Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and it can take a team of dedicated and knowledgeable specialists to pull it off. The dress, the décor, the venue, the countless vendors—there are so many options and only so much time to research and arrange it all. So where do you begin? Well, you can start right here. Brides and Grooms of Minnesota have voted for the people, places and businesses that helped make their dreams come true, so you can count on this list to help you get hitched, too.
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, Che Bella
Best Dress Shop: The Wedding Shoppe
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 Luxury Dress Shop: Annika Bridal Boutique
Best Bridesmaid Dresses
Claim to fame: Bridesmaid dresses have come a long way over the years, and Bella Bridesmaids is at the forefront of the trends. The Minneapolis location, owned by Stephanie Campbell, offers a rainbow of colors in every style and silhouette, from modern to classic. Pair their offerings with streamlined, caring service, and your entire bridal party will feel like royalty. And with locations nationwide, you can rest assured that your whole bride tribe will be coordinated.
Finalists: The Wedding Shoppe, BHLDN
Best Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
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 Custom Gowns: Mara Marie Bridal
Best Mother-of-the-Bride Apparel
Claim to fame: Dugo owner Nancy Shank grew up with a mother who designed children’s clothing, so she brings a lifetime of expertise and a passion for fine fabrics to her Edina-based boutique. The name is an acronym for “dress up, go out,” and her services make doing just that simple and fun. With on-site alterations and trendy accessories, it's a one-stop shop for all mothers’ apparel needs.
Finalists: Nordstrom, Luxe Bridal Couture
Claim to fame: Amid all the obsessing over bridal details, the groom needs special attention, too. Whether he has his own unique sense of style or no sense of style at all, Savvi Formalwear will have him looking dapper when he says “I do.” Their knowledgeable staff provides stellar guidance navigating the designer collections, and locations all over Minnesota and fitting options nationwide makes it easier for the whole party to match.
Finalists: Heimie’s Haberdashery, The Dashery
Best Formalwear: Savvi Formalwear
Claim to fame: Leaving your new gown in the hands of someone else could be nerve-wracking, but you'll feel comfortable working with Amazing Alterations in Anoka. From appointment scheduling to the detailed pricing of each alteration, owner Brenda Brinkman-Smith and her talented team have mastered every step of the fitting and finishing process. Their expertise and attention to detail will leave you feeling at ease and confident in your dress.
Finalists: Custom Sewing by Heather, Modehaus Bridal
Best Hair & Makeup
Makeup by Mindie
Claim to fame: At Makeup by Mindie, let yourself be pampered, knowing you'll be looking your best. Owner Mindie Davis, a licensed esthetician, helps your most beautiful self emerge, using products that fit your skin care needs. You'll leave feeling as amazing as you look. Bonus: Wedding photos you can admire years later for your natural, flawless style.
Finalists: Primped, WarPaint International Beauty Agency
Best Spa Services
Claim to fame: When the planning is done and it’s time to relax, Spalon Montage’s extensive menu of services has you covered from head to toe. Owners Mitchell Wherley and Shelly Engelsma bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to their three metro locations. They offer innovative procedures, as well as individual services and packages, so bring the whole wedding party, or even the whole family, for treatments to soothe and beautify everyone.
Finalists: Juut Salon Spa, Anda Spa
Claim to fame: Jimmy and Helain Pesis started Continental Diamond with a mission to be different from the commission-based jewelry store with salespeople who leave you feeling pressured. Continental Diamond's easygoing, family atmosphere, reliable staff and stunning selection are a delight as you make jewelry decisions that are just right for you.
Finalists: Jewelry by Johan, Max’s
Best Rehearsal Dinner Venue
Claim to fame: Culinary and wine environments are constantly evolving, but Café Lurcat stands out from the crowd. Featuring various spaces in their Minneapolis location, they can accommodate a range of parties. From an intimate gathering of 30 to a cocktail party of 225, they can provide a feast for all. Café Lurcat also offers vegetarian and gluten-free options, so their menu is sure to satisfy every guest.
