Emily and Darren’s wedding at Berwood Hill Inn in Lanesboro, MN.
As a wedding photographer, I use my camera to immortalize a wedding ceremony or an engagement session once every two weeks. That quickly makes a huge number of events! Some remains more specials that other ones. This is especially true for Emily and Darren’s wedding. It took place at the cute Berwood Hill Inn, in Lanesboro, MN.
She is a scientist and he is the smart guy who managed to seduce her. They met at the university and his first step to approach her was to pretend he needed help with a lesson he didn’t understand properly. Given she is a caring person she couldn’t resist and agreed to help him. That’s how their relationship started. A couple of years after, he proposed her and she said yes.
I first meet them in a Bridal Show in Rochester, MN, and convinced them.
For their engagement session, we went to the Centennial Lake (in Edina, south-west of Minneapolis). It was an extremely cold day, but we shoot photographs during almost 3 hours!
Luckily, they decided on a summer wedding, and this time, the weather was nice. For their big day, they wanted to take advantage of the historic heritage of Minnesota, and chose some historical venues in the South East of the State.
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Berwood Hill for Outdoor Weddings
Located about 50 miles in the southeast of Rochester, MN, Lanesboro, MN, is a historic recreational city. Minnesotans can enjoy the country side, the river, and a renovated charming city, full of beautiful Scandinavian and Victorian houses. With Red Wing, MN, and Albert Lea, MN, those are 3 cities that I really enjoy visiting in the southeastern of the 10, 000 Lakes State.
Anyways the hilly landscape, with bluff and falls, and reminds me some of Wisconsin scenery.
So, next time you go in Spring Valley to enjoy a dinner at the Four Daughters Vineyard Winery, push 15 min further to the east to discover this beautiful rolling countryside.
Just for the record, another historic town that works especially great in photography is Stillwater, MN. But it’s located far away from Washington County!
Preparation at the Habberstad house
A Victorian styled home
The Habberstad is a real jewel. It’s an historic Victorian styled home, all wooden made, on 3 floors. Today it’s been renovated and turned into a Bed & Breakfast. They kept many authentic parts that are gorgeous. Furthermore, Helaine and Mark, the owners, are doing a lot of positive efforts towards keeping the home in good conditions and enhancing the decoration. In other words, let’s say that this home looks like a live museum. You can really understand the work that has been done by looking at the garden where they have installed a fountain.
The house porch features a remarkable sign dated from 1897 and hosts a swing bank. The home’s colors, off-white, green and pink, very British, are highly improbable and, of course, reminds me of the British taste.
It’s in this historic house that the bride was getting ready. Actually, the preparation took place in the adjacent Carriage House, which is more modern and offered all the amenities of a modern hotel. During this time, the bride was surrounded by her maid of honor and bridesmaids.
The Bride and Her Bridesmaids
When I arrived I started taking pictures of the details, and given how beautiful is the location, I had a lot of pleasure. First, I hung the dress in the living room, using the windows and the leather coach. Then I also staged a picture with all the bridesmaids’ dresses on the Habberstad’s porch.
I love the shot of all the girls taking care of the bride while she is seating on the couch. At one point, one of the groomsmen came to deliver the flowers. When I see that they put them in the refrigerator, I can’t resist taking a picture.
The Groom’s Preparation in Town
The groom was getting ready at Stone Mill Hotel downtown. The room, with a Spartan Amish style, didn’t have a lot of natural light, nor a lot of space, but I managed to take some pictures anyway.
I like how the guys were disorganized. They obviously partied a lot the night before, and one of the groomsmen had a deep hangover.
The groom, who wanted everything to be perfect, needed to manage each of them. He gave a lecture on how to properly fold a pocket square. He had to repeat his explanations a couple of times to make sure everyone understood it properly.
The Bride Gets Dressed
Since the weather was pretty hot with a lot of moisture in the air, the bride waited until the last minute to get dressed. She decided to get dressed in the Habberstad living room, which was an amazing background for my pictures. That took a while but it was really worth it.
During this time, the groom and his best man were waiting outside.
First Look and Pictures
When she was finally ready, the bride and groom had their first look in front of the house. Then I staged the bridal party and family pictures, taking advantage of this unique home.
Emily, who knew what she wanted, had scouted another very lovely home (The Scandinavian Inn) and negotiated with the owner to access it for a few minutes.
If, like Emily you want to take advantage of the other Victorian house, you could have a look at the Sacred Clay Inn.
Thus we ended up taking pictures on a kind of gazebo nestled on the top of the house.
It’s not easy to relax just before their ceremony. Nevertheless the engagement pictures taken in front of their wedding photographer’s camera, and the experience they gained, helped them to quickly have good images.
Then we went on the top of city Hill, behind the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where you have a unique scenic view on Lanesboro falls. We took advantage of the landscape, and I included the dam in the background of their pictures. Then it was time for the entire bridal party to head to Berwood Hill Inn.
Berwood Hill for Your One-Lifetime Event
Let’s quickly present this charming venue. It’s also a Historical Victorian House that can be used for the bride and the groom preparation. Nevertheless the part you might be more interested in is its cottage gardens, protected by century-old trees, which have been designed to welcome marriage rituals. As a result if a perfect place for wedding portraiture. An adjacent rustic barn can also be used as the backdrop of some image. The land is covered by sculpture.
