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Chelsey and Ryan’s Wedding – November 1st, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Chelsey and Ryan met during their first few days of college at University of Minnesota Duluth. All freshmen go through Welcome Week the weekend leading up to the start of class and they were introduced through mutual friends. Ryan and Chelsey started to click right away. During the first week of classes they decided to take the city bus up to the mall to try to find French Silk Pie (her favorite!) and when they couldn’t find it anywhere, they ended up walking almost two miles to a movie theatre (they thought it was much closer) This gave them ample time to get to know each other and by the end of the night they couldn’t believe how much fun they both had! They’ve been together ever since!

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In the summer of 2013, Ryan asked Chelsey’s dad permission to marry her. HE SAID YES! In late September, Chelsey and Ryan decided to make one last trip up to the cabin and decided to make it special and go out to dinner at Bar Harbor. They were running late, so when they got to the cabin to change to go out, Chelsey suggested they wait until the next night to go out for dinner. Ryan was adamant that they were going out that night so she somewhat reluctantly agreed.

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They had a great dinner and while waiting for dessert Ryan got out of the booth, got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. Chelsey of course, being oblivious, thought he had dropped something at first and was completely caught off guard when he asked her to marry him! After the shock wore off, “SHE SAID YES”! Ryan suggested they stop at Moonlite Bay in Crosslake and have a celebratory drink on their way home, but little did she know he had invited all of their friends up as well and they had all been waiting for them to celebrate with them!

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Chelsey and Ryan were struggling trying to decide between having a wedding in the cities or in Crosslake. However, after touring Pine Peaks and meeting Dave and Julie, there was no doubt in their minds that they wanted to have the wedding in Crosslake!  They loved that they would be able to spend so much extra time with family and friends and that everything was in one place. They also loved that so much was included!

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They arrived Thursday and used Pine Peaks’ decorations in a unique combination to create their own vintage, rustic décor.

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It was a crisp November day and it was Chelsey and Ryan’s day to say I DO! Chelsey and her bridal party got ready in the Retreat House salon and the guys took over the family room downstairs. The “first look” was done early in the day so the couple could enjoy time together with family and friends before the ceremony. The guests arrived and witnessed the vows in an outdoor ceremony in the Garden. Then the party began with a roaring fire in the fireside room and Maucieri’s Bar open for business.

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Chelsey’s dad is the owner of multiple Famous Dave’s and wanted his team to cater the wedding feast. And boy did they! Greg Toone and the cooks at the Famous Dave’s in Duluth prepared the food Saturday morning and then transported it to Pine Peaks for the event Saturday night.  They enjoyed using Pine Peaks’ prep kitchen to finish with the preparations onsite.

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The guests were treated to an appetizer bar with Famous Dave’s Cheesy Mac and Cheese, chips and salsa, trail mix and the original Minnesota State Fair, Pig Lickers (chocolate covered bacon, a favorite of our Dave!) Then for the main course Country-Roasted Chicken, Texas Beef Brisket, Garlic Red-Skin Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Corn and Corn Bread.

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A Dessert bar was featured in the Bonus Room and satisfied every guest’s sweet tooth! Reed’s Bakery of Cross Lake made the desserts; Scotheroo’s, Pumpkin Bars, Banana Bars, Rice Krispy treats, Cheesecake, Donuts and Brownies. The bride’s cousin’s grandmother, Paulette made the delicious cake! Later in the evening, Kate from Maucieri’s Catering baked fresh pizzas in Pine Peak’s very own Mugnaini Wood Fired Oven. Yes, there was plenty of delicious food!

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Chelsey and Ryan bought a house in Golden Valley this last May and plan a honeymoon in Turks and Caicos after Christmas. We were honored to host the wedding weekend of Chelsey and Ryan and wish them luck and love in their lives together as husband and wife.  Enjoy the ride and stay TRUE!

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See the rest of their Facebook Wedding Photo Album here.

- Dave and Julie Peterson


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Naomi and Andrew’s Themed Wedding – November 8th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Naomi and Andrew met on Andrew put his parameters out an hour from his home and Naomi decided to go a little further from her home at an hour and 20 minutes. This gave Naomi the “first look” advantage as she could see him and he could not see her.  She really liked his profile and everything about him.

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Naomi contacted him and they corresponded for a few weeks and found out they had everything in common. They decided to MEET! Because Andrew was from an hour and 20 minutes away and they already knew there was a real connection, he decided to get a hotel room in her home town so they could have two dates and not have to drive back and forth, one at night and one the next day which included church.

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They went out for pizza and Naomi delighted Andrew with her sense of humor when she pulled the cheese from the cheesy crust and made a “cheesy smile”! They laughed and talked and found out that they really did have a lot in common. The things that were not in common, complimented each other. For example, at Olive Garden, Naomi likes to squeeze the juice from the peppers in the salad to just get the taste. Andrew doesn’t like the juice as they squirt all over, but likes the pepper. Yep, she squeezes the juice out and he eats the pepper!!!! That is a salad made in Heaven!!

