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Amanda and Kyle’s Wedding – July 26th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Amanda and Kyle's Wedding

Amanda and Kyle both lived in the Beardsley area and so always knew each other but never really talked or hung out at all. In June of 2012, Kyle contacted Amanda through Facebook and they started talking. Ever since the first day they hung out together, they have hardly ever spent a day apart. They dated for almost 8 months when Kyle asked Amanda to marry him. SHE SAID YES! Amanda said “I never believed people when they said “when you meet the one, you will just know” but it’s true. We both just knew it from the beginning!”

Amanda and Kyle's Wedding

They chose Pine Peaks Retreat and Event Center as it had everything there for them to use to make their dream wedding come true. They wanted a whole weekend with their family and friends, not just a wedding day. They loved that there was a whole room full of decorations that they could use to customize their wedding décor. Their style was rustic bling. They chose eggplant and grey as their colors and loved that there were homemade crates that they could use which were left by a previous bride and groom (thank you Brianna and Edward). Julie had vines and grapes and plenty of bling to compliment the décor in the decoration room.

Amanda and Kyle's Wedding

Kyle had his “first look” at his beautiful bride as she was escorted down the aisle by her mother. The day was a perfect July day in Minnesota with a gently breeze, plenty of sunshine and puffy white clouds. The IDOs were shared in the presence of close friends and family in Pine Peaks Garden which was in full bloom.

Amanda and Kyle's Wedding

The celebration continued with a reception in the pavilion with a fabulous buffet dinner to follow crafted by Chef Brian of Maucieri’s Catering. The guests were served fresh bread, a house salad, antipasto, and specialty buffet chicken fettuccine and spaghetti with Tony Senior’s famous meatballs on top. (Top secret recipe and Julie’s favorite). The guests were treated to a fabulous piece of real wedding cake! Then, in a pine peaks tradition, Kate of Maucieri’s baked fresh pizzas in the wood fired oven.
Amanda and Kyle's Wedding

We at Pine Peaks Event Center wish this lovely couple the best of everything and hope for a life time full of true love. Thank you for choosing Pine Peaks!

-Dave and Julie Peterson

To see their full wedding album visit: http://goo.gl/xsBkgh

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Jessica and Derek’s Wedding – July 12th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

Derek and Jessica met while teaching together at Lincoln Elementary in Anoka. He had been teaching 4th grade when she was hired as the 5th grade teacher in June 2012. They were friendly but professional the first half of the year. It was around Christmas time that their friendship started to blossom into something more.

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

Throughout the school year, they tried to keep their relationship hidden from the students. She had all of the students he had the year prior. All throughout the year, the kids kept telling them they “knew the perfect person” for both of them and loved playing matchmaker. They did end up telling the kids the very last day of school and they were thrilled! The kids helped them make their Save the Dates!

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

On Monday, August 5, 2013 he popped the question. Derek asked Jessica to go over to her mom’s house and when she arrived, she found a beautiful bouquet of her favorite yellow roses with a note attached that said “These flowers represent your pure beauty from the inside out. Jessica, you are truly the love of my life. Below I have written a cheesy poem for you…

Jessica and Derek's Wedding
“Roses are red, violets are blue. I am ready for our journey and I hope you are too. (P.S. I know these roses are yellow, but nothing good rhymes with yellow)” See the whole engagement story at: http://bit.ly/1o6grbt SHE SAID YES!

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

The weather could not have been more perfect for the Groom’s Dinner and June Wedding celebration at Pine Peaks. The garden was in full bloom and the grounds were immaculate. The Groom’s dinner was held in the pavilion with family and friends after the rehearsal. A true BBQ was catered by Jr’s No.19 of Pine River, MN. Their fabulous cheese cake stole the show.

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

The bride was “practicing” wearing her wedding shoes on Friday night to try to “break them in”. (My heritage is that my family used to have a shoe store so I had an antique shoe stretcher which I brought on Saturday and in Jessica’s words “made the shoes perfect”). Jessica and Derek decided to have a private “first look” prior to the pictures and ceremony on Saturday. The couple could not have been more in love than at that moment. The wedding was held in the garden with their closest family and friends present to witness their I DO’s. The reception was a success starting with appetizers served by Kate of Maucieri’s Catering in the pavilion.

