landlocked bride® | midwest + mountain west wedding inspiration

plan a modern wedding in the middle of the country

Sometimes a wedding captures your attention, not necessarily because of the details, but because of the meaning, or the uniqueness of it.

Take Giovanna and Tom’s wedding. It’s small. It’s intimate. It’s sweet. But, what sold me was the sunrise ceremony (yes, sunrise). Complete with a brunch reception.

Just goes to show, there are absolutely no rules when planning your wedding.

Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

From the Photographer, Paul:
Tom owns a private beach residence on Lake Huron in Northern Michigan. He and his wife have plans to retire in a couple years and build their dream home on the property. So, it was only obvious that the couple would get married on the property, on the beach at sunrise. Their ceremony began pre-dawn, and the Chief of Navy Chaplains paused the ceremony for a few minutes just so everyone could watch the sunrise over Lake Huron. It was a beautiful intimate Wedding with a simple brunch reception following the ceremony at North Bay Beach House in Presque Isle Michigan.

Caterer: The Fresh Palate | Event Planner: Charity Wings | Floral Designer: Flowerland Designs of Alpena | Musicians: Bayshore Strings, Huron Strings | Officiant: Mark Tidd | Photography: Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

Mindy Hiatt Photography

It’s a big day for the Landlocked Bride tomorrow. I officially make the trek from the Midwest to the Mountains. And, as I head West, I cannot help but want to share this wedding. It’s special and meaningful to me for so many reasons. But, more importantly, Bill and Cara made every single effort to make their wedding uniquely them, personal, full of love and memorable. I had the hardest time picking photos and narrowing down her story.

Enjoy the mountains and the love.

CF Photography

From the Bride:
Planning the wedding of my dreams was something I wanted to make sure was perfect. Making sure everything Bill and I did screamed us, not what other people want, and to make sure we focused on us on the big day. So since I come from a large family of siblings, step siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends in which have been family to me for so long I wanted to get creative making everyone feel important without compromising my special day with what I considered a small group.

I initially tried to plan a wedding in St. Louis, but nothing felt right, having that feeling of the right decision was important to me. Bill is from Pittsburgh but spent most of his adult life in Colorado, and I love the mountains and traveling. It made it hard to incorporate a city wedding or to have our wedding pictures in front of the Arch. St. Louis has been my home for my whole life, but St. Louis was not Bill. So after many long discussions we knew that Colorado would be the place for us to get married. We went there almost four years ago as friends, and had the most amazing trip, and I can actually say there on a mountain in Keystone is where I had the moment where we discovered we were more than just friends. So we decided to make the wedding about where we fell in love.

We initially looked at Sapphire Pointe; an amazing overlook in between Breckenridge and Keystone. Unfortunately it could not be booked until 6 months prior to the date we wanted. We contacted good friends of ours in Breckenridge and asked if we could use their amazing restaurant Modis, and thankfully they said yes. With the restaurant beautiful as-is, we hardly needed decorations. Just a couple centerpieces and the place would be great. For food, they just told us to trust them. The owners are very close friends of Bill’s, and since we had eaten at Modis before, we knew the food would be absolutely delicious.

We definitely tasted the cake. Katy Schabert from SugarBreck was so nice, and I could tell from her website that she was an absolute artist. Bill and I tasted the cake and chose our flavors, I told her our colors, mentioned my desire for fondant, and I told her my flowers were sunflowers. We also spoke with Cindy from Bloom Flowers, a good friend of Bill’s and fellow Pittsburgher. I told her to that I wanted sunflowers all different kinds and I wanted them everywhere.

When Christmas came around, it was time to book Sapphire Pointe, but to my horrifying dismay, for two weeks out of the year the road to this location would be closed. And, sure enough, the week of our wedding was one of them. I was devastated and freaking out. So I frantically looked online and decided to call a wedding planner at Keystone Resort. Bill had worked there for so many years and I thought they could help lead us to a good location. I got a hold of Alicia Hein, and she pointed us in a couple directions, one of them being Keystone Ranch. I had been there only for dinner, and never really thought of the idea of getting married on a golf course. Bill of course loved the idea. Golf is his passion, and he used to work there at the restaurant. So the decision was made. And it felt right; better than Sapphire Pointe.

