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Introducing the Tschetter’s and their Joy Ranch Wedding that took place amidst the stunning rolling hills in Florence, South Dakota. They had the most magical, July wedding day. Thankfully, they had a mixture of cloudy and sun-kissed weather as well to pair with extremely humid 90 degree heat.

Meticulously, Katelyn planned the entire Joy Ranch wedding herself and both her and Raistlan’s families came together to help make her dream wedding vision come to life. Some highlights of the day were Raistlan and Katelyn’s private letter reading moments and secret portraits where Raistlan closed his eyes the entire time to not spoil their first look, which he wanted to save for their ceremony. It was such a fun way to ensure the couple shared some intimate moments together earlier that day. Katelyn custom designed the endearing aisle runner for the ceremony that showed a photo of her and her dad when he was holding her as a newborn and a few words saying, “Dad, of all the walks we have taken together, this one I will remember forever.”

Both Katelyn and Raistlan shared big emotional tears throughout the day, along with their parents. From their private letter readings, the blooper and sacred moments throughout their ceremony, and the first dances–everyone shed a few tears!

All the Joy Ranch Wedding Details

Katelyn and Raistlan chose a navy blue and gold theme for their Joy Ranch wedding day. Their loveable fur baby, Stella, also joined in celebrating the newlyweds on their big day. Moments by Danielle Nicole provided the photography and videography team. Sola wood flowers made pretty bouquets for the bride and her ladies. For a intimate touch, the bridal party consisted of mostly siblings and nieces/nephews. Katelyn’s wedding ring showcased a navy blue diamond versus a traditional white. Dj Doctor did an amazing job with the entertainment for both the ceremony and reception, while Pastor Steve Behrens married the couple.

The stunning bride’s dress and bridesmaids dresses designer is Morilee and bought from the Bridal and Tuxedo Shop in Watertown, South Dakota, along with the groom and groomsmen attire. Southtown hair – Kira Lenocker did a fantastic job with the hair and makeup. Scrumptious deserts and a gluten free wedding cake were made created by Little Red Greenhouse and Bakery. And lastly, the pretty invitation suite were designed and printed by Truly Engaging.

The Newlywed’s Love Story

Raistlan and Katelyn’s love story began with a modern twist on a classic romance—over Facebook. Their first date at Señor Maxes in Watertown marked the start of a beautiful journey, and it’s become a cherished tradition for them to celebrate every anniversary at the same spot. This tradition is so meaningful that they decided to incorporate tacos into their wedding meal, a nod to that special first date. Raistlan’s proposal was perfectly tailored to Katelyn’s heart, taking place at her parents’ house, a place filled with her most cherished memories.

What truly binds Raistlan and Katelyn is their complementary personalities. Katelyn, with her love for meticulously planning details, finds her perfect balance in Raistlan’s calming presence. They share a love for making each other laugh, spending time with their families, and doting on their adorable baby Schnauzer, Stella. Their engagement session promises to capture these elements beautifully, with a focus on Stella, the deep love they share, and the enchanting backdrop of a sunset, all highlighted by a few outfit changes to showcase their vibrant personalities.

joy ranch wedding

July Joy Ranch wedding in Florence south dakota

July Joy Ranch wedding in Florence south dakota

July Joy Ranch wedding in Florence south dakota

July Joy Ranch wedding in Florence south dakota

July Joy Ranch wedding in Florence south dakota

Vendor Team:

Venue: Joy Ranch in Florence, South Dakota

Photographer: Moments by Danielle Nicole

Videographer: Moments by Danielle Nicole

Officiant: Pastor Steve Behrens

Bride’s dress designer: Morilee bought from the Bridal and Tuxedo Shop in Watertown, South Dakota

Groom & Groomsmen Attire Designer: Bridal and Tuxedo Shop

Hair & Makeup: Southtown hair – Kira Lenocker

Florals: Sola wood flowers

DJ/Entertainment/Band: Dj Doctor

Cake & Desert: Little Red Greenhouse and Bakery

Invitations: Truly Engaging


CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

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On a warm, hot July evening around 7pm, I got to photograph an absolutely breathtaking Chautauqua Park Family Session in Boulder, Colorado. The park was buzzing with life—families were out, other photographers were working, and the whole place had a vibrant, lively feel. The Dix family absolutely blew my expectations away and their session quite easily has become one of my favorite family sessions to date!