Jessica and Derek's
The wedding party was escorted by Clyde of Safe Ride to celebrate around Crosslake. Upon return the bridal party was introduced for the grand march in the Event Center. The energy of the couple is felt in the video of this “Grand March” http://bit.ly/1nkEG0l. (This still gives me goose bumps when I watch it! Amazing love and energy!)

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

Chef Brian served the guests a fabulous Italian buffet dinner of a Caesar salad, antipasto, pasta primavera, and stuffed shells. The cupcakes were a crowd favorite. Later in the evening in a Pine Peaks’ tradition, Kate baked fresh made pizzas for the guests to replenish after dancing the night away.

Jessica and Derek's Wedding

Jessica is currently in her masters for Differentiated Education at Concordia University and Derek just graduation from the program a few weeks ago. The couple recently purchased a house in Otsego, MN and plan to add a puppy and possibly baby in the next year!

We at Pine Peaks truly wish the best of luck and love to this fabulous couple and thank them for choosing Pine Peaks Retreat and Event Center to celebrate their wedding weekend. Like the tight shoes, realize that with time and just a few adjustments, life can be altered enough to be a perfect fit!

-Dave and Julie Peterson

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Alicia and Dereck’s Wedding – July 5th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Alicia and Dereck

Alicia and her family and friends attended a Comedy Night hosted at Pine Peaks a couple of years ago and fell in love with the place. When Alicia and Dereck were engaged, they checked it out again and couldn’t believe the changes that had happened. They knew right away Pine Peaks was the venue for their wedding weekend celebration. In fact, many of the guests took extended days and stayed in the retreat house and enjoyed the 80 acre estate for the whole 4th of July Holiday weekend.

Alicia and Dereck

Alicia is from Iowa just south of the Minnesota boarder. Her family has been coming up to Outing since the early 70’s to a cabin they built which is now a treasured family property. It is worth making the five hour trek to the cabin according to Marcus, Alicia’s father, as they arrive to peace and quiet.

Alicia and Dereck

The couple loves family history and found some treasures that helped to make the Pine Peaks décor their own. Marcus put together a Roth iron stand to hold doors that he recovered from the bride’s mother Zada’s homestead. He walked his daughter through the doors of her family history and down the aisle to her new life with her groom Dereck. This gave the guests (including Julie) an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

Alicia and Dereck

Likewise, wood was recovered from an old family barn which Marcus used to make a custom wagon. The ring bearer pulled the three flower girls down the aisle in this wagon. Some of the same barn wood was dried and used in the centerpieces in the Event Center. What a great way to add family history to the décor.

Alicia and Dereck

It was a perfect day for an outdoor ceremony in the garden. The guests were all given yellow and white sunglasses! Their choice of colors popped against the blooming green backdrop of the garden. A chandelier was hung in the arbor beside the couple as they recited their vows in front of family and friends. They poured three colors of sand for the Unity Sand Ceremony, one for the bride, one for the groom and one for their daughter, Zaelee to signify the union of their family. The sand and their lives will never be separated. They also wrote love letters to each other and placed them in a Wine Box to be opened on their first anniversary. (I bet there will be fireworks!)

Alicia and Dereck
Chef Brian of Maucieri’s Catering served a fabulous buffet of salad with strawberries and a raspberry vinaigrette, Sicilian green beans with hollandaise sauce on the side, three cheese au gratin potatoes, slow roasted beef with red wine mushroom sauce and maple leaf chicken. The guests were then treated to Strawberry Short Cake with made from scratch Angel food cake and strawberry sauce and whipped cream! (One of Julie’s grandma’s favorite treats! Very delightful!) Instead of a dance, the guests played games in the yard along with Bingo and cards in the pavilion where they served fresh popcorn. Also, continuing a Pine Peaks tradition, Kate from Maucieri’s Catering baked fresh pizzas in the wood fired oven.

Alicia and Dereck

We wish Alicia, Dereck and beautiful Zaelee the best and thank them for sharing their wedding weekend at Pine Peaks. May you always find joy and love in each other and always find “comedy” in life! Oh, and a little fireworks never hurt either!

