Photos by Donae Cotton Photography

Born and raised in South Africa, wedding and lifestyle photographer Donae Cotton now calls Minnesota home. Donae points out that having fun during an engagement session is just as important to the couple as the photographer. Jenna and Lucas have a vintage wedding theme and instead of shooting a typical “e-session” they did some brainstorming with the help of pinterest. They settled upon aviation, with its rich history, as subject matter that fit within their vintage theme. Donae hopes this kind of shoot will inspire other couples to think outside the box of a generic photo shoot. Hopefully other couples will embrace their uniqueness and carry their wedding theme throughout the wedding planning process.

Donae Cotton Photography

Follow Donae on Pinterest.

Photo by Donae Cotton Photography

Story by Kira McCarty for Brides Like Us

Your Onsite Muse Hair & Makeup Artist

When we fall in love, we blush.  It is an indicator to the person we’re with, that we have feelings for them.
A blushed cheek not only sends subliminal messages to those around us, it is youthful and fresh, and when done right, it can make someone look up to 10 years younger!
The trick is to fade the color from the “apple” of the cheek, up, and back towards the top of the ear.  I love to blend a bit of bronzer just below the cheekbone ( in the hollow) to add extra dimension for photography – Also, if my client’s cheeks could benefit from some extra ooh lala pop.

Here are some of my wedding day favorites:
For Everyone:  Sugarbomb by Benefit
Soft and pretty 4 pack. 1 sweep and you have a natural looking blush,bronze and highlight.
For Olive & Yellow Skin Tones:  Lorac Pink
A cool pink with a lilac base – No need to worry about your blush turning orangey as the night wears on.
For Fair Skin:  So Sweet, So Easy by mac
A cremeblend, bright pink with yellow – perfect for adding some eye catching warmth.
On the peachy side & for tanned skin: Bare Minerals Tulip
I LOVE this color!  It has a beautiful glow that works on tanned skin and those who prefer peachy tones to pink.
“Say I love you, without saying a word”
Ciao Bellas!


A few of the designer dresses, shoes, and accessories on display at Posh Bridal Couture yesterday during their one year celebration of their second location in Wayzata, Minn.

At Posh Bridal Couture, Brides and Bubbly go hand in hand. It’s common to have your cake and eat it too! This beautiful and yummy cake was made by The Country Cake Cupboard and Cafe.

Story and Photos by James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

Posh has fancy mirrors that would make Lady Gaga jealous! RaTaTa Oooh La La!

Posh Bridal Couture is known as one of the leading wedding dress shops in town. Yesterday Brides Like Us dropped in as Posh commemorated the achievement of their One Year Anniversary in Wayzata, Minnesota! Owner Marie and the always lovely Posh girls celebrated in style with champagne and cake from The Country Cake Cupboard and Café for all their guests. They offered special surprise swag bags containing all sorts of goodies à la any celebrity studded red carpet event. Many brides and industry insiders were seen at the event and there was even an early dent in the beautiful and yummy cake! The short list included Matt from Photo Booth Creations, your humble narrator, Kim and Jay from Twin City Bridal Association and wedding photographer Katrina Suzanne Eowyn Hannemann from Studio Laguna Photography. We say short list because that was just in the 15 minutes we were there! Many more stopped by throughout the day. At least two brides were seen picking out the wedding dress of their dreams in the short time we were there. We would post a picture but we would never want to spoil the surprise and joy their fiances will experience when seeing them in their beautiful wedding dresses for the first time. This is one place you are allowed to be yourself, have some cake and eat it too.

Posh Bridal has two locations – one in Wayzata and one in the Semple Mansion in Minneapolis. Their website has all the tools you need to book your appointment.

