Outdoor Family Wedding at the Outpost Center, Chaska, MN
Wedding Photos Outpost Center Chaska, Mn
While Heather and Nana were planning their ceremony near the Twin Cities, they discovered the Indian Wedding I covered in Minneapolis. So, when they booked their venue at the Outpost Center, in Chaska (Shakopee), they contacted me, and we meet in the coffee shop where they met. I loved their story and it matched the kinds of client I love to follow.
That’s why, the wedding I will share today is a family and friend’s wedding, where the bride and the groom focused on their guests. I love this kind of wedding that highlight what is really important, the families and communities bonds. I already had a lot of fun covering Heather and Nana engagement session in the fall, at Quarry Hill Rochester.
On the morning of the wedding, I arrived earlier to scout the photogenic spots. Actually, the forecast predictions were terrible all the week before the wedding, and improved only on the evening before the event. Also, it would be a cold, but without rain. Indeed, I knew I wouldn’t have much time with the bride and the groom during the afternoon, so I wanted to know the residence before. So, let me first introduce this venue and what makes it unique, and their unique day!
Table of Contents
The Outpost Center, Chaska, MN
This venue is located between Waconia and Minneapolis. It offers several assets, spreads between the building and the landscape. Let’s go straight to the point, regarding photography concerns, the landscape is obviously the main advantage of this outdoor location. Indeed, behind the new and massive red building, you can find a large variety of landscape concentrated on several acres, which is unusual in the area!
Just behind the red building, starts the classical clean lawn, without any tree. It’s a buffer part before more sophisticated gardens and wildness. It’s also where most outside event would take place. At the end of the lawn, stand the arch, offering a unique view on the hills and behind, a forest.
Sophisticated Garden and Enchanting Atmosphere
You can find, just after the lawn part, a nice garden, featuring decorative flowers, plants and a swing. Here, you can admire the gardener’s work. That said, this garden is still pretty small so won’t be used a lot in your photos. From my point of view, the surrounding nature is already breathtaking, and this garden is not a necessity. That said, it would please flower lovers!
The Rustic Timber Shed
On the side of the garden, stand a tiny and rustic shed that, you will see, I enjoyed so much to include in the pictures. This old-looking wood shed is probably the most iconic spot of the center.
Chaska Hills Covered With High Grass
Nestled in the rolling hills & wooded landscapes, the location offers a fantastic landscape. If you adventure behind the garden, you will find hills covered with high green grass. To some, they might remember the famous desktop’s picture of Windows’s OS. Nature offers a poetic show when wind blows on the grass! It’s also a very photogenic environment to take wedding pictures. What’s more, the hills allows the photographer to have an unusual point of view: above, or slightly beneath the newlyweds, which is great for dynamic composition!
Beneath the clean lawn, and down the hill stands a red farm (I guess a warehouse). The design is simple and inspired by Norwegian’s architecture. Thus, it tends to be timeless and therefore can be used as a background for bride and groom pictures.
Behind the red building, you can find a large pond (on your left side). It’s pretty simple, but I guess would work great on a sunny day. If you have time, pass the first pound, and walk until you face the forest. Then, take on you right, and take the trail that cross the forest and, you would find a much bigger pond surrounded by trees! Again, it’s probably a wonderful background on a sunny day. Unfortunately for us, it was a cloudy day, so we haven’t used this part.
As mentioned, a forest offers a green backdrop and some shade part during the summer. In winter, when the forest density allows you to inter it, it could be used as another photography’s spot!
Alongside the grass fields, you can find different kinds of evergreens. I especially love the pine tree. They work great in every season and not only in winter!
Other Significant Elements
If you want to exhaustive, there are three other noticeable elements that characterize the center. The big yellow lightened sign outside the longer of the road, that seems to come directly from the ’60s. And bride and groom have their name on it! A high wind turbine, that don’t make noise. It stands just behind the main building so would probably not be included in wedding pictures. A disaffected corn silo, that is covered by climbing vines during the summer.
To conclude on the landscape, I believe that such a concentration distinct kinds of landscape, is an amazing opportunity for a photographer! The only regret I would have (because I am French and it’s known that we are always complaining) is not having big old trees (such as an oak) that would provide shades in summer and would be a great element to play with.
