Bemidji Weddings 2022

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BEMIDJI Weddings 2022

INSIDE: It takes a village Pioneer employee Micah Friez and his bride, Katie, share the story behind their backyard Bemidji wedding.

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Bemidji Pioneer & Buyline

BEMIDJI Weddings 2022

In this issue




It takes a village

How to give weddings a modern touch

Cater wedding menus to guests’ dietary needs

Embracing modern trends can set weddings apart from traditional ceremonies.

Couples may need to provide a wide array of food choices to accommodate guests.




Make a statement with your wedding cake

Fun ways to utilize social media in your wedding

Picture perfect wedding day photography tips

Express creativity and personality through show-stopping wedding cakes.

Creative ways to embrace and incorporate social media trends into your wedding day.

Picture pointers from industry insiders help couples put their best smile forward.

Pioneer employee Micah Friez and his bride, Katie, share the story behind their backyard Bemidji wedding.

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Photo by Bradley Hanson Photography Katie (Clark) and Micah Friez on their wedding day, Sept. 4, 2021.



t their core, weddings are a celebration of two people coming together in marriage. Behind the scenes, though, it takes a lot more than two to pull off. Pioneer employee Micah Friez and his bride, Katie, held a backyard Bemidji wedding in September 2021. In addition to their planning efforts, it took friends, family and even strangers for everything to finally come together in the end. Now with the knowledge of how much it takes to tie the knot, here are some tips, tricks and shoutouts from Katie and Micah on how it all came to be. OUR STORY We met at Compass, a young adults

ministry through Bemidji Covenant Church. We were in the same small group and had the opportunity to get to know each other as friends before we started dating. Eventually, something clicked and we began dating after building a strong foundation of friendship. That has served us well in the years since. We got engaged in February 2021 and decided on Sept. 4, 2021, for our wedding. And so the planning began.


OUR VENUE SEARCH We looked at a number of different venues, but different roadblocks — price, COVID-19 policies and even the time of year — kept us from picking a place.

Our professional wedding planners will work with you to select the perfect wedding package to make your dream wedding a reality! Our services include: site visits, private tastings, scheduling, catering, accommodations and coordinating your reception needs. We can also assist you in vendor selection for your wedding cake, entertainment, florists and other details! For more information, please contact our Sales office, located in the Hampton Inn & Suites of Bemidji.

Taylor Levy Event/Wedding Coordinator

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We looked into getting married at Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge, but it was out of our budget. The Concordia Language Villages had an attractive cultural flair, but our wedding date didn’t align with their summer staffing schedule. After searching for a while, we were pretty set on Itasca State Park, but with COVID, things were very uncertain; because of fluid mandates, we wouldn’t know how many people we could invite or what precautions we would have to take until much closer to the wedding date. So many people provided us with helpful information to narrow down our options, but still in a pandemic, it also created a number of dead ends. Finally, Micah’s parents — Bemidji transplants since 2019 — offered us their backyard for a wedding in the pines. OUR DECORATIONS We kept decorations fairly minimal to limit our spending in this area. Weddings are all about prioritizing money to the most important elements, and we wanted to invest elsewhere (more on that coming in photography). For decorations, we

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used a lot of what we already had and searched thrift stores or garage sales for inexpensive alternatives. For the table centerpieces, we used small, woven placemats that we found on Amazon and vases from IKEA. We ordered extra flowers to put in the centerpiece vases, as well. And because we knew it would get dark toward the end of the night, we used white Christmas lights to line the tent for the reception. And of course, with a backyard wedding in Bemidji, the greens and yellows of early fall are already a beautiful addition to any day. Our village was big here, as many aunts and uncles, parents and friends offered helping hands to set up whatever they could and however we needed.

