Minnesota Bride's Best of 2013 Winners

Best of
Written by
Jane Caffrey

A wedding is the culmination of seemingly endless details: the gown that fits just right, intricate icing on the cake, keepsake favors for beloved guests and a romantic honeymoon getaway. It takes a team of experts to help every couple make their vision for the special event come true. This year, thousands of these happy couples voted for the people who made their wedding dreams a reality. Here we present Minnesota’s top vendors, as voted by you, for 2013.

The finalists are:
Cocoa & Fig, Gateaux Inc., Lasting Impressions by Amy
The winner is: Lasting Impressions by Amy
White Bear Lake | 651.387.3881 | lastingimpressionsbyamy.com
“The best part about Lasting Impressions by Amy is that owner Amy Truhler-Maranda listens to what the bride wants and delivers it without hesitation. Her presentation is classy and functional. You can’t do any better. Her candy buffets are my favorite. She picks the best-quality chocolates and has an amazing variety.” —Cassie Sanders, married July 28, 2012

The finalists are:
Buttercream, Cocoa & Fig, Queen of Cakes
The winner is: Buttercream
Multiple locations | buttercream.info
“They had a huge variety of unique flavors to choose from, and all were delicious. We ended up with a smaller dual-layered cake; one layer was made of vanilla cake with raspberry and lemon, and the top layer was chocolate. This satisfied both of our tastes. They also let us display our cake on our family-owned cake plate, which had sentimental meaning for us, and allowed our florist to add real flowers to help decorate it. As a nice surprise, they are going to provide us with a fresh cake on our first anniversary!” —Lisa Lovelace, married September 9, 2012

The finalists are:
Graddy Photography, Janelle Elise Photography, Vick Photography
The winner is: Graddy Photography
Northfield | 952.649.0525 | graddyphotography.com
“Photographer Justin Graddy was so engaging, we felt immediately comfortable. He’s the type of guy my husband would be friends with, so my husband—who’s never in front of the camera—was having his picture taken and it was so easy and relaxing. There’s a beautiful picture of the two of us that I’d like to display in my house for years to come. It crosses the line of being a picture; what Justin does is art.” —Amanda S. Johnson, married September 28, 2012

The finalists are:
Bella Bridesmaid, Flutter, The Wedding Shoppe
The winner is: Flutter
Minneapolis | 612.216.1926 | flutterboutique.com
“I chose Flutter because of their wide array of designers and styles. I brought in most of my bridesmaids on a Saturday morning and we had the store to ourselves. We were able to pick and choose different styles and colors and try them all on with ease—no rush or crowds. Our wedding was very elegant, and it was necessary that the bridesmaid dresses be just that!” —Molly Whalen, married October 27, 2012

The finalists are:
Capture Studios, Princess Bride Cinematic Videography, Story of Us Films
The winner is: Capture Studios
St. Louis Park | 612.787.2595 | capturestudios.net
“Capture Studios changed the way we thought about wedding videography. They produced a film that was so much more than a simple recording or compilation of photos. Owner Matt Brue and his team artistically captured people, moments and emotions—everything that made the day special. Matt was wonderful to work with, he met with us before the day and got to know us as a couple. His creativity and attention to detail were second to none.” —Angie Otto, married July 9, 2011

The finalists are:
Bluefin Bay, Grand View Lodge, Larsmont Cottages
The winner is: Grand View Lodge
Nisswa | 866.801.2951 | grandviewlodge.com
“The small Roy Cabins were a perfect setting: quiet, peaceful and with a deck that looks out on Roy Lake. We had perfect fall weather. We sat on the deck and sipped wine, took a hike in a nearby park, and enjoyed a couples’ massage at the Glacial Spa. The Romance package includes champagne and chocolate—that was a perfect way to be greeted when we arrived at our cabin.” —Lisa Austin, married September 20, 2012