Even though the temperature was around the 80’s with humidity, it gave our photos a lovely warm glow. The evening sunlight kept popping out behind the clouds and also hiding, which created a unique mixture of everyone looking radiant from the sunny glow behind them, while also offering a more overcast look as well. There were still some wildflowers around, adding a touch of color and fun to our shots. They were a reminder of how beautiful summer is, even as it starts to wind down.

A Chautauqua Park Family Session is so worth it!

The iconic Flatirons make for a stunning backdrop, adding a sense of grandeur to our images. We used the open fields, winding trails, and cozy corners to capture different moments and emotions of the family. The kids played around, laughing and enjoying themselves, while the parents shared sweet, loving moments. The family’s choice of light, neutral-colored clothes added to the soft and airy feel of the photos. Truly, the Dix family dressed to impress and their edited imagery screamed with a light and airy photographer’s dream look.

Even with the many spectators and other photo sessions happening around us, we managed to focus on the family’s bond and their unique connection through fun and engaging prompts that allowed for a more genuine, behind the scenes look. By the end of our session, we all had so much fun!

View some of my favorite moments from their session below and keep reading after to see my pros and cons for shooting a summer session at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado and also some of my favorite locations to shoot at there!

Chautauqua-Park-Family-Session

Chautauqua Park Family Session


Pros and Cons of A Chautauqua Park Family Session

Pros for A Chautauqua Park Family Session:

  • Beautiful Backdrop: The Flatirons and lush greenery provide a stunning and varied backdrop for photos.
  • Natural Light: The evening sunlight is soft and flattering, perfect for creating a warm, glowing look in photos.
  • Wildflowers: Even late in the season, the wildflowers can add a nice touch of color and beauty to your shots.
  • Vibrant Atmosphere: The park is full of life, which can add a fun and lively energy to your session.

Cons for A Chautauqua Park Family Session:

  • Crowds: Summer evenings can be quite busy, with many families and photographers around, which can make finding a secluded spot a bit challenging.
  • Heat: The high temperatures can be uncomfortable, especially for young children and pets.
  • Limited Wildflowers: As summer progresses, the wildflowers start to fade, so you may not get as many colorful blooms later in the season.

Despite these minor drawbacks, Chautauqua Park is a fantastic place for a family photo session. The beauty of the surroundings and the vibrant energy of the park make it a memorable and rewarding experience.

Chautauqua Park Family Session

Best spots to for a Chautauqua Park Family Session in Boulder, Colorado

Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado, offers many picturesque spots perfect for capturing stunning photos. Here are some of the best locations within the park:

1. The Flatirons Meadow

The open meadow with the iconic Flatirons in the background is a classic spot. The sweeping views and dramatic rock formations create a breathtaking backdrop, especially during golden hour.

2. Chautauqua Trail

The Chautauqua Trail offers beautiful scenery with a mix of open fields and wooded areas. The trail itself can add a sense of adventure and natural beauty to your photos, with plenty of spots to stop and shoot along the way.

3. The Ranger Cottage

The historic Ranger Cottage and the surrounding area provide a charming and rustic setting. The cottage itself is a lovely backdrop, and the nearby trees and paths add to the quaint atmosphere.

4. The Amphitheater

The outdoor amphitheater offers a unique and interesting location for photos. The stone steps and natural surroundings create a visually appealing setting, perfect for more structured or posed shots.

5. The Community House and Gardens

The Community House and its surrounding gardens are ideal for capturing more intimate and cozy photos. The gardens offer seasonal flowers and lush greenery, adding a vibrant and colorful element to your shots.

