From the gown to the décor, invitations to the hors d'oeurves, you're going to be working with a dizzying array of vendors - specialists in their niche- who provide the pieces of the puzzle that all come together for your big day. With so many options, it can be hard to know where to begin. Relax - we've got you covered with Minnesota Bride's Best Of 2021, voted on by people just like you. Our winners' experience and know-how (and sometimes, saintlike patience) have made hundreds of couples' wedding dreams come true - and they can do that for you, too.
And the winners are...
Best Dress Shop
The Wedding Shoppe
Claim to fame: What began as a small family business has blossomed into one of the area’s finest bridal experiences today. Started by Jim and Lois Fritz in the 1970s, The Wedding Shoppe is now run by their son, Jimmy. Providing online retail along with the St. Paul store, the shop’s longstanding success and growth is a testament to their exclusive customer service, deep industry expertise and, most important, their wide array of designer gowns for every shape and style.
Finalists: Annika Bridal Boutique, BHLDN
Best Luxury Dress Shop
Annika Bridal Boutique
Claim to fame: Located in Edina, Annika Bridal Boutique specializes in the ultimate luxury experience. Started by two friends, Annie Corbin and Kate Applebaum, their VIP appointments take the cake. You can have the store all to yourself and your gal pals, sip champagne, savor snacks custom-made for your tastes and shop at your leisure. As for the gown, their hand-picked selection of designer dresses is unrivaled.
Finalists: a&bé bridal shop, Bridal Accents Couture
Best Bridesmaid Dresses
The Wedding Shoppe
Claim to fame: The Wedding Shoppe offers dresses ranging in nearly every color and style, perfect for your bridal party. With guarantees for excellent customer service and low prices and a focus on family within the company, you won't have to worry about being taken care of if you choose the Wedding Shoppe. For the best experience, the Wedding Shoppe team suggest you avoid Saturdays and opt for another day for your bridal party fittings and appointments.
Finalists: Bella Bridesmaids, BHLDN
Best Custom Gowns
Mara Marie Bridal
Claim to fame: When you have a vision for “the dress,” but just can’t seem to find it, a custom gown is a must. Mara Dietrich, the creative power behind Mara Marie, turns one-of-a-kind dream dresses into reality. From concept and design to final creation, no detail is overlooked, from the sourcing of fabrics to the comfort of a gown that can stand up to a long night on the dance floor.
Finalists: Modehaus Bridal, Joynoelle
Best Mother-of-the-Bride Apparel
Luxe Bridal Couture
Claim to fame: With a focus on all body types and sizes, Luxe Bridal Couture is paving the way with size inclusivity carrying sizes 14-28 for Mothers. Working with an expert bridal stylist will ensure a chic pick for any Mother of the bride. With a goal to make each customer walk out feeling happier and more confident, the team behind Luxe Bridal Couture is all about maximizing your style and vision.
Finalists: Nordstrom, DUGO
Best Wedding Hair
Claim to fame: Founder Kayla VanderZiel discovered her passion as a child and went professional in 2009. Her team-based approach fosters an atmosphere of support and congeniality, which extends to their clients. They can come to you (up to 40 miles from their Minneapolis-based studio), and their bridal packages offer an array of options including false lashes, trial hair and makeup, hairstyling and makeup on your big day, plus services for your rehearsal dinner and bachelorette party.
Finalists: Warpaint International Beauty Agency, Primped
Claim to fame: The Dashery, in Alexandria, Minnesota, offers formal apparel for any and all wedding participants. From custom-tailored suits for the groomsmen to elegant dresses your bridesmaids will love, the shop will help you find the right look for each member of the wedding. They also offer fittings for other formal occasions and business meetings.
Finalists: Heimie’s Haberdashery, MartinPatrick3
Custom Sewing by Heather
Claim to fame: Heather Baldridge learned to sew at 8 years old by watching her mom, a college sewing instructor. Thousands of bridal gowns and groomsmen’s suits later, Heather, who serves bridal party clients only, is ready to put her 35-plus years of experience at your service. Not only will she do nip and tuck on your gown so it looks like it was tailor-made from the start, she can also consult and execute more extensive dress redesign—as well as honestly let you know whether a redesign is the best option.