-Dave and Julie Peterson

To see their full Wedding album visit: http://on.fb.me/1zFmCYz

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Tara and Thomas’ Wedding – June 21st, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Tara and Thomas Wedding

Thomas and Tara had their first date on July 1, 2009 and he asked her to be his girlfriend (so cute) on July 9th of 2009. Tom proposed June 13, 2013 and succeeded in catching her off guard. He didn’t want her to have ANY idea that he was going to propose. One night as they were going out the door he was looking around the house and asked her to sit and wait for him. She did. He came up to her, got down on one knee and proposed! SHE SAID YES!

Tara and Thomas

Tara and Thomas are from International Falls, MN. She found Pine Peaks Event Center by doing research and found that Dave responded the quickest, sent pictures, answered questions and was wonderful. After touring the place it was pretty obvious that Pine Peaks would make their day special, pay attention to detail and not treat them like just another wedding.

Tara and Thomas

What Tara and Thomas really liked about Pine Peaks was that the whole place was theirs. It was totally private with only one wedding each weekend. Many family and friends enjoyed staying at the Retreat House right on the property. Many other guests stayed at Pine Peaks Inn in Crosslake, MN and utilized the shuttle service from the hotel to the Event Center.

Tara and Thomas

Tara worked with a fabulous wedding planner Stacy from Simplystacy to plan and deliver the stunning outdoor wedding and reception. Stacy and her mom worked well as a team of two and handled every detail! They live in Walker, MN and loved working with the Pine Peaks team. Stacy added some “bling” from Julie’s decoration room to finish the décor.

Tara and Thomas

The bride Tara and Stacy worked out every detail. Stacy came in and created their dream wedding by providing purple satin table runners and fabulous table decorations complete with candles and fresh flower arrangements. They even made the cake and cupcakes which were a big hit with the guests! Stacy does decorations, flowers and cakes! She took care of everything with great attention to detail.

Tara and Thomas

The June afternoon was perfect for an outdoor wedding in the garden with bright blue skies dusted with a few clouds. The gardens were in full bloom and the grass looked like a golf course! Stacy added many candles and flower arrangements to compliment the outdoor garden.

Tara and Thomas

The cocktail reception was held outdoors with tall cocktail tables in the yard as well as in the pavilion. Kate with Maucieri’s Catering provided appetizers for the afternoon event. Guests enjoyed bruschetta, veggies and a fruit platter.

Tara and Thomas

The happy couple decided on a Regal setting for the reception inside the Event Center which put them right in the middle of their family and friends. They certainly were in the center of the show. This placed them front and center for the first dance!

Tara and Thomas

Chef Brian of Maucieri’s and his team delighted the guests with a fabulous buffet dinner starting with a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, green beans almandine, garlic mashed potatoes, and slow roasted beef and grilled tilapia with fresh strawberry salsa.
Later in the evening Kate treated the guests with a Pine Peaks tradition of fresh pizzas baked in the wood fired oven. S’mores were enjoyed at the fire pit and the guests danced the night away.

Tara and Thomas

We wish Tara and Thomas the best of everything in their new life as husband and wife! We thank them for choosing Pine Peaks for their destination wedding weekend.

-Dave and Julie Peterson

To see their full Wedding photo album visit: http://on.fb.me/1rlR0Cg

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Edward and Brianna’s Wedding – May 31st, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

Ed and Brianna met through a former employer of hers. She was waitressing at a restaurant and he came in. They chatted and after some persistence from Ed, he sweet talked her into giving him her number. She was hesitant as she had recently been divorced. She scribbled it on a piece of paper and they went on their separate ways.

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

Several months later, Ed sent a text to Brianna asking her how she was doing and if she wanted to hang out. They got together at his cabin where low and behold, held to his refrigerator with a magnet was her scribbled phone number! He had realized that first night after talking that she needed some space so he held onto the number and gave her space like a gentlemen.

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

They got along well and soon did nearly everything together. Nearly 4 years later, Ed popped the question! He came out with one of Brianna’s scrapbooks and sat down next to her. He opened it to the first page and said “I need your help filling the rest of the pages of this book”. The first page read “Will You Marry Me”. SHE SAID YES!

