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2016 XO Award
February 20, 2016

It is the honor of the Central Minnesota Wedding Association to award the “XO Award.”  Recipients of this prestigious award are recognized for providing eXtraOrdinary service; a wedding industry vendor that has gone above and beyond to save the day when plans otherwise would have turned into a disastrous affair.

Please join me in congratulating these eXtraOrdinary wedding industry professionals on their over-the-top, unending dedication to their clients!  You can hear about their wedding day heroics below.


How could I forget?  Our long distance engagement ring purchase between two Olympians??

Sam Willoughby worked with Jim Zins, our Sales Manager via FaceTime to choose the perfect engagement ring for Alise Post.

We worked very hard in a nearly impossible time schedule during our busiest time of year. Using FaceTime and Emails, Sam and Jim went back and forth, finally deciding on the perfect diamond and setting for Alise. 

Then, we as a team expedited everything—he wanted to ask her to marry him over Christmas. Our office staff worked with our vendors across the country, and then our goldsmiths worked tirelessly so we could set the diamond.  We sent the ring to him in CA and he proposed the next day at a national photoshoot!  As you can see, she was thrilled with the surprise!

Whether our customers are Olympians or work in a machine shop, our team works together with the same volume of urgency and professionalism.


I would like to recommend Food Ecstasy for the “XO” Award.

The Wedding was June 2015, the bride and groom started planning the event SIX WEEKS prior.  They were rushing due to a fatal illness in the family.  We already had three wedding events planned for the day, the room available was not a traditional room used for a social events.  Due to the short time frame and budget restraints of the couple our Opportunities Suite was selected and the couple set out on the task of catering.  I simply suggested they take our list of vendors and start calling, “simply share your circumstances with the caterers and have them put their best foot forward. 

Betty must have put more than her best foot forward because as the date was arriving and we were making room preparations the couple had nothing but praises for Betty and Food Ecstasy. 

It is vendors like Betty that make our job a pleasure to do. 



My husband and I got married at a beautiful park so we needed a DJ that was experienced with outdoor weddings. We started out meeting with Larry. We saw Impressions at a wedding expo and the next day Larry contacted us to say he had been a DJ at our venue before. From step one, Larry was easy to contact and replied to emails quickly. He met with us to help us pick out a variety of music for our guests and offered great suggestions to ensure that our wedding was exactly what we wanted.

Unfortunately, Larry had something come up and was not able to DJ our wedding. Since he was not available he assured us that his co-owner Bob would do a great job. Bob did an excellent job! Not only was he an awesome DJ but he also went above and beyond what we expected of him. We had flowers sitting out and had no tape to make sure they didn't blow away. Without being asked, Bob went through and taped the flowers down for us. His timing for the ceremony music was fantastic and he played a great variety of music at the reception and got everyone to have fun.

They were by far the easiest vendor to work with and my husband and I cannot stop talking about them.


I would love to nominate The Crown Room for the XO award.

I got married at The Crown Room November 14, 2015. I was so excited to return to a place I knew so well for such a big day, having worked there for years.

During our planning phase, my husband and I tried our best to stick to our budget and keep costs low, meaning we had to forgo a few traditional items like a display cake. When we arrived at The Crown Room, it couldn't have been more perfect. The staff somehow made our minimal items fill the room with warmth and a great atmosphere.  All I could think was that everything looked so beautiful, better than we had hoped, and then I saw it. 

A cake? Right in front of the fountain in the foyer, The Crown Room staff had made a display cake for us, matching our wedding colors and our style. It was so thoughtful! We were already getting the royal treatment from all of my previous co-workers, and now this!

On top of the cake, The Crown Room filled our dessert cupcakes with filling, another thing I thought we should cut back on to save on costs. All of the countless special touches they made for us were amazing! We have never felt so loved.

When we opened our gifts, we also received a bottle of wine from The Crown Room, with our wedding date etched into the glass. Another classy and thoughtful way The Crown Room took our day to the next level.

The Crown Room should most definitely be nominated for the XO award. I would recommend this venue to anyone, and am overjoyed that we were taken care of on our wedding day by their exceptional staff. 


Early this year, we got a call from a local seamstress we use telling us she was sending a bride and groom over to see us.  She explained they came to have the alterations done on the bridal gown she purchased.  The couple was explaining how excited they were to have found her dream gown at such a reasonable price.  She purchased it from a Consignment shop and was excited she wasn’t going to need much for alterations.

The couple said they told the sales person they didn’t want someone else’s gown but were ok with one that was tried on but specifically said they did NOT want a gown that went down the aisle.

The seamstress had the 5’2’’ bride put the gown on to see what alterations would be needed.  Knowing the standard length bridal gowns come, she was surprised to see the gown wasn’t going to need a hem, as it was the right length.  This made her question whether this was truly a new or used gown.  As she continued to look the gown over she also noticed the gown had a snag in the train and there was bustle in place already.  She felt she had to let the bride and groom know they hadn’t purchased a new gown.  She showed them what she was seeing and explained to them this wasn’t a new gown.  The bride was crushed and in tears.  She told them to come to us and see what we could do.

When the couple arrived at the shop they brought the gown in.  They told us they were told the gown came from another bridal shop in the area and that the gown was a discontinued gown, never worn before.  When they opened the garment bag I was shocked because the gown she purchased wasn’t a discontinued gown, it was actually a top seller for that designer and a quick delivery gown. 

I looked over the gown and asked if they had the shawl that came with the gown and the modesty patch for the back of the corset.  She said she didn’t receive either item.  I showed them the gown in its new form as it’s a gown we carry and sell frequently. 

And when we told her the price of the new gown they couldn’t believe the price as it was less than $200 more than they paid for the used dress with the missing items.

They were on a tight budget and not sure what to do now that she realized she had someone else’s wedding dress and not her own gown.  She was in tears.  After talking it over, we decided to do an even trade with her for the dress she purchased and replace it with a brand new one.

We were able to provide her a brand new gown with all the pieces to it on time.  We network with an amazing Bridal Consignment shop that is a part of the CMWA and were able to sell the gown to another bride that same week.  And that bride was aware it was missing items and had been previously worn.

The couple was happily married this summer and was a pleasure to work with!