GARRET & TESIA MILLER

Don’t let the most special day of your life become the most stressful one. Your big day is about you, so that’s why we did our best to provide advice from area newlyweds. Look no further, because it’s time to make your wedding day the best it can possibly be.

Read Fargo Monthly’s Wedding Guide at fargomonthly.com/wedding-issue or  issuu.com.

SAM & BILLY MCDONALD Newlyweds advise
SAM & BILLY MCDONALD Newlyweds advise

Photos by Chantell Lauren Photography

Q: What was the most difficult part of the planning process?
A: Making the actual decisions. We had so many of our own ideas, plus the internet and everyone you talk to is full of advice. But making the final call on everything from date and location to where a sign should go can each feel like decisions.

Q: What problems or situations surprised you about the planning process?
A: Balancing simplicity with “beauty in the details.” We are all about keeping things simple, but oh do we love the little touches that mean the most. Keeping that in check is tricky but vital to maintaining your sanity while planning and the day-of.

Q: Looking back on it, is there any part of the planning process that you would have done differently?
A: We would have let our friends and family help us out more. We love a good checklist and the last thing we ever want to do is be a bother. But we should have included our loved ones in the process as many would have been happy to be, sharing a sense of contribution.

SAM & BILLY MCDONALD Newlyweds advise

Q: What was the easiest part? And what was the most fun?
A: Making it our own and not letting “how it’s usually done” rule our intentions and decisions. We didn’t want to be another Saturday night hotel chicken dinner and mediocre DJ where our guests have more drunken stories than treasured memories. We are so proud of how much the whole weekend represented us as a couple.

Q: What did you envision your wedding to be like before the planning process started and how (if) did that change throughout?
A: A fine balance of eloquence, charm, laid back-ness and simplicity—all the while being true to us, which is all easier said than done. We had to cut the little details that, in the end, no one missed, with keeping it simple.

Q: What were your top priorities for planning the wedding right after the engagement?
A: Getting it out of the way. Don’t get us wrong, the wedding was magical, but we were ready to get on to the marriage part. The wedding was just a stepping stone to get past. We set a date, picked a place and told our small guest list (108) to be there.

Q: Did you take any special steps to maintain a budget?
A: We are not a good budget role model. Sam can have expensive taste and Billy can be a pushover. We’re only doing this once, so we did incur some extra and larger expenses than planned.

Q: Do you have a wedding horror story?
A: We are so lucky that the biggest “whoops” of the day was a gust of wind taking the arch at the ceremony down, and clobbering us before the minister was even able to welcome everyone. All in all, no horror stories, but we believe that’s a result of good planning and great guests.

Q: What would be the most valuable lesson you learned that you would like to pass on to others?
A: Do what you want. We still get comments about how much our guests enjoyed our wedding and how memorable it was because it truly was ours.

Q: Can you talk about some of the local vendors you used? Were you impressed by any of them or have any recommendations?

Catering
Granite City for brunch. So great—the food, the service, the presentation. Everyone loves their brunch, so we let them do what they’re good at.

Venue
Romantic Moon Events Center. Absolutely gorgeous backdrop with the most kind and thoughtful management.

Wedding Planner, Design and Rental
Distinctly You Events. These gals have it figured out. We brought them in at the end to just get us across the finish line and do all the day-of execution. We didn’t worry about a thing. It was truly a stress-free day, but only because they had it all covered.

Photographer
Chantell Lauren Photography. So kind. They were never in the way and captured the most incredible sunrise photos.

GARRET & TESIA MILLER Newlyweds advise
GARRET & TESIA MILLER

Photos by FloraPine Photography

Q: What was the most difficult part of the planning process?
A: For the most part, we found the overall process to be fairly simple and easy to plan. It was when the date of the wedding grew closer that things started to become more stressful due to the tiny details—details we never anticipated, like how to keep flowers alive for three days before the wedding, or making sure the wedding party is fed throughout the day of the wedding.

Q: What problems or situations surprised you about the planning process?
A: We were surprised by the lengthy process involved in completing the invitations. Getting addresses from family members, coworkers and friends took much more time and energy than we anticipated.

Q: Looking back on it, is there any part of the planning process that you would have done differently?
A: If we could have done anything differently, we would have asked someone to record the ceremony. It was something we didn’t think of during the planning process but would be fun to look back on and watch.

Q: What was the easiest part? And what was the most fun?
A: The easiest part of the wedding planning process was selecting the venue, entertainment, photography and caterer, as we hired proven professionals who we knew would take care of their responsibilities and we could be worry-free about those major aspects of the wedding.

GARRET & TESIA MILLER

The most fun was interacting with the people who helped us make our vision come to life. Meeting Dave at Harmon Entertainment was an eye-opening experience. Taste testing with Sodexo, taking multiple trips to walk-through The Vintage Garden with Ben and the many hair and makeup trials I had with Lindsay from Fargo Blonde were all some of the most memorable fun times.