The Venue and Its Philosophy
While the exterior of the building follows the classic red barn design, the inside of the building looks pretty modern and very clean. It has obviously been recently built to welcome celebrations and religious events. Because yes, this location specificity is that it’s a place of faith (so you’d better be OK with the Holy Spirit). Also, while it’s not a Lutheran church, you will find in the main room’s floor (the one for the wedding dinner), written on the ground: “Rooted in integrity, founded on faith in Christ.” Don’t be too surprised to find other religious text spread among the decorations. That being said, it’s a very open mind place. They define themselves as a non-denominational Christian Ministry (Luke 4:18, Isaiah 61:1-3). And for instance alcohol is allowed but must be provided by certified vendors.
The Interior Decoration
The style is a mix of modern, with many windows, functional (many bathrooms), and rustic style, with wood furniture. For instance, the bride’s suite features a nice wood door, and a beige linen floor. While the groom’s suite remember a club style with a leather couch. The main room is pretty empty and can gather up to 250 people seated. Nevertheless, if it’s technically possible, over 200 people space start to fall tight.
What kind of client is this venue for?
In conclusion of the venue presentation, I would say that it’s a pretty simple, sober, clean and efficient venue. If you like nature and nice landscape, that you don’t have an unlimited budget, and you want more than an evangelical free church, then this venue is for you. But, if you are looking for a luxurious, old, trendy venue to impress your guests, it’s probably not. Even if it’s modern and formal, the interior is decently enough to create nice background for wedding pictures. The landscape offers an outstanding decor, with hills, pounds, forest and wildflowers; it’s everything needed for a great outdoor ceremony, and all what a talented photographer could hope to find near Minneapolis and the Cities.
Dog and Horse friendly
Good to know for couples who have a dog or a horse, they can welcome them for the photos!
An emotional Ceremony
He is an informatics genius while she works in social. They both have a huge heart, full of love to share. They both are very friendly and humble people that enjoy family and friends through deep relation. It’s maybe sound simple, but that’s something I really like and respect. The only thing that really matters is your relatives and friends.
The Bride and Groom Getting Ready
It’s surrounded by their best friends and relatives that Heather and Nana got ready. This couple not only have an amazing family, but also have a lot of good friends that made the moment relax and joyful. There was a lot of laugh and jokes. While everyone should have been devoted to the bride, she was the one taking care of everyone. As a result, you can see how happy to share this privileged moment are the people. They were a lot of kids. It’s great because that always brings fresh and unexpected situations (and candid images). Given it was a cloudy day, the bride’s suite was pretty dark. I turned it into an opportunity to play with my flashes and stage aesthetic mages. The bride played the game, the result is the following images. The groom, as often, was taking care of the last organizations details. I like the image of him writing down his vows. Could it be more last minute? (I guess the future reportage I will cover will answer this question.) Another image I like is a groomsmen shoot, showing a contrast between a macho guy, and his timidity in front of the camera.
Bridal Party Photos
Given the bride and the groom didn’t want to see each other before the ritual, we did the split bridal party photo. The bride toke picture with the bride’s maid, while the groom took pictures with the groomsmen. We used the timber shed as a background. I also very appreciated the first look between the bride and her father, who was very emotional even if he didn’t want to let it show.
They Start Their Lifetime Together Surrounded by a Beautiful Scenery
Guests started to arrive and you could feel the pressure and the excitement. People waited until the last minute to seat on the white chairs, set up on the lawn. Some even picked a blanket from the back of their car to cover themselves. Finally, the music started and the procession started supported by African music. Here I saw the coolest pastor I had ever met. First she is a woman, and whatever you can say, religion is still mostly a men’s world. So, being a woman is always respectful. But, while some woman pastor sometime try to be stricter than the men (trying to find legitimate in orthodoxy), this one was not.
On the contrary, she was embracing this moment, having fun, dancing on the music! It was clearly the first time I saw a pastor dancing while walking dawn the aisle! At this moment I knew it would be a special moment! When the bride finally arrived escorted by her father and her mother, the groom painfully tried not to cry. All the guys, who were joking a lot few minutes before, also struggled with the emotion.