Finalists: Amazing Alterations, Rapids Alterations
Best Wedding Makeup
Warpaint International Beauty Agency
Claim to fame: Founded in 2010, WarPaint carefully assesses all potential talent who work for the on-demand mobile agency, which has locations in five U.S. cities, including Minneapolis. Their artists who focus on weddings can create the look you want, whether it’s natural, dramatic, vintage, Celtic or South Asian. High-profile clients include Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Hennepin Theatre Trust and KARE 11. Having a destination wedding far from Minnesota? WarPaint will travel to where you are.
Finalists: Makeup by Mindie, Primped
Best Spa Services
Claim to fame: Spalon has been offering a wide range of rejuvenation services since 1991. The salon continues to redefine the customer experience with the latest innovations in services such as facial and body treatments, massage, mani-pedi and lip and eye treatments. Whether you’re looking for a “me day” to relax on your own or a place to hang out with your bridesmaids, you can head to your nearest Spalon, with three locations in the metro, for total mind and body relaxation.
Finalists: Juut Salon Spa, Anda Spa
Claim to fame: A family-owned business for 40 years, Continental Diamond prides itself on welcoming, knowledgeable staff and a wide selection of wedding and engagement rings, including those with other precious gems like sapphires, emeralds and rubies. Not to mention their collection of loose diamonds—the Twin Cities’ largest—so you can choose your own special sparkler. Staff include three master goldsmiths, three gemologists and 11 GIA diamond experts. They will happily customize your ring for you— and if that’s not possible, talk to one of their custom designers, who will help you create a ring that’s as unique as you are.
Finalists: Jewelry by Johan, Max’s
Best Rehearsal Dinner Venue
Claim to fame: Based in Minneapolis, with charming views of Loring Park, Café and Bar Lurcat is part of the D’Amico brothers catering and restaurant empire, with all the quality and professionalism that goes with the brand. The hip, urban venue features a private dining room, mezzanine and bar closure and chef-driven cuisine with a traditional menu, the more adventurous “Voyage” fare or a seasonally inspired menu.
Finalists: Nicollet Island Inn, Pinstripes
Best Twin Cities Venue
The Hutton House
Claim to fame: Tucked away along Medicine Lake, The Hutton House is the epitome of elegance. More than 12,000 square feet of indoor event space offer you options galore, including a gracious main hall, a stairway for the wedding party to make a grand entrance, built-in bar, fireplace, private dressing rooms and lounge and indoor/outdoor sound system; if a big bash is in your future, they can provide tables and chairs for up to 300 guests. An outdoor event area is available to enjoy breezes off the lake; other outdoor amenities include a fire pit, options for an ice bar, lawn games and tent
Finalists: Nicollet Island Pavillion, Machine Shop
Best Northern Minnesota Venue
Grand Superior Lodge
Claim to fame: Located in Two Harbors along the North Shore of Lake Superior, Grand Superior Lodge has offered stunning views and exceptional hospitality since 1997. The dog-friendly venue’s lodging ranges from classic cabins and log homes to lakeside suites and event spaces—including the lakeshore for a rustic ceremony, bonfires and s’mores, the patio for a chic alfresco ceremony and the Lakeside Ballroom. You can even make it an outdoorsy destination wedding, with nearby attractions such as Gooseberry Falls, Superior Hiking Trail and Lakeview National Golf Course.
Finalists: Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, Greysolon Ballroom by Black Woods
Best Central Minnesota Venue
Grand View Lodge
Claim to fame: The venerable Grand View Lodge in Nisswa sits in the heart of the Brainerd-Lakes area, a resort beloved by families for decades. A two-hour drive from the Twin Cities, the sprawling venue offers traditional amenities like a chapel, beach, main lodge and full on-site catering and planning services, but also the new 60-room North boutique hotel, championship golf and an indoor pool with waterslide.