Posh Bridal Couture

Minneapolis 612.871.4280

Wayzata 952.249.8000

Photo by Candy Coughlin of Candys Photography
by Kira McCarty for Brides Like Us
Boudoir photo shoots are all the rage with wedding photography packages, but what if that seems a little too daring?  A Pinup shoot is a perfect alternative!  Pinup models in the 1940s and 50s had a certain je ne sais quoi.  You were sure to be struck by the perfect balance of playfulness wrapped around a sex-kitten in a bombshell package!  A little naughty, a lot nice, and timeless nonetheless.
Onsite Muse Hair & Makeup Artists are known far and wide for our expertise in vintage hair styling and makeup. Yes, we can rock ANY modern trend as well, but when someone needs a “time-period specific” look, they call on us.  We make it easy to feel glamorous.
Pinup styling is a specialty!  The key is to pair the gorgeous, structured hair styles with flawless, airbrushed makeup and faux-lashes.  We make it easy to feel glamorous!
-Kira McCarty
 What works:
  • Pinup shoots are supposed to be fun:  SMILE!  No pressure to “look sexy” – The total look is naturally sexy!
  • Say your vowels! “O” “E” “A” “U” These little letters will give you the perfect “bombshell” expressions!
  • No need to spend a TON of money on new outfits – Simple shorts, heels, and a halter will work fabulously!
  • Go big or go home = Get a giant flower or flowers for your hair!
  • Hot red / pink / or coral lipstick will help you feel gorgeous
  • “Cat eye” gel or liquid liner helps complete the look!

Remember:  With our help, you too could look like this!

Kira McCarty
Your Onsite Muse Hair & Makeup Artist
Professional Hair & Makeup

1224 Quincy St NE
studio 225 *top floor*
Minneapolis, MN 55412

It’s hard to ignore upper tier wedding reception venues adding colorful, mood setting lighting to their repertoire. Midwest Sound is one venue that offers all shades of uplighting. Video demos courtesy of John Anderson and Paul Singh at Midwest Sound. The different tones create different moods and can be coordinated with your own wedding colors. The Northland Inn and Hall 653 are the featured venues for these short video demos.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

A French photographer, Beatrice De Guigne, has brilliantly executed one of the most clever concepts we’ve seen in some time. She created a real Barbie + Ken wedding. Then photographed it. It wasn’t easy!

“I had to spread the photos on three days, about 2 hours a day. And a final session of 2 hours for editing. Before that it took me weeks to find and collect all the accessories, to simply prepare the wedding!” – Beatrice De Guigne

While Beatrice had to play bride, wedding planner and wedding photographer, she managed to pull it all off without a hitch. Maybe there is a lesson there. Her sense of humor and patience went a long way.

“I was also asked how the dolls were standing up? Well all alone! Have you ever tried to stand up a Barbie? It’s a pain! As us, they have a balance must be found at every change of position. Fortunately Ken is a bit more stable (he doesn’t wear heels!), But I had to spend 5 minutes on each pose just to keep them standing up! ” – Beatrice De Guigne

For the full portfolio of Barbie and Ken’s wedding photos, Beatrice has them all online. As of this story, they even had a six month anniversary photo shoot already. You guessed it – Snowball fight!

She continues to be featured by Barbie Collectors and blogs around the world. Congratulations, Beatrice! You deserve the recognition. Barbie has never looked so good. And what a happy ending!

You can find her website here.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

-Photos used courtesy of Beatrice De Guigne


Photo Booth Creations can accommodate a group of people in their booths.

Photo by JamesRamsay

Photo Booth Creations does things a little differently. Matt and Stacie, who run the Twin Cities photo booth company, enlisted their brother-in-law to engineer their booths. After several evolutions, the result is a roomy wooden photo booth that fits in equally well in a modern studio or an historic mansion. Using the latest photo booth printing technology, they produce photo strips that are virtually instant memories for you and your guests. Photo Booth Creations is a little larger than the typical photo booth. This allows you to cram more people in for those extra special fun moments. And what happens in the photo booth, stays in the photo booth! Matt and Stacie know the wedding industry well, in fact they are engaged to be married in October. Congratulations you two! Photo Booth Creations recently helped raise money for Heart Health at First Avenue with Bobby Z and “The Purple Rain era” Revolution. What a bonus that Questlove was on the turntables for the second set! Photo Booth Creations can also be found at many weddings, senior graduation parties, and all kinds of company events each year.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

There has been a rumor floating around like a Springtime breeze that TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” has been looking at Posh Bridal in Semple Mansion as a possible location to shoot a future episode. It’s true! A local video crew headed by John at J Walter Anderson Photo and Video shot some video and photos back in January to help TLC see all Posh has to offer in the way of personality and atmosphere. All the ladies of Posh were happy to expose their views on the wedding industry, people and stories of the ups and downs of the bridal market. TLC is considering a “Bridesmaids Edition” and Posh Bridal Couture is in the running. They are just waiting to hear if “Say Yes to the Dress” will say yes to them. Here’s a brief look at the video shot back in January.