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The night of their first date, they both love Astronomy, so they snuck out on the roof of the hotel to look at the stars! They saw stars in each other’s eyes and knew they were meant to be together forever. It was a whirlwind romance and they decided to get married!

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Naomi and Andrew chose Pine Peaks Event Center for their wedding celebration because they loved the space of the 80-acre private estate and that it was all theirs for a whole weekend. Many of their friends had been to a number of weddings recently and the couple wanted to be different and have a themed event! Andrew suggested a Renaissance style wedding and together they planned a wedding no one would soon forget!

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Naomi, family and friends worked for hours making outfits for the bride and groom as well as the bridal party, ushers and many of the guests. They all dressed up in velvet, silk and brocade. To the delight of the couple, many of the wedding guests also came in Renaissance attire. It was a very colorful affair of maroon and gold with many handmade decorations to adorn the Event Center.

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On Saturday evening the wedding ceremony was held in the candle lit pavilion in true Renaissance style. The entire bridal party was all in character with their attire and carried candle lit lanterns down the aisle. Naomi was escorted by her brother Gregorio who was also the official wedding photographer. The couple had two ministers officiate the ceremony as they each had a favorite from their past.

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A dramatic old tradition of feet washing was shared by the couple prior to exchanging the vows.  The Feet Washing Ceremony is a sign of being humble, thoughtful, and willing to serve. A passage from John 13: 1-17 was read during this emotional part of the ceremony.

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To set the Renaissance theme, Doug Taylor of Action Entertainment brought his gallant pair of Percheron horses pulling a vintage carriage and gave rides around the farm to the newlyweds as well as many of the guests! (Lacy and Tori are Julie’s favorites and a welcome addition to any wedding celebration!)

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The reception was held in the Event Center and the décor was “regal” with maroon and gold satin and the tables were set with centerpieces with lanterns, candles and real fruit for the guests to enjoy. Kate of Maucieri’s Catering served an abundance of appetizers for the crowd with meat and cheese trays, fresh veggies and dip and Renaissance meatballs! Kate also baked her specialty fresh pizzas in Pine Peaks’ own Mugnaini Wood Fired Oven! Eat, Drink and Be Merry, was the theme for the night!

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We, at Pine Peaks, were so honored to share this themed wedding celebration between Naomi and Andrew who are a perfect pair.  May your differences be few and always complement each other! May you continue to make each other’s dreams come true!  Eat, drink and be merry in your lives as husband and wife!

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- Dave and Julie Peterson

See the rest of their Facebook photo album, taken by Julie, here.

