It just made sense to do these family photos at Gathered Oaks.
Andrew and Tessa have given blood, sweat, and tears to this amazing wedding and event venue in Alexandria, MN. Their little man has grown up here, spending hours rolling himself around the same dance floor that is occupied by newly married couples and their happy guests.
Ideas and dreams were born when there was little more than an old barn on a plot of land. Andrew and Tessa have been here to walk those dreams out into reality.
So, it just seemed right.
It seemed right to pause and capture this time in their lives at this place that has been such a big part of their lives.
A couple of years ago Andrew’s parents, who own and operate Rustic Oaks in Moorhead, Minnesota, saw the opportunity to raise up another wedding venue in Alexandria.
Andrew and Tessa agreed to operate the venue and Gathered Oaks was born.
There was a barn on the site, but it wasn’t big enough to accommodate weddings or events so plans were laid out to expand and renovate. It would be a lot of work, but the outcome, the dream, was going to be worth it.
Renovations were coming to a close in the late spring of 2017 but there was still a long list of things to be done. Tessa shared a post on Instagram adding “if anyone wants to bring us some iced chais…”
Abby took the bait.
Thankfully, Andrew and Tessa aren’t that type.
They also weren’t there ????
So, after taking a photo for proof and then drinking 3 iced chais, Abby tagged them in an Instagram post and our friendship was born.
A couple of weeks later, Abby drove out to Gathered Oaks with Caribou beverages in hand. This visit was planned so there wouldn’t be another swing-and-a-miss 😉
The best part of meeting Andrew and Tessa and getting a tour of the Gathered Oaks property was watching these two talk about the dreams and ideas they had for Gathered Oaks. Their eyes would light up as they excitedly shared and brainstormed. There were so many ideas, so many possibilities for the future and they were welcoming it all with open arms.
As we mentioned above, there are some people that just feel like family when you meet them. That’s how it is with these two. They greet you with a hug and huge smiles and welcome you with open arms, giving of their time and energy just because they enjoy doing it.
Fast forward just a couple of months and while at a Gathered Oaks open house, Tessa and Abby admit they are both pregnant and due just weeks apart. Ahhh perfection 🙂
So that brings us to now. Here they are, a beautiful family of three. Russell is the perfect addition for these two. He brings a whole new level of joy and wonder to an already joyful and wonderful family. His smiles and giggles drew out the best from Andrew and Tessa and even his less-than-enthused looks produced bouts of laughter.
The love these three share is contagious and it was a blessing to capture that for them.
As you scroll, you might be wondering why Russ is holding a huge carrot…besides the obvious: carrots are delicious.
But the real reason is this: one of his favorite toys is a carrot rattle. As Tessa was grabbing things she wanted for the photos she could not locate that carrot rattle anywhere. Suddenly, inspiration struck! Why not just bring an actual carrot?
Not sure that Russell would actually think it was a good switch, she figured it was worth tossing it in the bag.
Russ thought that big ol’ carrot was the best and he sunk his gums and couple of teeth into it 😉 He kept a close eye on his carrot whenever Mom or Dad pulled it out of his hands. Looks like that carrot rattle might have some competition with the real deal.
Andrew & Tessa,
Thank you for letting us photograph you three! We love that we got to capture this time of your lives. We hope you’ll always look back on these photos with fondness for everything that was happening.
Brandon says to tell Russ, “thanks for the snuggles”. 😉
We look forward not only to working with you two at Gathered Oaks, but to growing this friendship 🙂 and to that double date we never did get scheduled!
Abby & Brandon
November 22, 2018
“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.”
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