Jesse and Natalie’s Cathedral Wedding

City: All Photography, City: Duluth, MN Venue: ,

This is Jesse and Natalie story as told on The Knot, why rewrite history when you can hear it directly from them. I do however want to add that Jesse and Natalie boycotted the traditional “glass clinking” at the reception and instead asked for donations that would be split between the MN ALS Association and Parkinson’s Foundation. With that simple twist of the tradition, they raised hundreds of dollars for their favorite charities!

Thanks to Toby Keith and String Cheese, Here We Are

It all started on October 18th, 2014. Earlier that year, Natalie made the big move from Duluth to begin her career at the Best Buy Corporate Campus while I was in my third year working at SPS Commerce in Minneapolis. Natalie was out with a few of her girlfriends and I was hanging out with my brother Jake and a few childhood friends. Thankfully, both groups decided to go to Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill (no longer in business, RIP) to have a few adult beverages and enjoy some live music. A few of ‘Natalie’s Crew’ and a couple of my freinds found each other and started chatting just as the live band started to wind down their set. My friends invited the crew back to my house to continue the party. Natalie has always known the importance of greeting and thanking the host and, although I was unaware of having a post-bar party that time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Natalie reached out, shook me hand, and the rest was history.

We quickly bonded over our love for string cheese (see full story below), how great “Timber” by Ke$ha was, and the prospects of the Minnesota Wild that year. As the ‘Natalie Crew’ was starting to leave, I mustered the courage to ask for Natalie’s phone number which, I’m sure Natalie will attest to, was done in a very manly, suave way. The next morning, I tried to play it cool, waiting to reach out to Natalie, trying to hide my eagerness to get to know the beautiful gal I’d met the night before. I ended up asking Natalie if she’d like to meet again in the next couple of days, but it failed. Not once, not twice, but three times Natalie declined and was playing hard to get. Either my Irish charm started to chip away at Natalie, or she just started to feel bad for the desperate sucker who couldn’t stop texting her, but she finally accepted. Since then, if it wasn’t for work-related trips, Natalie and I haven’t been separated for more than two days at a time. Most nights you can find us binge-watching crime TV shows on Netflix, having our Wednesday-pizza-and-Survivor nights, finding a new sushi place (or Crave for the 8 millionth time) to appease Natalie’s cravings, attending a $5 movie night at the local theatre, playing softball, or attending a Wild game. We also absolutely love to travel, and eat our way around the country and world – we’ve been to both New Orleans and Dallas in 2015, Cabo San Lucas and Orlando in 2016 and London & Scotland in 2017. On the docket for 2018 is a trip to Ohio, then a multi-country cruise in early 2019!

Who knows if fate is real or if there is only one person made for each of us – I suppose we’ll never know – but how else would people from opposite ends of the state meet and fall in love despite no mutual connections? Although Natalie might be a little disappointed she didn’t end up marrying a Johnnie, I’d like to think that she is grateful for finding her Maverick!

It’s Really a Cheesy Story…

When a friend of mine wanted to continue her Saturday night at a friend’s house, I had no idea how badly I would need food. Shortly after clambering out of the taxi, I was greeted at the door of a white rambler in the heart of St. Louis Park.

“Hi,” he said, “I’m Jesse.”

“I’m Natalie,” I replied, “Nice to meet you. Do you have any food?” (I’m convinced it was right there he fell in love with me, but the verdict is still out on that.)

We walked into the kitchen and as Jesse was looking around for food (literally anything that didn’t require an egg or a pound of ground beef) I snuck into the refrigerator and found a lone string cheese. It was over that chunk of mozzarella, as I was sitting on his counter-top, that our love story began.
From our very first date (which consisted of donating turkeys to a food shelter), we bonded over giving back to the community. Both together and separately, we’ve delved into fostering dogs, raising money for ALS research, donating toys and stuffed animals during the holiday season, building homes through Habitat for Humanity, and supporting our local community through Rotary.

