Ali and Matt’s Wedding 11.03.12

Is there anything more nerve wracking than photographing another wedding photographer’s daughter’s wedding? I think NOT! When my good friend and fellow photographer Catherine Golden asked me if I would photograph Ali’s wedding, I think I must have asked her, “Are you sure?”

Ali and Matt met at the University of St. Thomas. According to her dad’s toast, the very first time Matt came to the Golden’s house, her dad looked at him and said, “WOW – you two would make pretty babies!” This was a very astute observation; they could pose for the cake topper bride and groom 🙂

The beautiful couple, the church (Hennepon Avenue Methodist), the reception at Golden Valley Country Club and all the fabulous extra touches that Ali and her mom worked on for the past year made for a spectacular wedding. I can honestly say this has been the year for out-of-this-world weddings. I have been a very happy wedding photographer in 2012!

Ali and Matt were very good sports: They posed outdoors for many photos both at the church and at Golden Valley CC.  It was a very COLD day, but at least the predicted rain did not fall. They and their friends were so happy and ready to party, I don’t think they even noticed the temperature! Here are some of the fun pics from the day. And I broke my rule of only putting 20 photos on the blog…

None of these guys needed any coaxing to ham it up!
BIG wedding party!
Nick and Ali Golden await the “big walk” down the aisle
A beautiful venue for a wedding. This is Hennepin Avenue United Methodist church in downtown Minneapolis.

The plan was that only the wedding party and family would stay afterwards to blow bubbles and cheer on the exiting couple. Surprise: most of the guests stayed!

Golden Valley Country Club is a perfect site for a large wedding reception. It spaciously accomodated their 300 guests.

The maid of honor’s mom, Gretchen, made this amazing cake that tasted as good as it looked.

Emily and Mike – July 7, 2012

I have been a wedding photographer for a LONG time: since the 1970s. Sometimes I think I have “seen it all”: animals as attendants, grooms on horses, grooms that didn’t show up for the two hours of photos taken before the ceremony (two), runaway brides (one), runaway grooms (one), and–naturally–shockingly embarassing drunken toasts. But let me tell you a funny story about my wedding last weekend.

We were to begin photography at noon at the Church of the Incarnation in Minneapolis. The timing was going to be very tight, given that their wedding started at 2 p.m. but there was another event scheduled at the church that morning. We arrived at 11:40 a.m. and patiently waited in our car for the wedding party to arrive. There were many nicely dressed people milling about inside and outside of the church from the previous event. “Come on,” I silently pleaded. “Clear the church so we can get inside and set up our equipment!”

We idly wondered, had it been a funeral, a first communion? Then at 11:50 a.m., a limo pulled up. “Wow,” I exclaimed to Molly. “Emily didn’t tell me she was arriving in a limo!” We jumped out, ready to photograph her arrival, but lo and behold, the limo door opened and out jumped a videographer and photographer, followed by… huh?… NOT MY BRIDE!!!

“OH NO!” I shouted as Molly yelled at me, “Mom, do you have the right church?!” Molly immediately whipped out her phone and discovered there was another Incarnation Church–downtown! I frantically dialed Emily on her cell phone, praying that she would answer. When she did, she told me, “I’m three minutes away.”

Well, it was the same church we were at! I had to inform her there was a wedding about to begin at noon. And not hers! She shouted, “That wedding was supposed to be an hour ago!” They had just informed her of this added event the night before at her rehearsal, but they had assured her that wedding would be cleared out by noon.

Long story short: The bride moved and forgot to update this information with her vendors (limo driver included). He waited for 30 minutes at her old address, and then–not knowing what to do–went to the church, where her relatives informed him of her NEW address. So he rushed to go get her, but this was already an hour later.

All I can say is thank goodness it was not the day before, when it was 102 degrees and unforgiveable humidity. We had to take ALL the “before” group photos outside at the priest’s residence next door. We were limited to a few small patches of shade, one tree and some bushes. And do you think they might have hurried along the late late wedding? No way! It went on endlessly for an hour. Emily and Mike’s guests were arriving and the other wedding hadn’t let out yet!

Luckily, this couple was very laid back and understanding (unlike their neurotically nervous photographer who was trying very hard NOT to act neurotic and nervous!). And nothing was going to get in the way of them having a very FUN wedding! Actually, the non-air conditioned church was like an oven, and it was beautifully balmy and breezy outside. So most everyone was just fine with the outdoor pics. We did take some photos in the church afterwards.

Emily and Mike were high school sweethearts. They went off to different colleges but love persevered over the years and a wedding date, some 12 years later, was set. See the first photo below of the very YOUNG couple at their tenth grade prom in 2001!

This couple made it clear to me that their goal for the wedding day was to celebrate with family and friends. Yes, they wanted great photos, but they didn’t want to spend large blocks of time taking pictures. They rented a limo bus and wanted to spend the time after the wedding riding around the lakes and having fun with their friends. We did have about a half-hour at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and took some fun shots there. My favorite is Mike spraying a bottle of champagne. Look at the girls cowering together trying to avoid the spray!