6. The Picnic Shelter

The picnic shelter area, with its large open space and nearby trees, provides a relaxed and family-friendly setting. It’s great for candid shots of families enjoying time together in a beautiful outdoor environment.

7. The Bluebell Mesa Trail

This trail leads to some of the most stunning views in the park. The higher elevation offers panoramic vistas of Boulder and the surrounding areas, perfect for wide-angle shots that capture the expansive beauty of the landscape.

8. The Ski Jump Trail

For those willing to hike a bit, the Ski Jump Trail offers secluded and scenic spots away from the crowds. The trail’s varied terrain and beautiful vistas make it a fantastic choice for more adventurous photo sessions.

9. The Sunrise Circle

For early risers, the Sunrise Circle near the entrance of the park provides a spectacular view of the sunrise over the Flatirons. The soft morning light and serene atmosphere make it a magical spot for photos.

10. The Historic Cottages

The historic cottages scattered throughout the park add a touch of charm and history to your photos. The unique architecture and quaint settings make them a lovely backdrop for more nostalgic and timeless shots.

Each of these spots offers its own unique charm and beauty, making Chautauqua Park a versatile and stunning location for any photo session.

All photography credits go to Moments By Danielle Nicole for her Boulder Family Photographer session above.


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A beautiful Minnesota backyard tent wedding set the scene to celebrate the newlyweds–Cody and Cassandra Ballengee. The wedding took place on Cassandra’s family farm near Madison, MN, under a grand 100-foot white tent. Rain graced the morning and early afternoon, but it cleared up just 30 minutes before the ceremony. The sun came out, making the day warm and beautiful.

Cody’s family traveled from Texas, and Cassandra’s family came from all over the U.S. It was an intimate gathering of 50 guests, creating a warm and close atmosphere.

Cassandra and Cody’s Minnesota backyard tent Wedding Details

Cassandra wore her mother’s wedding dress, adding a sentimental touch to the day. Her bouquet, crafted by Florals and Finds in Clear Lake, SD, was stunning. Cassandra also hand-designed the wedding decor and florals, turning the tent into a floral wonderland.

As the rain stopped and the ceremony began, the farm’s beauty shone through. The sun cast a golden glow as Cassandra and Cody exchanged vows, filling the day with joy and love. Tears were shed during their private vows. My associate, Amanda, and I tag teamed capturing the day and every photograph captured the warmth and happiness of the moment.

In the evening, we headed to a local fishing pond to capture more memories. The sunset was magnificent, with vibrant colors reflecting on the water. The golden light embraced Cassandra and Cody, making every shot a testament to their love and the beautiful day.

Photographing Cassandra and Cody’s wedding was filled with love, laughter, and unforgettable moments, all framed by nature’s perfect timing.

minnesota backyard tent wedding

minnesota backyard tent wedding

minnesota backyard tent wedding

minnesota backyard tent wedding

All photography credits go to Moments By Danielle Nicole and associate Amanda!


CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

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Kallan and Chris’s wedding at the Goss Opera House in Watertown, SD, created a celebration marked by elegance and simplicity. The wedding decor featured lush greenery with white and ivory accents, creating a timeless and sophisticated atmosphere. Kallan wore an absolutely breathtaking ivory dress. The bridesmaids dressed in sleek black gowns by Azazie, while the groomsmen donned stylish suits by Michael Kors, completed with black ties. This refined color palette and elegant style perfectly complement the historic charm of the Goss Opera House. During the ceremony, a string quartet played the most beautiful melodies. They had family join them in celebration from all over the United States.

Chris and Kallan’s exquisite wedding created countless authentic memories with their customized touches.

There were so many, many unique moments handcrafted by both Chris and Kallan. All of these moments weaved together not only their individual skills and love story, but also the love of generations who came before them. Many of Kallan’s details included heirloom items passed down from her mother and grandmothers, which made capturing her thoughtful details so fun. Kallan and his groomsmen spent countless hours composing music to serenade Kallan during their ceremony, which brought many tears to the eyes of everyone hearing the breathtaking song, and also during the couple’s first dance and remaining part of the reception. Every moment weaved together touches from past love stories and their own to design the most intricate day celebrating their decade of friendship.