One of the major decisions we made was who was going to marry us. I wanted to choose someone who would guide us and help us through our journey together. Someone who knew us, and to Bill and I we both knew that answer. Bill’s friend Brian was it. They had been friends since they were kids growing up in Pittsburgh, him and his wife had been such a support to Bill so many times in his life, and he and his wife are a relationship we work toward as a couple and as parents. They have four amazing children who we love as family, and they are people we will have in our lives forever and whom we always know we can turn to.

The day following our at home “Preception,” Bill and I started our drive with a car full for our next adventure, the big day. Since we were full of excitement we made the 12-hour drive, no problem. As we made it to Denver, Colorado we were so excited, until we received a text message from a friend of 8” of snow in Breckenridge. As we knew we had three more days till the wedding, we didn’t care if there was 2 feet of snow.

I didn’t really get nervous until I was waiting to walk out on our wedding day. I remember I was standing inside the restaurant at the golf course with my dad, and just wanted to hear Bill say something (I knew he was on the other side of the wall from where I was standing), but not a peep. But the moment I walked out and saw him was something I will never forget as my heart felt whole and filled with joy.

We went to Modis where everyone was waiting for us. The food was to die for (many months later people are still talking about it). The sunflowers everywhere were amazing. And let me tell you about Jonny Mongambo, unreal. We had a Led Zeppelin song as our first dance called Thank You. He sang it beautifully; I can never thank him enough for how awesome he did. And then the rest of the night, I never left the dance floor, I mean never. At moments I was even by myself, which my awesome brother made sure didn’t happen for very long. He was always right beside me.

I didn’t have one complaint of the day; it was the most perfect day of my life and I loved sharing it with the people who mean the most to us. I felt like the luckiest person in the world.

Ceremony Venue: Keystone Ranch | Reception Venue: Modis | Floral Designer: Bloom Flower Shop | Band: Johnny Mogambo Band | Bakery: SugarBreck | Photography: CF Photography

row 1: Southern Weddings; Carrie Patterson Photography via The Knot; Bella Invites via SMP; Seven Swans Wedding Stationery
row 2: Kim Lind Photography via SMP; Megan Thiele Studios via SMP; Martha Stewart Weddings; Aaron Delesie via SMP

Y’all. This wedding.  This wedding is everything a wedding should be.  Intimate. Special. Emotional. Beautiful. It’s full of character, simple details, the help of friends and family. Not fussy. Meaningful. So, meaningful.

Bryan and Mae

From the Photographer, Mae:
Lindsey and Jason planned their modern wedding with the intent of throwing a great party. They chose a unique venue in downtown Grand Rapids that helped to set the pace for how their day would unfold. The venue was a bed and breakfast in a historic home in the area that allowed the party to flow from one room to the next, giving it a familial and festive feel. They decorated using peacock feathers as inspiration and the bridesmaids wore purple dresses that mimicked the purple in the feathers. Their day was lovely and filled with so much joy; we are honored to share it.

Ceremony / Reception Venue: Leonard at Logan | Caterer: Marie Catrib’s | Wedding Gown: David’s Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal | Groom / Groomsmen Attire: Express

For once I am at a loss of words. These photos truly just speak for themselves. The lighting, the sunset ceremony, the joy, the beauty? None of it needs an introduction, other than the fact that I am honored that Mike of MNC Photography shared this wedding with me. And, thrilled that Ashlynn was so excited to share the details of her and Stephen’s planning process.

And, for the record, Forest Park is one of my absolute favorite venues in St. Louis. World’s Fair Pavilion offers some spectacular views of the Park, and I swoon every time I see a wedding up there.

MNC Photography

From the Bride:
The story behind the World’s Fair Pavilion as our venue started when I was about 13 years old. It all started when my dad took me to a musical at The Muny in Forest Park. Afterward, we went to lunch at The Boathouse (where we had our rehearsal dinner) and then walked around the park. As he took me up to the World’s Fair Pavilion (at the time not dressed up with all the fountains and landscaping it now has), I said to him “I am going to get married here some day.” Ten years later, when the man of my dreams asked me to marry him, we began our planning from Washington, DC, where we were then living. From the beginning we wanted this to be the most fun, non-stuffy wedding we could throw, while trying to still keep some traditional elements as well.

