff has gone above and beyond to customize wedding couple suites and decorate reception rooms, and they don’t have a food and beverage minimum “so our couples can design the reception dinner of their choice.”

The Lodge on Lake Detroit is a new honeymoon and small wedding destination where couples can revel in affordable luxury. The Lodge is a smoke-free lakefront lifestyle hotel and spa on pristine Lake Detroit. Each guestroom is lakefront with breathtaking views. Guests may enjoy private balconies, glass enclosed showers, an indoor pool area, a fitness room and a complimentary full hot breakfast. The fireplace lobby offers a bar and grand piano for sunset serenades. The Lodge is located on 550 feet of lakeshore–couples can savor the sandy beach, enjoy the fine swimming area, and discover the beauty of Big Detroit Lake in a kayak or on a paddleboat. The Renewal Spa Suites feature an aromatherapy whirlpool and fireplace. The Spa Within offers pampering for couples and bridal parties. The excellent staff will help coordinate and cater a memorable rehearsal dinner, lakeside or fireside lobby wedding ceremony, and the banquet room at the Lodge accommodates up to 100 guests.

Whether sophisticated and formal or laidback and casual; fun and festive or spiritual and serious; each couple has a different idea of their very own “perfect” wedding. Take your time when searching for the ideal venue. You’ll know when you’ve found the perfect fit.

 

Photo by Kate McGough,
Perspective Studio

CAPTURING MOMENTS

The trend for photography, according to The Wedding Guys, is shooting in an editorial style, capturing frost on a martini glass or the way the chef intricately paints the catered entrée. Local photographer Kate McGough of Perspective Studio Photography was selected to shoot Trend Wedding 2007 based on her amazing talent of capturing still-life details and candid shots. McGough’s photojournalistic shots capture close-ups and moments, tell a story, and allow the couple to relive their wedding day, from the bride getting ready to the couple’s first dance. McGough’s laidback, friendly personality (and the fact that she’s shot plenty of weddings) make her a favorite among local brides and grooms. 

“I offer a variety of price points that depend on what my clients need for the event,” she comments. “That way, they have more control over pricing. For example, many of my clients have an artistic flair and enjoy creating their own albums with the prints that are included. This saves me time and saves them hundreds of dollars as a result.”

And while digital photography has been all the rage over the last few years, McGough is “thrilled” that many clients still prefer film.

“In my opinion, film still has a mood that digital doesn’t quite capture, although there will always be a place for both in the marketplace.”

Just as candid editorial shots are hugely popular in wedding photography (who wants to see the same tired pose over and over again?), documentary-style videography has also become a popular element in many wedding celebrations. The Wedding Guys enlisted a team of cameramen from MDR Video to make sure Trend Wedding 2007 was captured in a cinematic approach, with professional filming and editing.

Photography and videography are art forms, providing the best possible memories of the big day. When the dress is packed away, the thank you cards have been mailed, and the honeymoon has come and gone, wedding photos and video will keep the day alive.

A MEMORABLE MEAL

Highly stylized food is a sizzling wedding trend this year. For Trend Wedding 2007, The Wedding Guys decided to play up the concept with an eight-course dinner prepared by Lettuce Cater. Each course was served by Hire A Host staff with an emphasis on presentation and style, using unique concepts like inverted martini glasses.
 
Vassar explains, “The tastes of the culinary art–paired with delicate bouquets of wine–created experiential moments for the guests.”

Soli Anderson, owner of Deco catering, says that every bride and groom wants all aspects of their wedding meal to stand out. Anderson says that they review every detail with the couple to ensure they get the wedding of their dreams. “We meet with the bride and groom several times throughout the planning,” says Anderson. “We feel Deco is more than a catering company.”

Aside from the delicious fresh foods and the unusual beautiful decor they are known for, Deco works with their brides and grooms on reserving space, music, even hostess gifts. “Going above and beyond is standard for us,” Anderson says. One very special touch is the private moment they orchestrate for the couple before meeting their guests with champagne and appetizers “we always deliver on our promise for excitement.”