Finalists: Northern Pacific Center, Rolling Ridge Wedding & Event Center
Best Southern Minnesota Venue
St. James Hotel
Claim to fame: Located in the Mississippi River town of Red Wing, the St. James Hotel has Victorian charm and the welcoming feel of family business dating back 140 years. Whether you’re anticipating a big bash or an intimate elopement, the hotel has the services and amenities to handle it for you. They even have an on-site floral shop for garden-fresh blooms to grace your big day.
Finalists: Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, The Skyroom at Red Wing Golf Course
Best Barn Venue
Hope Glen Farm
Claim to fame: What started as a dairy farm in the late 1800s has become a special space for weddings and receptions. The family-owned venue, near Cottage Grove in the east metro, offers rural charm just minutes from the Twin Cities, featuring a classic red barn and amenities including hand-made wooden tables, his and hers spaces, kitchenette, loft lounge, climate-controlled buildings, outdoor spaces and “plan B” accommodations in case the weather simply won’t cooperate. Plus a honeymoon suite for the wedding night, elopement and tiny- wedding packages—and goats and chickens for the finishing bucolic touch.
Finalists: The Cottage Farmhouse, Redeemed Farm
Best Winery Venue
Carlos Creek Winery
Claim to fame: Carlos Creek Winery is set on 160 picturesque acres in Alexandria, complete with a “natural cathedral” setting, arbor and (of course) wine barrels for programs and guestbooks. A three-level terrace is available for social hour, with the Grande Stables reception hall for seated events up to 350. They offer a shuttle from nearby hotels during the warmer months, and if you’re exchanging vows in a daytime ceremony, a set amount of wine or beer on the house.
Finalists: Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Crow River Winery
Best Hotel Venue
Claim to fame: Make it an urban-chic affair at the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis’ hip North Loop district. Originally a farm tool warehouse, the 1897 building has been redesigned to showcase exposed brick and impressive timber beams, with a rooftop lounge for relaxing. Each hotel room is unique, while the flexible spaces can accommodate events large and small. With a spa pool—and, this being Minnesota, a sauna, of course.
Finalists: The Saint Paul Hotel, The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel
Best Country Club/Golf Course Venue
Claim to fame: You’ll find the Lafayette Club’s 1925 Spanish-style clubhouse among 38 rolling acres with an expansive view of Lake Minnetonka. Say “I do” in the Crystal Bay Garden, head to the Lakeview Room for cocktails on the deck, then dance the night away in the Crystal Ballroom overlooking Crystal Bay. The next day, enjoy the outdoor swimming pool and nine holes of lakeshore golf.
Finalists: Majestic Oaks Golf Club, Rush Creek Golf Club
Best Outdoor Venue
Camrose Hill Flower Farm
Claim to fame: Camrose Hill Flower Farm in Stillwater is owner Cindie Sinclair’s gorgeous reimagining of an 1880s dairy farm that she transformed 20 years ago. The venue has an outdoor chapel, the leafy Fairy Glen, a tent adjoining the pavilion, as well as the barn with crystal chandeliers. True to its name, its blossoming gardens make your special day even more enchanting.
Finalists: The Cottage Farmhouse, Hope Glen Farm
Best Wedding Night Hotel
The Saint Paul Hotel
Claim to fame: The grande dame of Twin Cities hospitality, The Saint Paul Hotel has a storied history and classic elegance that never goes out of style. In the heart of downtown overlooking Rice Park, spend your first night of marital bliss in a luxury suite with two full baths and parlor. If you opt for the wedding-night package, they greet you with a sweet treat and Champagne, deliver fresh flowers in your room and let you take your sweet time the next day, with late checkout at 2 p.m.
Finalists: Hewing Hotel, St. James Hotel
Best Valet Service
Claim to fame: With Unparalleled Parking’s motto of “Run fast, drive slow,” you can save your guests the hassle of parking with the confidence their cars are in good hands. Christopher Forest founded Unparalleled Parking over a decade ago with a vision to provide unparalleled valet service. They can be particularly helpful if your event is at a busy hotel or restaurant in a high-traffic area. The company prides itself on dedication, courtesy and professionalism, and won the Award of Excellence from the Better Business Bureau.
