Unforgettable Wedding at Saint James Hotel Red Wing Mn
As a professional wedding photographer in the cities, I love when families are gathered in an emotional ceremony.
This wedding reportage is by far one of the most emotional of the year. All the photos of this wedding day are captured at the Saint James Hotel, a magnificent venue.
Before that, I met with the bride and the groom in Rochester, MN, and I was immediately seduced by their idyllic project. She comes from the West Coast, while he grew up in Minnesota. They were looking for an unobtrusive professional wedding photographer to capture their ceremony near the Twin Cities, at the Saint James Hotel in Red Wing. I guess I convinced them because quickly after they booked me, we were shooting their memorable engagement photo shoot in Rochester.
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The St. James Hotel in Red Wing for Your Wedding Reportage
This is one of the most enchanting places I have ever seen among all Minnesota’s wedding reception venues, and as a wedding photographer I have experienced quite a lot!
First, for the pragmatic part it has all the amenities you can expect when you plan your wedding in a hotel:
- Rooms for your guests who can sleep at the event place (no need to drive or transportation)
- caterer service is already included
- several packages adapted to small and big weddings
- planning services, so you don’t have to care about the details (ideal for destination weddings)
- restaurants and coffee place. So it’s easy to organize a brunch, the day after the event.
- hair salon
- concierge service (if you need anything in the middle of the night)
- a parking
Second, and that’s from far why I love this venue, the St. James offers:
- an historical vintage aisle with outstanding room (Victorian style, club style)
- some historical rooms for you and your guests, where is perfect to get ready
- and historic story, which confer a soul at venue
- a red brick good-looking façade with a balcony (great for pictures),
- a fountain,
- a panoramic view on the Mississippi River and the bluff
- it is located in Red Wing downtown and surrounded by old streets
- it is surrounded by several parks (a couple of them are located on the Mississippi shore and others on the top of the bluff)
So from far, this venue offers a lot of options that could be used for amazing photo backdrops.
The Getting Ready for the Bride and Groom
After all the flattering comments above, the only thing I appreciated less at the Saint James hotel is its modern wing. That said, it is also the reason it can hold a considerable number of guests (and thus, big weddings up to 240 people).
Meeting Room as a Bridal Suite
The kind of room they offered as a bridal suite in the modern wing of the hotel had unfortunately no windows (it is designed to be a meeting room), therefore it is not as photogenic place as the historic rooms (with windows, nice furniture, etc.). Thus, even if it’s convenient when you want your entire wedding party to get ready with you, it’s not what you expect when you get married at the Saint James Hotel.
If you are OK not being surrounded by your entire bridal party, or if you manage to reduce your bridesmaid’s number to a small group, then ask for one of the amazing old looking suites offered by the hotel. And then, you will be sure to have a beautiful backdrop, with natural light. Consequently, those wedding photos would totally match with the historic style. That’s why we escaped with the bride and her mother for the bride to get ready in one of these old-fashioned rooms. She got dressed in her wedding attire in a few minutes and ready for her big day.
Complicity Between the Groom and His Son
Meanwhile, guys got ready in another adjacent room (with no window). The groom helped his 5-year-old son to get ready, despite his excitation and desire to play. It was a real pleasure to see such complicity between a father and his kid. Even if the groom was the kind of guys who control himself in front of the camera, he just behaved naturally with his son. Indeed, you can’t cheat with kids. At this moment, I knew I was seizing real true, candid and charming moments.
The First Look and photos at the Historic Wing of the Hotel
We were supposed to use the balcony for a spectacular first look, but the temperatures were pretty low. Thus, it’s in the old wing of their historic venue that they chose to discover each other’s looks. The bride was elegant in her wedding gown, and catching the large smile covering her face when she discovered her husband was a true romantic and magical moment (you may see some tears).
Wedding Celebration at the St. James Hotel, Red Wing
It was simply a pleasure! I was delighted to use this exquisite and luxurious hotel to capture the wedding of these two lovebirds. I think we went on all possible photo spots in the hotel, and the session (almost) turned into a visit of this alive museum!
In this cold day of October, it was pretty convenient to shoot all the pictures inside the hotel. It’s the kind of privilege that it doesn’t serve entirely as an event place! When I look back, I believe the engagement session truly helped them to feel at ease quicker in front of the camera, and that provided more unforgettable pictures.
Bridal Party and Family Portrait
Then we used the same chic and luxurious background to shoot the group pictures. I took some photographs in the hall and some in the library.
