Steven Mady and Kayla Anderson’s Gathered Oaks wedding day was nothing short of magical. They tied the knot on November 18, 2023. Vowing to love each other for the rest of their lives, the Mady’s celebrated their big day amongst family and friends at Gathered Oaks in Alexandria, Minnesota. Though the couple had hoped for some snow and ice on the water, they could not have had a better November day with full sunshine and 50 degree weather for their outdoor ceremony.
If I were to describe their wedding day in three words, I would say: joyful, intimate, and fun. Our team capturing the Mady’s wedding photos and film with our paradise collection had SO MUCH fun all day. Steven and Kayla truly are such a special couple and fully trusted us to create some magic with them, which led to many, MANY wonderful shots we cannot wait to share.
Now, time to introduce the lovebirds…
In fact, they both hilariously will admit, “we didn’t like each other at first”, when they met for the first time at the Crystal Springs Rodeo near Clear Lake, South Dakota. They met through mutual friends and their first date actually ended up being an accident. They had made plans with two of their friends to go out one evening. At the last minute, their friends canceled. Steven and Kayla decided to go anyway. Who knew eating some “awful pizza” would open up the start of their love story.
According to Kayla, “Steven & I met throughout high school as our schools faced each other in sporting events. We actually had a strong dislike for each other until 2020. I reached out to him as I knew he was going through a hard time in his life. One of my very good friends from high school (AJ), his girlfriend, Kori, and I went boating with Steven. Shortly after, Steven and I tried to get AJ & Kori to go out to eat with us at Zorbaz in Spicer, but they ended up being unable to come. So, there we were.. our first unofficial date with just the two of us. Then, the rest is history!!!”
Stevens favorite memories of a shared moment occurred before they started dating. They were boating with their mutual friends AJ and Kori. Steven thought it would be funny to drive the boat a short distance away from where Kori and Kayla jumped in the water and they did indeed have to swim back to the boat. In Kayla’s words, “Now doesn’t that sound like an Anderson prank!” Kayla’s favorite memory of Steven was the time he willingly dressed up as the man in the yellow hat from Curious George while she dressed up as George for Halloween.
The Mady’s love to travel and spend time with family. They have two fur baby pups (Maci & Oliver). Steven is very quiet and shy, very opposite of Kayla, so the saying opposites attract is true in their case!
Kayla told me, “We were celebrating the 4th of July with our friends Hudson and Madi. Hudson was continuously annoying us about going to take a photo on the dock. Annoyed, I finally gave in (it was almost 11pm and I was tired HA!). Steven stood behind me, and when I turned around, he was down on one knee asking if I would marry him! I was so excited, happy, and completely shocked. It was a perfect 4th celebration!”
When asked about what types of feelings she wanted their day to incorporate, Kayla said, “Fall/beginning of winter. A crisp breeze, crunchy leaves, or even better…. a bit of snow. Everyone cozy in their blankets for the outdoor ceremony.” While the Mady’s definitely got the fall, crisp breeze, crunchy leaves, and coziness they were hoping for, we did miss out on a bit of snow. HOWEVER, for their Gathered Oaks wedding they had full sunshine all day, plus 50 degrees, typically unheard of for a Minnesota mid-November season. A “rustic, simple, and nature filled” vibe is absolutely the vibe the couple got for their big day.
As a vendor, I can definitely confirm they made the best choice and their Gathered Oaks wedding truly allowed Kayla and Steven’s personalities to shine with the lake and various things this venue offers to its couples. Together, the couple shares a love for camping, ice fishing, dirt track racing, spending time with their fur-babies, and being bums at home! Luckily for them, their venue included a lakeside view and dock, so we definitely made time to incorporate those things into their big day! After the ceremony and receiving line, we had just enough time to get 10 minutes of sunset photos and I KNEW we just had to race down to the dock to take them since the couple spends so much time on and around lakes.
The men wore a black button up with black pants from Amazon, with deep red suspenders, a bow tie, and a customized hat. The hats were a unique accessory that made for fun bridal party photos. In addition, the bridesmaids attire consisted of wearing deep red, floor length dresses. One super fun detail for the girls was their wearing of corsages versus bouquets, which turned out extremely pretty.
Steven’s favorite colors are red and black and Kayla loves gold. For their florals, they chose a combination of pampas grass, bunny tails, and wheat. A very rustic and simplistic look that pulled together their color palette and decor.! In terms of Kayla’s bouquet, it consisted of a similar mixture minus the wheat, created by Kayla herself, which turned out beautifully. One amazing factor about having their Gathered Oaks wedding was that their venue already is filled with ornamental wheat grass looking plants so the florals and natural scenery blended together so well.
In their “get to know us” blog questionnaire, Kayla mentioned, “Throughout the three years Steven and I have been together, we have mourned the loss of far too many amazing people. Our wedding day would be incomplete without their photographs near our hearts.” Due to this, they had a wonderful fireplace set up with multiple photos of those dear to their hearts that are no longer on earth. We made sure to get lots of film and photos of their lovely memory photo set up.
It was an absolutely gorgeous veil with a beautiful headpiece attached to it. It really pulled Kayla’s entire outfit together and definitely made me tear up a bit while her sweet mama pinned it into her hair, with the help of one of our second shooters, Dakota. Family heirlooms are hands-down one of the best things you can incorporate into a wedding day and we LOVED Kayla’s choice of her “something old”.
The moment Steven and Kayla interlocked cute locks and walked to the lake from their ceremony to toss their keys away forever as their unity ceremony symbol captured everyone in the crowd. What an intimate moment for them and a unique unity ceremony! The fact that this venue offers a gorgeous lake view at sunset is one of my favorite parts of shooting a Gathered Oaks wedding.
One, Kayla happens to be my (Danielle’s) husband’s cousin. In Kayla’s own words, “We are family <3”. Also, Kayla said “We chose to work with you because of your amazing personality, your ability to make our photos look natural, light, bright, and airy!” As their vendor, one unique idea we chose to contribute to the Mady’s big day was making the decision to add on an additional shooter, free of charge to the couple, so we could get some absolutely EPIC drone shots of their golden hour, sunset ceremony. The shot flying over the open water lake towards the ceremony spot under the trees with the venue in the background was hands down SO worth it.
Venue: Gathered Oaks
Photographer: Moments by Danielle Nicole
Videographer: Moments by Danielle Nicole
Officiant: Neil Mendonça
Bride’s dress designer: Morilee
Groom & Groomsmen Attire Designer: Amazon.com
Hair & Makeup: Ellee Bogatzki
DJ/Entertainment/Band: Mason Davis @ Harmon Entertainment
Cake & Desert: Kylie’s Sweets and Treats
Catering: Minnewaska Meats
Invitations: Prints of Love
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November 18, 2023