Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow readers! Today, I want to share with you this charming barn I found near Lindstrom, Minnesota. It wasn’t too far from Linda Christanson’s studio, which we stopped at for one of the MNNICE meetings. It has been 2 years since I first discovered the beautiful fall colors of Minnesota… and this past visit did not disappoint!
Bloom Lake Barn is located within the country landscapes of Shafer, Minnesota, about 25 minutes east from highway 35. Upon arriving, I was smitten with its charm. It is safe to say I spent half of my time photographing the bridal suite, as there were more details than I could have dreamed of. The Wallis family has done an outstanding job at providing a spacious yet intimate space within the barn. Below is a detailed view at what this beautiful venue has to offer ‘on the surface’, and a Q and A with Monique & Adam that shows the story of what is truly on the inside of how Bloom Lake Barn came to be.
Q: What is your wedding venues story, how and when was it established?
A: Adam and Monique Wallis are originally from small towns near Sault Ste. Marie, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Monique has a Master’s degree in communication disorders form Purdue university and Adam has a bachelors in business management from Northern Michigan University. After college in 2008, we moved to Phoenix, AZ to experience a different part of the country. Little did we know, that God would plant the seed of a dream in us that would totally change the course of our lives.
Monique started working as a pediatric speech therapist focusing on autism and Down’s syndrome. She worked in several clinical, home health and school based settings. Adam started his career as a manager at a large sporting goods retailer until he switched focus to a career in finance and investments. He worked for the two largest companies in Mutual funds, investment/business banking and also spent time as a high net worth representative over the next 4 years.
The dream started while we were visiting with some good friends in Spokane Washington on our way to a couples vacation in Banff, Alberta. We were sitting around a campfire late one evening when the topic of “barn weddings” came up. Six years ago, it was still very new and we had never heard of the concept before. After talking for a while about it, we went to bed and continued on with our trip. After returning home, like a lot of times, dreams get put aside because “life” gets in the way. The thought about doing it someday was always in the shelf, but it was getting pretty dusty. About 5 years went by and God started to work. We were in a position where we were being prompted to pursue that crazy dream we had 6 years before. Both of our careers were quickly becoming “routine” and not really challenging us to grow anymore. It is amazing to see how everything was falling in place to get us to make the decision. We had sold our house and our lease was up on our little apartment we were living in with our 2 kids at the time. Monique’s contract was up at the school and Adam had left his job to take care of the kids. We just made the decision one day to move and two weeks later, we were on the road.
It felt awesome and scary that we were starting the journey to pursue this crazy dream. We knew we wanted to live in the twin cities area, but had no idea where at. We ended up staying with Monique’s Aunt and Uncle for 4 months while we looked at about 40 farm properties within an hour of the Cities. One Saturday, Monique received an email from a local agent in Chisago City that they were about to list a farm property. We had no idea how they got our contact information because we never inquired about any properties in this area. Adam went kicking and screaming because he was tired at looking at properties, but as soon as we arrived, we both knew it was the “one”. It was a long and painful process, but after a few months, the property was secured and the dream was alive.
The barn and surrounding property needed a ton of work. We started renovations on the barn in mid-March of 2015 and committed to 2 weddings at the end of September and first of October of 2015. That meant that we had about 6 months to renovate the entire property. It was an absolutely crazy year filled with extreme highs, even lower lows and multiple setbacks, but the day before our first wedding, we received our certificate of occupancy and we were “officially” open for business.
Since then, we have poured lots of TLC into the property and will continue to be always improving. We have had the awesome opportunity to serve hundreds of families on their wedding days. We committed to never settle and always give God the glory for providing this stewardship to us. Some of the main lessons we have learned through our journey so far is to have faith that if you put in the effort, trust God and have perseverance that He will bless the work that you are doing. Being in business is very challenging, but extremely worth it! Click here to watch a video of highlights of the renovation!
Q: In your opinion, what is the best month/season to book a wedding at your venue?
A: Our season runs May-October. We never know what Minnesota will throw at us for weather, but September and June seem to be the months that book first.
Q: How many people can this location accommodate?
Q: If I there are out of town guests, are there accommodations on the grounds or a place to stay nearby?
A: There are several large hotels, bed and breakfasts and many vacation rentals within 10 minutes of the barn.
Q: Do you offer on-site coordination?
A: We live on the property and we work with our families throughout the planning process. We are onsite during the event and provide assistance as needed.
Q: Can we hire our own vendors (caterer, coordinator, DJ, etc.), or must the vendors be selected from a preferred vendor list? If we can select our own, do you offer a list of recommended vendors?
A: Unique Dining Catering is our exclusive food and beverage catering partner. Any catering related questions can be directed to Amanda@uniquediningexperiences.com. Otherwise, our clients are free to choose any vendor the want for the other aspects of their event and we can certainly make recommendations upon request.
Q: What is your favorite part of the wedding day?
A: Getting a front row seat to witness so many families and friends come together and the joy they experience from the barn and surrounding property. It is very gratifying that we get to be a part of so many beginnings!