Sometimes a wedding photographer just has to go with the flow. It certainly worked on this day. As they old adage goes, all’s well that ends well (big relieved sigh).

Formal dance photo from throughout their high school years.
Great dresses for a summer wedding! And check out the darling flower girl!

Before the ceremony, Emily was surprised with a hand-written letter from Mike.
Fisheye view of The Church of the Incarnation.
A beautiful setting for a beautiful day.
Sharing a laugh during the ceremony.

Their wedding party and limo bus is waiting for the couple just outside the church doors.

The famous “Cherry and Spoon” installation at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
A “champagne toast.”
The exact spot where they had prom pictures taken in high school.
Don’t you love their expressions?
The Semple Mansion in Minneapolis.
The ballroom upstairs at Semple Mansion for dinner and dancing.
Making a grand entrance into their reception.

Liz and Corey’s Wedding 06.03.12

We traveled to Somerset, New Jersey to photograph the wedding of Liz Orenstein and Corey Cohen. Molly had met Liz during her freshman year at the University of Minnesota. They became best friends; in fact – Liz was Maid of Honor at Molly’s wedding in Sonoma, California in 2009.

When Liz took a job transfer from Minnesota to New Jersey, we joked that the circle of available Jewish men became MUCH bigger. In fact, Liz met Corey on “J Date” and the two quickly became serious. I took their engagement photos when they visited Minnesota last August.

Their wedding was one of the most sumptuous, emotional, and beautiful events I’ve had the pleasure of photographing. Many tears were shed that day, beginning when Liz’s mother spied her wedding dress hanging in the bride’s suite, to the first look from her father, to seeing Corey for the first time, the Ketubah signing, the vows, the toasts…. you get the idea!

I always tell my couples that “it isn’t a real wedding unless something goes wrong”. Well, that started with Corey discovering that the tux shirt he purchased did not include buttons! The staff at The Palace at Somerset Park scurried around trying to find white buttons and had to sew them on for him! We envisioned them cutting off white buttons on whomever they found  with buttons! So we started a “little late”…. And then – as soon as we went outside for some pictures around the beautiful grounds – it started to rain! But, honestly, those were the only glitches of the day. In fact, the silver lining of the rainy day was an amazing double rainbow at sunset.

I hope you can see the depth of this couple’s adoration of each other in these photos. As guests witnessed Corey seeing Liz for the first time and getting very emotional, everyone grabbed their tissues.

I have to mention the food. OH – the FOOD! I have never seen such an array of spectacular food – ever! The cocktail hour featured 9 different chef manned stations. Sushi, wok stir fry, carving station, salads…. and this was only the cocktail hour. Dinner was ordered from a menu. Then, the crowning glory (after the cake was served): they opened the salon doors to a Viennese Pastry Buffet. Tortes, pastries, chocolate fountain, cakes, cheesecakes, chef made-to-order beignets. And on. And ON. It seemed to me there were enough desserts to feed 1,000 people. Afterwards, I wondered who got to take home all the leftovers?!

The live band was capable of performing any cover and their repertoire was vast. Classical, disco, top 40, waltzes, polkas, etc. Along with the traditional Horah and the Mezinke Dances, they kept the crowd dancing the entire time.

Well… I’ll let these photos attempt to tell the amazing wedding story of Liz and Corey. Mazel tov! And enjoy your honeymoon cruise to the Mediterranean!

The groom's sister had just smacked him - hard - in the head!

The groom's nephew Matthew was the ring bearer
The Ketubah signing
Underneath the chuppah at the Palace at Somerset Park

The yellow calla lily theme carried over in the centerpieces on each table
This is one of many chef manned stations during the cocktail hour
Making sushi at the cocktail hour

The groomsmen are sporting cheeseheads in hommage to Liz's Wisconsin roots
The couple are lifted up into the air on chairs during the Horah dance
During the dancing, the rain stopped and a double rainbow appeared!
The centerpiece at the Viennese pastry dessert buffett
A full moon rose on the horizon so I persuaded the couple to take another photo break!
The Palace at night

Destination Wedding Albums

Many brides are opting for destination weddings these days. Often, the destination site will offer a “package” to the bride that includes a photographer. The photographer gives the bride her images on a CD. Then what? She will probably put them in a folder on her computer to share the wedding photos with family and friends via social networking sites. But what about a wedding album?

My goal for all my brides is to have a beautifully designed wedding album. We have won several awards for our wedding albums, including the coveted ICON award from the Twin City Bridal Association.

Shannon and Sam got married on the beach at her parent’s Florida home in 2009. As a one-year anniversary gift, her mother suggested a Gift Baskets for Women and she contact me to have a wedding album designed by me from the images taken by her Florida wedding photographer. We sat at my computer and loaded in her CD of images. She selected all her favorites and then I got to work designing a beautiful album for her. Both mothers also ordered albums. A few weeks later, I uploaded the final album design to the company in Italy that produces my albums, Graphi Studio. Approximately two months later, Shannon got the fun phone call that her albums were ready! She loved her album and gave me permission to share it on this blog.

If you had a destination wedding and are wishing for a wedding album OR if you are a Minnesota bride who only got a CD from her wedding photographer, I would love to design an album for you! Here are some pages from Shannon and Sam’s album.

