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Featured: A Bayfield Destination Wedding

Rachael and AJ’s destination wedding took place in Bayfield, Wisconsin on October 14, 2017. Even though they live in the Twin Cities- Bayfield stole their heart years ago and was the place they wanted to get married. Andi Stempniak Photography captured their wedding day just beautifully! We hope you enjoy their wedding as much as we do!

Photo Credit: Andi Stempniak Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you met.
When we first connected, it was safe to say neither was sure if we were the ones for each other. But the first date proved otherwise. On a cold winter night, we met for an evening of rock climbing – a sport we have continued throughout our relationship- but it went on to dinner and deep discussion as if we had known each other forever. If it were not for having to go to work the next day, we would have talked all night. It did not take long to realize we should be partners in this adventure together.

What made you choose Bayfield for your wedding?
Rachael’s family has a cabin here and has been boating the Apostle Islands for years. When Rachael introduced A.J. to Bayfield, it was love at first site! We both have traveled the world, but Bayfield still draws us like a magnet. Naturally we wanted to share this place with everyone. It is far enough to be a “destination wedding,” which makes it an extra special for all who attended.

Photo Credit: Andi Stempniak Photography

Tell us about your wedding!
We had a BBQ and bonfire the evening before at our family cabin as people arrived from around the U.S and beyond.  The day of the wedding, we had a picturesque Bayfield October fall day. The men got dressed on the family boat at the city dock just steps away from the ceremony location at the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion while the ladies got ready at the Old Rittenhouse Inn. We decided not to see each other until Rachael walked down the aisle which made the moment all the more special. We didn’t have an officiant, instead we chose to create a personal ceremony ourselves with our friends and family sharing readings we had selected. A.J’s sisters provided vocal music. We both wrote personal vows, which we kept to ourselves until the ceremony. The love and care we put into the vows and ceremony, coupled with the built up anticipation, made for a truly memorable and heartfelt occasion.

While we had bridal party portraits, guests mingled and had cotton candy (a favorite of Rachael’s) and fresh cheese curds. Hey, we’re in Wisconsin! Including Rachael’s two daughters that were bridesmaids, two flower girls and a ring bearer, we had about 30 children in attendance! It was an absolute joy to have them.  We just made sure to kick off the reception early so everyone, including our friends who happen to be parents, could enjoy. Kid bags with playdoh and toys kept the children happy during dinner and toasts.

As the sun set and the band got underway, the rain and wind blew off of Lake Superior, which the Pavilion is literally built over. We were all cozy and dancing in the candle-lit Pavilion, so the Lake’s storm seemed like the perfect end to a perfect day.

Photo Credit: Andi Stempniak Photography

Are there any recommendations you have for someone looking to get married in the Bayfield area?
Encourage your guests to book accommodations early if they have preferences. There are plenty of options, so availability (even during peak fall colors) was not a problem if you know where to look. The Chamber of Commerce has a great website that shows availability for your dates, it was a great tool.  We emailed our “save the dates” with links to accommodations and information about Bayfield to get the information out early so guests could arrange travel well ahead of time.

One of the best things about planning a wedding in Bayfield is that there are few vendors but they are all terrific. This made decisions much easier, a huge plus when planning a destination wedding, allowing us to concentrate on the personal components. Everyone we worked with was a true professional and easy going! Our second choice was to get married in the Twin Cities where we live. That would have been even more challenging to plan and certainly more expensive while being less gorgeous and intimate.

The main thing is what they all say: keep the details in proper perspective, be a gracious host, and at the end of the day, you’ll be married to your best friend!

Vendors that were involved in your wedding day:
Photographer: Andi Stempniak Photography
Venue: Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion
Catering: Good Thyme Catering
Pies: Gourmet Garage
Hotel: Old Rittenhouse Inn
Ceremony Dress: Rosa Clara Denia
Reception Dress: Dress the Population
Bridesmaids: Calvin Klein
Hair and makeup: Mollie Kae Hair & Makeup
Tux: The Black Tux
Band: Blue Drifters
Flowers + Decor: DIY by bride and friends