The VIB Card Very Important Bride

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Author: Alexandra Olson- Xandy's Bridal House | Images: Carissa Christine Photography

Alexandra Olson, owner of Xandy's Bridal House and a VIB vendor, recently married the love of her life in a gorgeous celebration at the Depot Minneapolis. This is their story.

Josh proposed last year in March. We had been dating for 7 years- since senior year of high school! We had made it through college and were just starting to work full time. When we moved to Eden Prairie together, which was close to our jobs, the thought of marriage was only beginning to enter our minds.

On Christmas Day of 2012, my mom was diagnosed with Colon cancer and the cancer had spread rapidly to her liver and other organs. It was a devastating time. It was a time in our lives where we realized what was important. So Josh decided it was time to put a ring on it!! One night when my mom was home in her bed that we placed out in our living room, Josh got down on one knee and proposed to me, telling my mom he would take care of me the rest of my life. It was the most special night ever because I got to share the experience with my mom. She passed away 2 weeks later.

I wanted to share this part of my story because it is a big reason why I started my business. My mom wouldn’t have been able to go to the store with me to find my wedding dress. I wanted to create a day where everyone can be a part of the wedding dress shopping experience, even if they are stuck at home, no matter the circumstances.

To keep my mind and my life going after my mom’s death, I dove into planning. I checked out all the different planning books and websites- there was so much to choose from! It’s fun when you can start checking things off the list and everything starts falling into place. I enjoyed the planning process very much!

Josh and I chose The Depot Minneapolis in downtown Minneapolis for our wedding day venue. I am so happy we ended up having the wedding here! Because we were so close to the wedding date, we had to go with a Friday night at 5:30 p.m. The entire night was at the Depot, ceremony and reception. This venue has a lot of history and the ballroom is spectacular. The hotel is also attached so your guests don’t need to go far!

The ballroom was so beautiful that we didn’t need to do much for decorating. For the tables we brought table cloths that went with the theme, placed cakes as centerpieces and gold votives to give a romantic feel. It was a very simple arrangement but made a great impression.

For the girls I got matching robes to get ready in. It was so fun for pictures and they also made a great gift. They were simple to change out of and didn’t ruin hair or makeup. I also bought matching belts for the dresses- two different styles. My wonderful personal attendant also got matchy with us by wearing one of the belts. For the shoes, we chose sparkly gold shoes, all different styles. In memory of my Mom, our flowers had little charms with my Mom’s picture, and I also wore her veil. And because I LOVE dresses so much, I wore two for the big day!

What they say is true- the day goes by so fast! Enjoy every minute and try not to get overwhelmed. Planning can be so much fun and to see it all come together is magical!


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Thank you to Alexandra & Josh for sharing your beautiful wedding day story with Forever Bride!

Venue: The Depot Minneapolis

Photographer: Carissa Christine Photography

Bakery: Hermann's Bakery of Cambridge

Flowers: Rebecca's Flowers

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Author: Jessica Eide - Forever Bride | Photography: Poly Mendes Photography

There are many aspects to a relationship.  When you first meet someone, you are overwhelmed with so many feelings.  Feelings of excitement, joy, exhilaration, and anticipation. But sometimes, you can't always trust your feelings because once those initial feelings of "hype" wear off, what are you left with?  That is why it's important to create a healthy marriage so that when tough times come, you will be confident that your marriage will whether any storm.


Dating is exciting for a reason!


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Some people may become "serial daters" because they are seeking the thrill of meeting someone new.  Sometimes, it does not paint a clear picture of who the person really is.  It's easy to put your best foot forward when you first meet someone.  What matters most is what the chemistry is like once you really get to know that person.  Lucky for you, the chemistry you have with your man was the real deal!  To keep your relationship exciting, remember what it was like when the two of you first met.  What was your conversation like?  What did you wear?  Do you remember what cologne he was wearing?  Have fun reenacting your first encounter with your man.  Do what you can to get those sparks flying again!


Don't be afraid of the routine of life!


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Let's face it, life can get a little boring at times.  Our daily schedules are filled with lots of routine!  But routine is what can help you get to your goals faster.  If you didn't have routine, it may be difficult to get specific things done.  Even if you lead a very different life from your husband/fiance, you can still find ways to create excitement amongst the routine of daily life.  Send him some funny snap chats or text messages.  Plan an exciting adventure for the weekend.  Having things to look forward to can help your relationship in many ways!


Take the time!


Make sure that you are creating a safe environment for your man to open up and talk to you.  Make sure that your relationship has a good balance.  Set aside time everyday to communicate.  Turn off the tv shows for the night and play a game together.  Make a fun drink and sit outside and look at the stars.  Let the life that you live with your man be your form of entertainment for the night!