Q: What did you envision your wedding to be like before the planning process started and how (if) did that change throughout?
A: All my life I said I will never have an outdoor wedding due to unpredictable weather. Once we pulled up to The Vintage Garden, I immediately knew that was where I wanted to walk down the aisle. It was so beautiful I changed my conviction.

Q: What were your top priorities for planning the wedding right after the engagement?
A: We wanted a fall wedding, so locking in the date and venue were top priority.

Q: Did you take any special steps to maintain a budget?
A: He had a budget. She did not. She won. Happy wife = happy life.

Q: Do you have a wedding horror story?
A: Aside from Garret breaking his foot two weeks before the wedding, two days before the wedding we were told that the custom vintage doors we ordered from a friend for the entrance to the ceremony were not going to be made. We had to scrap this idea and plan a different entrance.

Q: What would be the most valuable lesson you learned that you would like to pass on to others?
A: Find vendors who are passionate and proven. They helped make it the wedding of a lifetime.

Q: Can you talk about some of the local vendors you used? Were you impressed by any of them or do you have any recommendations?

Venue
The Vintage Garden. Ben from The Vintage Garden was extremely helpful during the planning process. He always had time in his schedule to walk with us through The Vintage Garden as we asked questions and planned out our wedding day. Ben only cared about our happiness and making our day perfect.

Catering & Cake
Sodexo was great, as Judy was a professional who ensured the food service was outstanding.

Flowers
Balloons & More for bouquets and boutonnieres and Prairie Petals for flower petals.

Attire
Wedding Dress – Bella Bridal Boutique in Woodbury, Minnesota.
Tuxes – Tip Top Tux.
Bridesmaids Dresses – Davids Bridal.
Makeup/Hair – Fargo Blonde

Decorator
Kelly Thoreson

Photographer
FloraPine Photography was very fun to work with. We have had many compliments on the depth of our pictures.

Music
Dave Harmon from Harmon Entertainment is a true professional and a full-service entertainer. He made the day fun, relaxed and run smoothly as he schedules out the evening down to the last minute. Dave had many surprises in store, as he went above and beyond what we expected.

Jeweler
Wimmer’s Diamonds

Transportation
Red River Trail

KELSEY & MIKE DRAGOSAVICH Newlyweds advise
KELSEY & MIKE DRAGOSAVICH

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

Q: What was the most difficult part of the planning process?
A: It was easy to get overwhelmed with all the wedding resources. In today’s age, there are too many rules and digital platforms and they’re all exciting, but it can be very distracting and complicate everything. For instance, the first thing that happens the day after she says yes is that you start researching. You grab every wedding book, sign up for “The Knot,” google every wedding keyword, sign up for about 10 other wedding services and you just radiate energy. Then about two months go by and you start sweating and feel overwhelmed because it’s pure chaos. Then you unsubscribe to about 90 percent of these wedding services and start with the fundamentals. Our advice is to have realistic expectations from the beginning. It’s okay to dream big and have fun browsing, but stay practical. Kelsey actually used the Fargo Monthly Wedding Guide the most because it was the most practical and had actionable information. At the end of the day, the big websites and magazines were unrealistic when it came to the fine details of the wedding planning.

Q: What problems or situations surprised you about the planning process?
A: This might be old news, but we were blown away at how far out wedding resources are booked like venues, photographers, flowers, hair, makeup, etc. We had 14 months to plan and that didn’t seem like enough at times. So, don’t underestimate the timing of the wedding. If you want to have a glamorous and complex wedding, it’s crucial to understand the capacity of community resources. Or you can just have your wedding on a Tuesday in the winter and you will be fine!

Q: What was the easiest part and what was the most fun?
A: One of the parts we truly appreciated was the groom’s dinner the night before, because it was a time we could all enjoy being with the people closest to us and the nerves were not an issue. It was comfortable. I would put as much emphasis on planning a great groom’s dinner as I would the wedding. The wedding becomes very political in a sense where it’s hard to mentally just enjoy each other and the people you love because of so much structure, tasks and pressure. The night before is seriously a big deal because of how emotionally connected you can let yourself be, especially because it’s a moment that you get to connect with people you maybe only see once every 10 years or maybe it’s even the last time you see some of them.

KELSEY & MIKE DRAGOSAVICH

We also believe “groom’s dinner” is a bad title. We didn’t do a “groom’s dinner,” we just invited our closest friends and family from both sides for a great night with great company. Our advice is that you should plan the wedding day to be practical and easy to execute. Do the unique and fun ideas for the night-before gathering where there’s not as much pressure or stress and you can really enjoy it.

Q: What were your top priorities for planning the wedding right after the engagement? Did you take any special steps to maintain a budget?
A: 1. Our top priority was to make the wedding about us and not the guests. I know that sounds bad, but really what it means is that this was one of the biggest moments of our lives and just another moment for the guests. So we want to over-emphasize the importance that the event caterers to making the event the best for us and not the guest. For instance, do we need to spend $3,000 more to add steak to the menu or is a simple meal enough? We knew that the food wasn’t a big deal to us and that it was more about the experience, so we took that money and decided to splurge on the entertainment and went with a band (The Front Fenders). The dancing and party with our family and friends is what we valued more than the extra food. We took this concept and applied it to all of our decisions.