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Alyssa and Ben’s Wedding – October 18th, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Alyssa and Ben met at Centennial Middle School and became good friends their senior year of high school.  They had created this joking relationship of being each other’s novio and novia. (Spanish for boyfriend/girlfriend.) Little did we know that this fun relationship would soon turn into something real and amazing! 2014-10-17 21.54.22 Alyssa and Ben officially started dating late in the summer before they left for college in 2005. Ben went to Colorado State University and Alyssa when to College of St. Benedict. It was not an ideal time to start a relationship, but they wanted to make it work. 2014-10-17 22.06.34 After time apart, Ben finished his BA at St. Cloud State and went on to get his Masters at the University of Minnesota. Alyssa graduated from St. Bens and started working in the Robbinsdale School District. Nine years later, they are still going strong and finally took the next step! 2014-10-18 00.28.25 It was planned that they would meet for Happy Hour at Old Chicago…nothing out of the ordinary. Ben secretly had taken half of a day off to talk to Alyssa’s parents. Alyssa arrived home to find Gilbert, a very frisky puppy they had adopted from the Humane Society, very happy to see her.  As she was petting Gilbert, he was jumping up and being crazy. It wasn’t until Ben asked her if she “noticed anything” on Gilbert that Alyssa realized what was happening! 2014-10-17 22.19.14 Gilbert did not make it easy on Alyssa as he was a moving target with a ring box tied on his collar! After Alyssa finally got the ring box untied, she opened it to find it was empty! It was then that Ben asked her to marry him!  SHE SAID YES!! 2014-10-17 22.53.27 Alyssa and Ben chose Pine Peaks Event Center for their outdoor wedding and celebration as they loved the private country estate that was close to their lake home a few miles away. The officiate  for the ceremony was Alyssa’s Godfather who stated that he recalled that Ben came home after visiting Pine Peaks and could not stop talking about how perfect it would be for their wedding! 2014-10-18 01.38.33 The day was perfect! A crisp Minnesota October day with a clear blue sky and a touch of fall colors everywhere. The couple had a romantic “First Look” alone at the alter in the garden before the ceremony. Their buddy Gilbert was there to share in the joy of their day! Many pictures were taken before the ceremony to capture the memories of the day. 2014-10-17 21.58.42 Family and friends came from near and far to witness the vows of this lovely couple. The beautiful ceremony was held in the Garden. The happy couple said “I Do!” and the celebration began in the Event Center! Alyssa and Ben had been busy creating a Woods/Fishing/Cabin décor and the guests were delighted with their unique decorations. Many snacks were provided in the Pavilion for the social hour. JP of Premier Party Entertainment announced the Wedding Party in “Grand Style” and the new Mr. and Mrs. Sieber entered the celebration with cheers from their guests! 2014-10-18 01.51.10 Dave announced the menu chosen by the couple and after some kisses for the crowd, Kate from Maucieri’s catering escorted the Newlyweds through the buffet. Chef Brian was there to serve the couple their first meal as husband and wife. The guests enjoyed a House Salad, Chicken Fettuccine, Spaghetti with Meat Balls, and Fresh Bread.  Thank you Chef Brian for a fabulous feast! 2014-10-18 03.24.04 As a special treat to the guests, pies from Betty’s Pies were served by Maucieri’s. The Groom’s Godfather and the Groom’s mom own Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, MN. (OMG! What an awesome variation on wedding cake!) Later in the evening Kate from Maucieri’s baked fresh pizzas in Pine Peak’s very own Mugnaini’s Wood Fired Oven. 2014-10-18 02.56.02 The first dance to one of their favorite songs was enjoyed by the happy couple. Then the Father of the Bride and Alyssa had their dance. Fishing poles in hand, daddy led his daughter to the dance floor. In case some of the crowd missed the words, there were props to bring the message home – “fishin”, “Memories a biggin” and “livin,”and they danced the night away. 2014-10-18 03.01.30   We wish Alyssa and Ben the best of luck and love in their journey together as husband and wife. May you always bait each other’s hook and know that you have found a catch of a lifetime! Enjoy the ride! 2014-10-17 22.18.48 – Dave and Julie Peterson See the rest of their Facebook Photo Album here.

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Katie and Erich’s Wedding – October 25, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Katie and Erich met through work and discovered their families were close friends. Erich’s stepdad is the godfather to one of Katie’s uncles! They didn’t really become friends until Katie moved to Nashville. They kept in touch and after she moved back home, they started hanging out and officially started dating about six months later.

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They spent a lot of time at Erich’s cabin which had been in his family since he was a kid. One of their favorite things to do was to fish, then at the end of the day sit at the end of the dock and watch the sunset. One night after a full day of sun and fishing they decided to watch the sunset together and Erich stated he was going to get a drink and asked if Katie wanted anything from the cabin; she requested a blanket. Erich returned with the drinks and a blanket and knelt down in front of Katie and started tucking the blanket around her shoulders. While he was doing this, he snuck a ring box out of his pocket and said “Katie Flynn. Will you marry me?” She was caught completely off guard and replied “Are you serious!”  Then SHE SAID YES to the prettiest ring she had ever seen!

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Erich promised that he had one more surprise for Katie. On their way home to Maple Grove, Erich said “We have some time to kill. We are a little early, let’s drive past the house!” There was a cute townhouse for sale that they had their eyes on. Erich pulled into the driveway and the garage door opened and he pulled into the garage! She was freaking out as he laughed and said “Surprise! I bought us a house!!”

That is the story of how Katie got a man, a ring and a house, all in one weekend!

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Katie and Erich chose Pine Peaks Retreat and Event Center because they wanted their families to enjoy a whole weekend of time together, rather than just a day. Erich’s family cabin was close and they loved the Crosslake area. They enjoyed coming early to decorate and made the space their own. Katie was “jumping” with excitement the whole weekend!

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The couple chose to exchange their vows at 3:00 in the Little Church in the Woods, Faith Lutheran Church which is a mile from Pine Peaks.  Reverend Joan Gunderman officiated the beautiful service. When asked if Katie wanted to decorate the church she replied “it is so cute the way it is, it doesn’t need to be decorated!” It was perfect for their fairy tale wedding. According to the couple, Janis Allen, the organist from Faith Lutheran was very available and great to work with.

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It was indeed a fairy tale moment for Katie and Erich as they saw each other for the first time that day as Katie was escorted down the aisle by her father. Every one witnessing the event could feel the energy and love between the couple. They exchanged promises for a lifetime of love and became husband and wife!

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After the ceremony, the guests were greeted with a warm welcome and a roaring fire in Pine Peaks’ fireside room. The couple provided special treats for the guests with fresh popcorn and cotton candy!! Maucieri’s Catering served Butler passed appetizers Fruit Kabobs, Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp and Asparagus, and Cream Puffs with Olive Cream Cheese. All delightful!