Their love story started twelve years ago…

Kallan and Chris met during their undergraduate studies at NSU in 2012, and their first impressions were marked by an immediate attraction to each other’s souls. Their first date was a cozy visit to a coffee house on campus, setting the stage for their deep friendship to form. Chris proposed to Kallan on his birthday at Canyon Lake in Rapid City, shortly after introducing her to his grandparents—a moment that made the occasion even more special.

They share a playful habit of giving each other nicknames, with Chris affectionately calling Kallan “Duchess.” This reflects their fun-loving nature and tendency to create new words together. Both are musicians, competitive, animal lovers, and avid snackers, and they compliment each other out perfectly.

When asked what they love most about each other, they said they deeply appreciate each other’s company and love how they motivate each other to achieve their best. Their favorite activities include traveling, golfing, bowling, watching movies, and simply being together. As they look forward to their wedding day, the most exciting part for them is finally marrying the love of their lives.

Goss Opera House Wedding Day Vendor Team

The couple carefully selected a talented team of vendors to bring their vision to life. Betsy Fjelland coordinated the day as the wedding planner on behalf of The Goss Opera House, and did a fantastic job as always. Russ Hadden captured their video, while my team (Moments by Danielle Nicole) created the photography imagery. Herb Cleveland, the groom’s grandfather, officiated the wedding, adding a personal touch to their ceremony.

Blu Salon and Spa did a fantastic job with hair and makeup. Dakota Giftware Supply Inc designed stunning florals, and DJ Henry, along with live music from the groomsmen, creating the most lively reception entertainment. Walmart Bakery crafted the wedding cake and desserts, while Mavericks served yet another amazingly scrumptious meal. Zola provided the invitations. This talented team truly made Kallan and Chris’s Goss Opera House wedding a beautifully memorable event.

summer goss opera house wedding

goss-opera-house-wedding

goss-opera-house-wedding

wedding couple portraits at riverside park in watertown sd


Goss Opera House Wedding Day Vendor Team


CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

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If you just got engaged, here are 10 things to do after getting engaged! But first off, congratulations on your engagement! As a photographer who has captured countless love stories, I’m thrilled to share some insights on the next steps after you’ve said “yes!” This is an incredibly exciting time, and there are some important things to consider that will help make your journey to the altar smooth and joyful.

Here are 10 things to do after getting engaged, from a destination and South Dakota wedding photographer and videographer’s perspective.

1. Celebrate Together

First and foremost, take a moment to bask in the joy with your partner. This is a special milestone, and it deserves a celebration. Whether it’s a romantic dinner, a weekend getaway, or simply a quiet evening together, savor this moment before the whirlwind of planning begins.

2. Share the News

Before announcing your engagement on social media, share the news with your closest family and friends. They’ll appreciate hearing it directly from you rather than finding out online. This also gives you a chance to see their reactions and share in their excitement.

10 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

3. Get a Ring Sizing and Insurance

Ensure your engagement ring fits perfectly by getting it sized. Additionally, securing insurance for your ring is crucial to protect against loss, theft, or damage. It’s a small step that offers significant peace of mind. Most insurances have a free ring cleaning service every 6 months, so definitely do that and make sure to clean your ring right before your engagement session and wedding!

10 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

4. Set a Date (or a Range)

Discuss with your partner and decide on a potential wedding date or at least a range of dates. This decision will influence many of your subsequent planning steps, including venue selection and booking other key vendors like photographers. Picking a range of dates or a season you like best is KEY to ensuring your top two vendors (like venue and photographer) have a similar date open!

10 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

5. Create a Budget

Start discussing your budget early. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend will help you make informed decisions and avoid financial stress. Consider all aspects of the wedding, including the photographer, venue, catering, and attire.