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

A beautiful outdoor ceremony was held in Pine Peaks’ garden surrounded by family and friends. Officiating was a past employer of Brianna’s who is a veterinarian, Dr. Greg Strand. Family photos were taken and a record was set with Ed’s family photo!!! After the ceremony the photographer asked everyone related to Ed to meet outside for a photo and the reception hall was almost emptied! What a great idea to have photos of everyone who traveled so far to witness their vows.

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

The reception was held in the Event Center which was decorated by the couple using their winter long projects. Brianna made flowers from coffee filters which were dyed, baked and put together! They had a restaurant save wine bottles for them and they cut off the bottoms making unique lit centerpieces. Ed made numerous crates from recovered palates which beautifully displayed the 18 different kinds of homemade brownies and bars that Brianna had made. OMG! This was an outstanding display of treats for the guests!!!

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

Chef Brian of Maucieri’s Catering served the guests a fabulous buffet dinner of Spinach with hot bacon dressing, fresh bread, three-cheese au gratin potatoes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with hollandaise sauce, maple leaf chicken stuffed with Canadian bacon and provolone cheese and slow roasted beef with mushroom demi-glace sauce. The kids were treated to chicken fingers and a fruit cup and veggie cup. Of course Kate served fresh homemade pizzas in Pine Peaks’ wood fired oven.

Ed and Brianna's Wedding

A special treat to entertain the guests was the live band “Stimulus Package!” They rocked the night away!

The newlyweds live south of Pillager where they are perfectly located between both of their parents. They love that they are close to family just a few blocks away from the lake where they spend many summer nights after work. Brianna has five horses which she drives around the neighborhood.

We are so glad you chose Pine Peaks Event Center to celebrate your wedding! We thank Ed and Brianna for leaving beautiful decorations and props that we know will be used by many fortunate couples. Thanks for paying it forward. May you ride off into the sunset together!

-Dave and Julie Peterson

To see Ed and Brianna’s full wedding album visit: http://on.fb.me/1izATAB

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Nicole and Zach’s Wedding – May 24th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

Mutual friends of Nicole and Zach wanted to set them up for years however, the timing was never right. Once, Nicole was doing hair for a wedding that Zach was in. She found out who he was but he had no clue who she was and they did not meet. Nicole was living in Nebraska and Zach in Texas.

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

Nicole and Zach first met in December 2010 at a Husker football tailgate in Dallas, TX. The Husker’s lost the big game but apparently the tail gate was a success! Nicole and Zach texted, phoned and Skyped and then officially declared a long distance relationship. Eventually they ended up in Oklahoma City where they currently live.

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

Zach proposed Thanksgiving morning. They weren’t able to go home to Nebraska to visit family and were getting ready to go to a friend’s house. Zach pulled her in to the bedroom and asked her to close her eyes. She refused thinking he was going to play a trick on her! She finally closed her eyes and when she opened them, he was down on one knee with a ring in his hand! She said “Yes!”

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

They decided on a destination wedding and didn’t want indoors or the typical beach wedding. Nicole’s sister found Pine Peaks Event Center so they checked it out. Once they made the trip there was no way they were going to leave without booking their date!

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

Nicole and Zach came for their tasting with Maucieri’s and spent an extended time at Maucieri’s Restaurant. They got to know one of the owners Dawn. The three of them came up with their very own signature drink they call “wedding cake”. It consists of Cake Vodka, Frangelico and milk. It was a big hit with the wedding guests! (Also 2 thumbs up from Dave and Julie) Wes did a great job of mixing them just right! Thanks Wes!

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

The day was perfect. The ceremony was held in the garden surrounded by a crisp blue sky. The tearful bride was escorted up the Isle by her father. Not a dry eye was found on the property. The vows were exchanged and the wind mills they brought where clapping as the happy couple walked down the aisle as husband and wife. JP from DJ Entertainment did the ceremony music and also DJed the reception dance.

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

The colors of maroon and charcoal accented the vintage style they had decorated the Event Center with where the reception was held. The couple treated the guests to a popcorn/candy bar which was a big hit! They designed their own photo booth which was set up in the Bonus Room. Guests were creative with the photos they left for the couple. What a fabulous guest book! (Zach and Nicole left the photo frame for others to enjoy! Thanks guys! We know it will capture many future smiles.)