The finalists are:
Après Party & Tent Rental, Linen Effects, Midway Party Rental
The winner is: Linen Effects
Minneapolis | 612.355.2500 | lineneffects.com
“What really set Linen Effects apart was the way they were available to me, my mom, my florist and my wedding coordinator throughout the planning process. My fiancé and I wanted our celebration to be personalized, and of course our dinner tables were a large part of how we wanted to extend not just our vision, but also our hospitality to our friends and family. He was an incredible resource in terms of practical advice, as well as creating a look that was ‘us.’ ” —Colleen Doyle, married July 28, 2012

The finalists are:
The Dressmaker, Joynoelle, Tara LaTour
The winner is: Joynoelle
Minneapolis | 612.209.7822 | joynoelle.com
“I wanted to work with Joy because I couldn’t find ‘the one’ in any of the stores I went to. I wanted a one-of-a-kind wedding dress, something original that fit me and my personality perfectly. She took my vision of a classic, elegant wedding dress and made it come to life. The guests at our wedding were simply stunned when I walked through the doors at the Basilica.” —Laura Marvin Nelson, married January 12, 2013

The finalists are:
AAA, All About Honeymoons and Destination Weddings, Travel Leaders (Romance Leaders and Enchanted Getaways)
The winner is: AAA
Multiple locations | AAA.com
“The agent we worked with was beyond helpful. We walked in not knowing what our destination would be. We told her our dates and budget, and she did a little research for us on different countries that fit. In the end, our honeymoon was fabulous. We spent six days at an all-inclusive resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. AAA gave wonderful advice on selecting the resort out of the hundreds in the area, and I think the one we chose fit our style and needs to a T.” —Kristen Opitz, married January 19, 2013

The finalists are:
Ivy Spa Club, Juut Salonspa, Spalon Montage
The winner is: Ivy Spa Club
Minneapolis | 612.343.3131 | ivyspaclub.com
“Ivy Spa was a great place to spend the day before our wedding. First, my husband swung by to get a manicure—and he loved it! Later in the day, my sisters, my mom and I went in for manicures and pedicures. We were greeted and sent to the ‘relaxation room.’ It felt great to sip tea and listen to soft music under soft lighting. Then we were led back to receive our bit of pampering. Ivy is a top-notch spa, and we were all impressed.” —Wendy McGovern, married December 15, 2012

The finalists are:
Epitome Papers, Gretchen Berry Design Co., Paperista
The winner is: Paperista
Edina | 612.886.3470 | paperista.com
“We had a destination wedding in Grand Cayman so we wanted our invitations to reflect our beach theme. The wedding colors were pewter and sage green, and the invitations were simple and classic with a touch of beach flair. Owner Antoinette Ramos listened to our vision for our wedding and, with her amazing creativity, helped design the perfect invitation for us.” —Christina and Matthew Lauver, married May 4, 2012

The finalists are:
Basilica of St. Mary, Juliane James Place, The Woods Chapel
The winner is: The Woods Chapel
Orono | 952.476.5830 | thewoodschapel.com
“The Woods Chapel is a beautiful, quaint setting to have your wedding ceremony. It is great to know there is both an indoor and outdoor option, as we know how temperamental Minnesota weather can be. The bridal quarters are adorable, and the grounds are perfect for all types of wedding-day photos. Above all, the staff is flexible and attentive to ensure your ceremony turns out exactly as you imagined it!” —Britta Marcus, married June 18, 2011

The finalists are:
Bridal Accents Couture, l’atelier couture bridal, Monique Lhuillier
The winner is: l’atelier couture bridal
Minneapolis | 612.367.8120 | lateliercouturebridal.com 
“From the instant I walked into their showroom I was treated like a VIP client. Unlike many bridal boutiques I’ve visited, their fitting room was a big, beautiful room with large windows, allowing my friends to spread out and fully enjoy the experience. The gown was a vision—worth every penny, as the dress you wear on your wedding day sets the tone and your mood for the entire event.” —Robyn Kutney, married August 18, 2012

