Rachel and Jake's Backyard Wedding in the Minnesota Countryside
Rachel and Jake had vision for a simple wedding. A laid-back, comfortable day to celebrate with all their favorite people.
When I met Rachel, Jake was working out of state and had trusted Rachel with most of the wedding planning decisions. While I usually work closely with both partners leading up to their wedding day, it was so fun for me to get to know Jake and their relationship through Rachel’s eyes.
Rachel and Jake met in eighth grade! And each part of their lives brought layers of meaning to their relationship; from being family friends growing up, to going to school together to falling in love, Rachel and Jake were so closely woven together.
Jake is classically outdoorsy, connected and grounded in Minnesota through hunting, fishing and hiking. Most comfortable in the wild.
Rachel is a traveller, spending time abroad exploring her world, someone with a profoundly creative mind.
Together they’ve created a partnership that cherishes the familiar, while embracing all kinds of adventures.
They wanted their wedding day to be a celebration of that history and all the intersecting relationships with family and friends that had brought them together and supported them along the way.
So they planned a, relaxed, intimate wedding day in Jake’s parent’s backyard in North Branch, Minnesota.
My partner and (often) second photographer, Tyler, and I drove up from Minneapolis the morning of the wedding. As the man-made environment of the city bled away we were already immersed in the simple, slowed-down vibe Jake and Rachel envisioned for their wedding day.
When we arrived, Jake was already dressed and, rather than having him fake “get dressed” for photos, we asked him to show us around his favorite parts of his childhood home. The pictures are charming, and capture Jake so fully as a person - joking with friends and befriending a frog from the pond to accompany us on the tour. (I loved this because “frogging”, capturing lake-frogs and then letting them go, was a favorite pastime of my childhood too!)
Rachel was cozied up with her sisters and friends getting ready. The room was so full of emotions and the funny stories that come from long friendship and lifetimes of experiences shared together. I loved this moment where all the bridesmaids presented Rachel with a book full of letters of gratitude and love.
The First Look and Wedding Party Portraits
We set the first look up in a little clearing so Rachel (and her amazing fairytale train) could float down to Jake over the grass. I always love the incredible joy/surprise/delight that happens in first looks and this one didn’t disappoint. How much to do you love Jake’s awestruck expression!
After Rachel and Jake took some quiet moments together, their bridal party joined for portraits. I love this lighthearted one of all of their friends together. There’s so much love and history in this group and you could tell that they were all overjoyed for Rachel and Jake.
In every conversation I had with Jake and Rachel they told me how important their people are. I don’t always include family portraits in my blogs about weddings, but for Jake and Rachel one of the core parts of their day was including and embracing their extended families.
All families look really different and I love to be a helpful resource to make sure we capture all the people that you love. With three sets of parents and multiple family branches between them, Rachel and Jake were a little worried about capturing all of their family on their wedding day . Together, we down before their wedding and talked about the important relationships in their lives so that on the day, I could stay organized and capture everyone in an easy and relaxed flow.
The Backyard Ceremony
Rachel and Jake’s ceremony took place in a little clearing on the edge of Jake’s parents’ woods. It was beautiful and simple, with so many sweet moments. I loved watching Jake hug Rachel’s mom as he escorted her down the aisle. And the whole joyful party in Jake’s parents’ house signing the wedding certificate.
The Reception and Some Sunset Portraits
Dinner and dancing took place in a big romantic tent on the lawn and the simple outdoorsy vibe carried through. There was so much relaxed space for Rachel, Jake and their guests to enjoy the beautiful Minnesota summer.
Rachel had changed from her epic fairytale ceremony dress into a shorter, lighter dress perfect for dancing the night away and she and Jake closed out their wedding day having so much fun with the people they love.
Rachel and Jake, thank you so much for sharing your history with me. I loved getting to know all of the funny stories and sweet moments that have woven your lives together. I won't soon forget this beautiful day together in the woods and I wish you more adventures together. Congrats Rachel and Jake!