Photos by Capturing Butterflies Photography
“Our love story began at a bar… at a One Tree Hill charity event. Once we knew, we knew, and we were on the road to marriage very quickly! I (Marisa) moved to Wilmington, NC from Hitterdal, MN, in 2021 and we currently live in North Carolina, but, of course, chose to make the trip back up here for the special day—Timothy (or, Eli) agreed and invited his family to visit the north! We enjoy going to the beach, local breweries, and vendor markets, and having friends over for fires and games!”
The Day They Tied the Knot
September 16, 2023
“Our day was filled with love, magic, and memories we will never forget. We couldn’t have done it without everyone who helped pull it off and we can’t thank them enough!” – The Ruckmans
“We got married at the church I grew up in, in Hitterdahl, MN, and had our reception at Venue 31 outside of Hawley, MN. Karen Kasin is the owner and a great family friend—her venue is incredibly beautiful for any kind of wedding—it was the perfect fit!”
“My bouquet was made by Sweet Stems! They helped me pick the perfect flowers that worked with my inspiration for a waterfall bouquet!”
”Harmon Entertainment—Sam Sadlowsky was our DJ and he helped us through the entire process! I couldn’t have asked for a better person to help bring entertainment to our guests and get them on the dance floor!
We got to have Lee England Jr. as our violinist who joined us during the ceremony and cocktail hour as well as our entrance into the reception! Tyler Hilton was also included in our big day! He was a singer/actor in One Tree Hill and he sang our first dance!”
“We used Harmon Entertainment! They were incredible to work with from start to finish and we got a good deal since we had already booked them for our DJ!”
“Everyone was able to enjoy Precision Catering’s delicious grazing table during cocktail hour and a mouth-watering meal later in the evening. They had a great variety of choices for sides and proteins and literally catered to our every need, food-wise!”
”Cakes by Althea presented beautiful cupcakes for our guests that looked like they were floating in the clouds, exactly how I imagined! They had many different flavors of frosting and cakes to choose from that made it hard to pick!”
”I wore my mom’s gown, it was something I always dreamed of doing and, with the help of a lovely local seamstress, it was transformed into my own dress!”
”Our men were dressed head to toe in Men’s Wearhouse! They were fantastic at helping them all get fit and made sure they looked fresh for the big day!”
”My stylist was Tyra Nicole, who is based at M.J. Capelli! She is a childhood best friend of mine who I knew was the perfect fit to help make me feel beautiful on our special day!”
”My college best friend, Geneva Nodland—who was always the makeup magician before a night out! She completed the glam squad and was a superhero that day!”
Q&A with the Ruckmans
Q: What was the most difficult part of the planning process?
A: We were planning our wedding while living in two different states, and planning a wedding that was going to take place in a completely different state! It was hard to know if what we pictured was working when we couldn’t do everything where we were.
Q: What was the easiest part? And what was the most fun?
A: Probably picking the music for the entire day! We both love music and it is a huge part of our life together so thinking of the special moments and what songs would be playing was honestly really fun for us!
Q: What were your top priorities for planning the wedding right after the engagement?
A: Getting our vendors locked down! We wanted to get married sooner rather than later so we started contacting them right away!
Q: Did you take any special steps to maintain a budget?
A: We kept in mind what was a priority and made payments on time! Eli worked extra hard through it all as well and that helped even more to make our dream day come to life!
Q: Everybody says that you should have fun and enjoy the wedding planning process, but it is easy to get stressed! Any recommendations on how to stay calm during the stressful parts?
A: We always kept in mind that we wanted a marriage more than anything, and even though some things may go wrong or not as planned, it would all be okay because, at the end of the day, we would be married.
Q: Were there any “traditional” or “trendy” wedding things that you DID do or DIDN’T do, and why?
A: I guess the traditional parts were getting married in a church and my dad “giving me away.” It was how I always pictured my wedding day, especially since it’s where my parents got married! On the trendy side, our bridal party stood on opposite sides of us (bride and groom), so they could see us during the ceremony. Also, my “something blue” was a very special person to me who stunted the evening in a blue suit!
Q: What were the standout vendors or products you found that made your day memorable?
A: Harmon Entertainment! They truly knew what they were doing and they made the entire second half of the day more than I could have imagined!
Q: Can you share some advice with couples who are planning their big day?
A: Take a step back from time to time to see the big picture. Don’t stress too much because everyone is there for you and will support you through it all! This is your day of love and that’s what matters! Never forget why you are here and it’ll all be worth it!