The Aster for warm ceremonies & Music in historic building
The previous article features a couple session on a rooftop (on St Antony, in the Cities), taking place before the day of their ceremony. I tried to explain how important are those engagement sessions and how they can impact on the final result.
She teaches kids music, especially piano, he is a computer guy. I first met them in a coffee shop in Saint-Paul Minnesota. They needed a discreet snapper to cover their wedding in the Twin Cities. She explained to me the wedding of her dreams. She was planning to hold a sophisticated reception with a music band in an old authentic restaurant on SE Main Street, facing the Mississippi with a perfect scenic view of the Minneapolis skyline.
But this wedding has something more special, that was also one of the major motivations for the bride and the groom to get married, it was the bride’s mother. This was sick, and one of their main desires was to tie the knot while she was still alive. I did my best to capture every little smile and emotion of a day that was special.
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Preparation at the Nicollet Island Inn
The night before they actually had their rehearsal dinner at the Nicollet Island Inn, located 10 min from their venue. Following the tradition, they slept in different rooms. And when I arrived in the morning they were both getting ready in different rooms.
Details Photos of the attire
I started with the classical images of the dress and all the macro details of the attire. But, the hotel room being quite cozy, there was not much room for me to work. In such a scenario I would usually be outside, close to the Mississippi and hang the dress on a tree. But it was winter, with snow! As a result it’s in the reception room (located in the basement of the hotel), where I played my magic tricks.
Warm ambience with the girls
If the getting ready room was not especially amazing (in terms of lightning, there was not any window), the laughs between the girls gave me material to capture. The makeup artist and hairstylist did a great job throwing a lot of jokes. Though, I could feel a kind of nervousness in the air, betraying how important the moment was for them.
When Teresa put on her dress, it felt like a picture of the mom helping her girls attaching the dress was one of the most important pictures of the day.
Cute Dad and sons preparation
During this time, Steve got ready with his two boys, very polite. As teenagers, they pretended not to care, but I can tell how happy they were to be part of their Dad’s special day. He helped them with the mens obligations: fixing bowtie, suit and hair.
First Look and groups pics
Teresa and Steve did their first look in the hotel’s restaurant. We picked a window to have a bit of natural light. It was fun to see how nervous those two were, and how the simple fact of being together reassured them and gave them courage and spirit to face the day.
Then we capture some staged family groups in front of the Christmas Tree (using a wide angle lens given the room allowed).
Express Bride and groom session in Saint Anthony Main Street
Between the freezing rain, some difficulties walking and some apprehension of the formalities, we adjusted the bride and groom session to the essential. We took advantage of the sumptuous store front of the café (with the green colones). Then they went into hiding into the getting ready room called the Hepburn Suite. This name may sound pompous, but it’s really a nice room on two floors. One of the best getting ready rooms a photography artisan can wish for! So we took advantage of the stairs and chandelier to take a few creative images while they were waiting to do the big jump.
The Ceremony in the River Room
Then the ritual started, with music, and the bride walked down the aisle. The Aster cafe team had set up a white sheet as a backdrop with some tiny LED lighting all the longer of the aisle and some candles. That produced a cozy:magical tone. The arch was hiding the historic glass door and prevented any reflection of my flashes on the windows (thank you!).
It was an intimate celebration. Their officiant was a friend. The husband and wife decided to invite only the closest family and best friend. Teresa’s mother was of course seating at the first raw.. Thus they were surrounded only by the most important people in their life.
Violin and Piano
The bride being a musician, it’s not surprising that she included a violin solo during the ritual. It was classical, inspiring. But the intensity of emotion went even higher when the mom of the bride (also a pianiste), interpreted a piece of music for her daughter.
The ritual continued, with a lot of laughter. And after they exchanged their vows, she said “I do”, then they put their wedding rings on their fingers and were finally married! After they exited the River room, the kids (and other family members)ran toward them to congratulate and hug them. That was another very moment rich in tears I was pleased to document.