In DC I worked at a bridal shop, so planning while working there was so fun. We got all of our the attire and accessories for myself and the wedding party at the shop. I am the bride that says my husband wasn’t too interested in planning (until the end, when he stepped up to help take some load off my shoulders) but probably because I am an OCD planner!

Since everything was planned to be outside, I scoured the internet for 3 month/30day/15 day forecasts! That week it was supposed to rain. After developing a Plan B for the ceremony, the day of the wedding was a miraculously beautiful day!!! We agreed we wanted the ceremony and reception in the same place, directly following each other and in the evening. So, we had our first look and took all of our pictures before so we could just enjoy the rest of the night.

The ceremony took place at sunset overlooking the park (it was amazing!). We then headed to cocktail hour and reception inside the pavilion. We had lounge style seating with high top tables, bistro tables and large rounds, and guests could sit where ever they wanted with food being available for about two hours. Later in the night we had Saint Louis’s famous Gus’s pretzels and a popcorn stand, as well as a photobooth, all of which was a huge hit! We danced the WHOLE night!!!

Our brilliant idea was to swim in the fountain at the end of the night. We only shared this information with our photographer, who stuck around just to photograph it (he is amazing by the way). So we had a mini trash the dress session. Afterward, I got to cut and keep the top part of the gown.

The bus ride at the end of the night was one of the funniest things I had seen in a long time, we tried to pile about 60 people on our bus, where everyone continued the dance party!! Overall definitely the most amazing night of our lives (only having a baby could top it:)!!

Ceremony / Reception Venue: World’s Fair Pavilion | Ceremony Music: Keough Music Productions | Reception Music: Arvell & Company | Photography: MNC Photography | Florist: Lucky You Productions | Lighting / Decor: Exclusive Events | Wedding Gown: Ian Stuart from Hannelore’s Bridal Boutique | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jim Hjelm Occasions from Hannelore’s Bridal Boutique | Veil: Toni Federici | Shoes: Kate Spade | Groom / Groomsmen Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Photobooth: Photobooth StL | Hair / Make-up: Tami Scott Studio | Catering: Orlando’s Catering | Bakery: McArthur’s Bakery

There may be a Fall chill in the air, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak on a pair of sparkly strappy heels for the big day!

Emily Steffen Photography

Things about this wedding that warm my heart: 1. Karli and Justin are high school sweethearts. 2. The decor and celebration were simple and full of personal, DIY details. The two really wanted a rustic / vintage wedding with an elegant feel. They combined yellow and silver with all of the sweet details like old coffee cans, vintage fabrics, floral, and a pop of yellow with Karli’s parasol.

This wedding is the perfect reminder that your nuptials do not need to be over the top or elaborate to be beautiful. There is so much more to a wedding (like the marriage part) that allows the heart, love and beauty to shine through.

Kelli Hunt Photography

Reception Venue: AmericInn Conference Center | Caterer: McClellan’s | Event Designer: Renee Knapp | Floral Designer: Joyce Naber | Musicians: Jim Szantza Trio | Photographer: Kelli Hunt Photography | Dress Store: Ellynne’s Bridal | DJ: Platinum Productions | Shoes: Seychelles Footwear

I’m a true sucker for a ranuncula or peony, but com September, those beauties are out of season. But, when Fall does roll around, some of the most vivid, full and colorful flowers (and plants) make their appearance.

Take advantage of what is in season – not only for the sake of what’s available (because, lets be honest, those aubergine dahlia’s below are totally swoon-worthy), but also to keep your floral costs reasonable.

  • Dahlias
  • Sunflowers
  • Mums
  • Hypericum Berries
  • Leaves and Ornamental Cabbage
  • Succulents
  • Astilbe
  • Wheat

Row 1: Christian P Photography / Panacea Event Floral Design via SMP, Martha Stewart Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings
Row 2: Brian Sheffield Photography via In The Now Weddings
Row 3: Snap! Photography / Hana Floral Design and Boutique via SMP, Sweet Pea Floral Design via SMP, Floret Flowers

A beautiful vintage wedding featuring simple details by family and friends.

