Thank you so much Mel & Ari for helping us make it such a beautiful day!!! You two are awesome!
— Abby & John
Mel and Ari are great to work with. They’ve done two wedding in our family and we’ve loved both sets of photos!
— Alex & David

Meet Mel & Ari

As lifestyle photographers, specializing in wedding and family photography in Minnesota, we find the extraordinary in the everyday and capture the real moments in your life through beautiful imagery. We believe that photography is more than just pictures; photography preserves tangible memories that can be passed on for generations. From holding hands as an engaged couple to exchanging vows on your wedding day. From your newborn baby’s first days to their high school senior portraits and all of the milestones in between. We keep it fun and light in order to let your true self shine through and tell YOUR story. 

I fell in love with photography while studying graphic design at the University of Minnesota. After obtaining my degree in 2009, I continued to pursue my true passion in photography and founded “Melanie Mahonen Photography” in 2011. Over the years, as Ari became more and more involved with the business, we morphed into “Mahonen Photography”.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, camping, pottery, flower gardening, collecting rocks, biking, figure skating, aerial arts, knitting, and playing legos with our son. I like classical music, the Beatles, and anything thats considered a musical (Especially Frog & Toad!)

- Mel (Minnesota Wedding and Family Portrait Photographer)

My photography journey began with sports photography while coaching high school nordic skiing. To this day my favorite aspect of photography is capturing moments as they unfold naturally. I make myself as unobtrusive as possible on your wedding day while remaining editorial.

In my spare time I love to cross country ski, explore new state parks, shred on the mountain bike trails, canoe, brew some beer, tend to my vegetable garden, bake bread or read through one of my many cookbooks in the collection.  I also like bluegrass & classic rock; although I find myself singing more and more disney soundtracks (fatherhood). 


I am also working at my own project about outdoor activities.

@finnkidd on Instagram

- Ari (Minnesota Wedding Photographer)



We were born on the same day but Mel is a couple of hours older. We met in college through some mutual friends in 2005 at the premier of Star Wars Episode III's midnight showing. Several months later, Ari got the courage to ask Mel out and we soon became inseparable. 

In 2008, Ari asked Mel to marry him in the park where we shared our first kiss. We were married in the summer of 2009 on Glenshen Estate in Duluth. Our son Juhani (the Intern) joined us in 2010 and we now live in Golden Valley, MN. As a family, we try enjoy all things garden related, traveling to new places, and Hani's personal favorite, checking out an Art Fair. 

- Ari and Mel (Minnesota Wedding and Family Portrait Photographers)

Sometimes we act a little funny in the photobooth.

Sometimes we act a little funny in the photobooth.