South Dakota Wedding Photographer and Videographer

6. Draft a Guest List

Begin drafting a preliminary guest list. Having an estimate of the number of guests will help you choose an appropriately sized venue and manage your budget more effectively. It’s easier to make adjustments to the guest list early on than later in the planning process.

7. Consider a Wedding Planner

If your budget allows, hiring a wedding planner can be incredibly beneficial. A planner can handle the logistics, recommend trusted vendors, and keep everything on track, allowing you to focus on enjoying your engagement.

CLICK HERE to download my free wedding planner guide!

10 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

8. Gather Inspiration

Start gathering ideas for your wedding. As a photographer, I recommend creating a vision board with your favorite styles, themes, and color schemes. Platforms like Pinterest, wedding magazines, and blogs are fantastic resources. This will help communicate your vision to your photographer and other vendors.

10 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

9. Plan an Engagement Photo Shoot

An engagement photo shoot is a wonderful way to celebrate your engagement and get comfortable in front of the camera. These photos can be used for save-the-date cards, wedding websites, or simply as cherished keepsakes. It’s also a great opportunity to build a rapport with your photographer before the big day.

madison mn engagement session

10. Enjoy the Moment

Finally, amidst all the planning, remember to enjoy being engaged. This period is a unique and special time in your life, so take moments to relax and relish in the excitement. Whether it’s date nights, engagement parties, or simply spending quality time together, make sure to appreciate this journey.

Planning a wedding is a beautiful adventure, and these steps will help you start on the right foot. As a photographer, I look forward to capturing the love and joy of this incredible time in your life. Happy planning!

All photography credits go to Moments By Danielle Nicole.


CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

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This Madison Minnesota Engagement Session with Colby and Halie, the newest 2025 MBDN couple, turned into yet another breathtaking spring engagement session. I cannot wait to celebrate these two next spring in Madison, Minnesota.

Madison, Minnesota Engagement Session

For their engagement session, we started off the hour with some short and sweet portraits with their sweet babies. I am a huge advocate for including your kiddos in your engagement session, since they are such a big part of both your lives. After the kiddos took off exploring, we made some magic focused on just these two lovebirds. Madison’s Centennial Park made for the PERFECT spot for the first location. It has the prettiest line of trees which created the most magical lighting for their portraits. The area offered lots of shade and had the most perfect shade of greens!

Halie wore the prettiest blue floral dress, which complimented perfectly with Colby’s outfit!

After the kiddos took off with grandpa, Halie and Colby had fun dancing and twirling. We got the most adorable blanket photos! During our hour together was so fun! Halie and Colby are both so laid back–they made my job SO easy! Every time they looked at each other, I could tell how much they love one another, truly. We took off to finish our session at the old Skelly gas station in Madison, requested by Halie. The Skelly was such a fun and unique way to end their Madison, Minnesota engagement session. We were able to take some creative shots there–eeekkk!!

All in all, I cannot wait to celebrate these two next spring on their wedding day!

madison-mn-engagement-session

madison mn engagement session

madison mn engagement session

All photography credits go to Moments By Danielle Nicole.


CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

Meet me, Danielle Nicole, and hear about my own photography business journey!
CLICK HERE to read my introduction blog post!

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After celebrating their magical intimate backyard wedding day, it’s with great excitement that we introduce the newlywed couple, Ethan and Karen Ruby. Their love story is as unique as it is heartwarming, filled with moments of laughter, shared passions, and a deep commitment to creating a family.

Their Intimate Backyard Wedding Day

Hosted at Ethan’s parents’ family farm, the setting provided a rustic and cozy backdrop for their special day. The ceremony was particularly touching as Karen shared her custom vows, not only to Ethan but also to his children, Kori and Will. Promising to be a dedicated partner to Ethan and a loving bonus mom to his kids, Karen’s heartfelt words left a lasting impression on everyone present.