The best kind of wedding is the one where family and friends really come together to not just pull together all the details, but also bring 110% of their love and support the shower on the couple. The joy is so obvious when that happens.

Krystal Muellenberg Photography

From the Bride:
I’m an Iowan girl with simple tastes, and my fiance is a very tall red-headed Minnesotan. Joe is very outdoorsy and athletic and adventurous. Me, I’m more of a timid person, who likes details, knitting and reading. We both have goofy, easy-going senses of humor. We met because we moved into the same apartment building, on the same day, next door to each other–our landlord introduced us! Joe proposed on Dec. 12th on a Sunday afternoon when I was folding laundry…pretty low key but a great surprise. When we started planning, we decided we wanted our wedding to be the one where people say, “Hey, remember Haley & Joe’s wedding? That was cool.” So we got married in a barn!

We also had so many friends and family helping plan our day–our good friend Justin is getting ordained so he can be our officiant, Joe’s mom was our wedding coordinator, my sister-in-law designed the invitations, my mom grew and did some of the flowers, Joe’s sister made the save-the-dates…the list could go on forever!

The Enchanted Barn was such a wonderful venue. I really wanted a barn wedding and this was by far the most beautiful, affordable and convenient option–there’s other barns out there for wedding venues, but The Enchanted Barn had the rustic charm, flexibility and convenience we were looking for.

My dress was an ivory-colored, raw-silk gown that had arrived with silk flowers, an feather attachments and a flowered shoulder strap. I preferred a simpler look, so I chose not to have the gown’s flowers and strap sewn on. Instead of a veil, I recycled the flowers by having a custom feather headpiece made out of them!

My mom, sister, and grandmother and I bought the flowers wholesale at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. We arranged ahead of time to have certain flowers and colors through a vendor, Peterson’s Flowers, and the day before the wedding we picked them up, along with other odds-and-ends bouquets at the market. We then used antique blue mason jars as the vases, and placed dogwood branches in the arrangements to hang the table numbers as well. My mom also made the flower girl bouquet, and all of the corsages and boutonnieres out of a mix of homegrown marigolds and greenery, and farmer’s market flowers. For the bridesmaids’ and my bridal bouquet we used a local flower shop, Peonia, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, where Joe and I live.

Ever since I was little my mom has been quilting. And, ever since I have wanted her to make me a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt which is quite labor intensive as it’s made up entirely of tiny hexagons which have to be hand-sewn together. So, as part of the wedding decorations we used antique quilt blocks of Grandmother’s Flower Garden, and my mom’s quilting friends agreed to sew Joe and me a Grandmother’s Flower Garden for a wedding gift!

Our delicious cake was made of two flavors: a vanilla bean with lemon custard and buttercream frosting and a chocolate-Surly-beer flavored cake with honeyed-sour cream filling and chocolate ganache frosting. (Surly is a local craft brewery near us in Broolyn Park, MN).  The rest of the food was catered by Saffron Meadows, the in-house caterers at The Enchanted Barn. We chose barbecue boneless pork, green beans with onions and bacon, Granny Smith salad for dinner, and baked artichoke spread with crackers for the cocktail hour hors d’ ouerves.

For our music we asked a couple of Joe’s neighbors Jim Hetman and his son Travis Hetman to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour. We chose “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” by the Mamas & Papas, “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney, and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” by Bob Dylan, for the ceremony music; and the Hetmans played everything from Johnny Cash to Doc Watson to the Rolling Stones during the cocktail hour. Joe and I used our iPod and created different playlists for the rest of the music during dinner and the dancing.

And of course our photographer Krystal Muellenberg! I was so excited when I found her website and saw how beautiful and fun and quirky her photos were! Just what we were looking for–and Joe and I were so impressed with how she worked so effortlessly throughout the day. We had so much fun with her and Emily Schmidt, who we were so lucky to have as well! Both photographers were so easy-going and creative, and produced the most gorgeous memories for us!

Ceremony / Reception Venue: The Enchanted Barn | Catering: Saffron Meadows | Bakery: The Salty Tart | Florist: Paeonia Floral, Family | Wedding Gown: The Wedding Shoppe | Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew | Photographer: Krystal Muellenberg Photography