Finalists: Piccadilly Valet, Uptown Valet
Best Historic Venue
Claim to fame: Machine Shop is making a history of its own in the original equipment factory connected to the historic Pillsbury A-Mill, along the Mississippi just north of downtown Minneapolis. The high-end conversion, opened in 2016, has preserved the original 1916 details, updating with the 19,000 square feet of event space with an industrial-chic aesthetic and state-of-the-art amenities, including furnished dressing rooms. Two levels, along with portable bars and movable wood walls, offer the utmost in flexibility.
Finalists: Mill City Museum, The Van Dusen Mansion
Best Resort Venue
Grand View Lodge
Claim to fame: Grand View Lodge in Nisswa offers breathtaking design and stunning lake views. Along with the many wedding spaces and services, including full planning and catering options, guests can water ski, Jet Ski, paddleboard or otherwise play in the lake, take in evening concerts, enjoy a full activities calendar including volleyball, lawn games, pickleball, tennis and golf, or, for a winter wedding, ice skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Whether your family’s been going there for years or you’re just discovering this Minnesota gem, Grand View Lodge will make your wedding a day (or weekend) to remember for a lifetime.
Finalists: Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, Grand Superior Lodge
Flutterby Celebrations & Ceremonies
Claim to fame: With 30 years of experience, Flutterby officiants have the services and know-how to ensure your ceremony reflects you, your spouse-to-be and your unique love story. Each ceremony is custom-written for the individual couple, and they can make your “I do’s” official whether you’re in Minnesota, the East or West Coast or points in between.
Finalists: Liz Rae Weddings, Perfect Day Ceremonies & Affordable I Do's
Best Wedding Planner
Lasting Impressions Weddings
Claim to fame: Lasting Impressions Weddings doesn’t just plan your wedding and co-ordinate the (seemingly endless) details, they design it. With a decade of award-winning experience, owner Sarah Trotter—a well-known name in the Twin Cities bridal fields— found her calling after jobs in corporate event planning. They offer several packages, from full-service, from the moment you begin the process, to day-of options to make sure all your best-laid plans go off without a hitch, and they can tailor all of their packages to fit your needs and budget.
Finalists: Lilacs + Lace, Laine Palm Designs
Best Rental & Décor
Claim to fame: Don Jensen founded Linen Effects in 1990 when he couldn’t find what he was looking for. The name only begins to describe what they can provide—not just linens (of course), tableware and dining room chairs but also armchairs, occasional tables, chandeliers and installations. The staff keep up with the latest trends, and Jensen’s belief that every wedding should look magnificent means your vision can become reality down to the last detail.
Finalists: Ultimate Events, Aprés Event Décor & Tent Rental
Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Design
Claim to fame: Sadie’s Couture Floral offers an elegant array of florals to accompany your wedding look. Besides traditional bouquets and centerpieces, they also offer cascading stairway greenery and chandelier installations. No matter what your vision is— old-fashioned fairy tale or modern industrial, Sadie’s team of creative and skilled designers can bring it to life.
Finalists: Martha’s Gardens, Petals & Beans
Best Wedding Cakes
Claim to fame: Buttercream has been one of the go-to vendors in the Twin Cities for years, with four convenient locations. They use only top-quality ingredients, with no dye, fondant, lard or shortening. (They also can accommodate gluten-free requests.) They offer about 20 luscious signature flavors, like amaretto mousse and chocolate mint chiffon, and can create a design based on your gown, invitations, even your linens.
Finalists: Cocoa & Fig, Ink Sweets
Best Wedding Desserts
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Claim to fame: Starting in their home kitchens in 1997 creating desserts for friends and family, Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz built a brand that now stretches across the country. Along with tiered Bundt cakes, they also offer bite-size Bundtinis and miniature Bundtlets with flavors like blueberry bliss and white chocolate raspberry, and their signature frosting petals and drizzle frosting, while their carrot cake and seasonal pumpkin spice offer options for dairy-free diets. With locations across the Twin Cities, plus Rochester.