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There is a reason that so many people agree that one of the best ways to create a safe and healthy marriage is to continue to date one another.  Continue to put your best foot forward and get creative in finding ways to put the thrill and excitement back into your relationship!  With that being said, what are you doing to strengthen your relationship?

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Author: Pam Lundell |Images: Forever Yours Photography

In her professional life, Pam Lundell is one half of the 98.5 KTIS radio morning show based in St. Paul, MN. In her personal life, Pam is also a newlywed. On a cloudy day in May, Pam and fiancé Timothy Brink said their “I do’s” and celebrated the beginning of a new life together. Here is her story:


Our May 3rd wedding was an interesting one as my first husband John passed away in 2005, so I was a “later-in-life” bride the second time around. Tim and I originally wanted to have a small wedding or even elope but I have two beautiful granddaughters, Ameara, 10, and Lydia, 6, who so wanted to be in our wedding. So we started planning and the small wedding went from that to 100 in a hurry.


Our wedding party was completed with Tim’s adult sons, Dan and Chris. It was a cute group with the guys walking the little girls down the aisle. Our May day quickly turned cloudy, cold and windy, but made for some great pictures outside of the Bayview Event Center where we held our reception. A couple of our musician friends played a short set of songs for our “first dance.”  The best part, however, was as the reception was breaking up around 10 p.m. as planned, a small group of us went over to Bayside to dance because they have bands on the weekends and hey, FREE BAND!!


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Thank you to Pam & Timothy for sharing your wedding day with Forever Bride!


Ceremony Venue: River Valley Church

Reception Venue: Bayview Event Center

Cake: Butter Cream

Photography: Forever Yours Photography

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Author & Images: Hannah Lohmer-Johnsen - Romance Leaders


When planning a honeymoon, it is best to use a professional; just as you would for catering, décor, and your wedding cake. Beyond the hours of time and energy you may spend on planning your own honeymoon, travel professionals are able to save you money, stress, and assist you until you are home should any issues arise. 

'You don't know what you don't know' is said often and is very applicable to honeymooners and travelers in general. How do you know that Mexico is the best option for you when a small, Caribbean island like St. Lucia or Barbados would actually be a better fit? Or, how would you even begin planning a trip to Paris or Italy if you have never been? Any idea what the differences are between the Tahiti & Fiji in the South Pacific and which is better for you specifically (not according to the internet)? 

We begin each honeymoon planning process as a fresh start. While there are resorts that excel in romantic experiences located in the most popular destinations, they all have nuances that make them different. We find it can take years of research to truly know which resort is the best fit for each couple. Therefore, we begin with the most important pieces:

  • When do you want to go? Why? 
  • Where do you want to go? Why?
  • What do you want to spend? Why?
  • What do you want to do on your honeymoon? Why? 
  • What do you NOT want to experience on your honeymoon, and of course, why? 

The why becomes the most important part of the equation. Why you chose your top destination says a lot about what you're looking for. Sometimes, what you've selected may not actually be the best option! How much do you want to spend? If finances are the most important factor to you, we can tell you how and where to find the best values. After all: You only get one honeymoon; everything else is just a vacation.


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Author & Images: Amy Dokken- Studio Starfish


Congratulations! You just got engaged, told everyone all about it, posted that fab picture of your ring all over social media and have spent days basking in the glow of happiness. Now it is time to start planning - a daunting task, isn’t it? Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Surrounding yourself with great vendors who know a thing or two about weddings and asking the right questions can be a huge help. As a wedding photographer I have seen a lot of couples choose their photographer on price and packages alone. Even though that is very important there are so many more questions that you should ask your photographer to ensure a great fit and the best possible experience on your wedding day. Here are 5 important questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer:




1. Can I see examples of a full wedding?

You have likely been drawn in by the beautiful images on your photographer’s website. Often these have a lot of editing done to them. Asking to see more examples of their work or a complete wedding will help you to see if their typical images are exposed correctly, color is balanced and if they pay attention to the details and have nice composition throughout their entire work.


2.What is your primary style?

You may not yet know what your specific style is, but you know a good image when you see it. It is important to make sure your vision is aligned with your photographer’s style when you are entrusting them with something as important as your wedding day. Here are a few of the most common styles:


Photojournalism - If you like candid shots, little or no posing and documentary style – this is the photography style for you. Your photographer will likely hang back capturing the day like a fly on the wall.


Considerations: There is very little emphasis put on portraits or posed images. If you are looking for arranged details, creative elements, or guidance to help you look your best in photos, this may not be the best fit for you.



Fine Art/Modern - These are best described as images that create a truly unique wedding photography experience – allowing the photographer to add their creative vision to your story.




Considerations: the photographer may shoot for a more artistic look choosing abstract images or creative compositions which may or may not be your style.



Traditional/Classic - The focus is usually on the details of your wedding day adding in guidance for location choice and posing direction and adjustments to help you look your best. The photographer is often shooting with the intent to create an album highlighting all of the best parts of your wedding day.




