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Tips & Recs from Local Newly Weds, Samantha & Todd Oliver

 Photos by Kensie Wallner Photography

“We, Samantha and Todd, were recently married in Moorhead, MN. We live in the Fargo, ND, area and have since 2017. We met in Idaho at an Irish Pub called ;First Nash.’ We were pool partners that evening and quickly became friends, which evolved into a romantic relationship. Sam was living in Idaho because she was working on her PhD in clinical psychology at Idaho State University and I (Todd) was working at ISU Credit Union. She moved to North Dakota in the summer of 2017 and I followed four months later. Sam completed her doctoral psychology internship at the Fargo VA Healthcare System, remained for her residency training, and stayed on as a staff clinical psychologist post-licensure. She continues to work at the VA serving Veterans and is the program manager of the recovery programs and staff, as well as the assistant training director of the doctoral psychology internship program. I began working at US Bank in 2017 and I’m now an operations team manager at US Bank, overseeing operations and daily procedures, as well as managing the staff. We have our adorable dogs Chewie and Lucy and our cat Nala in North Dakota, while our cat Jaxon lives in Idaho with my parents since he loves roaming the mountain outdoors. We love traveling together, trying new food, exploring nature, listening to music, and spending time with our family and friends. Sam loves cooking, dancing, photography, and staying physically active. I love singing, playing the piano, video gaming, and gardening.”

The Day They Tied the Knot
August 19, 2023

“Our day was, truthfully, perfect in our eyes. We, and our guests, had so much fun dancing the night away.” – The Olivers

Venues

“We chose RiverHaven Events Center for our wedding ceremony and reception. If you have ever seen RiverHaven, you would see why we chose it! We love nature and wanted to be married somewhere that had trees, greenery, and water. We like classic, minimalism, and playing visually on textures. The brick, glass, wood, and metal components of the inside of RiverHaven stole our hearts the moment we walked in. The patio is adorable and the view outside is stunning.”

Florist

“We selected Poppy Flowers. Sam, by her nature, is a researcher. So every decision made was made after much investigation of the business, the mission, the people, the reviews, the cost, and so forth. They were affordable, beautiful, responsive, helpful, and had great reviews. We would absolutely recommend them too. We provided the florist, who came to set up with minimal direction of our vision and she nailed it. Our guests are still talking about how gorgeous the venue and floral were!”

Videographer

“After Sam did her research, we selected Meadowlark Films. Her work is absolutely gorgeous. She is able to capture the authenticity of the moment. We highly recommend her and will be choosing her again for any videography needs in the future. She is also kind, funny, and easygoing! She could easily become a good friend and is just lovely to be around. She has a great eye for gorgeous scenes and kept things light and fun. While we have only seen the sneak peek of our video, it looked perfect. Our family and friends have commented on how gorgeous the sneak peek video and the settings captured were. Sam loves photography and videography, it was incredibly important to her that our day was captured by someone we would trust fully. Janna is amazing!”

DJ

“We chose our buddy Mike (Rookie) Anderson to be our DJ. Rookie DJs in the Fargo-Moorhead area and also works full-time at US Bank, which is how we met him. If you know Mike, you would agree that he is genuine, sweet, funny, and a fabulous DJ. He is able to match, and if needed change, the energy of any room with music. We spent the night on the dance floor with our guests. It was so much fun! We wish we could hit repeat on that night. We will be hiring Mike again in the future when we have an event that calls for a DJ. We highly recommend Rookie. We also had local live guitarists, Twelve Strings. Chris Argenziano is the lead who worked closely with us on planning. They played classical music during our ceremony and jazz music during our social hour. They were absolutely wonderful! They also play around the city at wineries and other events. We highly recommend them. They are amazing, flexible, kind, friendly, and fun to work with. They’re just all-around good people.”

Makeup Artist

“Olivia also did all of the ladies’ makeup. Sam really appreciated that Olivia listened to what Sam’s preference was. It was really important to Sam to look like herself on our wedding day and not be too overdone, to be just a polished version of herself. Olivia did an amazing job with the makeup.”

Cater

“We selected Chef’s Table catering. We made a date out of our private tasting session we had downtown with them. It was so fun and the food was amazing. Our guests also spoke at length about our appetizers, plated meals, and late-night snack. They were wonderful to work with and patient with our millions of questions. They were professional, prompt, and considerate during the reception. We really appreciated that they asked if we wanted them to package up our leftovers or if we wanted to donate them to a local homeless shelter. We loved that this was an option and donated our food. We highly recommend this company.”

Dessert

“We skipped the cake… well, the traditional style cake. We decided to go with Nichole’s Fine Pastry for our mini cheesecake that we enjoyed. We also ordered our French macrons from Nichole’s. If you have ever had their macrons, you know they are the absolute best! If you have never had them, do yourself a favor and check them out downtown or at the Brewhalla location. Our guests raved about the French macrons. We also ordered bundtinis® from Nothing Bundt Cakes, which was delicious! We loved the dessert options we went with. The bundtinis® offered guests a variety of flavors, perfectly sized, easy to grab and eat, and affordable. Their cream cheese frosting is outstanding.”