OUR PHOTOGRAPHY We wanted to go big here, deciding that photos were worth the largest financial investment for the wedding. Finding someone whose work would capture the day well was important to us. Before we even got engaged, Katie had her eye on Bradley Hanson Photography, an award-winning, Minneapolis-based photographer. He has a

more candid eye and an in-the-moment view through his lens, which was incredibly appealing to us. We reached out, and thankfully he had an opening for our wedding date. It was a blessing to have him, and we are so happy with how our photos turned out (over 1,300 of them!). Bradley was a very welcome and integral addition to our village. DRESSES AND SUITS Katie was fortunate enough to find her dress at the first place she looked. She was searching for something affordable and found a lot of variety and reasonable options at Formally Yours in Fargo, N.D. She then had her dress tailored at Susan Olson Sewing in Bemidji. Katie found unique bridesmaid dresses at Baltic Born online. Micah found suits for himself and his groomsmen at Men’s Wearhouse, and he purchased floral print ties on Amazon.


THE NECESSITIES Before the first guests even arrived, we asked a few of our friends — Caleb and Kierlyn Fritz, Ainslee Krause and Landon Peterson — to

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General Tips We picked up a thing or two along the way. Here are the most important tips we learned for planning a wedding. ▶ Use The Knot or a similar wedding planning app. The Knot has a preset checklist with things that need to get done and when to do them, a budget tool to keep track of spending, a free wedding website creator for information and an RSVP system for guests. Everything is highly customizable to fit each couple’s needs in many ways, shapes and forms. ▶ Create a new, joint email address for wedding-specific communication. Using this to talk with vendors, photographers and more helps keep all wedding emails in one place where both bride and groom have access.

Photo by Bradley Hanson Photography Micah and Katie Friez ordered garden roses, anemones and ranunculus bulbs online with FiftyFlowers, and bought the rest of their flowers through KD Floral & Garden in Bemidji for their wedding.

pray over every chair and the person who would be sitting there. We care deeply for those who attended our wedding and wanted them to be blessed and encouraged. Micah’s sister, Carmyn Friez, read two Bible passages during the ceremony (James 1:17 and 1 John 4:10-12), and Mike Knott, our pastor from House of Prayer, officiated the wedding. But even that only scratches the surface of all those who were involved. OUR MUSIC For years, Katie’s dream was to

walk down the aisle to “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens. Friends Stephanie Chupp and Eliza Michealson brought that vision to life on keys and violin, respectively, using their talents to fill the wedding with a beautiful chorus. Katie’s brother-in-law, Dylan Dykstra, ran the sound board and ensured that the melody carried gracefully to everyone’s ears. OUR FLOWERS Not many have an eye for flowers like our friend Mikaela Clyde, and from day one, she was our point

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person. Through her, we ordered garden roses, anemones and ranunculus bulbs online with FiftyFlowers. We bought the rest of our flowers through KD Floral & Gardens, a local business in Bemidji that rounded out the bouquets perfectly.


BACKYARD WEDDING NECESSITIES We found our tent, tables and chairs from Bemidji Tents, based out of Northome. They were generous in giving us a chair upgrade at no extra cost. We set up the tables underneath the tent and set the

▶ Make a wedding day itinerary and print out physical copies so that everyone involved knows their responsibilities and exactly when and where to be. We designated our friend Sarah Johannsen as Katie’s personal attendant, and she helped keep the schedule moving (among many other day-of duties). ▶ Most importantly: On your big day, be intentional about spending time together, just the two of you. We shared a beautiful breakfast that family prepared for us, and we sat alone together outside to slow down, cherish the moment and anticipate the day to come. After all, it’s meant to be the best day of your life, so who better to share it with?

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chairs out in the sunshine for the ceremony, and guests brought them over to the tables for the reception. We also had a more than pleasant experience renting tablecloths from Liisa’s Rentals, which was easy and helpful to work with. We ordered all of our plates, silverware and napkins on Amazon.

Bemidji Pioneer & Buyline Photo by Bradley Hanson Photography Micah and Katie Friez purchased donuts from Raphael’s Bakery for their wedding day.