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The cake had a replica of the couple with the groom “fishing” for his bride! Dave made the cake stand from a neighbor’s fallen pine tree which added a nice touch! The playful couple cut the cake and shared a piece generously with each other than shared a “sweet” kiss!

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Kate from Bloom Designs did her magic with beautiful bouquets for the bridal party and added rustic fresh flowers arrangements to the tables. It was great to experience fresh flowers in October!

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JP of Premier Entertainment announced the bridal party in the Grand March and then introduced the new Mr. and Mrs. to a dining room full of well-wishers. A champagne toast was given by the Best Men, friends of the groom, and the Maids of Honor, Katie’s triplet sisters. The couple then danced to their first dance and it was a fairy tale beginning for the rest of their lives.

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Maucieri’s Catering served a fabulous plated meal starting with a house salad, then Broccoli with Hollandaise, Walleye, and Chicken Fettuccine. The plates were garnished with edible flowers which a few of the guests enjoyed tasting! Later in the evening, Kate baked her specialty, fresh pizzas from Pine Peak’s very own Mugnaini Oven! The night was FULL of treats!

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We, at Pine Peaks, truly enjoyed the excitement and energy of this wedding weekend celebration and wish Katie and Erich a lifetime of fairy tale moments!

See the rest of their Facebook Wedding Album here.

- Dave and Julie Peterson



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Jenna and Corey’s Wedding – October 11, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Jenna and Corey’s connections go way back to the early 1990’s when they both went to Mankato State University. They knew some of the same people and hang out at the same places, however, their paths never crossed.

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They did finally meet in 2001 when they were employed by the same company. That holiday season, Jenna picked Corey’s name out of a hat and became his “Secret Santa” for a week. They would rarely talk as they worked in different departments. Also, Jenna had three small children and Corey was single, living a bachelor lifestyle and they had no common ground at the time.

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Fast forward to 2011.  Jenna had not heard, or seen anything of Corey for about 8 years. In August of 2011 Jenna took a different position in Northfield Lines, Inc. which she had been employed with for 13 years and Corey was the trainer for her new position. That day they talked, laughed and finally put two and two together with all the “connections” they had. Jenna said, “This is so cliché, but it really DID feel like we had known each other forever”.

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They continued to work together and became good friends, then best friends and then one day, they fell head over heels in love with each other! They became engaged November 1, 2013 when Corey surprised Jenna by proposing at a very special place for him in his hometown of Apple Valley. He had arranged for dinner that evening and had packed a bag for her. At the restaurant her three children were waiting at the table to surprise her! They were all in on it! SHE SAID YES!

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Their wedding weekend had finally arrived and they had the wedding of their dreams with very special family and friends there to share the experience! Jenna and Corey enjoyed a fabulous rehearsal dinner hosted by the groom’s mom Mary Jane and the bride’s parents Jeff and Sandy Landon in the Retreat House. The dinner was provided by Catering by Valeri Ann.  The guests enjoyed a “home cooked” meal complete with Valeri’s famous homemade pies. Many lucky guests had the best seats in the house in the porch which overlooks the whole country estate.

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On Saturday, the guests arrived soon after 5:00 and greeted one another in the fireside room with Maucieri’s bar open. Many of the guests arrived in style in a Northfield Lines, Inc. coach. The 6:00 ceremony was held in the garden.  Corey did not see his beautiful bride until she walked down the aisle with the glow of the sunset at her back. The groom had tears in his eyes as Jenna walked into his “forever” and they said their I DO’s. Her three children were by her side. It was a brisk evening with a clear blue sky that quickly turned to a beautiful fall orange glow as the sun set on the happy newlyweds.

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After the ceremony the Event Center was inviting with a roaring fire and Beth from Maucieri’s Catering waiting with Antipasto. The dining room was decorated with a rustic vintage bling and lots of candles with olive organza and burlap and a beautiful mix of white flowers. The head table was set for 24 in a Regal setting in the middle of the dining room which allowed family and friends to surround the couple and celebrate with toasts of well wishes.

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The celebration was very kid friendly with a children’s meal with their favorite chicken strips along with fruit and veggies.  The kid tables were covered with white and brown paper to allow the kids to customize the décor themselves with colors. The bonus room was also designated as a “Kid’s room.”

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Maucieri’s Catering served a buffet dinner starting with the bride and groom. They enjoyed a Caesar Salad, fresh bread, Sicilian Green Beans, Roasted Garlic Baby Reds, Chicken Light Italian pasta and slow roasted beef with Brandy peppercorn Sauce or Red Wine Mushroom Sauce. Cake was later served to the guests. Beth also served Maucieri’s fresh baked pizzas from Pine Peaks’ very own Mugnaini Wood Fired Oven during the dance.

