January 15, 2013

Rustic Oaks | Venue Feature | Kris Kandel Fargo Wedding Photographer

Posted in: weddings

It is the slow time of year for wedding photographers in Fargo, too cold and miserable! So as I was thinking about what to do with my blog over the winter months I decided to spend some time spotlighting and interviewing vendors/venues that I’ve worked with and loved over the last few years! It’s always great to be able to share the best in the wedding business!!

The first to respond to my emails and questions was Rustic Oaks (which just proves they are organized and on top of things!).

So here we go: Rustic Oaks Wedding Venue – questions answered by the fabulous Emily!!

 *All photos taken by Me at Kristen and Mark’s wedding last July.


  • How did the Rustic Oaks dream start up?

The vision and inspiration came from Anne and Dave Larson; they deserve all of the credit!  However, I am honored to say that I have been part of the Rustic Oaks journey from the beginning!  Long story short: My husband and I had both been working for the Larsons at Anytime Fitness; that’s where Ryan and I first met!  In January 2010 we got engaged.  After hearing the news of our engagement, Anne and Dave showed us their property (the future home of Rustic Oaks) and offered to host our wedding!  We immediately fell in love with the venue and their vision for Rustic Oaks; I also fell in love with the idea of working out there!  I figured I had nothing to lose – so days after our first visit to the venue, I presented a job proposal (and invited myself along for the ride)!  They’ve been stuck with me ever since!


  • What makes Rustic Oaks unique in the FM area?

Oh wow…where should I start!?  We are unique in so many ways!  Rustic Oaks is primarily an outdoor venue and I believe the opportunity to celebrate in congruence with nature is truly special.  The beauty and serenity of the property make it such a magical (and peaceful) place to get married.  Also, we are starting to be recognized as the “home of the weekend wedding.”  We rent the whole venue for entire weekend; our couples can do everything in one place: rehearsal and groom’s dinner on Friday…ceremony, reception and dance on Saturday…and gift opening and/or brunch on Sunday; the bridal party and family can stay right on site in the Rustic Oaks Inn!  We take pride in event exclusivity and flexibility.  Other unique aspects: our beautifully renovated barn, the 900 sq. ft. deck that overlooks the river, pontoon cruises, campfires, the vast amount of gardens/prairie/and wildflowers, and so much more!  And we are definitely “growing our dream in 2013!”  We are doubling the size of the barn, we added another inn/more overnight accommodations to the venue, and we will be open year-round.


  • What sort of couples do you typically work with?

Awesome ones!  I have to compliment all of our clients, as I truly feel we get to work with some of the most quality and charming couples!  I also love the fact that clients are attracted to Rustic Oaks for a variety of reasons; we attract couples that are environmentally friendly, or outdoorsy, or country…we get couples that feel more spiritual when they’re surrounded by nature…we draw interest from clients who want outdoor elegance…we attract clients looking for a venue that’s more simple, relaxed, and serene…and we definitely attract clients that are simply “looking for something unique.”



  • A constant concern I come across from brides is what do do if the weather is bad. How do you handle rainy/cold/hot days with an outdoor venue?

We always pre-plan for “Plan A” and “Plan B;” at the final consultation we help design a diagram for best and worst case scenarios – so the couple can feel confident about the flow of their wedding day – regardless of the weather!  We also try to make honest recommendations about how many guests we like to host during the various seasons/times of year; we never want to try to host more guests than we can do a really good job with.  Lastly – especially once the barn addition is done – we feel like we have a variety of ways we can lay out a ceremony and/or reception in case of inclement weather.  The majority of our spaces are also temperature controlled.  Finally, we realize that the weather in Fargo-Moorhead is often unpredictable; so although I always remind couples that “the important thing is, you’re going to get married” – we also want the couple and their guests to be very comfortable, to have peace of mind, and for the day to run smooth!



  • Tell me a little bit about the exciting new additions to Rustic Oaks, and how these will benefit future couples!

2013 will be an exciting year at Rustic Oaks! The historic Nokken House was recently added to the venue (which will give us more overnight accommodations) and the Rustic Oaks Barn is about to double in size (adding new bathrooms, a bar, kitchen, wheelchair lift, and more usable guest space on the upper level). These new additions will allow us to host weddings and events year-round!  As we continue to grow our business, we hope to make exciting and positive changes that reflect our dream venue: a place for families and friends to gather, grow as people, relax, be creative and celebrate in congruence with nature. Throughout the renovation and building process we will continue to document the progression and will be sharing the journey with you on facebook and our website!

  • What are some tips you can give to a Bride and Groom that will help them pick their venue? 

When it comes time to plan your wedding and find a location – choose the venue that offers your “must-haves” and that feels the most special, magical, and peaceful.  Seek out an atmosphere that makes you feel joy and happiness.  You should also make sure it’s a place that offers you and their guests a lot of fun and flexibility.  Finally, I feel that it’s important for you to choose your venue as a team; both the bride and groom should feel the magic of the venue!  And in my opinion, knowing you’ve found the perfect wedding venue – should be a lot like knowing you’re in love – you will just feel it!

  • And the best way to contact you…

I encourage anyone who’s even slightly curious about our venue to get in contact with me; I love taking couples on personalized tours, chatting on the phone, connecting via email, meeting for coffee, etc!  I truly feel that we have something special to offer everyone at Rustic Oaks!  Our website, email address, and phone number all go to me; and I absolutely love working with new couples, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

www.rusticoaks.net  under the {contact tab}



Thank you to Emily at Rustic Oaks for the fantastic interview! It’s so fun to get to know these venues better, I can’t wait to photograph another wedding there soon! Be sure to check out more photos from Mark and Kristens Wedding Here  to see how they used the gorgeous property!!

Kris Kandel | Fargo Wedding Photographers | Facebook Page

  1. Roxane Sorvig says:

    We are looking for a venue for a grooms dinner of approximately 60-65 people. Do you have any available space, or can you recommend another unique place??

  2. […] Fargo Wedding Photography Kris Kandel | A Blog pertaining to Rustic Oaks Size: 990 X 658 | Source: image source […]

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