Amanda and Matt were married in a traditional ceremony at Lakewood Memorial Chapel followed by a reception at Aria in Minneapolis, Mn. on October 19. “We saw Aria early on, but we couldn’t think about anything else once we saw it,” Amanda said. “That space is what we love — urban, artsy, a bit gritty, decidedly contemporary, loads of brick, cavernous ceilings, and steel beams play against glam touches like crystal chandeliers and Warhol prints. It’s a former armory, then later theater space in the 1990s. It has a stage that’s illuminated with a sign that says, ‘The World Is Yours.'” Aria is a white hot venue in Minneapolis right now. Whereas, a year ago, when I would tell people about it, they would look at me blankly. Now they say, ‘Oh yes, Aria! How did you get in there?'” The bride wore a strapless mermaid wedding gown, accessorized with her hair down in loose curls, birdcage veil, bow peep-toe high heels, while the groom wore a dark gray suit, accessorized with a tie. Bridesmaids wore mix ‘n’ matched short dresses in various necklines and carried bouquets of roses, dahlias, anemones, and ferns. Once the exchanging of vows were sealed with a kiss, it was official. “As crazy and nervous as it all was with everyone looking at us, we were focused only on each other and pouring our hearts out,” she said. Tables were decorated with white linens, pink napkins, mercury glass vase and vessel centerpieces, and votive candles, surrounded by chiavari chairs. Each one was named after a renowned actor, actresses, and writer such as: Ethel Merman, Mel Brooks, Langston Hughes, and T.S. Eliot. A donut bar opened concluding dinner. “That and later on, watching everyone dance in sweaty, happy circles,” Amanda said. “We were always looking forward to that dance party. We wish we could have a dozen more wedding dance parties.” The newlyweds’ best advice? “Stay true to the things that matter to you,” she said. “The wedding is a reflection of the two of you as a couple, and (in a perfect world) it should be just that. A celebration of your love, a showcase of your personalities, a chance to bring all the people in your lives in around your to share in it. It’s a rare and special moment. The details matter, but they shouldn’t drive you crazy. Also, other people will want to be involved to varying degrees in your planning. Let them have their role if it’s important to them and you’re able to. They will really appreciate it. And think of ways to let the people in your life with special skills and resources contribute (the budding designer friend, the aunt with an eye for table settings, etc.).” At the end of the night, they jetted off to their honeymoon.
Melissa and James were married in a traditional church ceremony at Calvary Evangelical Free followed by a reception at the Rochester Senior Center in Rochester, Minn. on January 4. “We knew that we wanted a candlelit reception (with Christmas lights and candles everywhere),” Melissa said. “The [Rochester Senior Center’s] ballroom had tall ceilings with exposed beams, low lighting, and big windowns — perfect for the idea we loved.” The bride wore a strapless sweetheart fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorized with her hair in an updo, fingertip-length veil, faux fur bolero, knot gloves, and a pair of boots, while the groom wore a light gray suit, accessorized with a tie. Bridesmaids wore short gold dresses, accessorized with pashmina shawls, and carried bouquets of peonies and greenery. “I adored my bridesmaids/attendants’ dresses,” she said. “They all picked out their own glittery gold dresses, and they looked gorgeous. This kept their budget low, but allowed them to pick out dresses that fit their styles. Plus, glittery gold was fantastic with our ‘woodsy glam’ theme.” Almost 200 guests gathered to witness the joining of these two families at 5 o’clock. “The minutes before walking down the aisle were very sureal, yet clear,” Melissa said. “I was standing alone in the hallway as my bridesmaids walked down the aisle. The music was playing, and I was able to reflect on the journey that led me to my Mr. Wonderful. It was incredibly powerful to have that moment alone. To be in the moment and really say, ‘yes.’ I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” The reception took place in the ballroom shortly after portraits were taken in the snow! “Because I was living in Canada during wedding planning, my parents did so much work,” she said. “They are amazing. They handpicked, painted, and glittered over 3,000 pine cones. My dad cut down trees, making centerpieces, candlestands, and branch decor. We had tons of everything. It was really a winter wonderland wedding.” Dinner and dancing ended with a bag of Chicago popcorn from Carroll’s Corn. The newlyweds’ best advice? “The advice we would give couples is to identify your top priorities before you even start planning,” Melissa said. “My husband and I identified that we wanted to look good, have an A+ photographer, and have great decor/lighting. Throughout the planning process, having our priorities helped us to invest our time/money into the right places. It definitely brought a clarified vision, which helped a ton!”