Considerations: photos are generally very consistent, modern and timeless which means they may not be as creative or epic as other styles.


3.Can I check your references?

Photographers (or any wedding professional for that matter) should absolutely be willing to share references so you can contact past couples to ask how their experience was overall.


4.What is your post-production process?

All images that are taken by a professional photographer should be edited to include only the best photos from the day, color-corrected so the skin tones are correct and to balance any lighting issues and finally edited in the photographer’s particular style (their “special sauce”). This is the finished product – the art of imagery and what makes their photos different from anyone else’s.


5. How would you describe your working style?

A great question to find out if your photographer is detail-oriented and organized to keep the flow of your wedding day moving or if they are more spontaneous and go-with-the-flow type. You can also get a good feel for if they follow the crowd and take pictures from afar or if they are more hands-on preferring to give direction and guidance with posing and locations.


**Bonus Question:

Finally, before making your final decision, be sure to ask yourself -Am I comfortable with the photographer’s work and their communication style - will our personalities be a good fit?



Remember, this day is about you and your groom! Find a photographer who is not only an amazing artist, but will also work well with you to help create a picture perfect wedding day!

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Author: Lauren Schwabe- Forever Bride | Images: Carlos Creek Winery


Over the years, Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, MN has been given many awards, including ‘Best Winery in Minnesota’ by WCCO.


Most recently, the family-run winery was awarded ‘Rosé Wine of the Year’ for their 2013 Frontenac Rosé Wine, also known as “You Betcha Blush.” The award was given by a panel of 45 international judges at the Indy International Wine Competition, held July 30 through August 1 at Purdue University, where wines were judged on appearance, aroma, taste, and aftertaste.


“[Winning this award] was an especially impressive accomplishment given that our Frontenac Rosé was selected over wines submitted from more traditional varieties, such as Zinfandel & Merlot, and from more renowned wineries such as Klinker Brick in California and Trump Winery in Virginia,” say Tami Bredeson, Carlos Creek Winery’s president. “This wine has done really well at competitions all year previously winning Best in Class at Riverside, CA and Gold at Fingerlakes, NY.”


Other categories judged at the Indy International Wine Competition include Best Red, Best White, Best Sparkling, Best Dessert and Best Overall with each category featuring wines from all around the world.


In addition to the award for the Frontenac Rosé, Carlos Creek was also given a Double Gold Medal and Best in class for ‘You Betcha Blush’; Gold Medals for ‘Vintner’s Blend’, ‘Trinity’ and ‘Peach Street’; and Silver Medals for ‘Cabernet’, ‘Hot Dish Red’, ‘Wobegon White’, ‘Raspberry Road’ and ‘Prairie Star’.


Bredeson sees these awards as positive affirmation not only for Carlos Creek, but for all Minnesota wineries. “This type of recognition helps to establish that Minnesota grapes and wineries can and do produce world-class wines.”


Located in Alexandria, MN, Carlos Creek is one of the oldest wineries in the state. A family-run business established in 1999, the winery produces 18 varieties of wine, specializing in Minnesota wines. The winery also hosts events such as “Grape Stomp Sundays”, “Applefest”, and seasonal murder mystery dinners in addition to offering rentals for private events including weddings!


You can find Carlos Creek Winery listed under our Local Vendors page in the category Wedding Ceremony & Reception Venues or click here!

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Author: Melanie Rivers- Melanie Rivers Beauty | Images: Noah's Ark Photography

As a professional hair and makeup artist, one question I've been asked a lot recently is "Is a bridal makeup trial run really necessary?" On one of the biggest days of your life, it's important to try to avoid any hiccups that may occur and make sure that the day goes smoothly. You wouldn't get married without a rehearsal or try your dress on only once, and it should be the same for your hair and makeup. Many brides think that a trial run is just a way for artists to try to make more money. In reality, it's like a form of insurance for not only the bride but also the artist. In fact, many artists I know are starting to make a trial run mandatory, and include it in their bridal rates. While I still offer a trial run as optional, here I will give you 5 reasons as to why my response to that question is always "YES!"



1. A trial run is more than just a practice run for hair and makeup. It is the perfect opportunity to get to know your artist's personality and their skill level, and to determine if they are the right fit for you. You want to be comfortable with them and make sure they are able to execute your desired style or makeup look.


2. As professionals, we will always try to please the client but sometimes, the desired look is not always possible depending on your hair or skin type or face shape. A trial run is a good time to discuss your options and to try different looks that will work for you. It may be necessary to purchase hair extensions or other products ahead of time to achieve the desired results.


3. While most professional makeup artists try to work with mostly hypoallergenic products, it is possible that you may be allergic to an ingredient in a cosmetic or hair product. Your wedding day is definitely not the day you want to discover you are allergic to latex eyelash glue or the red dye in purple eye shadow. A trial run gives you the opportunity to test out not only the final look, but also the products used.