Finalists: Buca di Beppo, Pinstripes
Best Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Cafe Lúrcat (Bethany Meister Photography)
Best Twin Cities Venue
The Hutton House
Claim to fame: The Hutton House, located in Medicine Lake, is a Twin Cities standby, and for good reason. Touting an array of amenities, thoughtful services and attentive staff, their events are the epitome of luxury. Whether you’re envisioning a midsummer ceremony in the sunlit courtyard or a toasty fall affair by the fireplace, this venue fills the bill. And their modern bridal suites are perfect for getting ready or getting away for a quiet newlywed moment.
Finalists: Aria, Machine Shop
Best Twin Cities Venue: The Hutton House
Best Northern Minnesota Venue
Grand Superior Lodge
Claim to fame: Located on a spellbinding stretch of Lake Superior shoreline, Grand Superior Lodge offers good old Minnesota charm in its most magnificent natural form. Tailored to the Midwestern couple, you can get hitched in front of picturesque lakefront views, then party the night away around a cozy bonfire. Afterwards, your guests can retire in comfort in quaint cabins while the newlyweds indulge in the honeymoon suite’s in-room Jacuzzi.
Finalists: Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, Superior Shores Resort
Best Northern Minnesota Venue: Grand Superior Lodge (Beau Petersen Photography)
Best Central Minnesota Venue
Grand View Lodge
Claim to fame: Grand View Lodge is a paradise tucked away in the Gull Lake Chain in Nisswa, where you can choose from a variety of venue and ceremony sites and a menu full of culinary masterpieces. Their resort offerings range from exhilarating outdoor adventures to soothing spa packages. Turn your wedding into a weeklong celebratory stay at Grand View Lodge, with activities for all to enjoy.
Finalists: Carlos Creek Winery, 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, Crow River Winery
Best Southern Minnesota Venue: St. James Hotel (Adam Kennedy Photography)
Best Barn Venue
Hope Glen Farm
Claim to fame: Hope Glen Farm provides picture-worthy views and history, too. Situated next to the Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park, it features a restored barn built in the 1860s. But that isn’t even the best part: Nestled in the limbs of an ancient oak tree sits a honeymoon tree house. Indulge the kid in you with a stay in this lavish cabin, complete fireplaces, a Jacuzzi built around branches, and a secret room!
Finalists: Ashery Lane Farm, The Cottage Farmhouse
Best Winery Venue
Carlos Creek Winery
Claim to fame: Stroll through the grounds of Carlos Creek Winery and you’ll experience the epitome of rustic charm. Located on 160 acres of unsurpassed natural beauty in Alexandria, their all-inclusive services cater to your every need. From floral to transportation, lawn games to wine barrel décor, you don’t need to worry about a thing as their savvy staff carefully curates a one-of-a-kind winery bash just for you.
Finalists: Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Crow River Winery
Best Winery Venue: Carlos Creek Winery
Best Hotel Venue
Claim to fame: The Hewing Hotel impeccably blends modern design with Minnesota tradition. With many of the original structural elements of the industrial warehouse that it once was, this venue immerses you in the trendy vibes of its North Loop neighborhood. When you vow to have and to hold at The Hewing Hotel, it's bound to be a memorable event.
Finalists: The Saint Paul Hotel, Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot
Best Country/Golf Club Venue
Claim to fame: The Lafayette Club boasts acres of greenery, and their clubhouse is spectacularly situated on a peninsula in Lake Minnetonka with pristine waterfront views. From an outdoor ceremony amid rolling hills to an exquisite evening in a historic ballroom, they’ve got the spaces and services to make your nuptial dreams come true.
