Real Wedding | Erin + Blake


Looking for a sure-fire way to jam pack your big day with meaningful moments and details?  Let us present to you, Erin + Blake’s super-lake-house-outdoor-ceremony-family-filled-musically-charged-uber-diy’ed-kid parade-lemonade-hour-reception-willow-tree-detailed-paper-lantern-wedding day of goodness.  That’s right, this is the Mary Poppins of all weddings (…you know, in that magical anything can happen kind of way). And if you ask me what exactly is my favorite part, I am simply going to tell you: All of it.  Enjoy!

Erin + Blake  | September 9, 2011, Lake Owasso + McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

The Ceremony
Several months before we got engaged, Blake bought a lake home that was in need of a full renovation. It has a huge backyard overlooking the lake that we each thought, independently from each other, would be perfect for our wedding. So once we were engaged, the lake side ceremony site was an easy decision and we knew it would keep us focused on hammering out remodeling on the house knowing that 200 of our closest friends and family would be coming over. Compromise #1 was our wedding colors. I love green and Blake loves orange so we both agreed it was only fair to each have our fave colors represented on our big day. I’m a DIY girl, so I cut many expenses by doing things myself and thinking outside the box…from having a graphic designer at my work custom design a monogram that we used on all our paper goods, to utilizing Craigslist to find great pieces to re-purpose. We wanted everything about the event to be unique and a reflection of our style, which made it VERY fun to plan. Our ceremony included: live music provided by some talented friends, us whipping out power tools to build a cross for our unity, a kid parade with a handful of the wonderful kids in our lives (and our precious pup), a message from a dear friend, post ceremony champagne pontoon cruise around the lake with our bridal party, and a lemonade reception hour to connect with our guests. It was wonderful!

The Reception  
We carried the outdoors into our reception and used natural elements such as willow branches, grasses, moss and rocks as our reception decor. The theme complimented the modern design of McNamara Alumni Center (located at the University of Minnesota) perfectly! I even brought in a real willow tree to be our “Family Tree” with family photos adorned from the branches (the tree is now planted in the yard of our new home). I had several friends run a Polaroid photo booth for our guests to have fun at with an assortment of props I provided. The photos were then places in an album where our guests could write us a note. Blake loves country music, so I brought in a talented and lively country cover band to entertain us for the evening. Guests loved it! For those who didn’t feel like dancing, they could just sit back and enjoy the show. A big thing I really wanted at our reception was something different that would really make our day memorable for our guests. Half way through the evening our MC’s instructed the guests to make their way outside to the plaza. I had friends handout lighters and large biodegradable paper lanterns (that were green and orange to match our theme) that we all proceeded to light and release into the night sky. It was spectacular! Guests loved it and were buzzing about it all night. Definitely a highlight! It has been almost a year since our wedding, and I still receive comments from friends and family about how much they loved this or that about our day. I know the day was technically about Blake and me, but I didn’t just want it to be fun for us… I wanted it to be a thank you to all the incredible people in our lives who help us to become who we are today.

Erin’s Dress Search
Blake and I dated for several years longer than what I would have liked (HA!), so I began my wedding dress search 10 months before we were actually engaged (of which was unknown to Blake at the time). I’m the type of girl who sets her mind on something and does it; so wedding dress shopping was one of those things. In two weeks I went to just about every dress shop in the Twin Cities and tried on hundreds of beautiful gowns. The whole time I had a dress and budget in mind. I knew I wanted lace, sweet heart neckline, a low romantic back, and a form fit. I dabbled outside my parameters a bit, but at a charming bridal boutique in downtown Minneapolis called Rush’s Bridal, I found “The One” when I slipped into Enzoani’s Diana gown. It was just what I had dreamed of and was everything I had pictured and so much more!

How Erin Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Overjoyed in beautiful elegance

Why Erin Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
I simply LOVE my dress, but I know that I will never wear it again so it will just hang in my closet going untouched. I would much rather it be able to shine again and be the wow factor that hundreds of people see as they stare at a beautiful, blushing bride walk down the aisle in elegance.

Wedding Dress: Enzoani Diana | Photography: Kristen Anne Photography | Ceremony Venue: Our backyard on Lake Owasso in St. Paul, MN | Reception Venue: McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota | Floral Design + Event Planning: By today’s featured bride | Cake: D’Amico Catering


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Real Wedding | Selena + Erik


This pretty California wedding is loaded with charming details and chic vintage style.  Selena and Erik said “I do” at a beautiful outdoor location, sharing self-written vows with friends and family who came to celebrate. Whimsical touches like chandeliers suspended from tree branches and an antique bike-basket filled with lovely flowers set the scene for romance. Selena’s cake is one of the prettiest I’ve seen…the simple design is topped with charming hand made “lovebirds.” Don’t miss it!

Selena + Erik | June 23, 2012 | Santa Ynez, California

The ceremony

We had an outdoor ceremony with an amazing backdrop! The aisle was lined with white roses and led guests down to a willow tree (that had beautiful white flowers hanging from it), and a pond in the background. We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves, and each wrote our own vows. We had a good friend perform the ceremony so the whole thing was very intimate and magical.

