I absolutely love Lauren and Nico’s wedding as an excellent example of what an intimate, winter wedding in Minneapolis and Saint Paul can look like. Let me introduce you to the lovely newlyweds, and walk you through how we designed their day, and even some lessons learned and tips along the way!
Lauren and Nico met in Amsterdam while studying abroad, Lauren from here in Minneapolis, and Nico from Hamburg, Germany. I got to meet them on a video call to talk about their wedding vision – an intimate, Christmas-y, winter wonderland – and learned that they love to be outdoors together, and even got engaged on a family ski trip!
I was so excited to get the chance to work with them and make their wedding dreams come true! Keep reading to read and see their wedding day!
I met Lauren and her crew at t Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church in Minneapolis on a brisk, but sunny December 18, 2021. She got ready with the help of her mom and two sisters, Taylor and Maddie. The dress, the shoes, the veil! She looked so gorgeous, didn’t she?! I especially LOVE the Cinderella moment when Lauren’s sister, Taylor, helped her get her shoes on!
In another room in the church, Nico picked out his tie and we were able to capture some moments of his final touches as he anticipated seeing his beautiful bride to be! He was getting ready solo, and I felt so honored to encourage and support him as he made sure he looked just perfect for Lauren. Handsome, no?
First Look & Couple’s Photos
Once they were both ready, I set up Nico for the first look! I cannot recommend first looks enough – Lauren and Nico originally planned to see each other for the first time at their ceremony, but while designing their timeline, we decided to go for the first look to give them more time with their family and guests after the ceremony. It was such an intimate moment, and really gave them time to appreciate seeing each other for the first time, just the two of them.
When they let me know they were ready to move on, we grabbed some warmer boots for Lauren and headed out for their couple’s portraits across the street at Lake of the Isles! It had snowed the night before, so there was an amazing, fresh blanket for them and the sun was shining providing just a little bit of extra warmth for their snow globe! There were lots of sunny Florida beach thoughts to keep our hearts and hands warm.
But alas, warm thoughts only last so long and Lauren swapped her heels for comfy boots about halfway through. We stayed out as long as the 20F temperatures would allow, and then headed back in to warm up fingers, toes, and camera gear before the ceremony. So the tip is to bring footwear to keep those toes in tact, and if you are not close to an indoor place to warm up like we were, bring a coat and mittens too!
Regardless of season, I always recommend having about 30 minutes between any pre-ceremony photos to make sure that everyone is tucked away as guests start to arrive. This gives you time to use the bathroom, hydrate, take some deep breaths, and, in the case of winter, warm up!
Another huge part of the warm-up is this: your photographer’s gear is like eyeglasses. When the lenses and mirrors get cold, they will fog upon returning indoors, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get them warmed up and remove the condensation (we don’t want water in our gear!). So if you are planning a winter wedding, expect to budget for a little more time when transitioning in and outside so you can make sure that your photographer can capture all of your special moments!
Right before their ceremony, Lauren’s sister Maddie made an announcement, asking guests to be present in the ceremony with them by leaving the photo-taking to me. This practice is becoming more and more common, and I think it is so beautiful to ask your guests to enjoy the union rather than worrying about taking photos (hey, that’s why ya hire a photographer, right?)! Lauren & Nico had a classic Lutheran ceremony, with their moms preparing their unity candle for lighting. Lauren’s mom read a passage for the couple, and they exchanged vows and rings. After being blessed and welcomed by their guests, they shared a kiss and BOOM, they were married!
Lauren and Nico greeted their guests as they departed the church on the way to their reception venue.
Once Lauren & Nico’s guests were on their way to the reception, we headed back into the sanctuary for family photos. I always get a list of lineups from my couples, review it, and then make any suggestions I have, so we were all set to go! Of course, we usually think of more, like ALL THE GIRLS! But with good time management, we can get those in too! I like to recommend that my couples have individual photos with those closest to them, like parents and siblings, as well as group photos. I also like to view this as the joining of two families, so when there are groups, the couple should be there together! For example, both Lauren and Nico were in photos with Lauren’s whole family and Nico’s whole family!
After family photos, we packed everyone up and headed to WA Frost in Saint Paul, where they had reserved a private dining room for their 45 guests. It was already decorated for Christmas, so after adding some centerpieces to the tables, the place was perfect! This was a perfect time to grab some additional photos with Lauren & Nico’s honored guests from around the world!
We snuck out into the courtyard to get some romantic photos of the two of them (peep Lauren’s coat! So cute, and she told me it was super warm too!) It was such a fun time – all the jitters about actually getting married and all of that were behind them, and after a glass of wine, we were able to go out and just enjoy some Saint Paul at night in a private courtyard. What’s more romantic than that?
Next is one of my favorite parts of wedding days to observe – speeches! I get to talk to and build a relationship with my couples as they plan their wedding, but hearing about them from their closest family and friends just rounds out the experience!
Lauren’s sisters, mom, and dad all talked about their love for Lauren and how proud they are of the woman she has grown up to be. They welcomed Nico into their family, and wished the newlyweds happiness and resilience as they entered this new chapter in their lives.
Nico’s mom, dad, and sister regaled for the guests how the two of them met and what a joy it has been getting to know Lauren in Hamburg, where they live. They presented the couple with meaningful gifts representing where they came from, where they met, and where they live now, including a free honeymoon package at the student hotel where they met in Amsterdam while studying abroad!
Following speeches were SO MANY HUGS and laughs and the love was so tangible in that room, I kinda didn’t want to leave! But it was time for me to say my goodbyes, and they finished their night with a meal and more celebrating, followed by a couple weeks spent here in Minneapolis celebrating Christmas and the New Year.
The Rest of Time, Together
I couldn’t be happier for Lauren and Nico’s marriage, and feel so lucky and honored to have been able to capture their special day for them! I hope that they will be able to cherish these images in their daily lives and be able to share them with future generations!
Congrats to the newlyweds!
If you’re thinking of planning your own intimate wedding, I’d love to help make your day a success and capture it so you can hold it dear for years to come!