Bridal Gown

“Sam’s dress was from LeeAnne’s Bridal in Fargo. A friend, Jess, recommended ‘less is more’ with the number of bridal shops/boutiques visited to avoid being overwhelmed. Sam took that to heart and decided to only look at LeeAnne’s after doing her research on various options in the area. She wanted to stay local regardless, which helped narrow it down. She opted to make an appointment and the experience was wonderful. They are very kind, patient, and great to work with. They had recommended Karen’s Bridal Alterations in Moorhead to have the dress altered. Karen was great to work with!”

“Side note, Sam going to the bridal store in December during a snowstorm with her Mom is a great memory. Sam’s mom made it in during a lull in the storm (she lives hours away) the night prior. The morning of, we had a ton of snow in our driveway. We dug out the driveway with a plastic shovel to get out… we are now proud owners of a snowblower. It was great teamwork as a couple!”

Groom’s Wear

“Todd’s tux was from Halberstadt’s on Broadway. He did a walkin to select what he was looking for. They were attentive and helpful at Halberstadt’s. We were torn on a few options for Todd and the suits for the men in our wedding. The staff were able to provide solid options and pros/ cons to guide us to what we found to be perfect.”

Hairstylist

“We were lucky to have Olivia Rogers Guertin, owner of Niche Salon and Hair & Makeup by Olivia. Sam could see that she does amazing work by photos and reviews shared. She did a trial for bridal hair and makeup and was sold. Sam said Olivia is a gentle, kind, and patient woman. Her energy is calming and genuine. Sam is so happy with the work Olivia did on her hair and the ladies who got their hair done at our wedding loved their hair too. Sam plans to continue to work with Olivia in the future. We highly recommend her for events, but also to have as your stylist!”

"I love Samantha and Todd's classic but modern style. They kept their wedding party small and their ceremony and reception were intimate. We had so much time on their wedding day to visit the custom Fargo Theatre sign and have a quick drink at Harold's in Moorhead."

Q&A with the Olivers

Q: What was the easiest part? And what was the most fun?

A: The easiest part was deciding that we wanted to spend our lives together as husband and wife. The food-tasting part was great and easy too! It was fun going to a few venues and making decisions as a couple. Hearing each others’ vision and hopes for the day. For Sam, going wedding dress shopping with her mom was a definite highlight. We were not sure if she could since she lives hours away and it was winter. But when you put your mind to it, even a three-day snowstorm can’t stop you.

Q: Were there any “traditional” or “trendy” wedding things that you DID do or DIDN’T do?

A: We did NOT have: a large wedding; a wedding cake; a religious ceremony/reception; a receiving line; a large wedding party; a dollar dance; throwing bouquet; garter; no veil; no party bus between the wedding and dinner; gift/favors at wedding; no photo booth. We nixed these because they did not align with our values or who we are as individuals or a couple.

A: We DID have: Sam had a Man of Honor who is her best friend and Todd had a Best Man who was one of his brothers; mimosa bar and breakfast platter while we all got ready onsite; we wrote the entire ceremony and had our brother-inlaw write parts; Sam wrote our vows and Todd edited them, and we both read the same vows; live guitarists for wedding ceremony and social hour and songs we picked together; sand unity ceremony; flower petals thrown by guests when we walked down aisle; unplugged ceremony; menu/thank you cards on napkins; transportation for guests (trolley by All Occasions Limousine & Shuttle and their shuttle at end of night).

A: We had appetizers and live music during social hour; open bar all night; late night snack; Alpha Lit Marquee lettering on the courtyard/patio that read “The Olivers;” live guitarists during ceremony and social hour; we had patio games outside (corn hole etc.) for guests to enjoy; welcome bags at the hotels for out of town/ state guests; we had our guests gather around the dance floor to see the first dances, which was lovely; we rented the Fargo Theatre Marquee for the weekend and it read “Congratulations to the Newlyweds, The Olivers!” So many friends and family posed under it, so worth it.

A: We self-choreographed our wedding dance. We started off slow to “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle, then mashed up three faster fun songs and had dance moves to them (kept it at or under three minutes still). We decided against dance lessons and instead turned to YouTube on an iPad in our basement. We found dance moves that looked fun and doable and practiced for a couple of weeks after work at home. We did not want an over-choreographed and difficult dance, just something unique. Sam mashed up the songs in a way that offered flow. At the end of our little ditty, we invited all guests onto the floor and danced with them. Truthfully, learning to dance at home to this was fun in and of itself.

Q: Can you share some advice with couples who are planning their big day?

A: Take time to do research on vendors and tips from other couples. We have so much available at our fingertips, use it to be sure you are selecting a great fit. Remain focused on what is important: getting married to one another. If you are married at the end of the day, it went perfectly. No one else knows your vision, so if something is not right—no one will know or care! We do recommend (depending on what is important to you) not skimping on good food, good music, and a good venue.

Congrats Samantha & Todd!

Kensie Wallner Photography

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kensiewallner@gmail.com
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Written by Geneva Nodland

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