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

Chef Brian and Maucieri’s Catering served a fabulous buffet to the guests with pasta salad, house salad, roasted garlic baby reds with ketchup on the side, baked chicken with parmesan and featuring pork prime rib with au ju on the side at the carving station. Kate treated the guests later in the evening with fresh homemade pizzas in Pine Peaks’ wood fired oven.

Nicole and Zach's Wedding

We thank Nicole and Zach for choosing Pine Peaks for their destination wedding weekend. They came along way to share their vows and we were honored to host the Event. We wish you a fabulous life of luck and love!

-Dave and Julie Peterson

To see Nicole and Zach’s full Wedding photo album visit: http://on.fb.me/1jQJ7PJ

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Mosquito Squad of North Central Minnesota

Posted on by davepeterson

Mosquito Squad

At Pine Peaks, we take pride in collaborating with other local companies to maintain the highest quality business we can. Summers are busy as can be, and in order to make sure our event-planning customers have the best experience possible, we have to call in a few experts to take care of some priority projects.

And so, with that said, we would be remiss if we didn’t give a shout-out to the Mosquito Squad of North Central Minnesota, based out of Merrifield.

no mosquito

We’re all Minnesotans; we recognize that an onslaught of those pesky, biting, welt-inducing pests known as mosquitoes can really put a damper on things. They sting, swatting them is obnoxious, and even worse – they can spread pretty nasty diseases.

So, we here at Pine Peaks rely on the nationally-renown Mosquito Squad team to take care of the problem!

One popular Mosquito squad service – and a big part of our insect control strategy here at Pine Peaks – is the barrier spray program. This treatment option provides continuous mosquito protections, and has been proven to reduce the population of this noxious pest by 85 to 90 percent.

Pine Peaks Wedding

Here at Pine Peaks, we receive weekly visits from the squad to ensure that our mosquito population is under control and won’t interfere with any events throughout the summer season.

The Mosquito Squad offers a wealth of other services, tailored to the needs of homeowners and businesses alike – contact them to learn more about how they can help make your summer outdoors a lot more manageable.

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Allie and Jason’s Wedding – May 17th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Allie and Jason Wedding

Allie and Jason met in October of 2007 during college through some mutual friends. They began dating on Valentine’s Day and have been together ever since. They frequently made trips up to the North Shore to go camping and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lake Superior. On June 15th they were on one of their many camping trips, walking through Cascade State Park when Jason got down on one knee and asked Allie to marry him. SHE SAID “YES!”

Allie and Jason Wedding
They began planning and decided to have their wedding in Crosslake at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church. Allie’s father was the architect who designed the beautiful church a few years ago so they knew it very well. They looked at several reception venues in the Crosslake area but when they found Pine Peaks, they knew it was the one.

Allie and Jason Wedding
The wedding was perfect according to Allie and Jason. They had so much fun spending the weekend with family and friends at Pine Peaks Retreat House. After the ceremony at the church, the bridal party arrived at Pine Peaks in style in a white stretch limo where they were greeted with a heartfelt Champagne toast with well wishes from all of the guests! The reception at the Event Center featured Chef Brian from Maucieri’s Catering. The guests enjoyed slow roasted beef with brandy pepper corn sauce, chicken parmesan served over fettuccine with provolone cheese and gravy, baked corn pudding with sweet peppers, three-cheese au gratins, fresh bread and a house salad. Also, continuing a Pine Peaks tradition Kate from Maucieri’s made fresh homemade pizzas in the wood fired oven in Pine Peaks fireside room where a roaring fire kept the guests toasty. JP kept the guests dancing!

Allie and Jason Wedding
A favorite game of the couple is Jenga. They own the largest Jenga game we have ever seen! OMG! For a guest book they had people sign Jenga blocks with well wishes or advice. How fun for Allie and Jason to pull a Jenga block during game night and read advice years from now from the loved ones who witnessed their vows. What a unique guest book idea!

Allie and Jason Wedding
When a couple chooses Pine Peaks Retreat and Event Center they have the country estate to themselves for the whole weekend. Many family and friend had traveled from far away to see Allie and Jason and had not been together for a long time. They fully utilized the property and decided to enjoy the Groom’s Dinner on Friday, reception on Saturday and family brunch on Sunday. Maucieri’s also catered a fabulous brunch on Sunday Morning in Pine Peaks Pavilion. The couple truly made the most of their wedding weekend.

