Wedding Reception on Lake Minnetonka

A local couple chooses their favorite Lake Minnetonka destinations as a backdrop for their big day.

When Chicago girl Amie Carlson fell in love and got engaged to a Minnesota man, her father had only one request for the wedding. “My dad said that if we are going to have the wedding in Minnesota, he really wanted to have it on a lake,” says Carlson. So she and then-fiancé Joe Morris started planning a July 31, 2010, wedding celebration with Lake Minnetonka as the backdrop. 

The couple met while students at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona and dated for seven years before Morris popped the question. They share a love of food, travel and fun, so they knew they wanted their wedding to reflect all three. “We just wanted to make it as fun as possible for everyone, like a big party,” Carlson says.

Even in the early planning stages, Carlson knew she didn’t want the flurry of activities to outshine the meaning of the day, so she made sure to include some quiet moments, too. One of her favorite moments was when the couple spent a few minutes together before the ceremony in a sanctuary garden outside of St. Hubert’s Catholic Church in Chanhassen. “I think it helped us remember what the day was all about,” Carlson says.

After the ceremony ended, the fun began. The couple and their bridal party visited a few favorite stops on the lake for pictures. “Joe and I love to go into town in the summer, and get ice cream at Tommy’s Tonka Trolley or Licks and walk next to Lake Minnetonka,” says Carlson. When the couple stopped by the trolley to pick up an ice cream cone for pictures, the clerk gave them a free cone in honor of their wedding day.

As per Carlson’s and Morris’s requests, he wedding party relaxed during the afternoon, and posed for pictures on a nearby dock and the lakeshore. Their photographer, Amy Majors, says, “Amie and Joe thought it was important to have the water in some of their images. When we took the engagement photos, they wanted water in those as well, so it gives consistency, and brings the engagement session and wedding photos together.”

Majors says the couple seemed to have fun with even the smallest of details, from planning out the ice cream cone stop to the color of the groomsmen’s shoelaces. “The hot pink shoelaces for the groomsmen and the hot pink shoes for the bridesmaids give you a feel for their fun side,” says their photographer. Carlson relied on florist Summer Harsh to work hot pink and lime green into the floral designs for the bouquets and reception centerpieces.

The couple rented out both rooms of the BayView Event Center in Excelsior for their reception. “We really wanted to be on the water, and the food was great!” says Carlson. Before dinner started, guests relaxed with drinks outside in the nice summer evening.

“My favorite part of the day was the outdoor cocktail hour under the tent at BayView,” says Morris. “It was a beautiful day and it was great to greet all of my favorite people there,” the groom remembers. Inside, the reception was a way to pay homage to their love of food, as Carlson and Morris named all of the tables after their favorite restaurants from around the country.

Two of the most memorable wedding-day moments happened during the reception. For the wedding toast, Morris was touched when his two best friends—both named Mike—gave a heartfelt speech during dinner. “When we thought they were done, they both yelled, ‘Hit it!’ and the song “Wild Thing” started. They went on to do an outrageously funny rap about Amie and I,” laughs the groom. “I don’t think we will ever see a wedding speech top that!” Even the couple’s vendors remember the crowd went wild at the end of the wedding rap.

The father of the bride requested Willie Nelson’s “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” for his father-daughter dance, a song the band hadn’t played before. Carlson told her father the band would try to learn it, but she wasn’t making any promises. “Mark Lickteig, the lead vocalist from The R Factor, told me he and his band were on it,” she says. “On the day of the wedding, my dad was very surprised and happy [when they played the song]. He cried through the dance!”

Joe Morris and Amie Carlson

When the band opened up dancing to the rest of the partygoers, people hit the dance floor and didn’t leave. “Their guests would’ve danced until 4:30 in the morning,” says Marsh Edelstein, manager of The R Factor, who performed at the reception. “It was a ‘wow’ wedding because people wouldn’t stop the party.”

Edelstein says the couple picked a wide range of music for the band, and people kept coming up and requesting more hits. “We mixed it up with contemporary, R&B, country, disco, funk and rock,” he says. “People picked Sinatra and the Black Eyed Peas.”

Carlson and Morris believe that having their wedding celebration on Lake Minnetonka set the tone for a fun summer gathering. “We just really wanted to be on the water, and BayView is the first place we thought of,” says the bride. In fact, before the wedding, the bridal party cruised on a BayView charter yacht for their rehearsal dinner boat cruise. “The lake is a good place to do something like that, especially in the summer” says band vocalist Lickteig. “There’s an exciting atmosphere on the lake and everyone wants to have a good time.”

Once the cake was eaten and the dress was put away, the couple went on to enjoy a honeymoon to Italy and Croatia. Now, Carlson and Morris make their home in nearby Eden Prairie, but on a warm summer day, they still think fondly about their wedding celebration on the lake. “I loved so much about our wedding,” Carlson says. “For me, it was the happiest day of my life.”


Wedding-day Vendors

Cake: Buttercream, 18172 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.249.0390

Florist: Summer Harsh Botanical Artistry, 612.998.6656,

Invitations: Andrea Bergeron,

Music: Marsh Productions/The R Factor, 3921 Sunset Blvd., St. Louis Park; 952.922.1800

Photo booth: PartyBooths; 1.866.437.0297

Photography: Amy Majors Photography; 612.310.4330;

Reception: BayView Event Center, 687 Excelsior Blvd., Excelsior; 952.470.8439

Rings: Scheherazade in the Galleria; 952.926.2455