Everyone wants a perfect wedding day. Over the course of the wedding planning, couples are told to make arrangements in case something goes awry. You need a tent in case the sky opens and drenches your outdoor ceremony. Make sure you have a cousin ready to intervene in any weird family drama. Always order extra wine. That last one is extra important.
Abby and Collin did plan for everything. And it worked! They had a truly perfect day. The weather was wonderfully warm, everyone had a great time and golden hour was extra long! After months of wedding planning, buying a house and adopting a perfect dog (his name is Dave!), the stars aligned.
Their love story started on the first day of UW-Eau Claire band camp in 2011. Both trombonists, Abby thought Collin was kind of a nerd, but he eventually won her over with his sense of humor. After four years together, they took a break. But they were destined to be together. Really though. In 2017, Abby had a weird dream about Collin. A few days later, Collin called Abby out of the blue. They met for drinks that night, and the rest is history.
They hosted their day at Green Acres Event Center, a beautiful barn in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The couple’s friends and professors created a 8 piece trombone band for their ceremony. One of the musicians even arranged a piece specifically for their wedding. The music didn’t stop there! The reception dancing kicked off with a live jazz band that played through the end of the night! They truly made their day theirs and we feel so special to be a part of it!
This is part of our Visiting Vendors series! Photography is just one part of a wedding vendor team and we want to help you create the best team possible. We are inviting some of our favorite vendors on our blog to give their advice! First off is Hailey, owner of Essen Events. We trust her advice so much that we hired her for our own wedding!
Hello hello! I’m so excited to be guest posting for Royal Hart Studio today! I’m Hailey, the owner and lead designer over at Essen Events. We’re an event production + floral design biz in the Twin Cities who specializes in making wedding days truly unique. I got my start in the event industry my senior year of college with an internship with another twin cities florist. Without knowing anything about floral design, I got that internship with hopes of just dipping my toes into the event world and I was hooked. I loved the hustle of the event world, and to this day still say that the room flip is my favorite part of a wedding day.
Enough about me, though. I’m here to tell you all about why it’s so so so important to have at least a day-of-coordinator on your team for your wedding day. I know, I know … your venue already has an event day manager who says they “basically take care of everything that a day-of-coordinator would do.” But how true is that? Bottom line, your event day manager may be a super helpful person, but their job is to keep the venue managed. That’s it. A lot of times, venue managers are also in charge of managing the bar or catering team. When that’s the case, who is going to be there to help you bustle your dress before your grand entrance? We will be!
It can all be a little confusing, and there’s a lot of different titles that us event planners go by. Here’s a little explanation of the most common ones:
Perfect for couples who have a clear vision of what they want, and are already super organized on their own. Day-of-coordination is a little confusing because it’s really more like month-of-coordination. The bulk of our work actually happens in the weeks leading up event day.
We meet with our clients about a month out from their wedding day, and go over all the final logistical details. Collecting any information about vendors they’ve booked since we last talked, making sure that if there’s an important tradition they want to be included in their day-of timeline, that we know about it so that it happens. We then take all the stress off their shoulders and take over all vendor communication from that point on. Unless it has to do with getting a final payment in, all those emails from your catering company, rental company, photographer, everyone will be directed to us instead. At that point, we have all the information needed to help those vendors get their questions answered so that you can take that last month and relax! We’re also there on event day to ensure that everyone is where they need to be at the time they need to be there!
An event designer is there to help you when you’ve got a good start to planning your wedding. Maybe you have your venue picked out and are on the right track with getting things organized, but you’re starting to feel stuck in the deep dark hole that is Pinterest. There’s so much inspiration out there for weddings, it’s really hard to narrow it all down. An event designer will do just that.
Typically with our Essen clients, we have a few meetings where we sit down and figure out what elements you like of a certain trend, and a few elements you might want to tweak to make it unique to you and your story as a couple. We also are very familiar with the inventories of all the rental companies in the Twin Cities and can help you pick out pieces that reflect the style you desire for your day.
All encompassing. Someone you hire to hold your hand throughout the entire wedding planning process. Typically hired before even booking a venue. They reach out to vendors to inquire about availability, pricing, and negotiating. The way this works for Essen Events, is we jump in immediately after you hire us. We’ve already chatted about everything you have planned so far, and we’ve gotten at least an idea of the vision you’re wanting for your big day. We take note of the vendors you don’t yet have booked, prioritize which you should be booking next, and start reaching out to options that will be a great fit with that client based on price, personality, and style. We have monthly check-ins with our couples to make sure that they’re staying on top of their assignments, too (things like creating their guest list, collecting addresses, finalizing budgets with all contributing members).
On event day, we’re there from the very beginning to the very end. We help set up any of our client’s personal decorations, direct vendors as they arrive on where to go and make sure that everything that our clients paid for is up to their and our standards. We stay through the end of the event and help tear down our client’s personal decorations, as well as greet vendors as they arrive back to the venue to start teardown of their own products / services. We make sure that everyone stays on track to avoid the venue charging those pesky overtime fees.
All in all, hiring a day-of-coordinator is going to secure your sanity on your wedding day. We are there to work for you. It’s not your job on your wedding day to queue your bridesmaids down the aisle. It’s not your mom’s job on your wedding day to set up your decorations. And your Aunt Suzy needs to be over at family photos, not telling the catering company where to park their trailer!
