It really was all fun and games for Sam and Dustin’s big day! Sam’s smile is contagious (as you will see in the photos below) and she was just so bubbly and Dustin was just the nicest human! The day started out at Grouse Mountain Lodge where everyone got ready. Sam and Dustin did a first look at the lodge before heading over to Glacier National Park for epic photos before the ceremony! The nice thing about doing a first look is being able to knock out lots of photos. I’m a huge fan of it for sure!
The ceremony was held in Glacier at Apgar Amphitheater. Apgar Amphitheater is nestled on the coast of Lake McDonald and has gorgeous mountain views! The ceremony was officiated by Sam and Dustin’s dear friend (and matchmaker) Kayla. It was such a beautiful ceremony! Afterwards, everyone jumped on the bus and headed back to Grouse Mountain Lodge for lawn games, board games, food, drinks and Huckleberry pie! It was such a fun night for sure. Even when a few golfers decided to crash at the very end, Sam and Dustin welcomed with with a drink! Congratulations, Mrs. and Mrs. Valind!
We were both athletes at the University of South Dakota, which meant we had a lot of the same friends. One of those friends was Kayla Johnson who we both met during our Freshman year. Kayla used to coordinate dinners with friends every Wednesday at Whimp’s because of their $7.50 all you can eat salad, garlic bread and spaghetti dinners. One fateful night, Kayla invited both Dustin and Sam to the same dinner with a large group of friends. When we talked about this night months later, we learned that Dustin checked out Sam’s butt and Sam thought he was cute. Unfortunately, nothing happened.
Fast forward a few months after several more spaghetti dinners, Sam and Dustin got into their first fight over where the group would go to dinner that week. Dustin won the argument (which is very indicative of the rest of our relationship). The restaurant he choose was in the next state over, so him, Kayla and Sam car pooled there. During this ride Sam almost put them all in a ditch…this was the first time Sam’s driving almost killed Dustin and certainly will not be the last.
Fast forward a few more months of weekly dinners and random hangout to the Charcoal Lounge (better known as “Char Bar” or a local bar in our college town). This is where the magic happened. And by magic we mean that a semi-intoxicated Sam picked-up the super hunky Dustin in what later is referred as Sam’s greatest accomplishment! In our opinion this was the start to the world’s greatest relationship. The months following were filled with board game battles, road trips, rescues from spiders, cooking collaborations, love and laughter. All leading up to one incredibly thoughtful and romantic proposal…
Dustin convinced Sam to take a weekend trip back to their college town. Since we still have lots for friends there, this was pretty common. During the trip, Dustin worked with their friends to create a surprise proposal he hoped would knock her socks off.
He got one of her girl friends to take her to the spa for a full head to toe treatment…nails, makeup, hair, the works! Then he had that same friend take her shopping for a fun new outfit because he knew she wouldn’t be able to resist wearing it out that night.
During this time, Dustin was with one of their friends, Molly, who is a professional photographer planning where he should position himself for her to get photos of the proposal.
Later that night, Dustin picked up Sam from her friends house. He drove to the next town over, Yankton, to the Meridian Bridge. The Meridian Bridge is a love lock bridge where Sam and Dustin hung a lock during their first Valentine’s day together. It’s also the bridge they walked together almost every Sunday after their breakfast dates. Sam was being a bit of a pain to get out of the car because it was raining, but eventually, she gave in to Dustin’s charm. They walked together hand and hand onto the bridge and chatted about their life together.
Then when she least expected it, Dustin pulled a ring box out of his jeans, got down on one knee, told her how much he loved her and asked Sam to spend the rest of her life with him. Sam burst into tears and flung herself into his arms almost knocking them both into a large puddle. After a few minutes of kisses and laughter, Dustin asked “so is that a yes?” to which Sam smiled and nodded excitedly. Molly and her boyfriend/photography assistant revealed themselves and they had a mini photoshoot in the rain together before driving back to Vermillion to celebrate with friends in the bar where it all started.
“Katie is incredible! Weddings are known for being incredibly stressful (ours especially since it was a destination wedding) but Katie made everything easy from start to finish. She is incredibly fun to work with and provides service that would exceed anyone’s expectations! We were so lucky to have her coordinating our big day! If I could give her more than 5 stars, I would!”
“Katie is the best wedding planner on Earth! Along with all of the normal wedding craziness, we also live almost 2000 miles away from our wedding destination and had dozens of vendors from various parts of the state. Katie both organized all of our different vendors, and took care of the rest of the day to make sure we didn’t have to worry about anything and it all went awesome! She is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet, definitely choose her to plan your wedding!”
Ceremony Venue: Apgar Amphitheater at Glacier National Park | Reception Venue: Grouse Mountain Lodge | Photographer: Carly Mac Photography | Ceremony Guitarist: Justin Lantrip | DJ: Destination DJ | Officiant: Kayla Johnson | Baker: Costco, Loula’s Cafe | Hair & Makeup: Soucie Soucie Salon | Transportation: Metropolitan Shuttle | Wedding Gown Designer: Essense of Australia | Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulu’s | Suit Rentals: Generation Tux | Invitations: Westendorf Printing | Photobooth: American Party Lights | Furniture Rentals: The Party Store