It was exactly nine years prior to their wedding day that Kate and Karl went on their very first date. Obviously, their love is enduring and incredible. What one might not guess however, is that their very first date was actually the result of Karl asking Kate out for the fourth time.
You see, they had had a "crush" on each other on and off throughout high school, but it never really developed fully... largely due to a cellphone blunder. Karl explained, during their beautiful reception at the Marshall Golf Club, "Back then, my text limit was thirty texts a month, for both sending and receiving". So, whenever he and Kate texted, he always shut down after that thirtieth text, not getting back to Kate.
"So, I guess one thing I learned from that is communication is important to developing a relationship," Karl explained. He followed up with several more learnings from his pursuit of Kate - don't ask a girl out in a Hardee's drive-through. It is NOT romantic, even though it sounded good at the time, it's not. And lastly he said..
"The best things in life are worth waiting for."
Um... okay. Don't mind me while I swoon over here.
The day began with Kate and her ladies getting ready at Hair Expressions by Kari in Granite Falls, Minnesota. The salon was buzzing with excitement as makeup brushes waved and curling irons twirled. Kate met me in a private, back room so we could capture her reading the letter Karl had written her. Naturally, I didn't get half-way through the reading before I was balling, and Kate did okay until the end when she stopped, gave a heartfelt laugh, and said, "Wow, I think I actually AM going to cry today!". Her letter was brimmed full of loving remarks from Karl, and how excited he was to marry her that day. One of my favorite lines was:
"You are the most beautiful, kind-hearted, sweet, full-of-love, brown-eyed girl I know, and I can't wait to call you my wife in a short while."
Kudos to you Karl - that was phenomenal.
Then it was off to a hotel just down the street from the venue where the groomsmen were getting ready. Eventually, we were able to usher all of the guys out of the room except for Karl, where he was nervously holding his letter from Kate in his hands.
When Karl read his letter... you better believe that he didn't leave a dry eye in the room (even if it was just me and the photographer, Hayley Bodin in the room). Kate, being the hilarious lady she is, started with a joke, "I have always had a picture in my mind of the man I’m going to marry... Adam Levine. Just kidding!"
This cracked Karl up before he got to the emotional core of the note.
"You are the most loving and kind-hearted guy I have ever met. Those blue eyes get me every time."
It's true. Karl has some of the bluest blinkers I have ever seen.
Kate wrapped it up with some more adorable comments about how Karl will make the best father to their children one day, and how excited she was to experience the world with him. The note ended with...
" You are my other half, and I can’t wait to call you my husband. I love you forever."
On to the first look.
I have to admit, I've never seen a first look more full of genuine love and excitement than these two's. Kate made the long walk from the reception space to a gorgeous, large tree near the golf course, where Karl awaited in the shade. We didn't allow him to move much from his spot (so we wouldn't accidentally turn and see Kate), but the nerves were mounting, and he swayed back and fourth, anticipating his gorgeous future wife's reveal.
When Kate gave Karl the go-ahead to turn around and catch a glimpse, Karl's head fell into his hands as he beamed and went in for a huge hug. They had long moments of standing beneath the shade in each other's arms, cherishing one another as the summer breeze wrapped around them.
First looks are one of my absolute favorite things to capture. It's a chance for the couple to be alone with each other before the chaos of the wedding day really starts to ensue. It's just them. Alone and wrapped in each other. Bursting with excitement and love for this special time. Sigh.
The ceremony was set up along a tree line, tucked behind the golf club; beautiful and secluded. It was a tad bit windy, but still an insanely fun place to fly the drone!!
As guests found their seats, water bottles were passed to them so as to keep cool in the 80-some degree, weather. That's Minnesota for ya.
The processional began, and each linked groomsman and bridesmaid made their ways down the aisle.
The flower girl and ring bearer were too adorable to handle as they preluded the stunning bride's entrance.
Kate walked down the aisle, accompanied by her father, in a classic, Allure gown.
The ceremony seemed to fly by with wonderful readers, a hilarious officiant, and a beautiful song, When I Say I Do, sung by a close family friend.
Their first kiss as man and wife sent Kate and Karl back down the aisle to a sea of applause and smiles, as they set up for a receiving line.
The toasts began with a heartfelt message from Kate's father, declaring how he and his wife knew that Kate and Karl would be getting married from very early on. Recently, Kate had had a health scare, and seeing the way Karl cared for Kate had reassured him of what he already knew - that they were meant for each other.
Kate's maids of honor were her two sisters, and they shared several funny stories of Kate when they were younger, along with how Karl had always gone above and beyond for Kate...
"Whether he was building her a telescope from scratch, moving across states, or spending over 100 hours picking out the perfect engagement ring, he set a pretty high standard and we knew early on that we was the one."
Karl's best man wrapped up toasts with a story of how he remembered spending a hot summer's day with both Karl and Kate many years ago, when they had first begun dating. He knew, in fact, that it was summertime because Karl had insisted upon listening to "Born in the USA" on the way to go fishing. The room filled with chuckles.
He went on to say how that was when he realized how great they were for each other, and he knew that this day would come sooner or later.
Toasts have a way of making you so grateful for all of the wonderful people in your life, don't they?!
Toasts were followed by dancing the night away, with guests of every age taking the floor.
We had the exciting task of capturing a sparkler exit, as the wedding party ignited their sparklers and held them high above the newlywed's heads, smiling and laughing.
There was such love in Marshall, Minnesota that night, ya'll. It was truly something very special.
Congrats to Kate and Karl on their wonderful new beginning!
And, a special thank-you to all of the vendors who I had the pleasure of collaborating with:
Videographer: Blush Film Co. (Michelle Kuker)
Photographer: Hayley Bodin Photography
Florist: Flowers from the Heart (Carmen Haugan)
Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Jessica Hilgemann (Marshall Golf Club)
Dress Store: Finley Florence Bridal
Dress Designer: Allure
Hair & Makeup: Hair Expressions by Kari
DJ: Rob Anderson from Push Play Entertainment
Donut Cake and donuts: Carl’s Bakery
Venue: Marshall Golf Club
Bridesmaids Dresses: Infinity by Sisters Bridal
Groomsmen Attire: Mister Cool’s Clothing (Brad Cool)
Transportation: Granite Falls City Bus
Photo Booth: Gypsy Photo Wagon (Kayla Lindsley)