While men were wearing suits, bridesmaids and the bride were braving the cold temperature. It was actually so cold that the bride’s grandfather (pretty old), stay inside, behind the windows and close the restrooms to watch the event. If the bride and groom probably didn’t expect such fresh air, they were actually blessed. Because all the week prior to the event was only rain, and so was the prediction for their big day. It changed at the last minute!
Some lecture took place, and the bride’s maid of honor played live guitar. It was emotional. After that, the bride and groom exchange their vows, fallowed by their rings. Then light a unity candle. Finally, they shared some local bread (I guess as a symbolic communion). What really made this wedding apart from other one is that it was at the same time, religious, and at the same time was totally anchored in real life. It was all about life, love, families and friends and fun, instead of old biblical text that sounds empty, and protocol that you are afraid not to respect. I refer to all those text from, Isaiah, Matthew, Luke and so many other texts that we always heard during the wedding!
For this session we used the amazing backdrop offered by nature. The bride was so brave in the wind, walking into the high grass and the wildflowers. As a result she had those spectacular images. Indeed, in photography, winds helped create dynamic images! If you are getting married and in Minneapolis downtown and are looking for a windy area, I would suggest you Boom Island.
First Minute of Their Lifetime Together Braving Minnesota’s Weather
I always appreciate taking pictures during this short period just after the husband and wife tied the knot, because their mood is nothing but pure happiness. That provides the couple with a short complicity capsule before going back to the cocktail hour.
The Wedding Reception
People enjoy the cocktail hour inside. Some young and intrepid, played with the wood game. On the side, a caver was cooking a smoked pig. Of course that attracts the attention! It’s not every day that you have a carver on a wedding! The night came quickly and it was time for dinner. The caterer set up a buffet in the entrance facing the restrooms (which could quickly become a crowded place). In addition to the caterer, the relatives also cooked some African specialty. It was delicious. The husband and wife enter the room and the speeches happened.
Then they performed their first dance. During the dunning I tried to capture candid shots. It was crowded and I tried not to interfere with other professionals, such as the caterer’s staff, who were running in all direction, or the carver, who was surrounded by all the curious people. Before living, I staged some more artistic picture, using the Timber Shed and the yellow sign.
Conclusion on This Wedding
While it’s maybe not the most photogenic wedding ever, it was a moment of love and a great opportunity for the family to gather. I really appreciate the spirit of those two and their friends. It’s definitely the kind of wedding that makes sense for me to photograph. People care of each other and value photography. By the way, I have been asked a number of times to take portraits, what I always do with pleasure. While I am an artist and a secret agent, I also enjoy capturing portraits that I know will end hanged on the wall and that people will cherish. That gives a real satisfaction to this job. There is a bit of me in a lot of home!
Discover Other Wedding Venues to Celebrate a Marriage
You don’t want a barn wedding? Check at the hundreds of options offered in South-East of the state, from the sophisticated mansion, to the classic Victorian House with a lot of charm. For instance, let’s think of the Earl Brown Heritage Center, the Hope glen farm in Cottage Grove, the barns lost creek in Beldenville, Wisconsin, the round barn farm in Red Wing, MN, the Bavaria Down, the Mayowood stone barn in Rochester, MN. If you are looking for nature, and not a barn wedding, then check venues in Scandia, Bloomington, Northfield, Glenwood City, Bayport, Waconia, Hillsdale, Beldenville and, of course, Stillwater.
If you are looking for competitive price, check these three alternatives.
You can find in Minnesota and in the suburb of Minneapolis some gardens venues such as the Trellis Outdoor. Discover if they are to the right place for receptions or not. They usually offer a tremendous backdrop with a mix of cottage gardens, wildflowers, trees, fountains and sculptures.
You can find in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, some basement Venue such as 413 on Wacouta event center. If they do provide a kitchen for your caterer, they don’t offer natural light, which is a pity. Discover all the advantage and the inconvenience of such a venue (parking, location, low ceiling, bridal suite, public restrooms, etc.).
Take advantage of the beautiful Minnesota Landscape by hosting receptions on a River Boat. Discover what the limitations are of your caterer vendors, and what are the advantage (bars with alcohol, amazing cruise on the St Croix or Mississippi River, etc.).