SteepleChase Event Center Wedding Leah Josh in Mazzepa MN

photographer in Rochester MN

After their engagement session in Rochester, MN at the Quarry Hill Park on a snowy day, Leah and josh got married in this stunning venue in Mazeppa: the Steeplechase event center. So on an early morning, you favorite photographer, left Rochester MN and headed to cover this unique wedding. Let me introduce this venue and dive in this unforgettable wedding reception!

— dream wedding at steeplechase event center —
— dream wedding at steeplechase event center —

Presentation of the Steeplechase Event Center for Your Wedding

First, let’s confess that I don’t really understand its name (if someone gets the meaning, please explain me). Indeed, when the bride and the groom told me they would get married at this event center, I first thought about horses jumping over water. Not really! Well, what we need to remember from the name here is “Steeple” part, because it has for sure a nice steeple with an illuminated clock.
In fact the venue is nested on the top of the hill in the South East Minnesota, on what used to be a ski resort. It is located half an hour from Rochester, MN, between Pine Island, Oronoco, Zumbrota, the Zumbro River and Red Wing. The wedding center would seduce people from Rochester (it’s close to the Mayo Clinic) and also people coming from Minneapolis or Saint Paul, Minnesota, who are looking to celebrate their weddings in a spectacular venue.

The Panoramic Vue

This place offers a breathtaking panoramic vue on the surrounding hills. And to use this exceptional view as a backdrop for your ceremony, the SteepleChase has a large wood deck! So, you can fit with your wedding officiant and all your entire wedding party while you’re getting knots! Your guests will enjoy the charm of the rural landscape, the wildlife oak woods and the prairie behind you. During ceremonies, birds will provide live music. Isn’t that romantic and idyllic!
For your photography session, unless you want, you don’t need to hike on every trail to find stunning backdrop. There are multiple options close to the Chapel and its overlooking vue

The Chapel

That’s the other big piece for the wedding of your dreams: the venue itself. It’s a 1900’s chapel, with its woodwork, arched windows and its steeple. They moved it from Oronoco, MN, and nestled it on the top of the hill. They renovated and created an adjacent and large extension to host your banquet. For your dinner, the Steeplechase event center has a kitchen space that the catering can use. The Chapel itself is elegant and big enough to handle a medium size ceremony. After the dinner, the chapel turns into a ballroom, with its wood floor and high ceiling.

The Wedding Day

The wedding day was pretty classic in terms of the schedule of the events.

Getting ready inside the bridal suite

The bride and bridesmaids came earlier to get ready while some family members were helping with the venue decorations. The girls used the bridal suite room to have their hair and make-up done. During this time I went outside and looked for a place to hang the dress. I finally found what I was looking for: the pine tree.
Then the girls wore their getting-ready outfit. It’s kind of a new trend where the bride offers to her girls the same outfit. After that, they opened a bottle of champagne and started to relax after they spread half of the bottle on their wedding photographer. That was kind of a funny moment!

Then the Groom Came With His Groomsmen

For the groom, the getting ready was done in 10 minutes. His relatives and friends liked to tease him, he was pretty relaxed. I set him close to a window in order to have natural light and asked his brother to help the groom with his suite.

First Look and Photo Session Outside

For their first look, they chose a shadowy place in order to have a soft light (given the sun was high in the sky). The groom was excited and nervous until he saw his wife-to-be. As a wedding photographer, I always feel privileged to be a witness of this beautiful moment, which 99% of the time is full of emotion!
After that, we took the time for the bride and groom photo session. It was the end of spring, but the temperature was already pretty high. I liked the complicity between those two, and how the groom was taking care of the bride.
For the pictures, we used the Steeplechase amazing landscape with its meadow and natural reserve.

Wedding Group pictures

After the couple session, we went back to the Steeple to make the group pictures. The AC was appreciated! For the group photographs I used the balcony, the pillars, including the piano, to compose my background.
We staged the group on chairs and tried to compose dynamic pictures that look like painting.

Ceremony on the deck and its panoramic view

They were gathering all their guests on the hill. When everyone was seated (half exposed to the sun, and half in the shadow), the bridal party started to walk down the aisle. The officiant was pretty relaxed and allowed me to turn around the wood deck. For me it was a real pleasure to cover this ceremony! At one point, the pastor let the groom’s father say some words and announce their union. It’s definitely more powerful when you get married by your father!
Before kissing, they exchanged their vows and their wedding rings.

Cocktail and Reception

After the outside ceremony, everyone was going inside the chapel for the cocktail hour. It’s usually the moment your professional photographer takes the most candid shoots of your guests. Indeed, when families share beverages and discuss together, they don’t pay attention to the camera and that allows me to capture raw emotions.
Then the dinner took place, animated by toasts and speeches. Before the opening dance on the Chapel dance floor, I managed to “steal” the newly married couple for some minutes to shoot some sunset pictures.
Finally, before leaving the party, I set up a last picture outside of the Steeplechase event center. For me, it’s the opportunity to create an artistic photograph, to offer to the bride and groom some time together and wish them the best.
I can’t say enough how lucky I am they choose me for covering their big day!

Steeplechase Event Center in Mazeppa, a charming place for a perfect wedding

As a summary, I would say that this venue is one of my favorite venues around Rochester, MN. It is more picturesque than luxurious. It’s elegant, old-looking, with the entire history heritage, and (except for the bride and groom suite) it’s very bright. On the top of all this, the deck with its panoramic scenic view is just a breathtaking place to celebrate a wedding in the state of Minnesota. Of course you are dependent on the forecast, but even in the worst scenario, the inside of the chapel is ample enough to host your special day and have all your guests seating. Finally, this venue is the perfect place for hosting middle size or intimate weddings in the Southeast of Minnesota!

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