FLOWERS AND DÉCOR

Designed environments is a new trend in weddings, incorporating an overall theme with flowers and unique décor elements meaningful to the bride and groom. For Trend Wedding, The Wedding Guys worked with Sassafras Floral and Garden Design to create love knots in a century-old elm tree, and worked with Après Party & Tent Rental to transform the wine cellar into a changing suite for the bride.

“Combining a vision and designs elements into reality is a difficult thing,” Vassar says. “You have to be able to see the whole picture before you can start developing the finer details.”

Sarah Mettner, design manager at Midway Party and Tent Rental, Inc., says they’re seeing a rebirth of the “golden ages,” with color tones changing from the traditional pastels to new, vibrant colors such as oranges, fuchsia, bright reds, lime green, and brown.

“The black and white “tuxedo” look seems to be making a comeback, too,” she comments.

They bring in new linen on a weekly basis and recently received a new line of centerpieces, Mettner says, adding that the employees at Midway Party and Tent Rental “like to be on our toes with the changing trends.”

Not only are tent weddings becoming more and more popular, Mettner says everyone wants to rent LCD projectors and sound equipment for a slide show presentation, “a great addition to any reception.”

In addition to canopies, tables, chairs, dance floors, stages, P.A. equipment, décor pieces (linens, chair covers, centerpieces, arches and candelabras), and ceiling and design treatments, this family-owned business will offer delivery and pick-up and exceptional customer service.
 
“Many of our clients have become much more than customers—they’re really friends of our family,” Mettner says. “I even had a few of them attend my own wedding!”

As a premier event and wedding company, Richfield Flowers and Events specializes in fabulous, unique weddings and cutting edge party designs. They have talented wedding and event specialists and experienced design staff who can help with many aspects of your event, ranging from choosing the perfect flowers and décor to lighting, ceiling treatment and prop rentals. Their promise–to create design solutions that reflect the personality of the couple, making each event significant and beautiful!

 

Photo by Kate McGough,
Perspective Studio

BEAUTY AND FASHION

Most brides will tell you they put more time and thought into choosing their dress than any other element of the wedding day. Whether you know exactly what you want, or only have a general idea–who should you bring along on your search?

“Bring the person whose opinion you treasure most,” suggests Dawn Bromander, Retail Division Manager for Monique Lhuillier salon.

Too many opinions will drowned out your own sense of style. Let your consultant gently guide you early on. The consultant has previous knowledge of each gown and how it looks off the hanger and can offer suggestions on fit and style based on your body type. Bromander says with the help of a consultant you may find yourself delighted with a gown easily passed by with a quick glance.

Like Monique Lhuillier designs, Bromander recommends that a bride transcend trends and simply find what is the perfect dress for her. Does it sparkle with her personality? Does she feel both beautiful and comfortable?

Monique Lhuillier salon on 50th & France provides a beautiful contemporary environment with outstanding service. The perfect back drop for brides to select from both her bridal collection and ready to wear couture collection. “I’d love to dispel the myth that you must be wealthy to enjoy this level of service and design!” says Bromander. “We still hear stories from brides that they would have loved to come to us but they did not have ten thousand dollars in their budgets for a wedding gown. Our gowns open at about $2000 and go up from there.”

For brides, the makeup trend is sultry, smoky eye shadow paired with a lighter lip color. This color combination works especially well for evening weddings. The Wedding Guys worked with New York-based MG Hair and Makeup to create a look that was fresh and sophisticated–with just a hint of mystery–for the Trend Wedding bride.

“Makeup can easily overpower a person,” Vassar says. “It should enhance the bride’s appearance, not completely transform her look.”

In addition to the right shades of makeup, it’s also important to have a picture perfect smile. Having your teeth whitened is relatively inexpensive and can produce dramatic results.

Achieve the kind of stunning smile that lights up a room at award-winning Boger Dental, located in New Hope. Cosmetic dental procedures range from simple bonding or whitening to more comprehensive smile designs. A smile design is a picture-perfect smile created by eliminating gaps, discoloration, crowding, rotations and other imperfections, often done in two or three visits.