Images of the Year

We thought it’d be fun to put together a little slideshow of some of our favorite, funniest and most memorable images from the past year. While it was darn near impossible to narrow down our top 70 photos, we managed to get just about all of them in there. (Though when I came to work today, I still had to cut the slideshow by 27 images!) We hope you enjoy a look back at 2010 through the lenses of the Jan Kentala Photography staff.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Photos by Jan Kentala and Molly Kentala Broman
Music by Neon Trees

Alexa & Ben’s Big Day: 06.26.10

After 15 months of planning, the day had finally arrived: Alexa and Ben were getting married! The couple chose to say their vows in Alexa’s church from college: St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota campus. After a terribly stormy evening the night before, we were all happily surprised to get to photograph them in non-rainy conditions.

Alexa and Ben chose not to see each other beforehand, so we photographed the two, their bridesmaids/groomsmen and their families separately, then proceeded to snap all of the large groups and wedding party after the ceremony. Thankfully, we had plenty of time to get everything in—even an hour or so to take shots near St. Anthony Main and the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

Since Alexa is a dear friend of mine, this day was especially meaningful to me. I’ve known her and Ben throughout their courtship, and it’s been so fun to watch them grow as a couple. Being the second shooter, I spend most of the day catching the behind-the-scenes moments, so once all of the girls had left to line up for the processional, it was just me and Alexa for a few moments alone before she walked down the aisle. I looked at her and smiled, saying, “Well, it’s just me and you now. You ready to do this?” Of course, I quickly brought of us to tears.

We wish the new Mr. and Mrs. Cushman all the best as they embark on this new chapter of their lives together. Congratulations and we can’t wait to show you the rest of the pictures!

Alexa and her dad, Al, share a moment before they walk down the aisle.

The couple's Yorkie, Cooper, served as an honorary groomsman. He's even wearing a tuxedo T-shirt!

To see more shots of Alexa and Ben’s big day, visit our Facebook fan page.

Jenna + Jake Get Married, 06.5.10

They say that rain on your wedding day is a sign of good things to come. If the old adage is true, then Jenna and Jake will surely live a lifetime of happily ever after!

While a steady rain continued throughout the morning and early afternoon, the couple’s spirits were far from dampened. We got many great shots within the sanctuary of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Maple Grove. All of the light wood and large windows gave us some fabulous natural light to work with. We even took the brave groom and groomsmen outside for a few fun jumping shots; those are a favorite of ours.

On the drive to their reception at Rush Creek Golf Club, the clouds began to part and lo and behold, by the time the wedding party stepped out of their stretch Hummer limo, the rain had vanished. (That made for some pretty happy photographers!) Jenna and Jake were great sports, allowing us to pose them all around the golf course during their cocktail hour. I tell you, there’s nothing like a good soaking rain to get a golf course looking so lush and green.

We hope you enjoy the photos as much as we did taking them. And congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Krueger!

To see more shots of Jenna and Jake’s big day, check out our Facebook fan page.

Gloria and Del: First Wedding of 2010

What a great way to start the New Year by photographing the wedding of Gloria and Del!

Both had been married before, but Gloria hadn’t had a big church wedding. Well, that was about to change! With 5 attendants on each side and 7 junior attendants (all grandchildren), I told them it was “like photographing a royal wedding.” Del did a lot of eye rolling when we met to discuss the wedding details (“In the old days, the guy just had to SHOW UP!” he said.) But he was a wonderful sport about everything. The beautiful ceremony was held at Oak Knoll Lutheran Church in Minnetonka, followed by a reception at Stonebrooke Golf Club.

Like all couples, they later told me, “It went by in a blur.” I smiled at them and said, “Well, that’s why you hire a wedding photographer!”


The "royal wedding party"
The "royal wedding party"
The couple's grandchildren
The couple's grandchildren


Signing the license and making it official
Signing the license and making it official

Photos in Minnesota Bride magazine

Back when I was in the throes of wedding planning, I pitched a story to my editor on what it’s like to plan a reception back home after a destination wedding. I hadn’t found too many resources on the topic, so I thought it’d be helpful for fellow brides in a similar situation. As luck would have it, she loved the idea and asked me to write a piece for an upcoming issue!

This week, the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Minnesota Bride hit newsstands and the web with the story–and our photos! The article features one of our favorite images from California and some details shots from the Minnesota reception. You can check out the story online here:

Minnesota Bride is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Byerlys, Coborns, Cub Foods, Festival Foods, Lunds, Target and other fine retailers.

Liz & Lamont’s wedding album

We know we’re a little late in posting this one, but we couldn’t help adding images from one of our favorite weddings last summer. Liz and Lamont were married June 20, 2009, at the Carlson Towers Rotunda in Minnetonka, Minnesota. They held an outdoor ceremony by the lake (with gorgeous weather!), followed by a party inside the Rotunda. It was such a pleasure to work with them and the rest of their fun-loving wedding party.

Side note: This album was one of our award winners from a recent Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association album competition. View this entry here.

Be sure to view the Kidd wedding album on our Facebook fan page!