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We, at Pine Peaks, would like to wish Jenna and Corey the best of luck and love in your lives as husband and wife. May your future be filled with many more “Regal” celebrations with family and friends. We were honored to host your wedding celebration.

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See the rest of their Facebook Wedding Photo Album here.

- Dave and Julie Peterson

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Meet Wood Carver – Ben Semler

Posted on by davepeterson

Ben Semler is a well experienced and talented wood carver. After watching his dad carve beautiful sculptures as a hobby, Ben decided to try it out a few months later. The two eventually kept with it and started selling their hand carved products full time. His dad has played a huge role in his inspiration to start carving wood sculptures.


When Ben started carving, he made many different things. The first major project he ever attempted was a bear; which ended up looking like a pig. After hours of trial and error, he finally carved a bear to his liking.


Ben likes to get to work by 8:00 AM and sets up his work space in the parking lot of his stores. Having six successful stores, a day off is not an option for Ben! He carves everything by himself in parking lots so people can watch him work. He enjoys them coming up to him inquiring about his work as well as seeing the fascinated expressions on their faces. If it rains, Ben still works outside. He has invested in an easy-up tent for the cold and rainy Minnesota days.



After an order is complete, Ben’s mother will custom paint it, if requested. She works alongside him while his father works at a separate shop.


The most popular piece of art that Ben carves are 3 foot bears. He can get one done in two to three hours! Bears and sitting eagles are about 85% of his work. The most requested bear sculptures are ones that have a “Welcome” sign or “Go Away” sign carved on them. Ben enjoys carving eagles. Once the eyes are carved out, the expressions of them come to life. He exclaimed to us that he can, “Turn a log into things that look pretty cool.”


When driving past Ben’s store in Brainerd one day, we noticed an eagle with babies and got very interested in his work. We wanted a cool piece that represented Pine Peaks’. Ben met us at the resort and we now have his work on display for all to see.



Ben’s relationship with Pine Peaks has helped is wood carving profession a great amount. At weddings, the guests love his work! We refer Ben to any guest that is interested in his amazing carvings. He has sold stuff out of state and is looking forward to what his future holds.



We, at Pine Peaks, want to thank Ben for the beautiful carvings he has created for us and look forward to having him as a preferred vendor.

- Dave and Julie Peterson

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Erin and Keith’s Wedding – September 13, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Erin’s closest friend, Dani, and Keith’s closest friend, Joe, happened to be brother and sister which led them to be introduced to one another at Joe’s high school graduation party in 2007. Keith thought she was pretty and Erin was intrigued by his shyness.

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Erin decided to steal Keith’s number from her sister’s phone and made the first move. She sent him a text to which he was pleasantly surprised and asked her to a movie, “Chuck and Larry”. After the date, Erin thought he would kiss her. He didn’t. Several dates later he still hadn’t kissed her so she kissed him! They became an exclusive couple shortly after.

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Erin was attending college in Duluth and Keith was working in Princeton, so they struggled through the first 5 years of their relationship long distance. As graduation from Pharmacy school approached, Keith decided to seal the deal! He proposed February 11, 2012 using a candy box while Erin was mid nap and they were alone at her parent’s house. She was completely surprised and he had picked out the perfect ring! After the initial shock wore off, SHE FINALLY SAID YES!

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Keith and Erin bought a house in Princeton, MN in January 2013 where they live with their puggle, Penny. Erin works as a pharmacist and Keith works in production at a distillery in Princeton. After 7 years of dates, first times, good times and hard times and when the timing was right, they decided to tie the knot.

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The couple toured many wedding venues before deciding on Pine Peaks for their wedding weekend getaway. They wanted an up North, weekend-long affair where they could spend quality time with their family and friends surrounding the event. Many venues in the Brainerd area offered this destination type experience but were lacking something so important-privacy!! They did not want to share their wedding with another couple, or a connected bar/restaurant or strangers on a golf course. They wanted privacy which is exactly what they had at Pine Peaks.

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The rehearsal dinner was held Friday night, barbecue style, with Erin’s dad grilling his famous pork chops! They were able to comfortably host the rehearsal for 40+ people inside the Retreat House and it was a blast! They had the entire wedding party and their significant others stay with them in the Retreat House which gave everyone a chance to get to know each other.

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The décor in the dining room was romantic with Kate from Bloom Designs doing the decorating. The Bride just loved the bouquets Kate put together and said, “These are just perfect with all my favorite colors.” The pink flowers popped against their colors of navy and grey.  Erin made the fireside room her own using many of Julie’s decorations.

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Saturday was chilly, but the wedding was BEAUTIFUL! The bride was walked down the aisle with her father to an awaiting groom. They said “I DO!” and the party began! The kids had their own gift bags waiting for them at the guest book. What a cool way to make them feel special! All of the guests enjoyed the popcorn bar!