OUR FOOD We enjoyed chicken Alfredo with breadsticks and a side salad catered through Lueken’s Village Foods. Katie’s sister, Kaycee Gantt, baked us a cake, and we had a plethora of assorted donuts from Raphael’s Bakery — which was a particular hit. It was a wonderful experience in no small part because Micah’s army of aunts helped serve the food, set out the desserts and facilitate the meal. OUR DANCES We decided that we wanted live music for our first dances. Micah’s sister, Carmyn Friez, and two of Katie’s sisters, Kaycee Gantt and Francy Mae Dykstra, played music and sang for our first dance, the father-daughter dance and the mother-son dance. The rest of the wedding dance was to the tune of a Spotify playlist that we built up ourselves before the wedding. Joel Hoover — who Micah has come to know well through sports coverage and through the church — agreed to DJ and emcee during the reception. He was a perfect choice with his smooth radio voice echoing throughout the party. SEND-OFF To end the night, we had a sparkler send-off. Not only was it fun to run through rows of sparklers, it was special to have so many people we care about see us off.

We later found out that a large contingent of guests stayed behind after the wedding to help clean up the yard, which was a big relief to our families to not carry that burden alone. We’re also certain that much more went on behind the scenes — things people did that we may never know — to make our wedding possible. For that, and for everything else, we’re deeply thankful. Our wedding day was special not only to celebrate our love for one another, but to feel it generously from everyone around us.

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o two weddings are the same. Some couples go to great lengths to personalize their weddings, while others make a few minor tweaks to traditional components to make ceremonies and receptions more reflective of their style and the sentiments they hope to convey. Embracing modern trends is one way couples have looked to set their weddings apart from traditional ceremonies. There are no rules governing weddings, and that affords couples certain freedoms as they seek to incorporate a modern sensibility into the festivities. For example, couples can modernize certain components of their weddings while remaining loyal to more traditional elements, or they can fully embrace a modern aesthetic. That choice of how modern to make a wedding is up to the couple

tying the knot, but the following are some ways to give weddings a modern touch. • Leave a small carbon footprint. Eco-conscious couples can embrace an environmentalist ethos when planning their weddings by doing everything they can to eliminate waste and promote conservation. Send electronic invitations and savethe-date cards in lieu of paper alternatives and choose a reception venue that serves only locally sourced food and beverages. In lieu of wedding favors, which tend to be individually wrapped, make a donation in guests’ names to a local environmental group and share that information with loved ones. When picking a hotel for guests, find lodging that incorporates sustainability into its day-to-day operations. • Retire certain traditions. Couples need not feel pressured to

incorporate traditions that no longer reflect modern sensibilities. It’s up to couples to determine which traditions to retire, but customs like the garter toss and bouquet toss may no longer resonate with modern couples or their guests. In addition, brides who want to be walked down the aisle by both of their parents, as opposed to just their father, should not hesitate to do so.

• Look for a modern venue. One of the most awe-inspiring ways to give a wedding a modern touch is to choose a venue that reflects a modern aesthetic. Vaulted ceilings, white walls and floor-to-ceiling windows can create a clean, modern feel. Outdoor ceremonies also can create a modern ambiance. • Adjust your attire. Black tuxedos and white wedding dresses are among the first things to come to mind when imagining traditional weddings. Couples can stay formal but embrace a more modern look by choosing more colorful tuxes for grooms and groomsmen and picking a wedding gown with a flair of color. Brides also can allow bridesmaids to pick their own bridesmaid dresses to expand the modern look even further. There’s no shortage of ways for couples to give their weddings a modern touch.