What I Loved About Their Wedding

One of the most memorable moments was the first look. It wasn’t just a private moment between Ethan and Karen; it included Kori, Ethan’s daughter, who walked with Karen and had her own first look with her dad. This touching inclusion highlighted the deep bond forming within their new family. The day was a blend of intimate moments and family connections, making it feel like a heartfelt reunion of family enjoying one another in celebration of Ethan and Karen’s new chapter in their love story. Despite the rain that sprinkled throughout the day, the weather only added to the charm and intimacy of the occasion, with guests enjoying the cozy atmosphere.

Another favorite and unique moment during the day happened to be their ceremony. Ditching the traditional chairs and seating arrangements for guests, the couple had their guests stand in a circle surrounding them, while they said their vows to one another. Because of this, the atmosphere made it feel like the guests were taking part in saying “I Do” alongside the couple with their support. Due to several guests and family members requiring an interpreter, it only increased the feeling of inclusion. It brought tears to my eyes to see how much Ethan and Karen value their friends and family and planned their wedding day around everyone else’s needs.

The Decor Theme

The reception reflected Ethan and Karen’s shared love for hunting and the outdoors. The decor was thoughtfully crafted, featuring shotgun shells as part of the table landscape and elegant drapery in Ethan’s dad’s shed, creating a beautiful and personal environment. Instead of a typical reception party, Ethan and Karen chose to focus on spending meaningful time with their guests. Homemade food added a comforting and communal touch to the celebration, making everyone feel at home. The entire day was a testament to their values and love, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended.

How Their Intimate Backyard Wedding Came to Be

Karen’s journey to love began when she moved back to South Dakota. Fate had a plan in store when she reconnected with her cousin Audrey, who happened to be friends with Ethan. It wasn’t long before the two were introduced, and a beautiful relationship blossomed from that first meeting.

The Ruby’s Proposal Story

Ethan’s proposal to Karen was as memorable as it was unconventional. The couple shares a love for the great outdoors, and it was during a deer hunting trip that Ethan decided to pop the question. As they were getting ready by the vehicle before heading into the field, Ethan turned to Karen and asked her to marry him. The moment was made even more special with the presence of Ethan’s daughter, Kori, who not only witnessed the proposal but also had the important task of picking out the engagement ring. It was a perfect blend of their shared passions and family bond.

What They Love About Each Other

When asked what they love most about each other, Ethan humorously mentioned Karen’s “outstanding personality.” Beyond the humor, their relationship is built on a foundation of shared sense of humor and mutual respect. Karen admires Ethan’s role as a father, cherishing the moments she gets to watch him with his children, Kori and Will. His dedication to being a great dad is one of the many reasons she loves him deeply.

Their Favorite Pastimes

Ethan and Karen enjoy a variety of activities together, but their favorite is spending time with Ethan’s children and hunting. These moments of togetherness, whether it’s the thrill of the hunt or the joy of family time, are what strengthen their bond and create lasting memories.

The Rubys’ love story is a testament to finding joy in the everyday moments and the power of two families becoming one. We wish Ethan and Karen a lifetime of happiness, adventure, and love.

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding

intimate backyard wedding




All photography credits go to Moments By Danielle Nicole.

CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

Meet me, Danielle Nicole, and hear about my own photography business journey!
CLICK HERE to read my introduction blog post!

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intimate backyard wedding in castlewood, sd

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Picture this: a The Element + Goss Opera House wedding in downtown Watertown, South Dakota in April 2024. But here’s the twist – instead of sunny skies and gentle breezes, we’re talking about a day filled with strong winds, dark clouds, and heavy rain. Yep, Mother Nature decided to throw us a curveball. But you know what? It only made the whole thing more special.

Despite the wild weather, the scene was straight out of a fairy tale. The colors – blush, white, neutrals, with pops of black – set the stage for a dreamy, elegant affair. And let me tell you, the bride was an absolute vision. She rocked a gorgeous gown by Ellie Stone, and her shoes? Perfection. Her groom, equally dashing in a meticulously tailored tuxedo from Trendz, stood by her side with the absolute best attitude all day.