Finalists: Buttercream, dough-phoria
Best Caterer for a Large Wedding
Claim to fame: D’Amico Catering has been catering weddings for more than 25 years, with menu options from plated dinners and buffets to sliders, Asian and taqueria stations. Brothers Richard and Larry, sons of Italian immigrants, were part of the national and local redefinition of fine dining. They source their artisanal, sustainable ingredients from local producers and choose organic whenever possible, are committed to green business practices, and provide vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free options.
Finalists: Chowgirls Killer Catering, Lake Elmo Inn Catering
Best Caterer for a Small Wedding
Chowgirls Killer Catering
Claim to fame: This women-owned company opened in 2004 as the first “green” caterer in Minnesota and has grown from the two founders to more than 100 employees. Specializing in locally sourced seasonal fare, Chowgirls offers a wide variety of options to suit your special tastes. They also do their part for the community, with a food-share program that helps out local organizations fighting food insecurity.
Finalists: D’Amico Catering, Mintahoe Catering and Events
Paper Rock Scissors
Claim to fame: Paper Rock Scissor has been creating stationery to fit your unique style since 2008. Set the tone for the event with save-the-dates; they can provide the rest, all the way through day-of stationery, including thoughtful details like custom napkins, cigar wraps, drink stirrers and more. They’ll even help you past the big day, with thank-you notes. If you’re in the Twin Cities, the two-woman outfit invites you to their South Minneapolis studio for a personalized design experience; they can also suggest wording, if you’re feeling tongue-tied. If you don’t live nearby, never fear; they’re always happy to work with out-of-town couples, too.
Finalists: Epitome Papers, Katie Murphy Design & Stationery
Shasta Bell Calligraphy
Claim to fame: Shasta Bell’s journey into the world of calligraphy and handmade invitations began when, in search of a creative outlet while living in West Africa, she picked up a pencil and sketch pad. Her life changed when she saw one of her own wedding invitations displayed at a friend’s house and realized that crafting timeless, personal artwork in a hurry-up world was an answer to her passion. Based in Minneapolis, she and her team (including cat Ardis) are especially inspired by the romantic architecture of Europe.
Finalists: Autumn Made Co., Hooked Calligraphy
Leah Fontaine Photography
Claim to fame: Leah Fontaine captures her clients’ special days with a special joy and lots of laughter. She calls herself “your ally on your wedding day,” and with more than 10 years’ experience, she can handle scheduling and other surprises in stride. Popular packages include a second photographer for the big day, as well as an engagement session.
Finalists: Graddy Photography, Vick Photography
Summit Hill Studios
Claim to fame: Based in Stillwater, Summit Hill Studios captures those extra-special moments of your day. Former broadcast professional Dan Riggs not only can film the throughout the event—from all angles, including an aerial drone—but he’s an expert storyteller who can interview your nearest and dearest for extra insight. He offers a range of wed- ding packages, all customizable, as well as à la carte services such as the 48-hour sneak peek, when you just can’t wait a moment longer to relive the highlights.
Finalists: Adagio Djay Entertainment, Rubinski Visual
Best Photo Booth
The Traveling Photo Booth
Claim to fame: Jacob Stewart helped pioneer this ultra-fun trend, starting way back in 2005. With styles ranging from vintage-inspired to a modern open booth, The Traveling Photo Booth offers not only custom-designed booths but filters, custom backgrounds, prop kits, exclusive software that ensures all your images look great—plus on-site reprints, so everyone goes home with a memory of the day.
Finalists: Northerly Photo Camper, Studio 220 Photography
Bluewater Kings Band
Claim to fame: The Bluewater Kings Band has been in demand since they started more than 10 years ago. This group of seasoned musicians (and engineers, who make sure what comes out of the speakers sounds as good as it should) have performed with the likes of Prince, Cher, Tony Bennett and Miranda Lambert. With a resume like that, it’s clear they can accommodate your musical taste, be it jazz, country, the classics or good old rock ‘n’ roll. They also bring their own lighting, so they look as professional as they sound.
