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Third try was the charm!

COVID and mother nature caused couple to alter their plans

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jan 17, 2021

Chelsey Staloch and Ross Riley battled COVID and mother nature to find a venue for their wedding day.

Chelsey Staloch and Ross Riley felt relieved. It was June of 2019 and the engaged couple had just secured reservations for their wedding festivities at the Capital Room in St. Peter. Reservations are hard to come by at this popular wedding venue and the couple had snagged the first available date for their celebration, Nov. 28, 2020.

However, when COVID-19 hit and lockdowns and restrictions were put in place, Ross and Chelsey became concerned.

“We just had a feeling it would not happen,” Chelsey, a 2008 graduate of Blue Earth Area High School, says.

So, just like a quarterback in football changes a play when he does not like what he sees, Ross and Chelsey decided to call an audible.

“First, we decided to move up the wedding day to Sept. 4,” Chelsey comments. “And we decided to have it outside on our farm, just outside of Lake Crystal. We thought it make a nice place to hold a wedding.”

The couple recount all of the work it took to make the change happen.

“We had all the vendors to contact and work with. There was the caterer, the photographer, the DJ, the decorations and flowers,” Chelsey recalls. “Then there was a matter of whether I could get my wedding dress on time.”

But in June of 2020, all of the changes had been made and the September wedding was a go.

“I cannot say enough of how our caterer, Sweet Indeed of Madelia, and Parties and Weddings Plus, who did our flowers and decorations, were willing to work with us,” Chelsey says. “Our DJ, Dan Warner was great and was able to make Sept. 4 work. I am very thankful for all of them.”

Then there was the matter of the wedding dress.

“Jolene Pearson at The Silhouette in Easton was fantastic,” Chelsey states. “She made sure I was going to have my dress on time.”

The couple said all of the changes had just been completed when the storms of life caused further problems, literally.

“We were feeling good, had just finished rearranging things with all of the vendors and then a hail storm came through and our farm was in its path,” Riley explains. “The house needed a new roof, new siding and the windows on the north side of the house needed to be replaced.”

So, the couple called another audible.

Chelsey grew up west of Winnebago and her parents still live in the area.

“It was my mom who suggested we give Riverside Town & Country Club a call and see if something could be worked out,” Chelsey says.

Riley, a graduate of Maple River High School, was also familiar with the golf course, located between Winnebago and Blue Earth, and agreed the site would be a nice place for their wedding.

“Our minister was willing to perform the ceremony outside and then we held the reception inside,” Chelsey comments. “And it turned out great.”

In fact, the couple say everything that happened actually made the day more special.

“We had waited so long for that Nov. 28 date and then we made the decision to give it up,” Chelsey says. “But the governor’s new orders, which he released in November, went into effect the day before we would have had our November wedding. That would have been a difficult situation. Luckily, we had not sent our invitations out until after the final changes were made.”

The couple say they did have to reduce the number of people on their guest list.

“I think the Capital Room holds something like 270-280 people,” Riley comments. “We had 90 people at the golf course and 95 percent of them were family. It made for a more intimate setting.”

Chelsey says there were definite advantages to the scaled-down reception.

“It was nice. We could actually talk to every single person,” she says. “And do more than just say ‘hi.'”

As for the wedding itself, Chelsey says they kept it simple.

“We had one person stand up for each of us, a junior bridesmaid, a junior groomsman, a flower girl and a ring bearer,” she shares.

The couple is now living in their newly repaired house. Chelsey works for MinnValley Mutual Insurance Company in Blue Earth while Riley farms and works as an electrician.

“Our biggest frustration has been trying to work with the original reception venue to see if we can get some of our money back,” Riley says. “Everyone else was so good to work with, from the golf course to all of the vendors.”

In fact, they are very happy with the way things turned out.

“All things considered, it worked out great,” Riley comments. “My advice to other couples planning a wedding is to keep it small. You don’t miss things that way. You are really there for one reason and that is to get married.”

Chelsey agrees.

“There is a lot of emotion,” she says. “At the end of the day you are just as married whether you have a wedding with 90 people or 250 people, and we were very happy with the smaller ceremony.”