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one are the days when wedding reception menus were limited to the one-size-fits-all offerings of meat, chicken or fish. Thanks to modern diets, couples hoping to accommodate guests may need to provide a wide array of food choices. It is impossible to pinpoint an exact number, as there are no definitive surveys classifying all dietary preferences, but there are believed to be around 7.9 million people in the United States who follow a vegetarian-based diet. Of those people, around one million are strictly vegan, according to data in The Economist. In addition, NYU Langone Health says one-third of Americans are trying to avoid gluten. The Gluten Free Agency, which is a consulting group dedicated to helping advertisers, says some nine million people in Canada are going gluten-free now for

medical or personal reasons. Toss in the scores of people with peanut or other allergies and even more caution is needed when designing wedding menus. Savvy couples who have guests’ health and comfort in mind recognize the importance of offering a varied meal plan for wedding-related parties and receptions. The following are

some ideas to consider when planning wedding menus. • Consider a buffet-style service. Although couples might like the tradition and flair that a seated/plated meal offers, it creates a much more limited selection of meal options. Buffet-style dinner service often provides couples with multiple choices, and it’s much more likely they

can come up with a combination that caters to any food allergies or dietary restrictions guests may have. • Opt for food stations. In lieu of one long buffet table, a modern approach is to have staffed food stations. Foods as well as their ingredients can be clearly stated on food table placards so guests can make appropriate choices. • Offer alternatives for dessert. Wedding cake can be a challenge to someone with a gluten sensitivity or an egg or a nut allergy. While not every guest indulges in dessert, make it a point to offer an alternative to cake. Perhaps a groom’s cake can be revamped into gluten-free cookie bars or a nut-free trifle. Couples who know in advance which types of dietary restrictions their guests have can work with caterers to devise a menu that suits everyone.

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rides and grooms may pour over every detail of their weddings, but few components of the festivities may be as fun, especially for foodies, as deciding what the wedding cake will look like. Couples who want to deliver show-stopping visuals often express some measure of their creativity and personalities through statement wedding cakes. Many couples now eschew the classic three-tiered white cake in favor of a dessert that garners instant attention. Whether the cake is brightly colored or hand-painted, a towering architectural marvel or shimmering in metallics, couples are opting to make a statement with their confections. Apart from clever cake-toppers, here are ways to stand apart when dessert is served. • According to the Perfect Wedding Guide, a rising trend in cakes is

to cover a white or naked cake with translucent glaze tinted in the couple’s wedding colors. This artistic expression can be especially stunning in boho-chic weddings. • Statement tiers also are popular. The cake may be traditional in nearly every way, but couples then set the cake apart by featuring an elaborate design or a different hue in one tier. • Martha Stewart Weddings advises that more than just color can be used to make a statement. Lifelike sugar flowers can really set cakes apart. Guests may not be sure if they can consume all aspects of some cakes. But delicate sugar flowers taste as good as they look. • Hand-painted tiles on a cake are another way to add panache. A bride and groom may be inspired by a European vacation or the stained-glass effects of religious windows and want to add that feel to the tiers of the cake.

• Sometimes a statement comes by way of texture. Even an all-white cake can be dressed up with interesting textural effects. Ruffles, lace, embossing, and 3-D rosettes are different textural components that can be incorporated in cake designs. • Couples also may want to tell their unique stories with cake. Individual tiers designed to reflect various milestone moments from the couple’s relationship can be quite engaging. • Capitalizing on the trend of edgier weddings, couples may opt for darker hues on their cakes - even a black tier - or nontraditional geometric shapes to the cake itself or its design elements. Statement cakes can really say something about the couple getting married. Much like other wedding elements, cakes provide a window into the minds of happy couples.

