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Haley & Derek 2.29.2020

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

Beautiful winter wedding in Two Harbors, MN, inspired by the great state of Minnesota

Derek and Haley started out as good friends. They officially took the plunge into dating on a trip to Derek's family "shack" (as they refer to it), just north of Duluth. They loaded up the snowmobile and went out to Ruth lake. There, they found an island to spent some time drinking, talking about life, making snow angels and officially becoming a couple.

Fast forward about three and a half years to December 30th, 2018. Their friend group had decided to go up to the "shack" for their yearly secret Santa exchange and NYE celebration. Everyone loaded up their snowmobiles for a ride around Ruth lake. After some time, Haley noticed they had lost their friends in the process of getting to the island on Ruth lake. Once they arrived, Derek got down on one knee and said "this is where it started, and this is where I ask you to take the next step of our love. Will you marry me?" The surprised and teary eyed Haley of course, said "Yes!".

Then, the aforementioned lost friends, made their way to the location (them getting lost wasn't actually part of the plan) to share in the exciting news of their engagement. They toasted with champagne and then headed back to the "shack" to continue the celebrations. The epitome of a true Minnesotan engagement!


Sticking to their Minnesota theme, they incorporated things that they love about this state into their day. They chose the Grand Superior Lodge as their wedding venue because of its proximity to lake superior. Jumping on the (mildly) crazy train they said "Hey, let's have a winter wedding....with an OUTDOOR ceremony." Truly dedicated Minnesotan's right here.

They landed on a wedding date of February 29th, aka leap day, because an outdoor wedding in Minnesota wasn't already crazy enough. Being outdoorsy people, they decided to incorporate Lake Superior rocky shoreline colors and went with blues, greens, tans and grays for their wedding day.

Haley and Derek lucked out and got a truly beautiful winter day, with only a mild breeze and manageable temperatures (by Minnesota standards). They did make sure to keep their guests warm by having heaters nearby and providing blankets & hand warmers.

For their reception they had beautiful, elegant, rustic decor. Guest tables were named after lakes in Minnesota that were special to them, and included a story of the lakes meaning to them as a couple. They chose to get their beer and wine from a local brewery, Castle Danger Brewery. The Castle Cream Ale is a favorite of Haley's!

The day flew by and was absolutely perfect. They captured memories with a Polaroid camera guest book. So many memories were made that their book was filled up... so much so that they can't shut it all the way! Which makes sense, because their reception was supposed to shut down at Midnight... But they partied until they got "kicked out" at 1:30 in the morning!

Haley's best tips for wedding planning are:

  1. Think of your wedding day schedule as early as possible during your planning! Considering when your ceremony is and planning for every hour to half hour prior to the ceremony. Note when you need to have hair and makeup done by and when your photographer is coming.

  2. Make a photography plan! Think about WHERE you want photos and make a list of WHO you want photos with. Tell your family/ friends what is expected of them for photos. If you like certain poses print a list of them so you remember them day of.

  3. Finally, Enjoy the day! Drop all the thoughts of things you "should have done" and be with your loved ones in the moment, enjoying everything the day has to offer. It will be the people that make it the most memorable at the end of the day.

Thanks for sharing your love story with us!

Ali & Caitlin


Vendors Involved:

Photography: Marissa Murdy

Catering/Bar Service: Grand Superior Lodge

Hair & Makeup: Hustle + Heart Salon

Wedding Dress & Bridesmaids: David's Bridal


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