Rachel and Quentin were married in a traditional church ceremony at Edinbrook Baptist followed by a reception at Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park, Minn. on January 4. “It is only a few blocks away from each of our family’s homes, and a few minutes drive from the church,” Rachel said. “When I was young, my family would go to Easter brunch here every year, and I always loved it. I thought there would be no way I could afford to get married at a golf course, but our modest food menu put it right our price range.” The bride wore a strapless a-line wedding gown, accessorized with her hair in a sideswept ponytail, jeweled headband and sash, and a pair of t-strap high heels, while the groom wore a light gray suit, accessorized with a matching vest and tie. Bridesmaids wore long one-shoulder blue chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of roses and dusty millers. Guests were greeted with a non-tradtional card box and guest book — a birdcage and globe! Everyone was asked to sign on destination spots for the “future world travelers.” Fun fact: the ceremony was officiated by Quentin’s uncle. Once the vows were sealed with a kiss, it was official with almost 250 witnessing. Pine cones served doublt-duty as escort cards. Tables were decorated white linens, gold runners, mason jar centerpieces, animal numbers, and votive candles. “We printed off sketched pictures of animals so each table was a different one,” she said. “They looked really cute on the tables. We are so into animals, we already have three pets together and are planning our future pet family! The best part was that we announced that for any clinking of glasses, we weren’t going to kiss unless that table made their animal sound. When we first announced this, people started practicing their animal sounds. It was hilarious! It was so much fun hearing the animal sounds all night whenever anyone wanted us to kiss.” Breakfast was served for dinner and chocolate chip cookies instead of cake. “These are our favorite things, and we knew we had to have them,” Rachel said. The dance floor playlist was handpicked too. “I didn’t want to do anything except dance because it was all of my songs,” she said. “It’s cheesy! But in the middle of the party, the floor magically cleared and my husband and I danced to the Selena Gomez version of ‘Let It Go.’ We had just seen Frozen a few days earlier, and I was obsessed (even more than everyone else because, hello, I was a winter bride!). I love the snow and couldn’t believe there was a movie that celebrated it in such a great way. It was the best celebrating our beautiful new marriage in the -30 degree weather.” The newlyweds’ best advice? “Don’t get caught up in the things that the industry says you need,” Rachel said. “Make your wedding all about you and have it whatever way you want it. We had a ton of personal details and that’s what made the day so fun. We weren’t worrying about our wedding being perfect or ideal for anyone but us.” At the end of the night, they exited amongst a sea of sparklers and jetted off to Oregon for their mini-moon!
Megan and Dan were married at the Saint Paul Hotel in Saint Paul, Minn. on June 29. “We knew we wanted a hotel, so we could do everything in one place,” Megan said. “The Saint Paul Hotel was classic and beautiful and didn’t require much additional decoration. It was perfect!” The bride wore a strapless sweetheart satin fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorised with her hair half-up/half-down in braided loose curls, a lace capelet, and a pair of Badgley Mischka rhinestone peep-toe high heels, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a polka dot tie. Bridesmaids wore long black chiffon dresses in various necklines and carried bouquets of garden roses, ranunculuses, hydrangeas, and astilbes. Before the ceremony, the coupe opted for a first look and decided to take portraits in front of a mural with music celebrity stars like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Edward Sharpe & The Magnet Zeros, The Ramones, and Tracy Chapman. “I think about Dan and I sitting at the reception and looking around the room,” she said. “We were so overwhelmed and overjoyed that all these people had come from near and far to celebrate us. It was a very surreal moment.” Tables were decorated with striped linens, tall hurricane vase centerpieces dripping with crystals, and votive candles. Dinner and dessert was one of the most important aspects. After all, it was at a private cooking class where Dan proposed. “Food is one thing that really brought us together and cemented our relationship,” Megan said. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Getting a planner for the day-of if you can,” she said. “Our planner from Premier Planning was fantastic and she really eased our stress and was beyond helpful in helping us plan and execute our day.”
Lisa and Chuck were married at the bride’s parents backyard in Lake Minnetonka, Minn. on June 29. “We got married lakeside in the yard of my childhood home,” Lisa said. “My parents moved into the house a few months before I was born, and I lived there all my life. Chuck, too, fell for the charms of Lake Minnetonka over years of visits, and the one thing that we knew when we got engaged was that there was no other place we would rather start our next chapter together.” The bride wore a custom-made and -designed wedding gown with a hi-lo hemline in the front and a cowl back, accessorized with a her hair down in loose curls, while the groom wore a dark gray suit, accessorized with a bow tie. Bridesmaids wore white blouses with striped skirts and carried bouquets of almost all greenery. “Chuck and I wrote our entire wedding ceremony ourselves,” she said. “We chose two very special readings: an excerpt from our favorite book ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ as well as the E.E. Cummings poem ‘I Carry Your Heart With Me.'” Even their five-year-old English labrador retriever, Tucker, was the ring bearer! Following the sincere nuptials, the newlyweds grabbed a glass of champagne, hopped on a boat, and cruised away from the crowd to celebrate with smooches for a bit. Guests were escorted into the reception tent draped in fabric with compasses, which directed them to “island” tables. In addition to the three-tiered buttercream cake, pecan pie was also served. For entertainment? A band and abstract painter! Plus, homemade truffles were wrapped up in boxes to take home as “bon voyage” favors.