After Tom and Stephanie were married at the resort in 2011, we realized how awesome weddings at the resort could be for both bride and groom and their guests. What began as a dream became a reality this past fall as we hosted our first two weddings!
Joel and Stacylynn were very kind to write out their wedding experience at the resort. Read their full story and view photos courtesy of Flom Designs and Photography.
Our White Eagle Wedding Story
By Joel and Stacylynn Smith
It all started in early October 2012 when planning for our wedding commenced. Stacy and I wanted a wedding that would not only bring our family and friends together, but bring them somewhere they had never been and would hopefully never forget. Living in McGregor, Stacy and I weren’t going to settle for anything south of where we lived, we wanted a true ‘Minnesota-style, Up-North wedding’, maybe even a destination wedding of-sorts, so our family and friends could make it a little get-away. Our search started on beautiful Lake Vermilion and it didn’t take long to come across White Eagle Resort in Cook, MN. We contacted White Eagle and made a reservation for one night to go and check out our first candidate for our wedding locale.
As soon as we arrived at White Eagle, we had a feeling that it was the place for us. After checking-in with Mike and Bonnie, we immediately felt at home. Mike and Bonnie were wonderful to deal with and made our stay wonderful! While we were there, Mike and Bonnie gave us the grand tour and showed us some great ideas that others had done at previous weddings they had held there. Needless to say, we loved the ideas and loved the resort, so we booked with them for our September 28th, 2013 wedding. It was the perfect place, to bring our family and friends together, for a relaxing weekend. The best part, no one on our guest list, had ever been to Lake Vermilion, none-the-less White Eagle. It truly was going to be an escape for everyone and that's what we wanted, a care-free weekend to celebrate two family’s coming together into one!
Through months of planning and anticipation our wedding week finally arrived :) Over this time, Mike and Bonnie’s children had taken the reigns from their parents for the Resort; so, over the winter, spring and summer, we kept in close contact with Anne, who kept us in the loop on details on their end and we kept in touch with her for details on our end. For never meeting Anne, the experience was wonderful, she took care of us very well; and we felt like we had known her for years!
A little background on Stacy and Myself, we are ‘do-ers’; so when we were looking for a wedding venue of this sort, we wanted a place that, well, didn’t “do it all” for you, you know, wait on you hand and foot. And we didn’t want a place where, well, we had to “do it all” either. We worked very hard on planning this wedding and wanted to be apart of putting it altogether as we visioned it. Stacy made all the decorations from scratch over the year; whether it was the bouquets, or the decorations for the dinner tables. We had also taken care of all the other big details, food, beverages, snacks, etc. With White Eagle it was perfect, they took care of the bigger details, the ceremony site, the tent rental and setup, and pretty much made sure everything was ready for us to do what we wanted to do. We were also provided full-use of the Game Room on the resort grounds, which is a great space for any gathering; there was a kitchen in the game room as well, which aided in preparing our food. The staff also, when it came time, were there, helping us with anything we asked of them, to make our preparations for the big day easy!
White Eagle even made the recommendation that we should be at the resort, the week of the wedding, so we could have some well needed R & R and also take care of wedding details little-by-little as the week went on. We felt that it would really loosen the belt on the day of, which it did! We were so very glad they recommended that! We arrived on Monday and were greeted by Anne. We then settled into ‘The Loons Nest’, the cabin we had chose to be our home away from home for the duration of the stay. That first day, we met the rest of the crew, Anne and Alan, Tom and Stephanie, Ranae and Stephen; who were all just wonderful to chat with and made sure that we were comfortable and that if we needed anything, to just let them know.
We had until Wednesday before any guests’ were going to be arriving, so we took some time with our two dogs to enjoy the resort, its amenities and of course beautiful Lake Vermilion! We did some fishing, took multiple saunas, and just relaxed by the fireplace in our cabin. We were truly at peace, which we didn’t think we would find the week of our wedding. Just being on-site for the week really relaxed us and took the stress of everything away. We had gorgeous weather for the end of September, highs around 70 degrees and nights were cool and great for sleeping.