The propriety features a spacious lawn with an open view on the valley, where the guests enjoyed wood games if they were not enjoying the patio.
The main reception room itself is located inside a rehabilitated building that was previously probably a warehouse. It’s a large room with nice ground waxed concrete cover with a wood timber frame. It offers an open view on the valley through glass doors. Finally, the interior decoration is an accumulation of different kinds of styles: some European paintings, lampshade, vintage bright ceiling glass lights, LED bulbs garland, wood panels, etc.
Thus it has the charm of an antique dealer’s shop!
Wedding Ceremony at the Berwood Hill
The bride had decided to have an outdoor ceremony, with two symbolic rituals. They decided to confine a bottle of wine in a box for the future, and planting a plant that symbolizes their love.
When we arrived, all the chairs were already installed in the garden, as well as all the decorations. At the entrance of the garden, a big sign indicated to the guests to sit on both sides, explaining that people were gathered to celebrate love and not to choose a family.
Once all the guests wear seated, enjoying the fresh air, offered by the pines trees, two cellists seated on the side of the garden started to play classical music. People became quiet, and the groom started to walk down the aisle with his mom. He was quickly followed by the entire wedding party and finally the bride. It was an emotional moment, and you can see some tears on the pictures. I did what I like, took candid shot like a photojournalist.
Then the officiant (a friend) celebrated the ritual. The best men read a short text, after which the bride and the groom exchanged their rings.
They were introduced as a married couple! The husband and wife kissed, and walked down the aisle to the Berwood Hill porch where they set up a receiving line.
After greeting every guest for coming, the entire bridal party escaped to the Habberstad.
Getaway during the cocktail hour
The initial plan was that the bridal party would escape during the cocktail hour. After a quick stop at the Habberstad Inn to sign the marriage certificate, they were supposed to go to a bar in downtown. After having fun they would finally have gone back to the venue using a horse carriage.
Horse Carriage, an Amish’s Specialty
You might know that Harmony, MN, hosts a large Amish community. Some Amish offer their vintage carriage services for weddings. Unfortunately, things didn’t happen as expected.
Indeed, after the Bridal party opened a bottle of champagne and the witnesses signed the certificate, the bride and the groom discovered that the horse carriage (which was supposed to pick them up) was lost. That’s the problem when you hire some Amish with their horses! They might not understand everything and not be on time.
So, the bridal party ended up driving to the horse carriage and then went back directly to the Berwood Hill Inn for their grand entrance.
Then I managed to have the bride and the groom in front on my camera doing couple pictures using the sunset light.
After their remarkable arrival by stagecoach, we staged a picture with the bridal party and the horses. Then, all the guests were invited to enter in the dinner room.
Some speeches and toasts took place during the dinner. Parents’ speeches were emotional, while friends’ ones made everyone laugh.
During the dinner I “kidnapped” the bride and the groom for a 10 min photo session, in order to take advantage of the sunset light on the Root River Valley.
Then the DJ turned the patio into a dance floor and step by step, everyone started dancing.
Finally, the bus came to pick the bridal party back.
I complementary to my photojournalist style, I also like to stage some more artistic pictures. Given the location inspired me in my creative photography process. I had a lot of fun with this decor.
Before leaving, all the guests stood in line with sparklers for the grand exit. That’s always a great picture! After that it was time for me to drive back home in Rochester, MN.
Discover other historical venues
If you like historical venue, you might also be interested in discovering those wedding venues.
Located in the old warehouse district of Minneapolis, MN, the Aster Cafe is a great place to have beautiful portraits. You should love this green frontage with arch windows and steel beam. The interior is made with wood floors, brick walls, and wood tables. It’s an accumulation of European wood carved furniture and historical pieces of art. The effect is pretty similar to the Berwood Hill main room.
That creates a warm and intimate atmosphere for events.
A venue adored by all photographers from Minneapolis is the St.Paul Athletic Club. It’s jaw-dropping architecture guarantees your superior memories. It was made one century ago for the new elite class of the Mill city boomtown. The architect is the same who design the Grand Central Station in New York City. When it was first revealed, not only people from the surrounding states went to visit it (Iowa, Wisconsin), but from the entire country (Washington, NYC). The decorations feature numerous pieces of arts, from art deco style, neoclassical style and Renaissance Revival-influenced Beaux-Arts style.
If you have no idea of what it means, let’s say that it’s an impressive decor that looks made for a movie! Being there and drinking a cocktail gives you the illusion that you reached the heights of your social life.
It’s an amazing background for great portraiture, and, of course, to host a wedding celebration.
The Marjorie Mcnelly Conservatory is probably one of the most renowned locations among photographers in Minneapolis and St Paul, MN. Indeed, its elegant, chic and spectacular dome, welcome a lot of weddings, seniors’ portraits and family portraits. The Sunken Garden is famous for welcoming small of intimate celebration in a unique decor and has witnessed many husband and wife unions!
Nevertheless the reception took place in adjacent rooms, which are clean, but not as astonishing than the glasshouse.
It was a nice wedding in a wonderful location that features all Minnesotan history. I am glad the bride and the groom trusted me to create memories of their big day!
I hope they will enjoy their pictures for years to come.
If like them you want a relax wedding in a nice victoria house, just call me and send me an email.