Unparalleled Ceremony at the Summit Room
The union was held in the summit room which offers a panoramic view on the Mississippi. Chairs and tables were finely decorated. The most emotional wedding of the year was about to start.
What made this wedding special was not the bride walking down the aisle, nor her to say, « I do .» It wasn’t neither the officiant (a friend) helping them to create a personalized and non-traditional ceremonies. And it wasn’t neither their symbolic ritual of planting a tree, even if the customized batman shovel was pretty comic.
How a Little Boy Turned a Wedding Into Something Unique
Actually, it was their little boy that the bride and the groom decided to include in their vows exchange. As a consequence, they were three. This little 5-year-old boy (from the previous groom’s relation) was bravely standing on a high wood steep stool. The paroxysm of the emotion is when the bride turned to the boy and told him, “I promise to take care of you, to protect you and to love you as if you were mine.” I can still hear those words today. She was publicly formalizing her love for this little cute and therefore establishing her position as a devoted mother. I testify that from my entire wedding photographer career, I have never seen such attention! Indeed, you can imagine that nowadays, kids from previous relations are really common! But this was the most powerful wedding I have ever assisted.
Everybody was crying, or had at least wet eyes. I tried not to, but it was difficult! I strive not to be overwhelmed by the emotion, to stay focus and attentive to anything happening, catching journalistic wedding images.
Sipping Cocktails in the Victorian Dining Room, or Tea Salon
After the knot was tied, guests were invited to drink champagne in the Victoria Dining Room. The newly married couple decided to salute their guests and hold a receiving line in the lobby.
Shots on riverfront for sunset pics
The Mississippi River is situated at a walking distance from the St. James Hotel and at that particular moment it was sunset time.
Earlier, I couldn’t manage to convince the bride to escape to the riverfront, but I tried again. That worked! Despite the cold weather, the bride who was now much more relaxed, found the motivation to go out to the Sea Wing Memorial Park in order to catch some pictures with the sunset light. The park itself, with its gazebo is pretty simple, but those two ones playing and reading love and happiness on the waterfront granted it.
After the grand entrance, there were funny speeches. Then the sympathetic and well-organized DJ set up the table game, which was pretty convenient for the bride and groom to have their pictures taken with all the guests around the tables, without requiring one hour. Indeed, it was done in less than five minutes. Well done!
After the wedding cake was cut, the dance started and all the guests joined them on the dance floor.
Thank you to Abby, the St. James Hotel Coordinator, who provides me accommodations I needed, to use the hotel amenities to stage an more artistic picture. During the dance I set up a creative stage, using colored flashes and the decor offer by the venue.
End of the Reception and a Sparkling Grand Exit
After that, it was time to end the party. They asked all the guests to line up outside the Saint James for their grand exit using sparklers! That was an upscale of the nightlife in Red Wing, MN!
It was a privilege, from my arrival in the morning to the last photo shoot in the night, to capture the pictures of this lovely couple and their romance. Their love for each other is evident in every frame. They allowed me to enter the intimate privacy of their families for this unique day. They trusted me, from the pre-wedding production to the last moment, and I believe, pictures provoked a lot of emotions. At the end of the day, I had the feeling to know them as friends for a long time and I left with a smile on my face. It is this kind of wedding that makes me love being a wedding photographer.
Conclusion, tons of reason you should choose the St. James for your celebrations.
Photographers do love post-industrial red brick building, such as the Nicollet Island Pavilion (Minneapolis, MN). Nevertheless, if they do offer a stunning decor, they do not always offer high quality room for the preparation or a separate ballroom.
What’s more, the St. James offers much more than just red brick walls and steel beams! It’s an authentic vintage Victorian decor!
Another point to consider is the linens and rentals. When you might need to rent linens with a tierce caterer, the St. James provide you everything you need.
In a way, the St. James, like the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (in Minneapolis, MN), is adored by photographers in Minnesota because it confers your images a superior dimension from another time. Indeed, its decor honored images with the social distinction long-time reserved for people from the upper society.
Of course, to enjoy this privilege, you taste must be coordinate with the decor, avoiding any sign of vulgarity.
The major advantage of having a wedding in a hotel is to be able to party until the end of the night, given you and your guests don’t have to drive. What’s more the modern hotel offers all kinds of accommodations that you could wish for.
If your family travel from another state, and you want to gather all your close relative the day before your event, hosting your dinner at the hotel can be pretty convenient!
A question Ask Abby
Abby is the hotel coordinator. She takes care of clients and answer emails very quickly. I worked with her a couple of times, and I have nothing but the best of her services.