Hitch Studio coordinated The Element + Goss Opera House wedding and planned the entire day and everything went off without a hitch, no pun intended. The Goss Opera House made for a stunning backdrop for a reception space. Meanwhile, we spent the first half of the morning a The Element, which is a newer rental space in Watertown, SD. Both spaces are designed for more intimate weddings. I can attest to both rental spaces having fantastically sweet coordinators who would do anything to ensure weddings turn out perfect.

Salon LUX did a fantastic job on the bride’s makeup and hairstyle to make her whole look come together. Breanna from Flowers on Main created absolutely breathtaking florals for all the set ups and bridal florals. Becky made some to-die-for french macaroons from Becky’s French Macaroons, while Lisa from Charcuterie Element filled our tummy’s with a scrumptious charcuterie snack for lunch.

Now, let’s talk bridal details about The Element + Goss Opera House wedding.

The bride’s nails? Nailed it. And her jewelry? Talk about fancy – a custom ring and earrings from Crevier Jewelry that were absolutely STUNNING. Oh, and can we take a moment for the invitation suite by Hitch? It was so pretty, it practically begged you to RSVP yes.

Despite the weather trying its best to rain on our parade (literally), love was in the air. Inside The Element and The Goss Opera House, where the festivities took place, it felt like nothing else mattered. The storm outside couldn’t dim the warmth and joy radiating from everyone involved.

This The Element + Goss Opera House styled shoot wasn’t just about pretty pictures.

It was a reminder that love conquers all – even when the weather’s not cooperating. It showed us that sometimes, the most magical moments happen when things don’t go according to plan. And hey, isn’t that what love’s all about? Finding beauty in the unexpected, and celebrating it with all your heart.

The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding
The Element and The Goss Opera House Wedding


Vendor Team Credits

COORDINATOR: Hitch Studio // Natalie Page & Natalie Hoyes
CEREMONY VENUE: Element (Ceremony)
RECEPTION VENUE: Goss Opera House (Reception)
CATERER: Charcuterie Element
PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEO: Moments by Danielle Nicole
FLORIST: Flowers on Main
DESSERTS: Becky’s French Macarons
MAKE UP/HAIR: Salon LUX
BRIDAL GOWN: Ellie Stone Bridal
TUX: Trendz Consignment Studio
JEWELRY: Crevier Jewelry
LINENS: Party Depot
STATIONERY: Hitch Studio
MODELS: Jeryn and Cade


Vendor Spotlights

COORDINATOR:
Hitch Studio // Natalie Page & Natalie Hoyes

MAKE UP/HAIR: Salon LUX

CEREMONY VENUE: Element (Ceremony)


RECEPTION VENUE: Goss Opera House (Reception)


CATERER: Charcuterie Element

FLORIST: Flowers on Main

Flowers on Main


DESSERTS: Becky’s French Macarons

Becky's French Macaroons


BRIDAL GOWN: Ellie Stone Bridal


JEWELRY: Crevier Jewelry


CLICK HERE to learn about the MBDN Wedding Experience!

Meet me, Danielle Nicole, and hear about my own photography business journey!
CLICK HERE to read my introduction blog post!

Or check out the WEBSITE!

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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…

Ironically, it was not love at first sight for Steven Mady and Kayla Anderson.

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!

Steven got down on one knee on July 2nd, 2022.

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.

When asked about why they chose Gathered Oaks wedding venue as their spot of celebrating their marriage. They said, “We chose Gathered Oaks because of the rustic charm and outdoor/indoor option.”

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 and Kayla’s chosen color palette included deep red, black, and a few glimmers of gold.

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.

One unique touch to their day definitely involved Kayla wearing her mother’s wedding veil.

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.

Kayla and Steven chose Moments by Danielle Nicole to capture their Gathered Oaks Wedding for a few reasons.

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.

Gathered Oaks Wedding

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gathered oaks wedding