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Maucieri’s Catering worked their magic with Kate leading the show. The dinner was amazing, once again Chef Brian out did himself. The guests were served a plated Caesar salad first, than a buffet of green beans almandine, maple leaf chicken and slow roasted beef with brandy peppercorn sauce with Tony Maucieri Sr. at the carving station. Great job again, Maucieri’s!

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Cake and cupcakes were made by Kakes by Kelsi. Amazing! The guests danced the night away until Kate from Maucieri’s baked her homemade pizzas in Pine Peaks own Mugnaini Wood Fired Oven.

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The night and day were AMAZING and exactly what they had hoped for according to the newly married couple. They enjoyed a Honeymoon in Jamaica and returned to Minnesota for the “Happy Ever After!”

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We, at Pine Peaks, were honored to host this lovely, romantic wedding! We wish Erin and Keith luck and love for an eternity. Be HAPPY!

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View Erin and Keith’s Facebook Wedding Album here.

- Dave and Julie Peterson

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Natalie and Cody’s Wedding – October 4, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Natalie and Cody met during Geometry class in ninth grade. At the time, they were both dating other people, but developed a casual friendship over the years in high school. It wasn’t until their senior year when Cody and Natalie became really close. She had just broken up with a serious boyfriend over the summer and he was struggling in his serious relationship with his girlfriend. For whatever reason, they spent hours during a group get-together talking about these broken relationships. They continued this honest conversation over the phone and then in person until they found every reason to be together.

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Natalie and Cody planned to end their relationship when they left for college since he was going to Houghton, MI and she would stay in the Twin Cities. It wasn’t easy, but they maintained a long distance relationship. In total, they spent 2 ½ years seeing each other from weekend to weekend. Looking back at their relationship they have no doubt it was God’s will and strength that got them to where they are now. They are so excited to finally be together!

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The weekend had finally arrived! They were getting married at Pine Peaks Event Center!  Friday morning was chilly and the first dusting of snow was there to tease us all. The final touches were made using the decorations provided by Pine Peaks and the many brides before that “paid it forward” and left decorations for others to use. Their theme was romantic and rustic; the bride had a great sense of style putting it all together.

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Friday night, the rehearsal and Groom’s Dinner were held with family and friends coming together for fellowship and to share stories of the couple. The night was amazing finishing with a sauna in the back yard.

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Saturday arrived and it was time to say “I DO”! Cody did not see his beautiful bride until 3:00 as she was walked down the aisle escorted by her father for the beautiful garden wedding. He was in all WHITE and full of emotion as she walked toward him. During the lighting of the Unity Candle, Natalie’s father sang a beautiful song to the couple. There were no dry eyes in the crowd. They said their vows and were announced husband and wife!

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The guests were warmed by the roaring fire in the fireside room after the ceremony where Wes from Maucieri’s was waiting to start the celebration.  Bruschetta and cream puffs with olive cream cheese were served by Kate of Maucieri’s Catering as appetizers. The Grand March with Deandre of Premier Entertainment announcing the wedding party got the party started!

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Dave announced the menu and Maucieri’s Catering started dinner with a plated strawberry spinach salad. Then Chef Brian wowed the guests with fresh bread, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Almandine, Maple Leaf Chicken and Filet Mignon buffet. Fabulous!

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The guests were treated to cupcakes made by Reed’s of Crosslake and then they danced the night away with Deandre of Premier Entertainment leading the show. Later in the evening Kate of Maucieri’s Catering made fresh baked pizzas in Pine Peaks’ own Mugnaini Wood Fired Oven.

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We, at Pine Peaks, wish these high school sweethearts the best of luck and love in their journey as husband and wife. Be Happy and enjoy the ride!

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View the rest of the couple’s Wedding Photo Album here.

- Dave and Julie Peterson




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Ashley and Jason’s Wedding – September 27, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Ashley is a Dental Hygienist/Dental Assistant and Jason is a Carpenter and they now live in Park Rapids, MN. They met in Jason’s home town of Breckenridge while Ashley was attending college.

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In April of 2012 they bought a house that was built in 1907. In December of 2011, the 104 year old house had an electrical fire that was contained to the attic and was destined to either be burned for firemen training or demolished and sold as a building lot. They purchased the house with big dreams of restoration in mind. Together, they have been making those dreams a reality!

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Ashley and Jason were engaged in December of 2012. They chose Pine Peaks as their destination wedding retreat knowing they could customize it and make it their own. Ashley has an amazing sense of color and style for decorating and Jason can build and make anything happen. Jason built the beautiful arbor on site that the couple said “I DO” under as well as the custom chalk board they used for a program.