Finalists: The Minikahda Club, Rush Creek Golf Club
Best Country/Golf Club Venue: Lafayette Club (Russell Heeter Photography)
Best Historic Venue
Mill City Museum
Claim to fame: If you’re a little nerdy about history or just enamored with everything uniquely Minnesota, then Mill City Museum is your vintage venue. Located on the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, the Mill City Museum is a brick-and-mortar monument to the state's heritage. Award-winning renovations add modern style for a perfect blend of past and present.
Finalists:Greysolon Ballroom by Black Woods, The Van Dusen Mansion
Best Historic Museum: Mill City Museum (Studio 220 Photography)
Best Resort Venue
Grand View Lodge
Claim to fame: Can’t decide whether you want to marry in Minnesota or have a destination wedding? Problem solved—have it all at Grand View Lodge. Located in the Brainerd Lakes area, it offers a variety of lodging options, from new boutique rooms for your trendiest guests to quaint, charming cottages and cabins for a lakefront family adventure. And as the name implies, endless views make for a breathtaking backdrop for your big day.
Finalists: Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, Superior Shores Resort
Perfect Day Ceremonies
Claim to fame: When it comes to saying “I do,” the Rev. Susan Lee-Wright, officiant and owner of Perfect Day Ceremonies, aims to make your ceremony as unique as you are. No matter your religion or culture, she has vast experience incorporating traditions (or forgoing them, if that’s what you prefer). She also has roots in the entertainment industry, with the expertise to keep the ceremony running smoothly and seamlessly.
Finalists: Flutterby Celebrations, Liz Rae Weddings
Best Officiant: Perfect Day Weddings
Best Wedding Planner
Lasting Impressions Weddings
Claim to fame: Owner Sarah Trotter brings more than a decade of experience and a passion for planning to every one of her weddings. She offers different packages depending on how involved you want to be in the planning process or can handle every detail as needed. From preliminary visions of delicately floating florals to the day-of orchestration of vendors, leaving it up to Lasting Impressions Weddings will fill your day with serenity.
Finalists: Events by Melody, Pink Peony Weddings & Events
Best Wedding Planner: Lasting Impressions Weddings
Best Rental & Décor
Après Event Décor & Tent Rental
Claim to fame: Charlie Feldbaum started Après in his home over three decades ago and has become an event planning mainstay known for an extensive offering of rental necessities. Whether you need tents, table runners or tiered cupcake stands, the broad selection stays up to date with current trends and numerous styles to fit your theme. Plus, their dedicated staff is happy to help, from decision making to setting up, and everything in between.
Finalists: Linen Effects, Ultimate Events
Best Rental & Décor: Aprés Event Décor & Tent Rental
Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Design
Claim to fame: Melissa Stratton, owner and creative director, integrates expertise with an intuitive eye for aesthetics to create nothing short of floral magic. Pairing her interior design background with floral design ensures that any space can be transformed into a blooming wonderland. She's backed by a masterful all-woman team, whose combined experience has made them as a staple in the wedding community.
Finalists: Kindred Blooms, Martha’s Gardens
Best Florist: Sadie's Couture Floral (Tiffany Kokal Photography)
Best Wedding Cakes
Claim to fame: With two metro locations, Buttercream goes above and beyond, with top-quality ingredients and unique signature flavors. A s’mores cake for a rustic fall reception or a piña colada cake for a summery waterfront soirée? Yum! Besides the delectable flavors, they also decorate to your style. Whether your wedding plans are lavish or simple, they can work with your inspiration to concoct designs that are beyond compare.
Finalists: Cocoa & Fig, Ink Sweets
Best Wedding Cakes: Buttercream
Best Wedding Desserts
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Claim to fame: With several locations throughout the Twin Cities area, Nothing Bundt Cakes serves up the sweetest treats in a variety of sizes. Specializing in Bundt cakes, they’ve expanded into miniatures, called Bundtlets, and adorable bite-sized Bundtinis. You can choose from a mouth-watering menu of flavors, and their “frosting petals” can be adorned with decorations. For a minimalist look, the little cakes look striking with frosting only.