Jesse is the most generous person I’ve ever met. Not only with the time he donates and dedicates to others, but also the effort he puts into keeping our relationship fresh and fun. I’m so blessed to have found my partner in crime and can’t wait to marry him.

To the man who always lets me have the last brownie and is the first to pour me a “Natalie” drink, I’ll meet you at the altar.

The Cathedral where Jesse and Natalie married.

Fall colors in full effect at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Jesse and Natalie's wedding details.

“Love you more.”

Natalie getting ready at the cathedral.

Natalie’s something borrowed also happened to be old and blue. It was a gift from her father to her mother when she was born.

Natalie's first look with dad.

Natalie’s first look with her father and grandma.

Natalie's bridal photos.

A stunning bride.

The bridal party.

Jesse and Natalie’s wedding party looking fine.

Jesse and Natalie's wedding pics.

Jesse and Natalie spent 1,425 days together, all leading up to this point.

Bride and Groom photos.

The sun broke through the clouds with impeccable timing.

Jesse and Natalie at Enger Tower.


Cake cutting photos.

High fives for Strawberry cheesecake.

Jesse and Natalie's first dance photos.

The first dances at Greysolon Ballroom.

Ceremony – Greysolon Ballroom
Reception – Greysolon Ballroom
Entertainment – Sounds Unlimited
Photo Booth – Duluth Photo Booth
Flowers – Engwalls
Reception Benefactor – MN ALS Association
Reception Benefactor – MN Parkinson’s Foundation

John and Sheila’s Lake Superior Wedding

City: All Photography Venue: ,

John and Sheila love the active outdoor lifestyle, so it’s only fitting they shared a destination wedding within earshot of Lake Superior’s crashing waves. It was an intimate outdoor wedding ceremony at Lutsen Resort in Tofte with their closest friends and family. And later in the week, they will be hosting a larger reception closer to home for everyone to share in their love.

May you two always walk hand in had whenever your journey leads and continue living, learning, laughing and loving together forever.


John and Sheila's wedding details.

Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior.

John and Sheila getting ready.

Getting ready.

John and Sheila's first look.

John and Sheila’s first look on the covered bridge.

John and Sheila

Waiting out the drizzle!

Photos of John and Sheila.

All smiles.

John and Sheila on the beach.

John and Sheila walking along the great Gitche Gumee.

Bridal party photos.

The wedding party.

The wedding ceremony.

John and Shelia’s ceremony overlooking Lake Superior.

Venue – Lutsen Resort
Officiant – Rev. Timothy Young

Nelson and Maki’s Homecoming

City: All Photography

Tonight Nelson and Maki will sleep in a bed that they can call their own surrounded by a family that loves them. An Haitian adoption story.

Nearly two years ago Jacob and Kate visited Haiti on a mission trip and fell in love with an orphan named Maki. After their second trip to visit Maki the blessing continued as they met another young boy named Nelson. There have been trials along the way, countless miles traveled, mountains of paperworks, and patience reserved only for saints but tonight Nelson and Maki will sleep in a bed that they can call their own surrounded by a family that loves them.


Jacob and Kate’s Blog

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer

City: All Photography

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Wading through the sea of wedding photographers can be an overwhelming and bewildering experience. There are literally thousands to choose from, all with varying degrees of talent and price. Here are three questions that every bride and groom should ask themselves before hiring a wedding photographer. If you can satisfy these three criteria then you have made a great choice regardless of who you selected.


1 Can we spend our entire wedding day with this photographer and be friends with him/her at the end of the day?

Wedding photography, more than any other kind of photography, is about capturing the beauty of relationships. The essence of any wedding is the interconnection between two people whose love is witnessed by their family and friends. It’s nearly impossible for any photographer to capture the beauty of those relationships without first having a genuine relationship with the bride and groom. Imagine the morning of your wedding day: You’re wearing your favorite yoga pants, your hair is covered with bobby pins and your make-up is half done. It’s the day that has occupied your thoughts for years and you’re absolutely gorgeous; but let’s face it, you’re not quite ready. Now a stranger you met months ago walks into your bridal suite with cameras blazing in both hands. It’s an uncomfortable situation at best, and the likely result will be awkward images.