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The backdrop to the head table was multiple doors that the couple had removed from their home and restored. The two parlor doors on the ends are from Julie’s homestead. This made a dramatic vintage background for the bridal party.

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The bride used many of Pine Peak’s decorations; however came with a trailer load of her own to set the stage for their very own vintage wedding. The cut and dried hydrangeas and ball jars Ashley had painted made beautiful centerpieces in the dining room. They also customized the fireside room with photos, doors and other personalized the décor.

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Saturday arrived and the whole bridal party got ready in the Retreat House. Ashley and Jason had their first look under Pine Peak’s oldest tree. Jason was so excited that he didn’t wait for Ashley to reach him and touch his shoulder. He just turned around to see his beautiful bride!

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The September day was perfect with 80 degrees, a light wind and a blue sky with a scatter of puffy white clouds. The yellows and reds of Fall had arrived which made a magnificent backdrop for the event.

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The couple wanted a variety of backdrops for their photos so they made use of Pine Peaks’ beautiful property and then took their photographers around Crosslake. One of the nearby locations included Dave and Julie’s lake home where they took amazing pictures at the gate as well as by the lake. Stunning intimate photos with just the bride and groom were taken while the wedding party remained at the Event Center and greeted the guests during the Social Hour. By the lake, Ashley’s dress became muddy when the photographer had her spin while dancing! Julie had the pleasure of scrubbing her gorgeous satin gown right in her lake home!

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The 2:00 outdoor garden wedding was perfect! The many styles of mint green dresses the bridesmaids wore along with their cowboy boots were fabulous. The Groom and groomsmen were all “GQ” in their jeans and vest. A very classy, casual look. Ashley was escorted down the aisle by her father to her happy groom. Brian Keske, a family friend played guitar under the evergreens for the service. The couple said “I DO”! and then together sealed a Memory Box that Jason had made which was filled with love letters to each other as well as advice from others to be read at their first anniversary. They were introduced as husband and wife and the “Happily Ever After” began!

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The reception started with Hor D’oeuvres for the guests served by Kate of Maucieri’s Catering. They enjoyed Rumaki, BBQ meatballs and Antipasto. During the dinner, instead of the traditional clinking of glasses to have the newlyweds kiss, it sounded like percussion as the guests shook Tic Tacs!! (Nice touch Ashley!) The fabulous cake and cupcakes were made by Ashley’s cousin. They used Pine Peaks’ prep kitchen to put it all together and then staged it in a gorgeous cabinet that they later gave to the couple to use in their new house.

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Chef Brian of Maucieri’s Catering was amazing with his Atlantic Salmon and Maple Leaf Chicken. The guests also enjoyed a Caesar Salad, Green Beans with Almonds on the side and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. The guests are still talking about this wonderful feast! Later in the fireside room Kate made homemade pizzas in Pine Peaks very own Mugnaini Wood Fired oven.

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As the sun was setting on Pine Peaks, the photographer used a drone to video the couple in the garden where they had earlier said there vows. What a great way to capture the moment. The love between the couple is evident in the photos seen here that Julie was fortunate enough to take.

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The couple has a beautiful one year old Golden Doodle named Jaxon who was on site to congratulate Ashley and Jason. He did great with photos! They also have a 6 year old Quarter horse named Tanner who did not make the trip. The paint mare that was in the photo hanging above the fireplace was Ashley’s first horse no longer with the couple.

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We, at Pine Peaks, were honored to host Ashley and Jason’s wedding weekend EXTRAVAGANZA! We wish you luck and love in your future together as you continue to build your home and lives as husband and wife. May Ashley’s keen sense of design and color always inspire the builder in Jason…and they lived happily ever after.

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View the rest of Ashley & Jason’s wedding photo album on Facebook.

- Dave and Julie Peterson

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Erica and Cory’s $40,000 Wedding – June 28, 2014

Posted on by davepeterson

Erica and Cory had the wedding of their dreams at Pine Peaks’ Retreat and Event Center on June 28, 2014!  Check out their amazing love story which is featured on our web site as Erica and Cory’s True Love Story.

They were the lucky winners of Pine Peaks’ $40,000 wedding giveaway!  With the generous help of numerous local vendors and the meticulous planning of the bride, the wedding weekend on was a SUCCESS!

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Cory is originally from Corcoran, MN and Erica is from Fargo, ND. They were able to plan a true destination wedding while being stationed in the military many states away from Pine Peaks.  The vendors were all available and eager to help the couple throw the romantic elegant affair they had always dreamed of.

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Pine Peaks Retreat and Event Center was pleased to host the wedding of this wonderful couple. Family and friends arrived early with the couple to create a fabulous romantic décor unique to Pine Peaks.  Erica’s dad, Gary, made a custom wooden beam which was hung above the head table, and Kate, from Bloom Designs, hung a variety of candles and flowers which framed the head table with elegance and bling. Kate also decorated the tables with grand fresh flower arrangements and candles with a romantic mix of textures and colors combining elegance and class. The Bride’s bouquet was filled with vintage jewels which added bling to the fragrant floral mix.