Ashlyn and Matt couldn’t wait to be married. Each new the other was their person and they were ready. So when the day finally came, their joy was palpable. Both suites were filled with laughter as the party began in the morning. Do you know the feeling you get when you’re waiting for your birthday party to start? That anxious to start, excited, joyful feeling? Imagine that times 800 and you have the feeling of the beginning of their day! Matt and Ashlyn wrote letters to each other to read before their first look, readying their hearts to see one another on what would become their favorite day. Both bursting with eagerness, their first look was one for the books. There was laughing. There was crying. There was pure joy.
When Ashlyn walked down the grassy aisle to her love, it was hard to know who to watch. As Ashlyn walked down the aisle on her dad’s arm, trying to stifle tears, Matt tried and failed to hide his emotions. Their ceremony revolved heavily around their shared faith with captivating songs sung by close friends and a touching communion shared by the bride and groom. It was clear that this was not just a celebration of their relationship, but creating a covenant between them and the God who brought them together. They kissed and then ran back down the aisle, together at last!
Hope Glen Farm is a stunning setting for a wedding with their outdoor ceremony option and open air reception hall! Guests ate dinner in the warm summer air, surrounded by soft floral arrangements by Essen Events.
If confetti were a person, it would be Ashlyn, so we knew we had to add some of that extra fun into their portraits after dinner! If you look closely, you can still see some confetti in her hair during their dances. Whoops! To end the night, the couple ran to the on-site treehouse through a sparkler-lit path. What a way to end a perfect day!
Have you seen the movies where the man meets his future wife at a wedding? Well this is that couple in real life! Amanda and Carter then had their first date at a swing dancing night at the Wabasha Street Caves. They thought it only fitting that they start their engagement session here! Carter proposed this winter in front of the Landmark Center in Saint Paul, so we hopped in the car and photographed there and all around Rice Park. To round out their session, they wanted a touch of nature, so we finished at Minnehaha Park. Although the falls are gorgeous, we decided to enjoy the rest of the park and its natural beauty.
Amanda and Carter are the sweetest people and truly make a wonderful match for one another. Amanda finishes graduate school in December and will move to Iowa to be with Carter who is in medical school there! These two are about to embark on quite the adventure!
Our world is one of harshness and distraction, so it is imperative to bring softness and light to the forefront. Doing so within a wedding creates a refuge for all involved.
In an exploration of gentle, feminine styling, a pallet of soft blues and pinks compliment the simplicity of each scene. Delicate love is embodied by soft textures, light colors, and a glowing warmth. Stepping out of our chaotic world and into a moment of peace allows for our focus to shift to the softer aspects of life.
If you enjoy laughing until your stomach hurts, you’ll love Ashlyn and Matt. For their entire rooftop engagement session, we were wheezing with laughter with them. They’re goofy and so incredibly in love. The two met either through their church’s small group or at a mutual friend’s birthday party, it depends on who you ask! They do agree on their first date: making dinner together and watching Stranger Things. Humans after our own hearts. Now they’re in the process of planning their forever together. Through what we’ve learned, their forever will include a very floofy dog, lots of good food, strong faith and a lot of love.
For their engagement session, Matt and Ashlyn chose the city they love as their backdrop: Minneapolis! They both attended the University of Minnesota and have a strong tie to the City of Waters (did you know that’s what “Minneapolis” means?). We went with a morning session, so we got the beautiful sunrise and had to include a little bit of caffeine. They started their urban rooftop engagement session on a hidden gem of a parking garage. We got our caffeine fix at Penny’s. Thanks to Penny’s Coffee for letting us photograph in their beautiful downtown location! It was still pretty chilly in March, so they donned their winter gear and finished off their session walking along Saint Anthony Main. Overall, it was a stunning session that really encapsulates who they are as a couple. We are so honored to help them tell this bit of their story! We can’t wait for their wedding in August!
Before going on their first date, Kurt and Kaelyn had only crossed paths a handful of times through church and running with Team World Vision. As time passed, they began to see each other in a new light and started dating in the spring of 2018. They spent the summer in hammocks, taking road trips and spending as much time outside as possible. It didn’t take them long to know they were meant for each other and were engaged the winter of 2018!
During their engagement session, we knew the cold was going to be a factor; here in Minnesota we had just survived the polar vortex. We ended up photographing in Minneapolis’ beautiful Hewing Hotel and they were kind enough to let us up to the roof! Our sweet couple had no problem cuddling up together or exploring the hotel for our time together.
We decided to brave the cold for the end of the session and stopped at Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park. Both from the north, Kurt and Kaelyn wanted to show off their matching flannel. Armed with hand warmers, the couple lost themselves in love for a while and Kurt even picked Kaelyn up fireman style!
All in all, we think this engagement session is quintessentially Minneapolis and we love it.
At their Cannon River wedding, Ali and David’s day focused on community and friends. During any downtime, the couple was surrounded by their best friends and close family. Ali and David landed on Cannon River Winery as the backdrop for their nuptials after seeing the captivating vineyard and charming winery. The two started the day separately preparing for their first look, a nervous excitement bubbling out of both. Their first look was so sweet. David could not believe his bride could be even more beautiful!
They promised each other the rest of their days in a ceremony overlooking the rolling hills of Cannon River, Minnesota. After they walked back down the aisle, David and Ali escaped between the vines to have a moment alone. As guests left for the reception, the newlyweds emerged just in time for the most brilliant golden hour we’d had in a year.
When we met with them for the first time, we asked what part of the wedding day they most looked forward to and without missing a beat, Ali said, “dancing!” We knew going into the reception that this couple liked to get down, and get down they did! The dance floor was packed for just about every song with their favorite people and Ali beamed with happiness. And David? He hadn’t stopped smiling from the moment he saw his bride.