The finalists are:
Ashley Fox Designs, Floral Logic, Just Bloomed
The winner is: Floral Logic
Minneapolis | 612.767.6336 | florallogic.com
“The flowers that owner Eric Sandstrom and his team created for my wedding were more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. He created an amazing atmosphere using a single Pinterest photo I had shown him for inspiration. I felt like he just instinctively ‘got me’ and what I wanted for my wedding without me really even having to verbalize it. I totally trusted him, and he didn’t disappoint!” —Ruth Thomas, married on August 31, 2012

The finalists are:
Heimie’s Haberdashery, Men’s Wearhouse, Savvi Formalwear
The winner is: Savvi Formalwear
Multiple locations | savviformalwear.com
“Savvi Formalwear was a great choice for our groomsmen’s tuxedos. Very good quality, nice fit and their customer service was outstanding. My father had a hard time finding something that looked good. Their staff was patient even when he was frustrated. They gently steered us in the right direction, and in the end we had a great-looking bridal party.” —Kim Hamlin, married August 9, 2008

The finalists are:
dugo, Nordstrom, The Wedding Shoppe
The winner is: dugo

Edina | 952.746.4440 | dressupgoout.com“I purchased my mother-of-the-bride dress at dugo and had a lovely experience. On my first visit, eight to 10 dresses were ready for my perusal. More were presented, and we began to home in on ‘the one.’ Within 30 minutes, I knew which dress I wanted. I ordered the dress in red, but at what turned out to be the last possible moment, I called dugo and asked to change my order from red to dark brown. The brown dress arrived only about two weeks before the wedding, but the alterations were made perfectly and with time to spare.” —Sue Schiess, mother of bride Berit O’Connor, married September 29, 2012

The finalists are:
Chowgirls Killer Catering, Common Roots Catering, Lettuce Cater
The winner is: Chowgirls Killer Catering
Minneapolis | 612.203.0786 | chowgirls.net
“I really enjoyed having Chowgirls as our caterer for many reasons, but the main one is that the food was the best in town. The vegetables were fresh, the appetizers were carefully crafted and everything was very delicious. I really connected to the fact that they strive to use local and organic food. They truly care about what they do and who they do it for.” —Gwendolyn Peterson, married September 17, 2011

The finalists are:
Brides of France, Che Bella, Nelle Handbags
The winner is: Che Bella
St. Paul | 651.209.8822 | chebella.com
“I was going for a specific 1920s vintage look, and the ornate hair comb that I purchased at Che Bella fit perfectly with my vision. Their pieces are timeless and classic, and I loved that I was supporting a local designer instead of buying from a big-box store or catalog. The hair comb ended up being the centerpiece of many of my solo portraits; I just wanted to capture how beautiful and glamorous it made me feel.” —Susan Hagen, married November 17, 2012

The finalists are:
Calhoun Beach Club, Mill City Museum, Semple Mansion
The winner is: Semple Mansion
Minneapolis | 612.290.4448 | semplemansion.com
“My experience at the Semple Mansion was fantastic. It laid the foundation for the look and feel of our entire wedding day. We had both our ceremony and reception in the mansion, which made things easy and simple for us and our guests. Because the mansion is so beautiful on its own, the only décor we needed were our flowers and linens. There was no need to decorate beyond the gorgeous surroundings!” —Ruth Thomas, married August 31, 2012

The finalists are:
Eclipse Transportation, Renee’s Royal Valet, Total Luxury Limousine
The winner is: Renee’s Royal Valet
Plymouth | 763.551.1919 | reneeslimousines.com
“Renee’s Royal Valet was wonderful. We used them for my bachelorette party (a party bus) and wedding (a trolley). The bus provided champagne and glasses, and we brought all kinds of fun drinks. The wedding trolley took us from my parents’ house to the church to the reception. We ordered the wedding decoration package for the trolley, so there were flowers and lights inside, and a ‘Just Married’ sign on the back!” —Theresa Warming, married July 14, 2012

