Twin Cites NACE Chapter + Open Arms of Minnesota

Last week, I gathered with my fellow Twin Cities NACE members at The Depot for our annual fundraiser for Open Arms of Minnesota. This was our 6th year raising funds and awareness for this organization. Named “The Palate of Decadence”, this year’s gala attendees (ALL are welcome!) were treated to 6 outstanding food stations from; The Depot, The St. Paul Hotel, The Minneapolis Hilton, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Macy’s Design Cuisine and even the folks from Open Arms of Minnesota. Each food station was paired with a decor company. Providing the decor for the event were: The Wedding Guys, BeEvents, Linen Effects, Apres, Ultimate Events and Festivities and the outcome was phenomenal!  Top the evening off with the sounds of The Metro Jam Band and, well, you get the picture!  Our silent auction and ticket sales brought in over $6,000…our highest intake for this event to date! Congratulations to everyone!

Please consider joining us next year and help us give back!


~Macy’s Design Cuisine, The Wedding Guys & Be Events~

~Ultimate Events & Minneapolis Hilton~

~Festivities & The Saint Paul Hotel~

~The Depot & Linen Effects~

~Linen Effects~

~Mystic Lake Casino Hotel~

~Open Arms of Minnesota~

Como Zoo & Conservatory

It’s summer, in Minnesota, and folks are going to divi up their summer calendars with trips, projects, gatherings and outings. Have you considered a day trip to the Como Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul?  It’s got something for everyone…gardens, animals, picturesque views, amusement park (ComoTown!) and it’s become a destination for events as well. Come early, pack a lunch, bring your camera and plan to stay a while. There’s lots to see and do and the best part? It’s FREE (1 & 2$ donations are encouraged at the entrance but not required)!

I recently zipped out there (directions are simple) for a NACE meeting. Lancer Catering is the on site caterer at the Zoo & Conservatory and they are, simply put, outstanding! Midway Party Rental provided our event decor!

Whether you are looking for something fun and different when planning an outing, portrait session or wedding…consider the Como Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul!

Here’s to a yummy, fun Summer…wherever you go!

Van Dusen Mansion

Last week I attended this month’s Twin Cities NACE meeting which was held at the very stunning Van Dusen Mansion in Minneapolis. One of the things that I love about this place (and there are many) is that when planning a wedding (or other significant event), you can have your guests gather & mingle, hold the ceremony and dine all right there on the premises! It really is a gorgeous backdrop and would certainly punctuate any event! (I will return to the Van Dusen, this coming week, to photograph the newly renovated Carriage House once the new furnishings are set in place!)

Mintahoe is in charge of the catering at this venue and they really do an outstanding job! Mintahoe serves several venues and they boast award winning catering!

Bruce Vassar and Matthew Trettel of The Wedding Guys held the program this month and closed with some insider details and remarks about their recent voyage across the pond for the Royal Wedding of William & Kate! Check out their blog!

Thank you’s can also go out to Apres for supplying the linens and Matthew Sherry of Complete Music for supplying sound!

Another successful collaboration of extraordinary talents!


Mystic Lake Casino-your next event venue!

Recently, I was selected to photograph an event at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minnesota by the lovely Jennifer Christenson (Catering Sales Manager Extraordinaire!). I knew that this would be over the top but when I walked in I was blown away by the decor & floral designs. This event was a surprise 30th birthday party, thrown by the husband, for a guest list of about 50 and patterned after MTVs  hit series “My Super Sweet 16” (one of the guest of honor’s guilty pleasure shows!).

Not only was she surprised but the guests were in for a few surprises too, as they were guided from one event space and experience to another (4 total). Everyone soon realized that this would not be your ordinary birthday party…this was a full on, pull out all the stops, birthday BASH! Starting with a reception area where the surprise would occur to the dining area then on to a dessert area (reception/surprise area) that was converted to form a brand new space experience and finally through the doors into a groovy, lounge area for a rockin’ dance party complete with Lady Gaga singing all of her top hits!

This event brought together many talented people/organizations that worked in unison to pull off, perhaps, the event of the season (Royal Wedding has it’s own category!). A huge “Thank you!” to all of my fellow NACE members! Tireless efforts pay off!

Be sure to add the following event professionals to your list of folks to contact and discuss your dreams for your next event!

Venue: (Jennifer Christenson) Mystic Lake

Decor/Floral: (Jennifer Braun/Matt Johnson) Festivities

Lighting/Scaffolding: (Jon Nordos) Creative Concepts

Sound/DJ: (Matthew Sherry) Complete Music & Video

Lady Gaga Impersonator: (Mo!) A Party Crasher

Apres Party & Tent Rental

Last week I had the privilege of attending a really cool Open House! Apres Party & Tent Rental threw an Open House Social to showcase all of their new products. While I received an invite to attend as a guest I could NOT resist bringing my camera along because, well, Apres (a fellow NACE member) knocks it out every time! I knew this would be a feast for the eyes and I just couldn’t wait to photograph all the GORgeous place settings and decor details!

Next time you are looking to add some dazzling decor to your event(s), be certain to give Apres a call and let them dream up something FABulous for you! From the smallest to over the top, they are in it to come along side and get all of your senses going!

Mintahoe at the Minneapolis Central Library

Lisa Brenna of the Mintahoe Hospitality Group put on quite a program Wednesday night at the Minneapolis Central Library. While this, nearly, 5 year old venue bares a photo session all on it’s own with beauty and light at every turn, that evening it served as a backdrop for this month’s NACE event entitled “Exciting Twists on Beverages and Presentation”.

Oh sure, all the usual suspects were on hand which just makes attending these monthly programs a grand outing in themselves (even tho’ my raffle tickets yielded nothing this go ’round!).

Once everyone found their way to the 2nd floor we were all greeted with sumptuous libations and butler passed hors d’oeuvres hosted by Mintahoe and Jeffery Cook of Passport Beverage.

Then we moved to the presentation room where we were tempted with yet more delights for the senses!

If that weren’t enough…we adjourned to the lower level for deserts and dancing! Our DJ for the event was Jay Brian Kochendorfer, Director of Operations at DJSound!

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of NACE meets once a month at fabulous, local venues year ’round…excluding July, which is reserved for Nationals, where NACE members (nation wide) meet up for a National Conference to share industry trends. It’s been like home to me.  To coin a phrase…membership has it’s advantages!