process & pricing





Best of Zola 2023
Best of Zola 2024


Tying the Knot at Elm Creek Chalet

April 7, 2023

I'm your Minneapolis Wedding Photographer pumped to provide an inclusive, sustainable and SUPER FUN wedding day experience with you at the center!

Ready to disrupt the wedding status quo?
Forget what everyone is telling you to do.
tell me more

The Elm Creek Chalet is the perfect place to get married if you’re looking to incorporate nature and an outdoorsy feeling in your wedding day, while still having access to excellent services (and air conditioning)!

Take a look at Gwen and Derek’s summer wedding at Elm Creek Park, surrounded by their friends and family with great food truck food and an incredible sunset!

What stood out most to me about Gwen and Derek’s wedding is that they included people and items that were important to them, and left the rest out. This kind of intentional planning can save you money and stress — so definitely consider that as you plan your own wedding!

In case you are curious, Elm Creek Park is located at 12400 James Deane Parkway Maple Grove, Minnesota. It’s a gorgeous wedding venue and you can find more information about Elm Creek Park Reserve Weddings here!

The start of their Elm Creek Chalet Wedding

To start the day, I met Gwen and her crew at her friend’s house where they were getting ready. The room had excellent natural light, neutral colors, and a full length mirror for her glamor shots!

Next, I traveled to meet Derek and his buddies at Elm Creek for some final touches. If you are getting married at the Elm Creek Park and want nice getting ready photos indoors, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend their space — it is a park reserve after all! That being said, we got Derek all ready, and then set up for their first look!

When finding a spot for their first look, I like to get some dimension behind my couple, and keep them in the shade as much as possible. Being close to a door or entrance is also nice so I don’t have to leave one partner alone too long as they await their fiance! I was able to find just the spot so they could have their intimate moment together.

After their first look, Gwen’s mom added her floral hairpiece, we grabbed her stunning, summer bouquet by Pluck Flower Farm, and headed out for couples photos!

Wedding photos at Elm Creek Park Reserve

It was cloudy when we first started, so we had the opportunity to use the super cute bridge right outside the chalet. Once the sun came out, we popped right below near the bike trail (always look out when taking pictures down there!). It was a pretty toasty July day, so we then took a quick water and cooldown break before heading down near the frisbee golf course where there is more shade and greenery. One of the beautiful things about Elm Creek Chalet Weddings is the area is full of gorgeous natural backdrops for stunning images.  

After couples photos we moved on to wedding party photos! Gwen and Derek’s friends were just the sweetest and I had a fantastic time capturing all of their personalities. I always like to do a formal shot with each member of the wedding party, and then a silly or cute one — so come with your ideas! 

Next, we brought their families below for their family formals. I could tell Derek’s family has had many opportunities to have family photos done — they were just so practiced! To get ready for family pictures, I remind everyone to take everything out of their pockets, and leave sunglasses and purses off to the side. That way we don’t have extra distractions in the photos, and they will be fit for holiday cards or your family photo wall!

Because it was sunny, all of the group photos were taken under the bridge; it has great dimension, but again, we did need to look out for bikes!

Ceremony Time!

Ceremonies at the Elm Creek Chalet, weather permitting, are held outside the chalet on a platform in front of the bridge. 

I loved the ceremony that Sam from Liz Rae & Co. performed for Gwen and Derek. They talked about how they met in high school, and remet after Gwen studied abroad in Japan and fell in love. Like many modern wedding ceremonies, Gwen and Derek had a unity ceremony. But unlike any I have ever seen, they truly infused themselves into it by making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich together! 

After exchanging rings and sharing their first kiss as a married couple, it was finally party time!! Everyone headed into the chalet for snacks and drinks provided by Common Roots Catering and With a Twist bar service. 

Another great thing about the Elm Creek Chalet and Three Rivers Park District in general is their commitment to making it easy for you to have  a more sustainable wedding. They provide compost and recycling, and also recommend vendors who share those values. 

The reception at Elm Creek Chalet Weddings

Dinner was served by Reverie Food Truck, and I have to say, it was FANTASTIC (and I eat a LOT of wedding food). All vegan and gluten-free, and all flavor! Instead of having a set dinner time, guests could make their way out to the food truck at their leisure between 6 and 7pm with their tickets. This way, the line stayed manageable and passersby wouldn’t be accidentally taking food from guests. 

During speeches, so many kind words were given by the Best Man and the Man of Honor. But also, Derek was gifted a bucket hat, which I thought was just the most adorable thing. 

Next, dessert was provided by Vegan East, and music and dancing ensued with the help of Alexis from Instant Request! Gwen and Derek opted to do a first dance, and then get their wedding party to help them get the party started on the dance floor. Once again, it’s your wedding! Do things your way!

If you want a 30 second first dance and then a party, do that.

If you want a first dance and parent dances, do that.

Anything in between? Yes, do it!

We were able to sneak out for a bit to get them some sunset photos outside the chalet in the meadow, and by that time we were grateful for the ultra-sunny day! Pictures say more than I can here in words, so just scroll down and check those out 😀

After some more dancing and frivolity, I checked in with the couple, packed up, and headed home for the night feeling absolutely full of love and gratitude. 

Gwen and Derek were just the sweetest pair, and to be a part of their celebration at the Elm Creek Park Chalet was just a dream! 

Vendor List

Here are the other vendors that helped make their wedding day a success:

Venue: Three Rivers Park District — Elm Creek Chalet

Photo: Jessica Knighton Photography

Hair: Kalla Lily Salon & Spa

Makeup: Nan Fletcher

Floral: Pluck Flower Farm

Officiant: Sam @ Liz Rae & Co.

Snacks: Common Roots Catering

Dinner: Reverie Food Truck

Bakery: Vegan East

Bar: With a Twist

Entertainment: Alex @ Instant Request

If you’re thinking about or are getting married at the Elm Creek Chalet or anywhere else in the Three Rivers Park District and want someone experienced on your side, contact me here about your plans! I would absolutely love to meet you!

Until then!


Wedding photography of couple in Minnesota!
Images from a Minneapolis Wedding at Elm Creek Park Chalet.
Bridal Party images at Elm creek chalet wedding.
Image of a couple getting married at Elm creek chalet wedding! Beautiful outdoor wedding photos in Minneapolis!

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Browse By Category






It's Jess!

Passionate about celebrating relationships between partners and between us and our home, Earth.

Life is so much better when we are all together, amiright? :D


free download

What's your wedding vibe?

Do you envision a big wedding with everyone you know and a sick dance party? Or does an intimate affair where you can celebrate and splurge on those closest to you sound more like your vibe? Or, maybe you have no idea yet! 

Let’s find out what your dream wedding day looks like together!