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Tioga, North Dakota

Tioga Community Center





Shelby and Kevin have known each other for almost ten years, but I’ve known Shelby since she was born. On Friday afternoon, I watched my little sisters eyes swell up with tears of happiness as she stepped into our small country church. This was the first time she was seeing it since we completely transformed it the night before.

Eucalyptus and muted fall colors set the tone for this two-day event. The weekend started early on Friday afternoon with hair and makeup at Shelby and Kevin’s home nestled at the top of the White Earth Valley. When Shelby got engaged, I told her I would love to photograph her wedding or be a bridesmaid, but I could do both. Secretly I was hoping she would choose me to photograph her wedding! I also got the honor of doing her makeup which was pretty fun too!

Shelby’s wedding ring was our Grandma Dean’s, and the handkerchief around her flowers was our Grandma Vera Bergstrom’s. I also got to use the vintage ring pouch that belonged to Grandma Vera for bridal detail photos.

Seven bridesmaids and five flower girls filled up the house pretty quickly but watching their reactions to seeing Shelby in her dress for the first time was completely worth it! We loaded up the car and headed down to roller-coaster road south of Trinity Lutheran Church in Tioga, North Dakota for the first look. The overcast day made for some pretty perfect lighting and amazing images.

We finished up bridal party photos and headed north to the church so everyone could freshen up while we waited for guests to arrive. I got busy photographing the church, which had been transformed thanks to my mom’s creative directive the night before. Fresh eucalyptus garlands hung from the ceiling wooden signs lined the aisle. On the third row pew, a red rose and our grandpa Bergstrom’s belt reserved the seat where my grandparents sat every Sunday morning. Dragonfly Floral supplied the flowers and eucalyptus, which made the old church smell heavenly.

Our grandpa Dean lead a prayer and reading during the service. Following the small intimate ceremony, family and friends were invited back to Shelby and Kevin’s house for a meal provided by Kevin’s mom Joann; steak and walleye on the Treger grill! Most people cleared out pretty early since we were all meeting back up to do it all again on Saturday.

Saturday morning the rain was heavy as Kevin, and his groomsmen shot clay pigeons on the back deck while Shelby and the bridesmaids got all gussied up inside once again. After doing Shelby’s makeup, I headed into the Tioga Community Center to photograph the magic A Bit of Heaven was creating inside.

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