- John Anderson

J Walter Anderson Photo and Video

Sometimes a detail shot of the ring can say a lot. Marie and Ehrick had a great idea for a shot of her engagement ring. It felt a little dangerous to put an engagement ring on railroad tracks, but made for a romantic and timeless image. Luckily we had about a mile of visibility in both directions. Some jokes were made about the elegant ring becoming flat as a smashed penny! So with Ehrick on watch and Marie helping make some last minute adjustments to the angle of the ring, we managed to pull it off. Some lyrics come to mind.

Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?

A smile from a veil?

Do you think you can tell? – Pink Floyd

The railroad tracks, which helped build St. Paul, add some historical context to the location of the engagement photography. The texture of the tracks, which hundreds of train cars travel on each day, are a romantic stage for the perfection of Marie's engagement rings.

Photos by James Ramsay

Mary Bumblebee had a rock and roll wedding at First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince’s Purple Rain was filmed. Mary set this shot up for her early morning wedding day photographer, James Ramsay, weaving the ring into the laces of her converse. This was a creative, fun way to capture her ring and highlight her awesome shoes. Mary was thrilled with her hair and makeup, done onsite at the hotel by Kira and friends at Muse. Mary is in the wedding industry herself and runs Bumblebee Personal Assistants.

-James Ramsay

Editor, Brides Like Us

Mary Bumblebee knew exactly what she wanted and set this shot up before the photographer arrived!

A closer view of the rings allows the Converse sneaker to fade into the background, but it is still clearly identifiable, highlighting the bride's personal style.

Couldn’t resist getting a photo of Kelley in the alley with her red leather jacket. Sometimes I like to get individual photos of the couple just for fun.

I had Kelley approach Pat as if he was on a break from playing with his band. It didn’t hurt that Pat was actually playing guitar and one memorable highlight from the shoot was when Kelley spontaneously sang the lyrics to one of the songs Pat was playing!!! Then they sang together, I felt lucky to be there.

A natural reaction from Kelley as Pat plays one of her favorite songs.

I told Pat to do his best imitation of a rock star posing for a CD cover, while Kelley played the role of photo assistant.

Kelley did a fabulous job as acting photo assistant for the day!

After we arrived in the St. Anthony Main neighborhood, Kelley changed her outfit and we noticed an industrial loading dock that made an interesting set.

This shot was Kelley’s idea. It’s always great to collaborate with couples during an engagement shoot. Some of my best ideas come from my customers.

“Give me some sass!” I don’t say it often, but when I do it usually works.

Hot shoes! We picked this location in Minneapolis because of the bright colorful background and the amazing natural light.

A horse drawn carriage appeared from across the bridge and immediately Pat and Kelley realized what a great opportunity it was for some cool photos. These fairy tale moments happen sometimes and they are always magical.

It felt a little bit like we were channeling the magic of Cinderella with the horse and carriage spontaneously driving by.

Photos by James Ramsay Photography

Many brides choose a fabulous theme for their wedding. It’s more rare for you to choose a theme for your engagement photography.  Pat and Kelley knew the first step was planning out a theme with their photographer. Since Pat was a musician, we went over a few ideas and settled on a rock and roll theme. Kelley was nice enough to play the role of photo assistant as well, which was a fun idea we came up with on the spot. The couple also brought a change of outfits to be more formal for some of the photo session. This guaranteed them a variety of looks for save the date cards, place settings, guest book material, and prints for the wall of their trendy Lowertown, St. Paul apartment. Sometimes improvising leads to the best photos. For example the horse and cart was a complete coincidence, but we put ourselves in a position to succeed. It was an amazing bonus to an awesome evening of engagement photography. It seems like something out of a fairy tale.

-James Ramsay


Brides Like Us