Finalists: Buttercream, Cocoa & Fig
Best Wedding Desserts: Nothing Bundt Cakes
Best Caterer for a Large Wedding
Claim to fame: D’Amico treats each plate as an individual work of art, even when catering the biggest bash. Their chefs are renowned for blending international flavors with locally sourced ingredients, and they’ve got an artisanal dessert menu to die for. Spiced ancho chili chocolate torte with a mango lime compote? Yes, please!
Finalists: Chowgirls Killer Catering, Lake Elmo Inn Catering
Best Caterer for a Large Wedding: D'Amico Catering (Travis Anderson Photography)
Best Caterer for a Small Wedding
Chowgirls Killer Catering
Claim to fame: Chowgirls owners Amy Brown and Heidi Andermack dish up Minnesota’s freshest delicacies with a side of environmental friendliness. Besides their admirable sustainability goals and locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, they are doing their part to reduce food waste by donating extras to local charities. Their vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes ensure every guest will dine happily.
Finalists: D’Amico Catering, This Little Piggy Catering
Best Caterer for a Small Wedding: Chowgirls Killer Catering (Lucas Botz and Becca Dilley Photography)
Paper Rock Scissors
Claim to fame: Your invite is your wedding's first impression, and owner Liz Geisler provides custom stationery to wow your guests. As the name implies, her passion for paper is front and center; working with her to choose luxe materials and original artwork is a refreshing personal experience you can only get from a boutique like hers.
Finalists: Champagne Press, Gretchen Berry Design Co.
Best Invitations: Paper Rock Scissor
Claim to fame: Wedding stationery sets the tone for the event of a lifetime, and signage ensures your guests’ experience flows smoothly throughout the day, so the calligrapher’s role is more vital than it might seem. Owner Clair Daley is the creative force here, helping you convey your chosen feeling with all the details. Whether working on custom designs or in unconventional mediums, her skills and steady hand are second to none.
Finalists: Rosann Konieczny Calligrapher, Shasta Bell Calligraphy
Best Calligraphy: Hooked Calligraphy
Claim to fame: Andrew Vick, head of the team at Vick Photography, is a vivacious, fun-loving professional known for capturing the most magical moments. He and wife Janelle will welcome you into their studio, making you feel like an old friend. His creativity and expertise result in enchanting photos so you can relive your big day years from now, just like it was yesterday.
Finalists: Graddy Photography, Leah Fontaine Photography
Best Photography: Vick Photography
Summit Hill Studios
Claim to fame: Owner and videographer Dan Riggs, with 20 years in the entertainment industry, knows just what moments matter the most. His videography services will keep those precious moments and feelings alive for you forever, in an immaculately produced and expertly edited film you’ll want to share with everyone.
Finalists: Adagio Djay Entertainment, Bellagala
Best Photo Booth
The Traveling Photo Booth
Claim to fame: The Traveling Photo Booth had a humble start, an idea concocted by two college kids at University of Minnesota, but it quickly morphed into a versatile and innovative with locations nationwide. Founder Jacob Stewart continues to update technology to make it even easier and fun for your guests.
Finalists: Northerly Photo Camper, Studio 220 Photography
Bluewater Kings Band
Claim to fame: Every wedding needs music, and the Bluewater Kings Band’s customizable packages and à la carte menu of add-ons guarantees you'll find the entertainment ensemble that suits your needs and budget. They can work with you to provide a quartet for classy cocktail hour, a DJ for a night of dancing, both or more. Their options are seemingly endless, and with countless musicians, they’ve got playlists to please everyone.
Finalists: Synergy, The R Factor
Claim to fame: A fun-filled night on the dance floor is one of the best wedding memories, and Instant Request DJ Services will have your guests on their feet. Shawn Plante started it 30 years ago with a mission to provide lively music to pack the dance floor. They also offer an online tool that makes curating your “must play” list easier than ever.