The finalists are:
Mobile Photo Booth, The Traveling Photo Booth, VIP Booths
The winner is: The Traveling Photo Booth
Minneapolis | 612.605.9203 | thetravelingphotobooth.com
“Our guests got to choose from color, black-and-white or sepia-tone photos; I liked that there was this option. I also loved the photo album guestbook that we received. With this, we got a photo of all of our friends and family along with a special handwritten message from each guest who used the photo booth. Judging from all the silly, creative, tender and funny photos that we received, we can tell that our guests really enjoyed the photo booth.” —Gena Hill, married July 13, 2012

The finalists are: Bon Appetit, D’Amico Catering, Mintáhoe Catering & Events
The winner is: D’Amico Catering
Minneapolis | 612.238.4444 | damicocatering.com
“I worked one-on-one with D’Amico event planner Brenda Probasco for over a year and a half and she really helped me make my vision come true—everything from the table linens to redoing the table arrangements 100 times until they were just how I wanted. The staff the day-of was professional and extremely accommodating. They made sure my husband and I always had a full glass, were very attentive to all of the guests and were just so kind.” —Bethany Sabol, married October 5, 2012

The finalists are:
Bellagala Big Band, The Sevilles, Synergy
The winner is: Synergy
Edina | 952.926.9927 | synergy-dwmusic.com
“Having Synergy as part of our wedding was one of the best decisions we made. We had to remind ourselves on a number of occasions that we were listening to a live band and not a recording because they are that good. We had them play music from the ’50s up to today’s popular hits. Our guests had such a good time that the dance floor was always crowded. From the first song to the last dance, Synergy was the highlight of the evening.” —Mary Kennedy, married November 11, 2012

The finalists are:
Camrose Hill Farm, Carlson Towers Rotunda, Nicollet Island Pavilion
The winner is: Nicollet Island Pavilion
Minneapolis | 612.253.0255 | mintahoe.com
“What we loved most about having our wedding at the Nicollet Island Pavilion was the gorgeous white tent that the ceremony was in. Also, nothing beats the view of downtown Minneapolis. It fit our vision, as it was very light and summery, but very romantic at the same time. We had a happy hour after the ceremony on the patio next to the tent, where our guests could walk down by the river and enjoy the view.” —Jaclyn Risbrudt, married June 8, 2012

The finalists are:
Graves 601, The Saint Paul Hotel, W Minneapolis–The Foshay
The winner is: Graves 601
Minneapolis | 612.677.1100 | graves601hotel.com
“One of the main reasons we chose Graves 601 for our guests was the great location. Located in the heart of downtown, there are a bunch of good restaurants and fun things to do within walking distance of the hotel. We also really like the décor of the hotel; it has a chic, modern feel. The hotel has two fabulous bars/restaurants, and we knew both Cosmos and Bradstreet Crafthouse would be loved by our guests.” —Kathryn Wood, married August 18, 2012

The finalists are:
Adagio Djay Entertainment, Four Voices String Quartet, Sharon Planer–Pianist for Parties
The winner is: Adagio Djay Entertainment
St. Paul & Hastings | 800.861.3691 | adagiodj.com
“From the first phone call to the end of my wedding night, Adagio was nothing but exceptionally professional and helpful. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and the reception was delightful. Our DJ emceed the event and did announcements, but other than that he simply played the music that we wanted. I don’t throw the word ‘perfect’ around very often, but I can think of no better word to describe their kindness, professionalism and service.” —Ellyn Buchanan, married August 12, 2012

The finalists are:
Amazing Alterations, The Dressmaker, Louise Kegley
The winner is: The Dressmaker
Edina | 952.929.9475 | thedressmaker.com
“The Dressmaker was awesome. I actually brought my dress somewhere else first, and it didn’t quite fit right. I emailed designer Kristin Olsen a week before my wedding just to see if she could help me out; she called me the next day, got me right in and my dress fit me perfectly! She was calm and professional, and her shop is very cute. It was great.” —Jamie Gerritsen,
married February 16, 2013