Finalists: In the Fields, The R Factor
Adagio Djay Entertainment
Claim to fame: For two decades, Adagio Djay Entertainment has provided the perfect playlist to get guests of all ages on the dance floor. The company keeps its bookings limited, so you know you have their undivided attention. Special features include emergency backup staff/technician to keep the music going all night long, a bilingual MC option, disco ball and a huge range of music, from country, oldies and jazz to hip-hop and South Asian. They can also customize a do-NOT-play list, so Uncle Elbert doesn’t dissolve in tears when he hears “The Way We Were.”
Finalists: Bellagala, Instant Request DJ Entertainment
Best Ceremony Music
Loring String Quartet
Claim to fame: With the Loring String Quartet and their centuries-spanning repertoire, you can walk down the aisle to the elegant strains of Bach or to a contemporary tune. The core players—violin, viola, cello and string bass— have resumes that include the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera Orchestra. They can also add other instruments such as trumpet, harp and vocalist. They will appear in the dress that best suits the music and your event—black tie, semi-formal or casual.
Finalists: Lake Minnetonka String Quartet, Pianist for Parties – Sharon Planer
Best Dance Instruction
Adagio Djay Entertainment
Claim to fame: For the past two decades, Adagio Djay Entertainment has not only been providing the music for your event, they’ll help you bust a move—or trip the light fantastic— to that very accompaniment. The lessons range from basic steps so you feel confident during for your first dance to complicated routines that’ll wow your guests. They can tailor your dance to the songs you’ve chosen and will even help you choose a dance style that works best with your natural sense of rhythm.
Finalists: Tulle Tuxedo, Twin Cities Arthur Murray
Claim to fame: In business since 1992, Renee’s Limousines’ award-winning service features professional chauffeurs, trained to provide tip-top service. Options include authentic trolleys (with bells) to coaches/buses to lavish limos, complete with a red carpet, “Just Married” sign, crystal glassware, bottled water, ice and non-alcoholic champagne.
Finalists: Trobec's Bus Service, Voigt’s Bus Companies
Best New Vendor
Claim to fame: Based in Minneapolis, Katie Huseboe has worked with florists in the New York City area and is certified in floral design by the prestigious New York Botanical Garden. She’s brought her talents and passion for all things flora back to Minnesota, where she focuses on weddings. “No detail too small, no installation too large” epitomizes her guiding philosophy, and her devotion to her clients ensures her floral creations express your vision.
Finalists: Pop-Up Weddings, Tinsel & Twig
Member of the Year
Instant Request DJ
Claim to fame: Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, so getting the details just right can make the difference between creating happy memories for you and your guests or sending everyone home with a headache. Instant Request knows exactly how to make happy memories even happier. When Shawn Plante started the business in 1980, his goal was to provide lively dance music that would pack the dance floor but also to keep the services classy. And more than 40 years later, that’s still happening. Instant Request’s DJs make it a point to learn about their couples, the music they like, and the vibe they want on their special day. From ceremony to reception, no matter your needs, Instant Request can match music and a DJ to suit your style. The reviews back up the promises: “The best!” “Flawless!” and “Above and beyond” are only a few comments from recently wed couples who happily sing the praises of Instant Request DJ.
TOP OF THE TIARA — All-Around Best Wedding Vendor
Claim to fame: Andrew Vick, the head of the team at Vick Photography, knows the importance of a good story, and weddings make for some of the best. “We pride ourselves in being there to capture all of those moments you see, along with the quiet ones that happen just off to the side of the main action,” his website notes. “From a parent wiping a concealed tear to your best friend laughing hysterically at the toasts in the background, we’re there to document it all.” Vick is in love with learning about the world and the people whose marriages he captures for generations to come. He has documented weddings around the world, from quiet corners of the Twin Cities to the emerald hills of Ireland, from the waters (yes, waters!) of Key Largo to the deserts of Arizona. And for every wedding Vick photographs, a portion of the profits goes to aid a community in Guatemala, making a special day even more special.