Finalists: Midwest Sound, Adagio Djay Entertainment
Best DJ: Instant Request (Photo by Amber Elteir)
Best Ceremony Music
Loring String Quartet
Claim to fame: The Loring String Quartet is a crew of top-notch musicians who add that refined touch to your big day. With an impressive range of education and experience, this quartet provide an unparalleled performance. Their repertoire ranges from classical to pop—because who doesn’t love an unconventional rendition of “All You Need Is Love”?
Finalists: Lake Minnetonka String Quartet, Pianist for Parties – Sharon Planer
Best Dance Instruction
Adagio Djay Entertainment
Claim to fame: Besides being a one-stop shop for all your entertainment needs, Adagio Djay Entertainment will have you wowing your guests with your new moves. The talented staff put you at ease with individual, customizable dance lessons. Working with everything from your song to your style to your time frame, they know how to help you get your party started on the right foot.
Finalists: Tulle Tuxedo, Twin Cities Arthur Murray
Best Dance Instruction: Adagio Djay Entertainment
Claim to fame: Arrive at your soirée in luxurious style with Renee’s Limousines. They specialize in weddings and provide a fleet of custom vehicles; from a bachelorette party in a trolley to a bus safely transporting your partied-out guests back to the hotel, you can count on Renee’s for reliability and kind, caring drivers.
Finalists: Total Transportation, Voigt’s Bus Companies
Best Transporation: Renee's Limousines
Best Wedding-Night Hotel
The Saint Paul Hotel
Claim to fame: You’ll feel like a celebrity the moment you set foot in the St. Paul Hotel. Timeless sophistication and a dedication to the most refined ambiance have made this hotel a mainstay in the community, as well as a hot spot for some very important people throughout its rich history. An evening of old-world class with modern comfort is a given.
Finalists: Hewing Hotel, St. James Hotel
Best New Vendor
Pinewood Weddings & Events
Claim to fame: When you arrive at Pinewood, you’re greeted with awe-inspiring contemporary architecture nestled among stately pines. Step inside to a white interior with clean lines and walls of windows that usher in soothing natural light. For the couple that wants to make a cutting-edge statement with Minnesota's natural beauty, Pinewood brings the perfect balance of both worlds.
Finalists: Red Wing Golf Course—The Skyroom, Apricot Floral
Best New Vendor: Pinewood (Kate Becker Photography)
TOP OF THE TIARA — All-Around Best Wedding Vendor
Adagio Djay Entertainment
From the coordinator to the venue to the bride and groom, everyone can attest to the five-star service you’ll get from Adagio Djay Entertainment. And it's not just DJs—they cover the whole range of entertainment requests. Does your fiancé have two left feet? No problem; Adagio offers dance lessons to fit your style, song and schedule. Considering a jazz trio for your cocktail hour but also want a DJ for a lively dance party after dinner? They’ve got both, saving you the stress of having to shop around. Throw in one of their videography packages and you can replay your big day for years to come.
With almost three decades of experience and dedication, Adagio has been in the business long enough to know what it takes to make a memorable evening, and you can be sure that everyone will have a good time, regardless of age. Their DJs and musicians don't just show up, commandeer the party with commentary and play a few current tunes; they read the crowd, understand what will get them moving and supply just the right music. You can even choose how much crowd interaction you'd like. With this energizing array of services and skills to suit every preference, it’s no wonder that this year’s voters deemed Adagio the Top of Tiara.
Finalists: Continental Diamond, Graddy Photography
All-Around Best Wedding Vendor: Adagio Djay Entertainment
Ashley Fox Designs
Ashley Fox says she likes to work with flowers that “play nicely together,” and this bouquet radiates the energy of a fun-filled floral playdate, illustrating the vibrant possibilities that come from working with local flower farmers in Minnesota. Fox uses Earth-friendly methods and materials in her work, so to tie it all together, this lush silk ribbon was hand-dyed with natural ingredients such as a cochineal dye to create these brilliant magentas.