The finalists are:
Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios, Creative Beauté Agency | Smart & Chic Bride, emily j hair + makeup
The winner is: Creative Beauté Agency | Smart & Chic Bride
Twin Cities | 612.567.3434 | creativebeauteagency.com
“I had a clear idea of how I wanted my hair to look, and [stylist] Priscilla knocked it out of the park. She did just what I wanted during the trial, and it looked even better on the day of my wedding. I didn’t really know how I wanted my makeup to look since I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup, but Priscilla worked with me and tried many things until we found the perfect look.”
 —Alison Lynch, married July 21, 2012

The finalists are:
Continental Diamond, Shane Co., Wedding Day Diamonds
The winner is: Continental Diamond
St. Louis Park | 952.593.5602 | continentaldiamond.com
“The customer service is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. My wife’s engagement ring is custom-designed. We found a couple rings that my wife liked different parts of, and I sat down with a designer and walked through what my vision was. The designer sent me 17 ring designs and said, ‘Here, these are all the different options.’ We worked it down, and my wife got a ring that incorporated everything she liked from all the other rings.” —Ross Marcus, married June 18, 2011

The finalists are:
Judge Tom Armstrong, Minnesota Officiants, Rev. Tomkin Coleman
The winner is: Rev. Tomkin Coleman
St. Paul | 612.986.5528 | mnweddingminister.com
“At our initial meeting, Tomkin Coleman helped my fiancé and me describe our wedding style. Just a couple weeks later, we had a first draft of our wedding ceremony that fit the themes we had asked for. He was willing to make small changes and offer suggestions throughout the process. I was impressed by his professionalism at the rehearsal and the actual event.” —Carly Voshell, married September 24, 2011

The finalists are:
Lasting Impressions Weddings and Event Coordination, Mi Mi Design, Mother of the Bride Wedding Planning & Design
The winner is: Lasting Impressions Weddings and Event Coordination
Minnetonka | 612.245.4791 | lastingimpressionsweddings.com
“Lasting Impressions got to know us, incorporated what we pictured for our wedding and expanded on our ideas. They also helped us identify areas in our budget to make decisive cuts and modifications to stretch our money further. The day-of wedding coordination was outstanding. Our coordinator was professional, personable and on top of her game. She helped the day go off without a hitch.” —Lauren Wibholm, married October 13, 2012

The finalists are:
Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Target
The winner is: Target
Various locations | target.com/registry
“Target was an all-around great place to register for our wedding. The ease of registering was great. We were able to walk around the store and scan items to our registry list, and also update our registry from home at our convenience. I recommend registering at Target because they provide anything a newly married couple may need, and the ease of registering is perfect for a working couple.” —Alicia Acker, married August 4, 2012

The finalists are:
Bellagala, Bill Hermann Entertainment, Instant Request Disc Jockey Entertainment
The winner is: Instant Request Disc Jockey Entertainment
bloomington | 952.934.6110 | instantrequest.com
“They were great at making sure that we got a DJ in the style we were looking for. We had them do the reception at the Mill City Museum. We got a lot of compliments from guests saying it was one of the most fun dances they had been to. We were surprised at how packed the dance floor stayed.” —Becca Gunter, married August 25, 2012

The finalists are:
Graves 601, The Saint Paul Hotel, Westin Edina Galleria
The winner is: The Saint Paul Hotel
St. Paul | 651.292.9292 | saintpaulhotel.com
“My husband and I had our reception in St. Paul, so the Saint Paul Hotel seemed the natural place to stay on our wedding night. It’s a true downtown landmark. The room was cozy and romantic, and the service was wonderful. Our wedding day also happened to be the first big snowfall of the season, so the view of Rice Park was absolutely stunning.” —Katie Rendahl, married November 13, 2010