4. Wedding day schedules tend to be pretty tight, so knowing exactly what look is desired and how long it takes to perform can save a lot of valuable time.


5. A trial run is also a great opportunity to discuss any details such as the number of attendants and services, a timeline for the day, and recommendations from the artist. For example, I once had a bride mention during a trial that she wanted to get a facial on the morning of her wedding. I explained that makeup is not supposed to be applied after a facial, and often times the makeup won't adhere to the skin anyway. Had we not discussed this at her trial run, it would have been extremely difficult to achieve her desired look on her wedding day, and I can guarantee neither of us would not have been satisfied with the results.




A trial run is a very important and often underestimated part of the hair and makeup process. It may mean you have to adjust your budget slightly, but I assure you that it will be well worth it. Every bride wants to feel beautiful and confident on her wedding day. By knowing exactly how the day will go and exactly how you will look, both you and your artist can be confident that you will look and feel your best!



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Author & Images: Samantha Maroney- White Room Event

Samantha Maroney, the founder of White Room Event, one of our very own VIB vendors got engaged this past spring! Here is the story of Wedding Planner, Samatha Maroney's engagement:


My fiancé, Peter Blankenship's family has spent one month every year in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for the last 32 years. As you can imagine, this is a very special place to him and his family. Peter invited me on my very first Hilton Head trip two years ago in April of 2013. Needless to say, I fell in love with the community, beaches, and way of life down south. There is something unique about the island; it has a way of "slowing you down". As a planner, my life is very fast paced, so our time spent in Hilton Head is enjoyed and cherished each time we visit.

This past April, I visited Hilton Head for a second time. Little did I know it would be the most memorable trip of all! Peter got down on one knee in the midst of the sandy dunes on the beach out in front of their place. As if I thought things couldn't get better in that moment I said "YES!"...they did!  Turns out, he flew my parents out to the island to celebrate with us for the remaining four days of our stay. It was magical and special- everything I could have dreamed of and more for a proposal.

Of course, the planner in me began to start planning out our vision and wedding day details. We originally thought of getting married at a mansion on Hilton Head Island with close friends of family. Part of me wishes we went through with this plan, but the dancer in me decided to have the big wedding with ALL friends and family here in Minnesota.

Minnesota is filled with lovely venues, and with many of my favorites being venues that I have worked with in the past, my decision was quite difficult. Combining my love for "Southern Charm" mixed with "Undercover Preppy/Nautical", I landed at a local venue in my hometown, the Lafayette Club.

I couldn't be more thrilled to have chosen this venue and look forward to all of the planning that's in store! Not to mention, I am thrilled to be marrying the most wonderful man in the world, Peter.


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Congratulations to Samanthat & Petter and thank you for sharing your story with Forever Bride!

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Author & Images: Jenny Olson- Forever Bride

The past month has been a time for “firsts” for me. This is my first blog and I recently experienced my first barre class. I’m all grown up, now I just need to figure out my linkedin profile and I’ll be a real 21st century adult! I’m just kidding, I am, however, one step closer to figuring out a workout routine that I actually enjoy.


Two weeks ago, Ashley and I went to one of our VIB vendor’s workout classes. Haute Barre, located in heart of the West End Shops in St. Louis Park, joined the Forever Bride crew in May and I was so thrilled! We finally have another fitness vendor that will help sculpt our brides and their bridal parties into shape before their big wedding day. Until I realized as part of their joining the program, I had to take a class and write a personal blog about my experience. Now wait a second, events and galas? Sure. Glamorama? Yes. Happy Hours? Of course. But a sweaty gym after work? I think not. Or at least I thought not.


The Haute Barre experience is one to be reckoned with and hard to say that you did not have fun in the end. Somehow, Amber, the owner of Haute Barre has mastered the art of fitness. She has created a workout class that not only crams cardio, lifting weights, ab workouts, and a totally tushy tuck into one 60 minute class, but she also somehow manages to make it fun. I mean, of course, during the workout there are times you think, “I can’t do this,” “Amber, you’re killing me,” as sweat rolls off your face. But, at the end of the class it is undeniable that you liked the small bit of torture you went through and you realized you were toe-tapping the whole time to those killer 80’s pop remixes. As Amber was pushing you through your low points you were silently singing in your head to that Whitney Houston mashup.

The Haute Shake-it class will have you both “hot” and shakin’ it. It will also have you lifting, tucking, and squeezing as well. But trust me, it’s all for the greater good ladies. You’ll be leaner and more toned at the end of the 60 minutes and the best part is you are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a a little ahi tuna and a lot of martinis over at Crave! So sign up for your first or your 100th class, just get to shakin’ that booty at Haute Barre!


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