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oung couples tying the knot today grew up with social media, so it’s no great surprise that so many want to utilize various platforms when planning their weddings. In fact, the Brides 2018 American Wedding Survey found that 87 percent of brides turned to the social media platform Pinterest for inspiration when planning their weddings. On the surface, modern wedding ceremonies and receptions may look similar to the nuptials of yesteryear. However, engaged couples have increasingly incorporated social media into their weddings, and the following are some fun and creative ways to embrace that trend. • Create a social media photo booth. Guests may take more pictures at modern weddings than the photographers who were hired to document the happy couple’s big day from start to finish. Social media boards are digital screens that display social media walls. Live event social media boards collect and curate content from social media channels and display it on a single digital screen. Users, in this case a couple’s guests, simply use a predetermined hashtag when posting photos and the images are then displayed on digital screens in real time. This can be a fun way to engage guests during the reception. • Live stream the wedding. Live streams became very popular during the pandemic, when couples getting married had to pare down their guest lists in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. But live streams can continue to be used after the pandemic, as there will always be guests who can’t make it to the wedding. Facebook Live was a go-to social media platform for live streaming weddings during the pandemic, and it can be utilized to involve loved ones in the festivities even if they can’t be there in person. Live streaming via social media may be especially useful for couples who want to enjoy destination weddings, which tend to be small affairs due to travel constraints. • Hashtag the wedding. A couple-specific hashtag can serve as something akin to a wedding album, only it’s one everyone can easily access via the couple’s chosen social media platform. Encourage guests to hashtag photos from the wedding so everyone can have a good time looking back on the ceremony and reception once the day has come and gone. • Plan with your party. Social media can be as fun, inclusive and useful when planning the wedding as it can during the wedding itself. Brides and grooms can create their own private Pinterest boards and share them with the wedding party. Everyone can then use the private board to bounce ideas off each other. Couples can infuse a little fun into the Pinterest board by encouraging their groomsmen and bridesmaids to post outrageous


outfit ideas or submit sing-along song requests to be played during the reception. Social media is a big part of modern couples’


lives, so it makes sense for them to find fun ways to incorporate various platforms into their weddings.

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ew things document weddings more effectively than photographs. Carefully curated wedding albums and portraits hung on walls serve as daily reminders of a couple’s special day. Photography is often left in the very qualified hands of professional photographers. However, couples can pitch in to make their photos really pop. These picture pointers from industry insiders can help couples put their best smile forward. LEAVE AMPLE TIME A carefully orchestrated timeline can ensure photos are the best they can be. Why? Because a couple who is relaxed and not overwhelmed will notice that attitude translates to their photographs. When planning wedding timelines, couples should leave ample opportunities for getting dressed, chatting with the

DELVE INTO THE DETAILS Prepare wedding details, like gowns, shoes, accessories, etc., in advance to save time once the photographer arrives, suggests Desi Mendoza, a pro from Dez and Tam Photography. Invest in a beautiful hanger for the wedding gown as well, because you may want to photograph that on its own.

times together. Certain couples want to be snapped posing with a beloved pet. Putting that on the list helps ensure it will happen.

wedding party and going through various photography settings to grab great photos, advise the experts at Martha Stewart. PUT TOGETHER A SHORT LIST The photographer will have his or her ideas of which shots to cover, but a couple with specific goals in mind should relay that information to their photographer. For example, if a grandparent is getting up in years, request some solo photos of that person so you can look back on happy

ENLIST A FAMILY PHOTO COORDINATOR If the photographer does not have his or her own assistant, recruit someone who is assertive to help wrangle everyone for the family shots. Attempt to get family photos when family members are relaxed but not too far rumpled by dancing or having a good time. PLAY YOUR STYLE SAFE A wedding day is not a time for the bride or groom to try a dramatic new style, according to photographer Amanda Lamb. Resist the urge for a daring cut or color. It’s also likely not the place to try out new facial hair or heavy makeup. A couple unaccustomed to the way they look may be shy in front of the camera.