The finalists are:
Calligraphy with Style, Crystal Kluge, Rosann Konieczny Calligrapher
The winner is: Rosann Konieczny Calligrapher
Golden Valley | 763.221.4584 | rosannkcalligrapher.com
“Rosann’s work is so incredible that it looks as if it was done by a computer. It has far more character, though, so you know it was done by hand. One of the very first things your guests see related to your wedding is the invitation. By having her beautiful calligraphy on our invitations, she helped us perfectly convey the feeling and tone of our wedding to our guests.” —Leslie Grothe, married September 24, 2011

The finalists are:
Buca di Beppo, Loring Pasta Bar, Pinstripes
The winner is: Buca di Beppo
Multiple locations | bucadibeppo.com
“We looked at a few Italian restaurants for our rehearsal because we wanted to do something ‘family style.’ Buca was definitely the most accommodating for the size of our party (about 25) on a Friday night, and we really liked the atmosphere of the restaurant. Buca did a cheesy wedding song for us during our dinner and we loved every minute. Food and service was great—just what we needed before our big day.” —Sharon Schoenecker, married June 9, 2012

The finalists are: Luxe Bridal Couture, Posh Bridal Couture, The Wedding Shoppe
The winner is: The Wedding Shoppe
St. Paul | 651.298.1144 | weddingshoppeinc.com
“I found my gown at the Wedding Shoppe and it was perfect. My consultant Megan was absolutely wonderful. She knew exactly what I wanted, and everything she showed me was half of my budget—even more amazing! I left that Friday without a gown to visit a different bridal store Saturday, but was not impressed and called the Wedding Shoppe ... Megan had penciled me in because she knew I would be back.” —Lisa Groebner, married August 31, 2012

The finalists are:
Arthur Murray Dance Studios, Brian Sostek, Krista Haskins of Adagio Djay Entertainment
The winner is: Krista Haskins of Adagio Djay Entertainment
St. Paul | 651.437.3344 | adagiodj.com
“When we took dance lessons from Krista, we had a great time. She made us feel at ease, taught us how to dance with each other and have fun. I thought it would be intimidating to have so many people watching you dance at your wedding, but thanks to Krista we were only focused on each other. She helped make one of the most stressful parts of a wedding into one of the best and most memorable.” —Stephen Burk, married December 29, 2012

The finalists are:
Bellagala, Gateaux Inc., Graddy Photography
The winner is: Gateaux Inc.
Plymouth | 763.557.9815 | gateaux-inc.com
Roxanne Bungert is a cake aficionado, and she knew she wanted to invest in a masterpiece for her July 7, 2012, wedding. That’s what brought her and her fiancé to Robin Martin at Gateaux. What they discovered was more than just cake, but rather sculpted statement pieces that reflect each unique couple.
     “It was interesting to see that she could make all of these elements so lifelike. She really make the cake a work of art,” says Roxanne. “Our cake became a big decorative item, where otherwise we would have spent more money on decorations.”
     Martin founded Gateaux in 1996 precisely for that reason. Coming from a background of wedding photography, she grew tired of seeing pictures of couples standing beside generic cakes. Martin filled the void in the market with Gateaux, and now creates intricate designs that are inspired by everything from the wedding gown or family heritage to the proposal, hobbies or whatever the couple can envision.
     “We wanted the cake to reflect the things that are integral to our relationship,” says Roxanne. “My husband got excited that so many of his interests could be incorporated. It wasn’t just going to be flowers and frilly things, it would be a cake that said something about both of us.”
     One of the Bungerts’ shared interests is geocaching—a treasure hunting game where participants use GPS to locate hidden containers holding small treasures. This hide-and-seek hobby became the inspiration for their cake, which resembled a hollowed-out tree trunk with treasures all around that told their story. Frosting Twins tickets from the game where they met, a kayaking cake topper and an itinerary of their honeymoon geocaching road trip all adorned the masterpiece.
     “I was so excited to see it, I remember entering the reception and making a beeline for the cake,” says Roxanne. “It was a decorative piece, it was something that helped tell our story as a couple and it was also dessert! The fact that it was so multi-faceted was so appealing to us.”