Getaway for a portraits under the snow on the famous Stone Arch Bridge
After the that, we noticed that the long-awaited snow was finally falling. Also, we run into our cars and meet at Minneapolis emblematic construction: the Stone Arch Bridge. We had just the time to shoot some photos with flashes, and a few more with fairy lights, and a last one with the adjacent fire pit. After this getaway, it was time to go back for the reception.
Toast, Live Music, magical moments for unforgettable memories
In the River room and its warm atmosphere, we enjoyed witnessing the snowfall. Toasts took place and with those come a lot of tears. Then it was time for a first dance. They picked a romantic slow dance and ended with a kiss.
Live music took place with a quintet jazz band. It was composed by a Cello (singer), a Trumpet, a Trombone, a Drum and a guitar. Needless to say that it was an amazing reception! Everybody danced, enjoyed the evening. For a photojournalist it was a real pleasure to immortalize all those candid moments.
After the bride and groom cut their two-tiered wedding cake, the groom made a pretty bold surprise. (Even I was not aware). He asked for the microphone, and after a few words telling his wife how much he loved her, he started to sing a love song! It was a success!
Sparklers Grand Exit at the Aster Cafe
Finally, came the time for the grand exit. The husband and wife invited their guests to line up outside the venue, in the night with sparklers. That was a romantic and magical moment to end their gatherings at astercafe.
Like Teresa and Steve, Should You Plan Your Winter Wedding at the Aster Cafe?
Minneapolis offers a lot of venues specialized in weddings that all have their specificities. The Cafe is a lovely quaint restaurant to host a party and reception. It has a stunning and historic dinner room (named the River Room), which is all adorned with statues, lamps, luxurious red leather chairs, chandeliers, mirrors, and many rustic furniture. In other words, you don’t need to spend money on floral decoration, rentals, and designer vendors in order to transform a simple site into a romantic one. Its authentic old vintage style creates a timeless and memorable backdrop. That’s why I believe, it’s a good wedding reception venue for those who plan to have a small wedding and don’t want to spend hours in a DIY wedding. It is a good match for the wedding budget.
A Picturesque Location for the Best Photographers Only!
That said, you may have noticed the natural light coming from the windows created a strong backlight effect. It means that the lightning condition is very difficult, and to have good result you deeply need one of the best wedding photographers in Minneapolis (preferably a French one: p), who will work with off-camera flashes.
That said the chandeliers and the tiny LED spread across the room generated a real magical atmosphere to the venue.
Venue Surrounded by Several Photo Spot
The Cafe is located on SE Main Street, downtown Minneapolis in the historic warehouse district and now renovated. Thereby, it’s surrounded by a lot of wedding venues and good spots for your photography session. It lets you think of the old brick buildings, the view on the Mississippi River and the city Skyline, and several walking distance parks.
One iconic location of the District is probably the St Anthony Main Theater, with its electrical bulbs. It’s a place loved by tourists during weekends!
We should not forget to mention their patio and courtyard with a huge green tent (the Shasta Tent).
What’s more, it accommodates a nice bridal suite, which is great for pictures and convenient to get ready.
An additional point is that, more than cocktails, they also offer catering service (they have all the facilities for corporate meetings).
Finally, the wedding coordinator will guide you to make sure everything goes smoothly and their team is very friendly and helping. Anyone you ask will tell you server was very attentive. Check their reviews (and a bride review) to have a better idea, and look at the newlywed’s testimony below regarding her experience.
Heather and Zach small wedding remember me this wedding at the public library of Stillwater, Minnesota. It was a small wedding, with no rehearsal ceremony, but the coordinator who was the bride’s uncle. In took place on the rooftop with an amazing point of Vue on the Stillwater and St Croix River, including a dog!
To conclude, I’m honored that the bride and groom trusted me to cover their exquisite reception. The Aster Cafe is one of the classical venues in Minnesota and if you plan to get married there, don’t hesitate to contact me!