The pandemic of 2020 certainly hit many businesses hard, but the limitations in place for not gathering in large groups affected the wedding industry in a particularly difficult way. There are some wedding industry professionals looking to change the negative outlook of cancelled and postponed weddings in 2020 for the better.

Twenty wedding professionals from the Sioux Falls and Brookings area are joining forces to give away over $33,000 in products and services toward a complete wedding day as a gift to a winning and eligible engaged couple who faced challenges with scheduling their wedding in 2020 — and has a compelling story as to why they deserve this donated package.

Engaged couples who would like to celebrate by having a real wedding day, or even couples celebrating their vow renewals, are eligible for this free wedding and can submit their story to by February 7, 2021. All vendors participating will help choose a winning couple based on their story and the winners will be announced for a special Valentine’s Day surprise by February 14, 2021.

Read the Argus Leader story here and see the details on our Facebook page.

Details that any winning couple should know before applying are: The date of the event (and their wedding day) will be Sunday, May 16th 2021, the guest count is for 50 or fewer people, the ceremony and reception will be held outdoors under a tent at Schade Vineyard & Winery in Volga, SD. Winners can have three bridesmaids and three groomsmen, and the time of the ceremony will be late afternoon, with full details shared on the online application site.

Renee Bauman, owner of Hitch Studio (a wedding planning and wedding stationery design company in Brookings, SD), is leading the charge for this event, but is certainly not doing it alone.

This wedding package includes very generous — and completely free — offerings from these wedding sponsors:

Schade Vineyard & Winery in Volga, SD:
Ceremony space and chairs for 50 guests (+ vendors)
Reception space in tent with tables and chairs for 50 guests (+ vendors)

Shelon Artistry
Hair and makeup services for bride
Hair services for up to three bridesmaids

Chef Jeni & Company
Passed appetizers for cocktail hour (2 per guest)
50 plated meals with 1 entree

Erica Lynn Photography
Wedding gallery of fully edited photos

Refractor Films
Videography with a 2-5 minute highlight reel of your wedding day

Ideal Wedding & Events
50+ sets of gold silverware
50+ black or gold Chiavari chairs

Thistle & Dot Floral Design
1 bridal bouquet, 3 bridesmaid bouquets, 1 groom boutonniere, 3 groomsmen boutonnieres
1 arch (or equivalent) installation, centerpieces for 8 guest tables
Head table installation/arrangement

Top Shelf Views LLC
Drone video coverage of event

Marie & Marie Bridal
1 wedding gown to be worn during photos.
Gown rental includes 1 visit to store from bride to choose.
(Dress will be taken off before eating/drinking.)
Recommended: Bring a second dress of your own choosing during reception. 

4 full tuxedo rentals
All measurements and sizing due to Trendz by March 16, 2021.
Tux rentals must be returned to Trendz fully with no damages by Monday, May 17th.

Random Sweets
50 cheesecake desserts

Midwest Fresh Catering
Food truck serving lunch for wedding party + families (25 guests) while getting ready for wedding

Party Depot
Linens for 10-15 tables
Dinnerware and napkins for 50+ guests
Head table backdrop

Cakes and Confections by Chef April
2-tier wedding cake

Ellie Stone Bride
3 bridesmaid dresses (not including alterations) (color and sizing TBD)

40 printed programs
50+ menu cards or name cards

Pinnacle Productions
DJ services for ceremony, cocktail hour, reception and dance from 5:30-10 p.m.

Smith & Smith Company
40 letterpress printed invitations with matching RSVP card and envelope(s)

Prairie Lane Vintage Rentals
Use of Princess Sofa and 56 Pink Goblet Glasses

Love, Storied.
500-word professionally-written love story and personalized hashtag

Garness Games
Custom-made cornhole boards, giant Jenga and lawn dice for social hour lawn games

Hitch Studio
Wedding planning services (3 Carat)
Wedding stationery design for up to 40 invitations (includes paper, envelopes, + design) Wedding Day Designer digital planning book

Thank you SO MUCH to all these participating vendors!

“This event was really born when I got a phone call from one of the couples I was working with to plan their wedding. They said they would rather lose their deposits from multiple vendors than try to reschedule their wedding for a third time. That broke my heart. It really sparked a desire in me to give back because I wondered about how many other couples in our area were feeling this way due to Covid restrictions. How many couples were giving up on their dreams of celebrating their marriage with the people who love them the most because the re-planning and disappointment just got to be too much,” said Bauman.

“I think anyone in the wedding industry would agree that we all seek to serve. We want to be generous with our time and talent, especially now. For me, I thought, ‘what can I give’ instead of ‘what can I get’ and that really moved me to start making some phone calls.”

The event stemmed from the idea of a styled photo shoot-turned-real wedding.

Bauman explains, “A styled shoot is when you bring together multiple wedding vendors like a florist, a makeup/hair artist, a couple who is modeling like an engaged couple, a borrowed wedding dress, a caterer, a linen company, a venue, a mock table setting, etc., and style a fake wedding where you get to control the colors, theme, style, images, location, etc. and after a few hours, you pack it all up and go home. I did a lot of styled shoots during the pandemic when large weddings weren’t happening to help build my portfolio of images. I started thinking, why should we put so much money and effort into a wedding that’s fake when there are so many couples who could use these services for their actual wedding?! That’s when it hit me. We should create a styled shoot that gets gifted to a real couple in need.”

Dillon Ringling, owner of Schade Winery & Vineyard in Volga, SD and host site for the event, adds, “I’ve been searching for the right way to give back to the community after the pandemic, so when Renee asked me about the idea of giving away a dream wedding to a couple in need, I knew this was the opportunity I was looking for.”

Bauman states, “Good things can come from bad situations. So, to those couples who have had to postpone, reschedule, and/or cancel your weddings and didn’t get the day you dreamed of, here’s your chance. We would all be thrilled to help bring your fully-planned and stress-free wedding to life for you. The local wedding industry is choosing to start 2021 with a fresh and positive outlook and we think this will help couples do the same.”

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