Allie and Jason Wedding

Allie and Jason currently live in Brainerd. Jason is employed at a manufacturing company as a Quality Inspector and Allie is working as an Optician. We wish them a fabulous life of love for each other and hope for many game nights. We thank them for choosing Pine Peaks to celebrate their love.
-Dave and Julie

To view their Wedding gallery visit: http://on.fb.me/1vA925w

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Becky and Mark’s Wedding – May 10th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Becky and Mark

Becky grew up in Princeton, MN and Mark grew up in Brainerd, MN. They met at Poncho and Lefty’s in April 2009. Becky was up in Brainerd to find a place to live for a seasonal position at a local engineering and consulting firm. She met up with her friend, Hilary (Maid of Honor) and decided to go out to Poncho and Lefty’s. After a little “liquid encouragement” Becky introduced herself to Hilary’s friend Mark who was enjoying a Wild game with friends.

Becky and Mark both played hockey and loved the Wild and apparently found an instant attraction to each other. They exchanged numbers and texted periodically and the weekend she was all moved in to her new place, she texted Mark to see if he wanted to meet up and Poncho’s. They did and have been inseparable ever since.

Becky and Mark
Becky knew there was a ring, just not when Mark would propose. He surprised her on July 4, 2013 at his mom’s house. There were a lot of fireworks that night! She said YES! The engagement ring setting is very special as it is a family heirloom. It was Mark’s grandmother’s Aunt’s.

Becky and Mark
The couple wanted an outdoor ceremony and decided on Pine Peaks for their wedding weekend destination. Family and friends held a rehearsal in the yard and hosted a fabulous Mexican night in the Retreat House. They loved having the gourmet kitchen available and made fresh tortillas on site. (The house smelled AMAZING!)

Becky and Mark
The bride and her maids loved getting ready in Pine Peaks salon in the Master Suite. Creative Beauty did their hair and makeup and had everyone ready for the ceremony. Mark and the guys enjoyed a morning sauna in the wood fired sauna then set up the chairs for the ceremony. They decorated with flowers from Costco along with dried hydrangea’s to add color to the arbor, ceremony chairs and vintage décor they put together in the Event Center. Fabulous!

Becky and Mark
The vows were shared in the garden ceremony area in front of family and friends. The reception followed in the Event Center with Maucieri’s Catering and Bar providing unprecedented service. Kate treated the guests with a Pine Peaks tradition of fresh made pizzas baked in the wood fired oven. Family and friends celebrated with the happy couple well into the night and danced the night away.

Becky and Mark
The couple now lives in Saint Anthony, MN. Becky works at an engineering and consulting firm as a Project Professional and Mark works at Augsburg College as a Maintenance Operator. They enjoy being active whether it be playing sports or being outdoors, hiking or rollerblading. They love to play cards and board games. (Becky admitted that Mark beats her at Scrabble more than she would like to admit!)

“We wish the happy couple the best of luck and love! We were honored to host their destination wedding weekend! Advice: Keep playing life’s games together!”

-Dave and Julie Peterson

To see Becky and Mark’s full Wedding album visit: http://on.fb.me/1wUWmI1

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Getting to Know the $40,000 Wedding Giveaway Couple

Posted on by davepeterson

Today, we catch up with Erica and Cory; you might recall they were the winners of the $40,000 wedding giveaway from Pine Peaks Retreat and Event Center! We are extremely happy and excited to be able to host them, so we thought we’d touch base and ask them a few questions about their engagement, how it happened, and exactly what that “big day” will look like!

Erica and Cory

Q: How did the two of you meet?

A: Cory is originally from Corcoran, MN. I am from Fargo, ND. He enlisted into the Air Force in the summer of 2009 after graduating with his Bachelors Degree the year before. He was stationed in Utah.  I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in 2011 and moved to Utah later in the year to be close to my brother and his family, find a job, and experience a new place. My sister-in-law always invited me out with her and her friends to help me make friends. I met Cory through her. The first couple encounters we didn’t talk much, but then he asked me to a movie (in which we both thought of it as just friends) but it just led us to where we are today.

Erica and Cory

Q: When / how did you decide to get married?