As the week went on, our dearest of family and friends started arriving and enjoying the resort as we were. By Friday, we had most of our guests, who were staying on-site, checked-in. Everything was going absolutely wonderful! Guests couldn’t stop speaking of how nice the resort was, how wonderful the staff was and how awesome their experiences were so far! Anything you asked the staff of, it was done! Whether it was to put a boat in, start the sauna, or make sure the bonfire was started, it was done and done above our expectations!We held a Groom’s Picnic Friday Night, for anyone that was on-site. We grilled 75 locally-made (Emily, MN) brats and had salads for everyone. Friday evening was a wonderful pre-cursor to what would be coming the next day, good times with family and friends.
We woke up Saturday, our wedding day, to no rain but a forecast for rain. Needless to say, we weren’t going to let it “rain” on our parade, excuse the pun :) White Eagle was wonderful enough to provide a beach yoga session to start the day off right and relaxed for anyone who wanted! Needless to say, it was a HUGE hit and anyone who attended was thankful they did! As Stacy and the girls got ready for the day, the staff and I made sure everything was set and ready for the rest of the day. With the rain coming down and in the forecast for the rest of the day, the staff was right there for us; we had to decide whether we would keep the ceremony outside, un-covered, lake-side, or move it under the tent where dinner was going to be. There were many pictures taken by the photographer during this time, mostly under the tent due to the rain. As time passed and the 3-o’clock ceremony start-time approached, most of our guests had arrived and were enjoying each others company, in the game room and under the tent outside. The staff at White Eagle was amazing during this time. They were there, with towels, drying off chairs at the ceremony-site and were ready at a snap of finger to move the chairs under the tent if it didn’t stop raining. Well, needless to say, at 3:13pm, it stopped raining and it looked like we had a small window to have our outdoor, lake-side ceremony! The staff made sure every chair was dry as we got everyone seated for the ceremony. The ceremony was beautiful! The rain had stopped for us and nature even blessed us with an eagle flying over and calling during our ceremony :) It was beautiful and we couldn’t have asked for it any different!
After the ceremony, the staff seamlessly moved all the chairs back under the tent for the social hour and dinner. During this time, the photographers took many pictures outside; Mother Nature had made sure that her fall colors were there for us, so anywhere you looked there was a great backdrop for a picture, or just a treat for your senses :) The rest of the day was wonderful! The social hour, dinner, and dance, all of it went well! White Eagle was nice enough to provide us with their movie projector and screen, so we could have a wonderful slide show for everyone to see our story. The dance went great as well! Good times spent with good people!
After a wonderful wedding day, there was a splendid surprise waiting for us in our cabin. The staff had secretly snuck into our cabin and transformed it into a “honeymoon suite”, fresh with a white bed-spread, with fresh flower pedals spread over it, candles and a bottle of champagne and “his and hers” glasses :) a surprise that put a cap on the best day of our lives! :)
Stacy and I stayed a few extra days after the wedding, to enjoy us, which White Eagle, gratefully offered! Those few extra days were wonderful, all the hustle and bustle of the previous week had escaped us and we could just enjoy us, the new us, the Smith’s :)
To sum it all up, we would never want anything to have went differently for our wedding! We really felt like family at White Eagle! Their staff was wonderful! Whether we are speaking of their help, or just hanging out with them during the festivities! We made sure that they were invited to all of our events because we felt like they were family! Their kindness and generosity is un-matched! There wasn’t a single guest of ours who didn’t speak about how kindly they were treated during their White Eagle Experience! The resort was in pristine condition the entire stay! Its wonderful to see a family care as much as they do about their life’s work, they do an amazing job and have a top-notch, immaculate resort! White Eagle will have a special place in our hearts forever and we plan on visiting our friends there many times in our lives together! We can’t wait to get back there! We recommend any couple to highly consider White Eagle as a choice, if not the choice, for their wedding venue! You will feel welcome, at home and well taken care of!