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New wedding venue opens in Alexandria

Tessa and Andrew Larson are the managers of Gathered Oaks, a new wedding and event venue in Alexandria. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press)1 / 4
Gathered Oaks has a bridal cabin for the bride and wedding party to get ready in, as well as a den for the men. (Contributed by Molly Meier Photo)2 / 4
The venue’s main area for events can seat about 300. (Contributed by Molly Meier Photo)3 / 4
Anne and Dave Larson, Andrew’s parents, own Rustic Oaks in Moorhead and assisted Andrew and Tessa with readying Gathered Oaks. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press)4 / 4

For the Larsons, weddings are a family affair.

Andrew and Tessa Larson of Alexandria serve as the managers of Gathered Oaks, a new wedding venue in Alexandria. Andrew is the son of Anne and Dave Larson, who own Gathered Oaks, as well as Rustic Oaks, a wedding venue in Moorhead.

A few years ago, while living in Mound, Andrew and Tessa worked some weekends at Minnetonka Orchards and assisted with weddings there. It was around this time that Dave and Anne asked if they would have interest in taking on a second venue.

"We did not hesitate," Tessa said. "We were just like, 'Sign us up.'"

Anne and Dave had previously looked at the property on County Road 34 NW and decided it was a good fit for their vision.

"They had been shown this place by a local couple," Andrew said. "He (Dave) said as soon as he saw the water and the barn, he was sold. Plus there was already a commercial kitchen."

The family closed on the property in August 2016. In September, they began signing up couples for weddings. Work on the venue began in October 2016 and wrapped up right before the first wedding, which was held June 17.

The property, which can accommodate about 300 guests, features a barn with a lower level, main level and loft area. A bar is in the lower level. The ceremony space is outdoors, with a view of the lake. The venue also has a bridal cabin, a den and a commercial kitchen and a cafe.

The price for the venue varies depending on the day of the week the wedding is held. There are a few different packages offered.

"We have a mini weekend package, where we can do a Thursday and Friday," Tessa said. "That way they can do a groom's dinner out here and rehearse and decorate (on Thursday)."

There are also a la carte items that couples may add on to their package, including farmhouse tables, bean bag boards, cafe lighting, linens, centerpieces and more.

"It's designed so people don't have to bring as much stuff if they don't want to," Tessa said. "We just add it to the invoice and have all that set up on wedding day. It takes away from the heaviness of bringing that much stuff out and having to set it all up yourself."

Tessa says she and Andrew enjoy working with each couple.

"That's my favorite part, working with the couples," Tessa said. " It's so much fun hearing all their plans and getting to be here and watch it all come together."

The Larsons would like to develop the cafe area into a gift shop, as well as add lodging options in the next few years. The venue is also available for corporate events and other gatherings.

Gathered Oaks will host an open house Sunday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The venue is at 4550 County Road 34 NW, Alexandria.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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