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J.F Kruse Jewelers of St Cloud provided custom made jewelry for the bridesmaids and custom made flasks for the groomsmen. They also made stunning jewelry for the bride, Erica.  How fun to go jewelry shopping! We can never get enough bling! J.F Kruse Jewelers has new location in St Cloud is that is amazing!

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The bride’s dad also made a grand wooden arbor to surround the couple during their I DOs. The arbor was as finely finished as custom cabinetry. (They were generous enough to leave it for other brides and grooms to use!) Kate also provided fresh flower arrangements to enhance the arbor. A romantic flair was added with white draping to complete the romantic, elegant feel surrounded by Pine Peaks’ garden. The setting was perfect.


The Groom’s Dinner and rehearsal was held on Friday night. Kate of Maucieri’s Catering threw a fabulous celebration in the Pavilion. Chef Brian grilled steaks perfectly from Grand Champion Meats of Crosslake, MN. They were fabulous next to the corn on the cob, roasted garlic baby reds and prosciutto wrapped shrimp with baby asparagus.

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Saturday began with the team from Captivating-Beauty giving the royal treatment to the bride and all of her bridesmaids. They did hair and makeup right in the salon of the Retreat House. The women looked like they were ready for Hollywood! The groom and groomsmen were not left out as they were provided tuxes from Arlene’s Bridal and Tuxedo Shop. Each of the groomsmen chose their own shoes to make sure they were comfortable. Likewise, Erica had each bridesmaid choose their own dress and shoes to allow them to wear something they liked and to allow them to actually wear them again. This made for an interesting mix of designs and textures tied together with Kate’s amazing bouquets.

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Kelli of Kelli Engstrom Photography was there to capture the day. She has done numerous weddings at Pine Peaks and knows the property is a “photographers’ dream”. Kelli captured the essence of the day with candids as well as group photos around the whole property. See her amazing work at    Michael Girling, videographer of VidStar Productions also captured the whole day. Thanks to Kelli and Michael, Erica and Cory’s wedding memories will be recorded forever.

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If a sprinkle is an indication of good fortune, the couple will be RICH with a very blessed life! The ceremony was brief as it was shortened by a short but heavy rain shower.  Jim Olsen, an instrumental guitarist, started the ceremony with music for the processional. The Officiant, Lisa Cassman was able to ask the important question and get a quick answer. The ceremony was cut short, but contained the I DOs needed to seal the deal!


The reception was a GRAND affair and the guests were treated like royalty. A champagne toast was given in honor of the nuptials.  Good wishes and blessings were given to Erica and Cory by all of the guests. Kate of Maucieri’s Catering, along with her talented group, served butler passed appetizers.  To satisfy the guests’ sweet tooth, Party World provided a punch fountain as well as a chocolate fountain. Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge provided truffles which the guests could customize.


Clyde, owner of Safe Ride Shuttle Service, escorted the bridal party around town to help celebrate after the ceremony. Clyde also shuttled family and guests to and from Pine Peaks Lodge and Suites of Crosslake who provided rooms to the lucky couple to share with some of their guests. Many of the wedding guests enjoyed the up north décor of the beautiful Pine Peaks Lodge and Suites in downtown Crosslake for the weekend and also enjoyed their pool and even a complimentary breakfast!

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Maucieri’s Catering plated a feast for the guests. Chef Brian out-did himself with fresh bread, a house salad, chicken parmesan topped with provolone cheese and gravy served over fettuccine, cheese tortellini with pesto cream sauce and Sicilian green beans. Amazing! As a Pine Peaks’ tradition, Kate later in the evening also baked fresh made pizzas in the wood fired oven.

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Doug Taylor of Action Entertainment and his team of gallant Percherons took the Bride and Groom on a sunset horse-drawn carriage ride around the 80 acre estate. Some of the lucky kids at the event were also given a ride around the farm. The couple appeared to be right out of a movie as they pulled up to the Event Center greeted by cheering guests.

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JP and Deandre of DJ Entertainment played all of the couples’ favorite tunes and the guests danced the night away. A very playful bride and groom enjoyed every minute of their dream wedding weekend! So many lifetime memories were made.

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We at Pine Peaks, along with all of the vendors, would like to thank Erica and Cory for their military service. It is people like you who help to ensure that we have the freedom to enjoy our lives as we know it.  We wish safe travels on your honeymoon provided by Bursch Travel and we also wish Erica and Cory the best of love and good fortune in their lives as husband and wife! Congrats!


-  Dave and Julie Peterson


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