“A great smile can be life-changing,” says Dr. Chad Boger of the father-son team. “And on your wedding day, when everyone is looking at you and taking your picture, you’ll want to feel confident about that smile.”

At Woodbury’s Centre for Distinctive Dentistry, Dr. Ned Nippoldt reasons that there’s no better time than a fast-approaching wedding date to whiten teeth or repair chips and cracks. Your wedding day is no time to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or unhappy with your smile. The day you say “I do,” you’re going to feel happy and you’re beautiful, and a stunning smile should be a reflection of this emotion. 

Another way to achieve a stunning wedding day glow–either before the wedding or afterward–is at Sundara Spa, a new destination spa in Wisconsin Dells. Brides and grooms will find a sanctuary from stress through herbal body wraps, facials, hot stone massage, and purifying bath rituals. Spa together treatments, a popular option for couples, are done in rooms architecturally designed for two. “Our suites are romantic and indulgent with king sized featherbeds as well as spa bathroom amenities, perfect for honeymooners,” says Heidi Seibel, marketing and design. “From organizing unique proposals to arranging peaceful honeymoons, we try to give each couple individual attention and make sure their time with us is memorable.”

Most recently the Sundara staff helped orchestrate a proposal that included a series of clues in the form of hidden certificates “found” throughout the day. The last certificate led to a romantic in-suite picnic complete with rose petals, champagne, and the arrangement of certificates spelling out “Marry Me?”

Whether pampering bridesmaids before the big day in the full-service salon or enjoying some down time with your honey after the festivities, Sundara is the perfect relaxing getaway on the scenic outskirts of Wisconsin Dells.

 

WEDDING DAY JEWELRY

Red carpet-worthy vintage inspired jewelry is now also making an appearance on the wedding aisle. 

“Vintage jewelry makes a bold statement and needs to blend perfectly with the wedding gown,” says Trettel.

The Wedding Guys challenged the experts at Arthur’s Jewelers to utilize stunning designs from Tacori for Trend Wedding 2007, and the overall look was gorgeous.

Couples who want to make a statement that is uniquely their own seek out the services of Studio Vincent in Minneapolis.

“We’re different from the chain jewelers in that we work directly with each couple to create a design that is singular and stunning,” explains Stephen Vincent, master goldsmith/designer and owner. “We make designing wedding and commitment sets fun!”

The Studio Vincent staff keeps a close eye on the latest trends by traveling to European jewelry shows. They work only in 950 platinum, 18k and pure gold, palladium, Damascus and stainless steel. All Studio Vincent wedding and commitment sets are hand-fabricated in their own workshop using only “conflict-free” diamonds and gems–something more and more clients are requesting.

“Right now, the pervasive design trend is clean, minimal, and classic,” Vincent says. And when it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands, platinum is still the metal of choice.

“Cherished for its purity, color and feel, it’s the perfect setting for diamonds,” he comments, adding that more and more couples have also been gravitating toward unique cuts and colored diamonds. 

THE GRAND FINALE

The honeymoon is an important part of the wedding experience, and a much-needed escape after months of exciting, yet exhausting, planning. All-inclusive resorts, cruises, national parks and theme resorts are all popular honeymoon options, as are romantic resorts and charming B&Bs close-to-home.

While on their honeymoon, it’s important for couples to relax and rejuvenate, spend plenty of quality time together, and tell everyone they’re honeymooners. Newlyweds often get special treatment and extra goodies when they tell others that this is their first vacation (of many) as a happily married couple. 

Carrousel Travel American Express have specialists to help you plan your honeymoon or destination wedding. Your ideal honeymoon may be a romantic secluded beach at an all-inclusive resort, a tour of Europe or a cruise. Wherever you choose, they can help you turn your dreams into reality.

Destination Weddings are a growing trend. Have you always dreamed of getting married on a beach in Hawaii or a romantic Caribbean island? Carrousel has specialists that will listen to your vision and help you find the best location for your special event and assist your guests with travel arrangements. Carrousel Travel has specialists dedicated to assisting you with the planning of your destination wedding.

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