Emily and Ian's Thoughtful, Handmade Wedding at the Campus Club

When the story of a marriage starts in high school summer camp, I just know that the day will be full of personal touches and all the ways lives and communities intertwine. For Emily and Ian’s campus club wedding, every little moment was an expression of their creativity and the life they’ve built together.

Emily and Ian both grew up in Iowa and met at summer engineering camp the summer before their senior year of high school. They are the kindest, sweetest people, who go out of their way to make everyone around them feel welcome. You might remember that when we planned their engagement session, they had me over and made me delicious fajitas and chocolate chip cookies. Their wedding was a bit like that for all their guests: a chance to be welcomed and get a little window into the life that Emily and Ian share.

One of the things that I instantly noticed about Emily and Ian’s home is how it was overflowing with their personality and creativity, from beautiful wood shelves they made together to their handmade Christmas cards, their space was full of these little details they’ve crafted. Their Campus Club wedding showcased more of these incredible skills, every moment was an expression of the physical love and creativity they put into their day.

Getting Ready

I took a moment when I arrived to capture the invitations that Emily made by hand for each guest. Emily and Ian were getting ready with their small, intimate wedding parties and families and I loved the laid-back, happy vibe.

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This moment between Emily and her mom was one of the sweetest. Emily describes her relationship with her mom as “very Gilmore Girls” (so here for that!) and in this photo Emily’s mom is helping Emily with a bracelet that belonged to her grandmother - a little nod to the important people that couldn’t be at the wedding.

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First Look,Wedding Party and Family Photos

Emily and Ian had their first look in a secluded outdoor corner we found near the campus club, they’re so so joyful and happy against this backdrop of cascading ivy.

After they had a few moments together, we met up with their wedding party and families for some portraits before the ceremony.

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One thing that I always address with family photos is who’s going to be there. Will there be  little kids? Elderly folks? Those with mobility concerns? The answers to those questions often help determine what setting we choose for family photos. Above all we want to make it easy for all the members of your families to join the photo. The site we chose here was really close to the Campus Club so it was easy for family and friends to pop out, be in the photo and easily head back inside.

Unless my couples have a very specific photo location in mind (like “we always wanted to do our first look by that huge oak tree..”) I encourage couples to let me find the perfect photo locations on the day. I can make sure to take into account things like beautiful light, or where the sun will be, or locations with comfy shade so that the process feels really effortless to you and your important people.

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The Ceremony on the Campus Club Patio

After the first look and family portraits, I always plan a moment of photo downtime into the day. This gives couples a chance to relax and center themselves off-camera before the ceremony. Emily and Ian took a moment to exchange beautiful and personal wedding gifts (diamond earrings for Emily and a heirloom stick-pin for Ian) then hung out a little with their families before the walk down the aisle.

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As the ceremony gets closer, I’ll almost always leave my second photographer with the couple to capture a few pre-wedding candids while I head to the ceremony venue to capture photos of the guests arriving. For two reasons: one, it allows us to capture all the excitement of guests arrivals and, two, I can slowly position myself near the front of the aisle so that when it comes time for everyone to process in, I’m perfectly placed to get those lovely photos of everyone walking down the aisle.

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Emily and Ian’s ceremony was officiated beautifully by their dear friend friend Kelsey, who’s in her final year of seminary school. Since Kelsey couldn’t do the final pronouncement of the two as a married couple, her dad Kent, an ordained pastor, was there to make everything official.

Emily and Ian brought handmade touches to the ceremony too. They made the backdrop out of hundreds of folded circular fans and, instead of a unity ceremony that blended grains of sand, they mixed and layered particles of colored glass. After the ceremony a local Minneapolis glass artist will take their unified glass and blow it into a piece of art for their home - isn’t that neat!

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The final photo is this epic composite stitched together from several photos I took during the ceremony. From the beginning, Emily and Ian had talked about the best part of their wedding being the moment when they would look out to see all their people around them, celebrating them and supporting them and I wanted to capture that feeling in a photo.

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The Campus Club Reception

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The handmade details were incredible at the reception. Guests found their tables by finding a “ticket” to a place where Emily and Ian had traveled together, each table not only was named after a meaningful destination, but featured a photo and story of Emily and Ian’s time there.

Their summer camp name tags (which they both kept!) were on display. And they had adorned their mini bundt cake desserts with folded fans carried over from their ceremony backdrop motif. The piece I loved the most was the cake topper that Emily sculpted: two otters, holding hands with the words “made for each otter.” The cuteness. I love a sappy pun!

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Dusk Portraits

Just past sunset, when the light was lovely and calm, Emily, Ian and I stepped outside to capture these portraits with a backdrop of early fall foliage.

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Dance Party!

Everyone was in on this dance floor, from little cousins to grandparents. Ian’s grandparent’s outlasted everyone on the floor during the “anniversary” dance, they’ve been married for 66 years!

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Emily and Ian, thank you for sharing your home, your special people and your wedding with me. I loved coming along with you on this journey, shamelessly eating your delicious fajitas and chocolate chip cookies and helping to capture the love and creativity you put into celebrating your love together. Congratulations to you both!


Thanks to the other vendors who brought this beautiful day together:

Venue: Campus Club at the University of Minnesota

Hair/Makeup Artists: New Reflections Salon

Florist: DIY from Market Flowers at the Minneapolis Farmers Market

Dresses: Wedding Shoppe

DJ or Band: Midwest Sound

Rings: Shane Co

Bundt Cakes: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Alyssa L-K