The reception

For the reception we served dinner under an enormous oak tree. We wanted it to feel very magical and whimsical so we had antique-y chandeliers hung in the tree and lots of huge flowers and candles covering the tables.

Selena’s dress search

I had originally started my search with the idea that I wanted to get a mermaid style dress because I am so tall.  Still, I ended up trying on everything! It turns out what I had in my head is what I really wanted!

The way Selena felt in her wedding dress

Elegant, Stunning, Comfortable

Why she decided to sell her wedding dress

This was the dress of my dreams, and it made me feel so beautiful and happy. I wanted to share that feeling with other brides because every girl should get to wear her dream dress!

Selena’s wedding dress: Vera Wang, GemmaPhotography: White Haute PhotographyEvent Planning: Tonya Szele, Soigne Productions ; Floral Design: Kelly Oshiro ; Cake: Solvang Bakery


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Real Wedding | Robin + Chris


It’s the little details that make Robin’s wedding to Chris unique and so special. Robin wanted to create an atmosphere that was intimate and inclusive. So, during the ceremony, guests sat at long tables, angled inward to achieve a feeling of closeness. At the reception, guests dined family style at a sit down dinner, and recipes from Robin’s grandmother and aunts were included on the menu. A large wooden cross, handmade by the bride’s grandfather, and fantastic individualized bridesmaids gowns made a lasting impression. So much inspiration awaits in today’s Real Wedding. Enjoy!

Robin + Chris | May 12, 2012 | SODO District, Seattle, Washington

The ceremony

The most important thing to us for the ceremony and reception was that our guests had fun. We wanted to create a sense of family and community at our wedding. To help achieve that, we had the tables set in a chevron pattern so people all sat together at long tables in a community style setting. We kept the colors of the wedding neutral (black, white, and grey) and the bridesmaids wore “runway” gowns of all different jewel tones. 

The reception

We wanted a modern wedding with touches from the past and both some natural and industrial elements. Chris and my father carved the 5’ long flower vases for the tables from wood off of our property, and my grandfather carved the wood cross for us. We had a family style dinner with platters of food delivered to each table, which created a very social atmosphere during the reception. Also, my aunts baked all of the amazing desserts for the dessert table, including my grandma’s cinnamon rolls. 

How Robin found her dream wedding dress

I was looking for a dress that was a little edgy and fun but sophisticated at the same time. All of the bridesmaids’ dresses were selected ahead of time, so I wanted something that would blend well with theirs. I was hoping for something both fashionable and classic, and I think I found the perfect one!

The way Robin felt in her wedding dress

Fun, Comfortable, Elegant

Why Robin decided to sell her wedding dress

I am so sad to let it go, but it doesn’t seem right to be left in my closet. I would love for another bride to wear it on her special day!

Robin’s wedding dress: Vera Wang, Fiona

Photography: Christina Mallet & Sandra Coan
Ceremony & Reception Venue: URBAN ENOTECA, Seattle
Event Planning Bride & Groom (Aunts of the bride created the dessert buffet)
Floral Design Bride & Family (Groom and father of the bride made the flower boxes)


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Real Wedding | Kathrine + Nicholas


Brilliant pops of lemon yellow and fresh whites, palm trees and an ocean view…today’s Real Wedding is a summery treat complete with a truly party perfect Oscar de la Renta gown.  I am in love with the details from Kathrine and Nicholas’ small and intimate wedding. So let us count the ways this couple made their special day lighthearted and inspiring…
1. Sweet and sunny yellow bridesmaid gowns
2. Beautifully staged paper lanterns and oodles of twinkle lights
3. A cotton candy cart!?
4. And my favorite detail: Jones Soda Pop bottles as a really unique touch of color and an equally fun party favour.  So sweet. Enjoy!

Kathrine + Nicholas | August 4th, 2012 | Long Beach Museum of Art (Long Beach, CA)

The Ceremony + Reception
Our ceremony and reception was small and intimate, held outside at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The museum has a nice lawn and patio with interesting sculptures, an architectural fountain and an old Craftsman house. It was a warm summer night right on the edge of the ocean. We tried to make the reception light-hearted and fun with paper lanterns, games, a cotton candy cart and bright florals.

Kathrine’s Dress Search
I started my dress search wanting a loose-fitting, Grecian-inspired sheath dress. That completely changed once I tried dresses on. I fell in love with a drop-waist ball gown with ruffles at an Oscar de la Renta trunk show. The dress was better suited to my body shape and the vibe of our wedding.

How Kathrine Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Fun, Romantic, Beautiful

Why Kathrine Decided To Sell Her Wedding Dress
I doubt I will ever get the chance to wear it again. I hate the thought of it just sitting in the attic and never seeing the light of day! It’s an amazing dress, and I know someone will appreciate it as much as I do.

Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta | Photography: Luminaire Images | Ceremony + Reception Venue: Long Beach Museum of Art  | Floral Design: Empora Flora | Cake: Sweet & Saucy 


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