By Bailey Hovland
This time of year, my social media feed fills up with wedding videography, visits where friends “say yes to the dress,” and an endless barrage of engagement rings. It seems as though love is in the air, and the Willmar Lakes Area is no
Moriah Gauer and Mitch Johannes, two locals from the Willmar Lakes Area, (photo by Chloe Ann Visuals), do a twirl for an engagement photo.
exception. Weddings are happening left and right, but that’s not where it all begins. The first step, naturally, is finding the perfect engagement ring.
Willmar has three jewelers that will be able to provide you and your future fiancé with the expertise and care you need to find your forever ring. Elmquist Jewelers, located at 101 28th Ave. SE in Willmar, has a long history in Willmar. David Elmquist, son of Swedish immigrants, started out as a jeweler’s apprentice, studying under the eye of one of his siblings. In 1902, Elmquist brought his trade to Willmar, opening up shop on Benson Avenue. Today, Elmquist Jewelers is still going strong, providing over 100 years of expertise to help couples find the perfect engagement ring. Paffrath & Son Jewelers have also been helping local couples with wedding proposals for a long time. For over 90 years, Paffrath & Son Jewelers have been making custom jewelry for area couples, bringing their love to life with a timeless engagement ring. With an expert goldsmith in house, Paffrath’s provides the attention and quality couples need to create jewelry that encapsulates their unique love. Riddle’s Jewelry, located in the Kandi
The lights at Stonewall Farms break through the trees, illuminating the wedding scene.
Mall, also brings the bling game to Willmar. With over 50 years of experience and stores across the Midwest, Riddle’s has everything a couple could want when looking for their perfect rings.
After the big proposal (accompanied by an enthusiastic “YES!”) comes the planning. There are venues to visit, cakes to taste, and friends to invite. Everything piles up so quickly, and it can be hard to know where to turn. But the Willmar Lakes Area can help with all of that, starting with venue.
Stonewall Farms is a popular wedding destination in the Willmar Lakes Area with national and regional recognition. PopSugar put it on their list of “50 States of Wedding Venues: Stunning Places Across America to Say ‘I Do’” and The Venue Report included Stonewall on their “25 Of Minnesota’s Most Stunning Wedding Venues” lineup. On the secluded Soloman Lake near Willmar, Stonewall mixed lake life with agricultural roots—the perfect backdrop for some dreamy wedding photos. Originally intended to be a Friesian horse breeding facility, this venue has all the rustic charm a Minnesota farm could offer. The Oaks at Eagle Creek is a lovely and more traditional backdrop for a wedding reception, with their rolling greens, outdoor patio, and warm environment indoors. And the newly renovated Little Crow Resort is yet another stretch of greens that would be an ideal place to host a wedding.
Rustic Designs Flower Farm provides gorgeous wedding bouquets, floral table arrangements, and so much more.
Finally, the Willmar Conference Center is great for those big weddings with (almost) too many guests. Your great uncles and aunts can sit right next to your third cousins and college friends, and you won’t have to worry if everyone will be able to fit.
After the venue is set, you’ll need to start thinking about the smaller things. Mr. B’s Chocolates can help you plan the perfect party favors, whether that’s romantic chocolate roses or chocolate squares with the happy couple’s names on them. Rustic Designs Flower Farm can help you put together perfect bouquets. Middle Fork Cafe can bake you an adorable and decadent cake. And Finley Florence Bridal can help you find the best dress for you or your fiancé on the big day. Once you start checking boxes off of your big wedding to-do list with a little assistance from the incredible businesses in the Willmar Lakes Area, your stress will melt and you’ll be able to enjoy your perfect day.