rustic bluff country wedding

Where do I even start with Annie and Kyle’s wedding? Their rustic wedding set among the bluffs of the Mississippi River in southern Minnesota was memorable for so many reasons. First for me was that this was the second wedding for the Hudson family of which I had the opportunity to be a part. I was lucky enough to coordinate Annie’s older sister Ellen’s wedding back in 2013. It’s always an honor to be hired by the same family more than once!

Probably the most memorable aspect of the day for all those in attendance, however, was the weather. Annie and Kyle chose a new barn venue just outside of Winona. While the remote location provided amazing views atop the ceremony hill and a beautiful rustic backdrop, what it lacked was cell service. Like, zero cell service on the property shy of very spotty service at the top of the ceremony hill. I came prepared with walkie talkies for my team and an old-school weather radio, but not being able to get up-do-date looks at a radar was super challenging on a day that was forecasting potentially severe weather.

To make a long story short, we survived extreme heat and humidity for set up and photos, two severe thunderstorms and a ton of rain, and a power outage in the middle of the ceremony, but you know what? Annie and Kyle still got married! They didn’t have the picturesque ceremony setting they dreamed of (after a long storm delay we had the ceremony in our backup location of the dinner pavilion), the officiant had to shout the second half of the ceremony script, and the bottom of Annie’s dress was a soggy mess by the first dance, but honestly you would have never known it by looking at their faces. Annie and Kyle weathered the literal storms of their wedding day with such grace and patience I have no doubt they will be able to handle anything that comes their way in marriage.

I have to give a huge shoutout to my assistant, Laura, and the entire vendor team that day. It was an excellent example of why you hire professionals for your wedding day! The photographers helped reset dinner tables after the first storm came through, the food truck offered his generator when the power went out, the bartender kept everyone happy during the ceremony delay, the bus drivers maneuvered their way in and out of a tricky, muddy dirt road without complaint. Everyone wanted to do whatever it took to still make the day as special as possible for Annie and Kyle.

Happy first anniversary to these two lovebirds! I’m so happy to have been a part of your wedding day and I wish you the very best in the years to come! Enjoy the photos from Ray + Kelly - they did such a great job of capturing every aspect of the day.

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It was REALLY HOT the first half of the day. These poor guys were doing whatever they could to keep cool in their suits!

It was REALLY HOT the first half of the day. These poor guys were doing whatever they could to keep cool in their suits!

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I don’t typically include photos of myself on blog posts (but shout out to Ray+Kelly for actually getting me in a few “action” shots - I rarely get photo evidence that I was actually there on the wedding day!). This is the Father of the Bride and me making the call to not only move the ceremony from the (potentially dangerous) hilltop location to the pavilion, but to delay it while we wait out the storm moving in.

I don’t typically include photos of myself on blog posts (but shout out to Ray+Kelly for actually getting me in a few “action” shots - I rarely get photo evidence that I was actually there on the wedding day!). This is the Father of the Bride and me making the call to not only move the ceremony from the (potentially dangerous) hilltop location to the pavilion, but to delay it while we wait out the storm moving in.

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Thankfully the storms subsided post-ceremony long enough for them to get some beautiful hilltop photos (those poor arch flowers took a beating in the rain!).

Thankfully the storms subsided post-ceremony long enough for them to get some beautiful hilltop photos (those poor arch flowers took a beating in the rain!).

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Wedding Coordination: Denae Brennan Events // Photography: Ray + Kelly Photography // Venue: Cedar Creek Barn // Catering: Twisted Barrel Wood Fired Pizza & HyVee // Bartender: Free Pour WI // DJ: Midwest Sound // Flowers: Everyday Bouquets // Rentals: Majestic Tents & Events // Transportation: First Student // Hair: Spalon 1161 // Makeup: Taryn Hudson