You will likely spend more time with your photographer during your wedding day than with your fiancé.

You will likely spend more time with your photographer during your wedding day than with your fiancé.

You will likely spend more time with your photographer during your wedding day than with your fiancé. [/caption]Now imagine a better scenario: Your best friend, whom you haven’t seen in a while, enters the room. You are thrilled to see each other and spend the next few minutes catching up. Your friend casually takes a few photos as your make-up artist completes the finishing touches. The whole time with this friend is relaxing and enjoyable.

Realistically, your wedding photographer may never be your best friend, but they also shouldn’t be a complete stranger. Even the most experienced shooter has difficulty taking truly beautiful images without first having a personal relationship with the bride. Keep in mind that, in all likelihood, you are going to spend more time with your photographer during your wedding day than with your fiancé. Having that relationship with the person behind the camera will make you feel at ease, which will make for a great experience and fantastic photos for your wedding album.

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer - Bryan Jonathan Weddings

One of the best ways to begin a relationship with a photographer is to do an engagement session.

One of the best ways to begin a relationship with a photographer is to do an engagement session.[/caption]One of the best ways to begin a relationship with a photographer is to do an engagement session. An experienced wedding photographer will take the time to first shoot a variety of engagement photos, and then observe what images you respond to most. Your responses will help guide him/her as to how to shoot your wedding day. The time you spend together before the wedding is invaluable and is one of the most influential components of a positive wedding experience. Think of it like a dress rehearsal with custom artwork as a bonus. This is the best time for you to get to know your photographer, and for him/her to get to know you two as a couple. Again, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your photographer, so make sure he/she is someone you trust and truly want to invest the time to get to know.


2 Does the photographer’s style match ours?

Take a good look at your top candidate’s professional wedding portfolio. Are they quality images? Can you imagine yourself in those photos? Does their style match the vision you have for your wedding? You should instantly know if you respond well to a photographer’s style. Trust your intuition. Also, ask questions and listen to their answers. A professional can explain their style, their methods, and why he/she took each shot.


3 Can we afford them?

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer - Bryan Jonathan Weddings

Your wedding images are one of the few things from your wedding day that will increase in value over time.

Your wedding images are one of the few things from your wedding day that will increase in value over time.[/caption]You’ve finally found the perfect photographer, but can you afford his/her work? Wedding photographers have a unique skill set that requires many years to develop, which is why it’s rather expensive. It’s also expensive because of the costs associated with running a legitimate business and the fierce competition between couples for prime summer weekends. If a photographer exceeds your first two criteria then it may be worth stretching the budget to afford them. At the end of the night, when the music stops and your guests go home, the only thing that will remain is leftover cake and photographs. On your first anniversary your memories will still be bright and fresh, but will they be as vivid on your tenth anniversary or your fiftieth? Will you wish you had invested more on your memories? Only you can answer those questions, but remember your wedding images are one of the few things from your wedding day that will increase in value over time.

If you and your fiancé can truthfully answer yes to these three questions, then you have chosen the best wedding photographer for you. Note that the questions are listed and weighted in order of importance. Many couples reverse this process and start with the cheapest photographer in their price range and then look for style. They may never even consider who the actual person is behind the camera, and that’s where the difference truly happens. Wedding planning can be overwhelming and often there are more opinions than solutions, but challenge yourself to look for the photographer that you could befriend and let the rest fall into place.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Semester at Sea – Fall 2013 Slideshow

City: All Photography, City: Bryan and Sara

Semester at Sea MV Explorer Fall 2013 in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

The privilege of exploring sixteen countries in 115 days is an eye-opening and humbling experience. It’s an experience that is impossible to explain to friends who have never sailed and yet it can create a bond between strangers who sailed decades apart. For the second time, I find myself on the flip side of a Semester at Sea voyage wondering what just happened and what needs to happen so that I can do it again. This slideshow sums up my SAS Fall 2013 experience in a way that would be impossible with words.