Our First Q&A

Leaving our corporate jobs and lives in a big city to start our own wedding venue has been quite the adventure; but we love it! We’ve learned a whole lot over the past few years and have made some unforgettable memories along the way! We wanted to sit down and answer some questions about what this crazy experience has been like. From our very first wedding to a cat that was determined to crash outdoor ceremonies, stick around to hear some of our scariest and fondest moments so far!

Owners of Crooked Willow Weddings & Events
Q: What was our first wedding like?

A: A week before we were officially ready to host a wedding, we had a bride reach out in need of a last-minute wedding venue. We were still planning to be under construction the week she wanted to be married. I (Jody) called Derek and asked if it was even possible for us to be ready in time. We agreed to do it. WE WERE TERRIFIED! One of the first realizations we had was that setting up for a wedding takes A LOT more time than we realized! We were still installing locks on doors and touching up paint on the walls the day of the wedding! Thankfully, it went off without a hitch! The bride absolutely loved her special day! She also had zero idea how much we were scrambling behind the scenes! Whew! Thankfully, we’ve learned a lot since then and don’t find ourselves scrambling anymore!

Q: What roles do we play?

A: Derek can fix just about anything! He oversees the maintenance of the grounds and buildings. I (Jody) handle all the interactions with the couples, handling all payments, answering questions, getting all the details squared away, website design etc. We work well together because we each oversee different aspects of the business. But on event day, it is all hands on deck! We work side-by-side on all of our event setups!

Q: What has been the most challenging parts of starting this business?

A: Staffing has been one of our biggest challenges. There is obviously a ton of work to be done around here; and we’ve had to figure out what work to hire out and what jobs we do ourselves! Marketing has also been tricky. There are so many different ways of going about it. We were very new to the whole marketing world when we first started. We just had to test and decide what worked best for us. And don’t get us started about the weather! Minnesota is not always the most consistent when it comes to good weather!

Q: What has been the most rewarding parts of running this business?

A: Everybody is happy on a wedding day! All of the work we put in during the week pays off when we see the couples beaming on their big day! And we simply love getting to meet so many people! From giving tours with potential couples to building friendships with our vendors, we get to interact with so many incredible people and hear their stories!

Q: What is one of our funniest memories?

A: We used to have a cat that loved to sneak into the field behind one of our ceremony spots to sleep. I (Derek) was running audio during one of our outdoor ceremonies. Just as the officiant, addressing the couple, said, “You have to be prepared in life to handle together anything that comes your way…like a cat!” The cat had walked out of the field and into the middle of the ceremony! He even hopped up onto the platform, took a moment to stare at the seated crowd, before hopping off and making himself comfortable next to the guests. Everyone got a good kick out of that one!

We are planning on sitting down and hosting another Q&A soon! Reach out in the comments and let us know what questions you want answered. We love to connect with you! Thanks for coming along on this journey with us!

Derek and Jody

The Barn at Crooked Willow Weddings & Events

Barn photo: Kylie Marie Moore Photography.
Our photo: A Lee Photography Inc.