2. We went with the Avalon Events Center for one important reason. That reason was that it was turn key. This means that we didn’t have to spend extra money and time decorating and organizing because the venue had it all set up and ready to go. We discussed the idea of a unique wedding venue but quickly decided against it because of all the extra tasks, time and resources needed to organize and execute.

Q: Can you talk about some of the local vendors you used? Were you impressed by any of them or have any recommendations?

Venue
Avalon Events Center – amazing experience.

Attire
Halberstadt’s on Broadway – great experience and an awesome contemporary fit. We had it so the groomsmen bought the suits and kept it simple so they can use the suits and shoes in the future.

CHRISTY & GREG TEHVEN Newlyweds advise
CHRISTY & GREG TEHVEN

Photos by FloraPine Photography

Q: What was the most difficult part of the planning process?
A: Understanding unspoken expectations of ourselves and families. Weddings bring up high emotions and feelings that are hard to describe or communicate.

Q: Looking back on it, is there any part of the planning process that you would have done differently?
A: Avoid typing out your program at midnight the night before the groom’s dinner. That would have prevented the numerous spelling errors, including four of the wedding party names and the two cover errors. It turns out 14th is not spelled “Fourteeth” and there is no such thing as a “Lutherance” Church.

Q: What problems or situations surprised you about the planning process?
A: Selecting the guest list and wedding party. It doesn’t feel good to class rank your friends and family that you care so much about. There were so many people we wish we would have had room for, but the budget and venue were limited.

Q: What was the easiest part? And what was the most fun?
A: The easiest was picking the venues. Everything about them felt comfortable and right. It was also fun getting the mail during the RSVP process. Bride specific: My grandmother made my wedding dress, so I will forever cherish our fittings and dress designing conversations.

Q: What did you envision your wedding to be like before the planning process started and how (if) did that change throughout?
A: Greg really had not envisioned or thought about it prior to getting engaged. I had envisioned an evening wedding with candle light, outdoors under a big tree. We got married outside in the morning with a balmy temperature of just above freezing. The biggest process for us was trying to figure out what timeline worked best for our needs. We decided on a morning wedding with a brunch reception, followed by drinks, dancing and dessert at Ecce Art Gallery later that night. Looking back, we would not have done it any other way because it worked so well for us.

CHRISTY & GREG TEHVEN

Q: What were your top priorities for planning the wedding right after the engagement?
A: 1. We wanted to get the date out fast. We emailed our loved ones as soon as the date was set in hopes of getting it on their calendars. We never did end up sending out a hard copy “save the date” card, which worked for us.

2. We set up meetings with our parents to have a conversation about their hopes and expectations for the wedding.

3. Getting the venues we wanted.

Q: Did you take any special steps to maintain a budget?
A: You bet. We set up a handy spreadsheet early on in the process to cover all the costs we could think of for our wedding. On our “Wedding Saturdays”, we reviewed the budget and talked about if we were over or under with the goal of coming in under our total budget number. We also set up a separate bank account with its own debit card to pay for wedding expenses. This was incredibly helpful to separate the costs from our personal lives and to also keep spending in check, because we could only spend what was in the account.

Q: Do you have a wedding horror story?
A: Thankfully, no. Our biggest hurdle would have been the fact that we had a morning wedding in May and didn’t exactly plan for it to be 30 degrees outside, however, in hindsight, we feel it actually added to the atmosphere as wonderful friends helped us out! Thanks to Folkways for the heat lamps and the incredible members of Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church for bringing quilts and blankets for our guests to wrap up in.

Q: What would be the most valuable lesson that you learned that you would like to pass on to others?
A: Setting boundaries. Weddings can easily creep into almost every part of your life during engagement. We set boundaries financially by determining a budget early. We restricted our planning conversations to one day a week, “Wedding Saturday.” This was especially important for us as a couple to have time set aside to discuss the wedding and for family to know we would talk about their questions at that time. Our thoughts were to plan for our life, not just for our wedding.

Q: Can you talk about some of the local vendors you used? Were you impressed by any of them or have any recommendations?
We were so impressed by our vendors. They each did an incredible job in their craft!

Photographer
FloraPine Photography. I cry every time I look at our photos. Ashley and Ryan were wonderful to work with throughout the process.

Morning Wedding Ceremony

  • Venue: Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church. This community was incredible to work with as they helped us make our wedding a dream come true, from blankets and parking attendants to warm hosts.
  • Twenty Below Coffee Co. brought in their coffee cart for incredible energy and warm coffee before our ceremony. • Folkways: heat lamps • Sandy’s Donuts: caramel rolls
  • White House Co.: furniture rental
  • Floral: Love Always Floral.
  • Catering: Toasted Frog for the rehearsal dinner and morning breakfast.

Attire

Evening – Dance, Dessert + Drinks

Miscellaneous