A: We met in June 2012. At this point, I knew I was joining the Air Force. I was set to leave for Basic Training in November 2012. We moved slowly in our relationship; we didn’t want to rush anything since we knew I was leaving in November. Taking things slow deepened our connection though.

Leaving in November was really hard. Cory wrote me a letter every single day that I was gone (8 weeks) I tried to write him as often as I could. He came down for my Basic Training graduation in January along with my parents and brother and some aunts and uncles. I still had a pretty strict curfew, so Cory met my parents without me, and hung out with all my family for many hours without me. The fact that that didn’t worry me at all was a big sign for me. Cory said he knew he wanted to marry me when he realized no matter the distance, he still wanted to be with me, and meeting my family confirmed it.

I got to see him for about 4 days that weekend. The next time he came to visit me at training was in March 2013 – that’s when he proposed in front of all the military students and leaders.

Q: Growing up, did you ever have a “dream wedding” in mind?”

A: For as far back as I can remember, I was never the little girl that dreamt about my wedding day. I don’t have a book of cut out magazine pictures making up my dream wedding. Honestly, it wasn’t something I started thinking about until I interned with a wedding planning company. I got to see soooo many different styles of weddings. There were bright fun colored weddings, lots of black with an accent color wedding, simple weddings, crazy weddings… I thought it was going to be impossible to choose the type of wedding I wanted once that day came around. Then I helped decorate a very romantic wedding – lots of candles, low lighting, flowers, more neutral colors. Ever since then, I knew I wanted a very romantic, elegant wedding – a “Grand Affair,” you might say.

Erica and Cory

Q: What are the “must-haves” when it comes to your big day?

Like I said, I want a romantic, elegant affair. I want my guests to feel like the day isn’t just about us. I want them to feel pampered in a sense. I want servers walking around with hors d’oeuvres. I want their meals served to them vs. them walking through a buffet line. That’s my biggest must have. I want my guests to feel special, too.

The other must have is a chocolate fountain with fruit! Cory and I eat a lot of produce and we wanted to bring that with us to the wedding. Plus, I think it’s very romantic.

Another detail – tons and tons and tons of candle light. I want dim lighting with lots of candle light.

Oh, and one more must-have…I really wanted our wedding party to be comfortable in what they are wearing and show a little bit of their personality, so we gave them a lot of freedom. All my girls picked out their own dresses to suit their own body type. All the guys are picking out their own shoes so they have something they can actually wear again. I want them to be comfortable. I am not sure this is a must have, but it was important to the both of us.

The biggest must have for Cory, is honestly just being surrounded by all of our friends and family and me being happy with everything. Event planning/coordinating is something I am really passionate about. So he knows that I want all the little details to be perfect even more than your average bride. O – and he absolutely has to have oldies music.

Erica and Cory

Q: Tell us about your participation in this contest – how did this come about?

Once we got engaged, I started looking for wedding venues back home. We met in Utah, so it was nice to find out that we were both relatively from the same area – about 3 hours apart. So, I started looking for venues in Minnesota. Keep in mind, at this point I was in Texas and Cory was in Utah, so I would send him links for him to look at, which was not a fun process. I came across the Pine Peaks Wedding Giveaway Link. I knew we had to try it. Cory wasn’t convinced right away. He said, “People like us don’t win these things.”

After reading about the contest, it was honestly more about the convenience of it than the money. All of the vendors were chosen and It was back home roughly between each of our homes. Since I still didn’t have much freedom, I finally convinced Cory to make the 30 second video. He knew someone who was good with a video camera and editing, so he was able to make a very well put-together video explaining our situation. Low and behold, a month or so later, we got the call that our video had the most votes by the other contestants. I am so thankful and grateful that the other contestants liked our story enough to vote for us!

Winning this contest hasn’t made wedding planning a complete breeze but it saved us so much time and research. I don’t know how we would have found enough time to go back home and look at multiple venues and talk with multiple vendors then try to decide which one we liked best after only seeing it once and not being able to see it again. We would have had to rely on our parents so much more than we already have. Communicating via email, and phone and not being able to see things in person has made wedding planning tough, but it would have been so much tougher if we didn’t win. I also don’t think I would have gotten the romantic, elegant affair without having won the contest.

Erica and Cory

Congratulations Erica and Cory! We’re looking forward to being part of your big day!

 

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