Finalists: Continental Diamond, Mintahoe Catering & Events
Best Floral Design
Studio C Floral
Wearing your florals is a growing trend, and Christi Poppler of Studio C Floral is leading the way with innovative accessories. “The wearables started out as a creative COVID project with my daughter Lily, the photographer, and actually ended up being her senior project,” says Poppler. “She wanted to showcase some of the many cultures represented at her school.” After consulting with everyone participating in the shoot, they came up with floral pieces that best represented their heritages by using botanicals indigenous to their respective countries and fashioned them in styles like those traditionally worn in their regions. Poppler and her daughter enjoyed the project so much that they have continued creating and photographing other wearables, such as these earrings made of Spider Man Grevillea.
Best Invitation Suite
Autumn Made Co.
Minimalist invitation suites are a trend that is here to stay, and Autumn Bungum, owner and designer behind Autumn Made Co combined neutral fall colors and earthy textures for this contemporary suite. A mix of handmade paper, card stock and vellum is paired with a thoughtful and unexpected ingredient: pressed dried florals in the envelope liner. A simple, subtle line drawing of a leaf ties it all together with seasonal style. “Of course, it also happens to be my favorite season, so it was a fun project to dream up,” says Bungum.
Best Event Design
Laine Palm Designs
Creative mastermind Laine Palm proves that pops of color can play well with neutrals in this modern, styled shoot at Machine Shop. A chic lounge area welcomes guests to take a break from the dance floor in cool blues and warm rust tones that can work for any season, and a quirky, geometric installation by Girl Friday with whimsical blooms by Apricot Floral adds a playful touch to the affair. “We wanted to create a large installation to show people that an install in Machine Shop doesn’t have to always be on the truss,” says Palm of their innovative use of space.
If you’re up for a side of adventure with your wedding photos, then Athena Hays of Empiria Studios is the photographer for you. This newlywed couple portrait atop a cliff overlooking the dramatic shores of Lake Superior shows that Athena will literally go the distance for you. Besides her creativity to come up with the idyllic setting, her technical know-how takes it up a notch. “This image is actually 12 images stitched together to get a shallow depth of field while still having that panoramic, wide perspective,” Athena says.
Hey There, Cupcake
This splendid treat by Chelsea Dudek, owner and cake artist of Hey There, Cupcake, is almost too pretty to eat. “I was going for a romantic, fine art feel with lots of detail,” says Dudek of her inspiration. Iced with buttercream, Dudek added texture with hand-rolled and torn fondant and then hand-painted it in soft, romantic shades of pink. Topping it off are fondant flowers and edible gold paint and luster dust for an added level of elegance.
"Flora" Gown by TLT by Tara LaTour
Meet “Flora,” a romantic peach, floral brocade gown designed by Minnesota’s own Tara LaTour. A must-have for the nontraditional bride who wants a fun print and a pop of color, this gown features a net inset and sweetheart neckline that can be paired with a removable and customizable off-the-shoulder band to create a strapless, one-shoulder, or off-the-shoulder style. “Flora” is part of LaTour’s newly revamped signature brand, TLT by Tara LaTour, from the “Painter in the Garden” collection. Inspired by LaTour’s artist grandmother and the time they spent painting together in her grandparents’ garden, each gown in the collection hints at blooms, brushstrokes and memories shared.
Best Catering Idea
Nosh and Gather with Revel & Flourish
Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering, a backyard bachelorette party, or setting the scene for a proposal, Nosh and Gather’s creative new Noshnics are a feast for both the eyes and the palate. These luxe customized picnic experiences are created by Liza Atkinson, founder of Nosh and Gather, in partnership with the designers at Revel & Flourish. Together, they bring the boho picnic vibe for two to eight people with catered food, including a charcuterie board, fancy cookies, and some seasonal blooms for an added touch of charm. “They show up like Mary Poppins with rugs and pillows and tableware to make it happen, and two hours later, they come back to whisk it all away,” Atkinson says of her helpers at Revel & Flourish.
Special thanks to our #BestOf2021 Sponsors
Check out our previous BEST OF Finalists and Winners. These are the top-rated venues and vendors as chosen by brides, grooms, the industry and our editors!