Editor's Pick - Best Bouquet: Ashley Fox Designs
Best Event Design
Style-Architects Weddings & Events
Taking inspiration from an enchanted garden, Rachelle Mazumdar of Style-Architects joined forces with Melissa Stratton of Sadie’s Couture Floral Design to bring the Machine Shop to life for Gabriella Terp and J.T. Denhartog’s June 2019 wedding. Lush greenery and white florals cascaded from the ceiling, and blush blooms and candles in glass votives established a warm balance on the tables below. Linens in varying shades of champagne and ivory added depth and texture while centerpieces in differing sizes created just the right contrast.
Florals: Sadie's Couture Floral | Rentals & décor: Linen Effects | Lighting: Phos Events | Piano rental: Schmitt Music | Venue: Machine Shop
Editor's Pick - Best Event Design: Style-Architects Wedding & Events (Whitley B Photography)
Ester Knowlen Photography
A great photographer can always suggest fun poses, but the best shots are effortlessly candid. Those occasions are what photographer Ester Knowlen lives for—the gestures, the expressions, the authenticity of life. Knowlen captured the deep emotion of this elegant couple minutes before they stepped out to their ceremony; Caught up in a moment of bliss, it’s as if newlyweds Jakob and Meghan Kerr have forgotten anyone else is there.
Bouquet: Martha’s Gardens | Gown: Sarah Seven | Groom’s attire: Suit Supply | Makeup: Emily Orlovsky | Hair: Shawna Carr | Wedding planner: Ambiente Weddings
Editor's Pick - Best Photo - Ester Knowlen Photography
Best Cake: Ink Sweets
Sometimes the best creations are the result of serendipity. Owner and lead decorator Leah Backstrom was working with wafer paper, with a different cake in mind. It wasn't working as she had envisioned, so she used it to create this eye-catching confection instead. Backstrom usually works from a “less is more” philosophy, but a slightly more maximalist approach won her over with this design. A fan of the nontraditional, she played with a marbled base, ruffles, pearls and dried florals to create sophisticated, organic structures and levels accented with dynamic metallic highlights.
Editor's Pick - Best Cake: Ink Sweets (Perry James Photography)
Best Invitation Suite: A Milestone Paper Co.
Owner Sarah Glad seeks to simplify the invitation process for clients, and with designs like this celestially inspired suite, she takes them over the moon. Mixing modern minimalism with classic materials, the deckle edges, gold wax seal and delicate thread evoke love letters from a long-ago romance. Airy white space is complemented by soothing shades of blues and simple washes of watercolor. Starry flecks of gold leaf and flowing script-style typography add playful motion to layers and textures.
Editor's Pick - Best Invitation Suite: A Milestone Paper Co. (Poly Mendes Photography)
Best Dressed: Caroline Hayden
Full of movement and drama, this edgy silk draped midi dress and silk cape by Caroline Hayden exemplify the bold appeal of her brand. Hayden works individually with brides for custom looks, and has ready-to-wear offerings at The White Room. Her designs are known for fashion-forward modern silhouettes that stand out among more traditional options. Using the finest fabrics and nontraditional colors, Hayden is a go-to for the bold, contemporary bride.
Editor's Pick - Best Dressed: Caroline Hayden
Best Catering: D’Amico Catering
D’Amico doesn't just cater, they turn cuisine into an enticing adventure with innovative presentation and ingenious ingredients. At this Bouteille de Parfum station, based on a perfume bar, they dished up a scrumptious Thai crab salad bar and paired it with elegantly bottled kaffir lime and mint spritz, turning what could have been a typical appetizer station into a culinary world tour. This kind of inventive delivery, combined with international flavors, takes it up a notch or two, in the most unexpected way.
Venue: Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom | Floral: Sadie’s Couture Floral
Editor's Pick - Best Catering: D'Amico Catering