LEARN TO POSE Couples can practice posing in front of mirrors to get a feel for body positions that put them in their best light. A photographer’s advice in regard to posture is invaluable as well. Create space between arms and the body and learn how to angle the body so you look your best. Photos will capture wedding day memories forever. Couples can put themselves in the best positions for success by following some photography guidelines.




ew elements can make or break a couple’s wedding day more than entertainment. Ensuring guests have an opportunity to dance or sing along to some good music is crucial. When it comes to music, the two main options for weddings are a live band or a disc jockey. Each has its share of advantages and disadvantages. A live band may be more expensive, but it can get the crowd excited. A good bandleader also acts as a master of ceremonies and can pay attention to the vibe of the room, tailoring a playlist around that overall mood. Plus, bands offer live performances, which adds an extra special element to the occasion that can’t be replicated at home. A DJ is a popular choice, and today’s DJs are often artists in their own right. They know just how to select and seamlessly mix music to create the mood and really keep the party going. Couples who prefer to hear original versions of particular songs — especially for their first dance — often prefer DJs. The popular wedding planning resource

The Knot also says that it is often no problem for a DJ to find and play a song from an extensive digital library, while bands may not be able to learn and perform a song in time. Couples who can be flexible with their entertainment budgets may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. There is nothing that says a wedding cannot feature both a live band and a DJ. Such a wedding may just take a little more planning. Consider the scenario of bringing in a band for the cocktail hour and perhaps an hour or more during the dinner service of the reception when live music can accompany the meal. After that, a DJ can take over and drive the festivities up another notch with a late-night dance party. Some music vendors also do a combination of live and pre-recorded music. They may have live singers who accompany recorded tracks, or digital instruments like keyboards and drum pads that can enhance recorded songs. These also are options when selecting wedding music. There is no right or wrong answer when it

comes to setting the soundtrack for a wedding. A band, DJ or combination thereof can make the occasion even more memorable.

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BEMIDJI Weddings 2022

Planning Checklist

6 to 12 months before

• Select a wedding date and time. • Make a preliminary budget. • Determine the type of wedding

DJ for reception.

• Select a professional photographer.

• Determine the size of the

• Select a reliable, creative florist. • Select your dress and headpiece. • Announce engagement in the

• Reserve your ceremony

• Select bridesmaids’ dresses.

• Determine who will officiate

4 months before

you want. guest list.

and reception location. ceremony.

• Hire a wedding consultant, if you plan to use one.

• Decide on your color scheme. • Determine your wedding theme or style.

• Start compiling names and addresses of guests.

• Select bridal attendants. • Have fiancé select attendants. • Plan reception. • Check catering facilities if at a club or hotel.

• Select a caterer, if one is necessary.

• Select music, entertainment and


• Make final arrangements for

ceremony (deposits should be paid, contracts signed). • Make sure all bridal attire is ordered. • Have both mothers coordinate and select their dresses. • Register at a bridal registry in the towns of both families. • Order invitations and personal stationery. • Complete the guest lists and compile them in order. • Select the men’s wedding attire and reserve the right sizes. • Check requirements for marriage license in your state. • Shop for wedding rings.

• Start planning the honeymoon. • Begin shopping for accessories.

2 weeks before

• Attend to business and legal

details. Get necessary forms to change names on Social Security card, driver’s license, insurance and medical plans, bank accounts; make a will. • Prepare wedding announcements to be sent to the newspaper. • Reconfirm accommodations for out-of-town guests. • Finish addressing announcements to be mailed on the wedding day.

1 week before

• Contact guests who have not

responded. • Give the final count to the caterer and review details. • Go over final details with all professional services you have engaged. Inform them of any changes. • Give photographer the list of pictures you want. • Give all musicians the lists of

music for the ceremony and reception.

• Plan the seating arrangements. • Arrange for someone to assist

with last-minute errands and to help you dress.

• Practice having your hair done to make sure it comes out properly, and determine the time it will take.

• Practice using any makeup in the

same lighting you will have on the wedding date.

• Keep up with your thankyou notes.

• Pack your suitcase for

the honeymoon if leaving immediately after wedding.

• Make sure you have the marriage license.

• Make sure you have the wedding rings and they fit.

• Make sure all wedding attire is picked up and fits.

• Have a rehearsal with all participants, reviewing their duties.

• Attend rehearsal dinner party. • Stay calm and enjoy yourself.

Here's a helpful checklist to keep you on track!


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