Today marks two years of marriage to my best friend!
For two years, I’ve relived this day so many times in my mind but this was the first time I actually sat down to write about it all, and I’m so glad I did. 2020 has been a lot of things, and for good or for bad, it’s given me the gift of time to be still. Recapping our wedding day was just another reminder of how there is so much beauty in stillness and reminiscing.
Most of my blog posts are written with someone else in mind (the newly engaged, the couple in the midst of planning their wedding), but this one is for me. It’s everything I remember and still treasure 2 years later, and everything I want to remember 52 years after this.
While this is a recap of my wedding, I also know there are currently so many brides pivoting their days and reimagining what is possible due to covid. So I hope this helps serve as a little inspiration — that your day can be beautiful no matter where you have it or how large your budget because the beautiful part is you two, choosing forever together.
From the minute I woke up, I was in a state that I can describe for so many moments of the day: peaceful and over-flowingly giddy. Seriously, it was Cinderella singing to the birds level of straight joy. More than anything, I wanted to be fully present on our wedding day, so I took every moment I could to recenter and take it all in.
Before anyone arrived, I took some “me time.” I drank my ginger tea, reread the vows I would later promise to Ben and read the letter he wrote to me (and somewhere he was reading the letter I wrote to him).
My best friend brought me my favorite local cappuccino and kept me company while I got ready. And it was one of those beautiful, crazy, full circle moments, sitting in the same bathroom the two of us had gotten ready for countless events growing up: middle school dances, high school proms and Friday nights out with friends. We’ve slowly transitioned from having Miley Cyrus to Ben Rector playing in the background over the years but it was still so special to have my old friend by my side.
You may be wondering – hold up, you got ready by yourself at home!? Long story short: during the planning process, I had a hair and makeup trial gone terribly wrong so I ended up doing it myself. So lesson learned here: always, always, always do the trial run. My family and bridal party all still went to get their hair and makeup done and it actually turned into a nice quiet and relaxing start to my day.
Ceremony & Reception
This was by far the portion of the day that Ben and I spent the most time planning out to make sure it fit us and what we love. Our idea of a party is a backyard, a few yard games, apps (specifically, a good ‘ol charcuterie board) and our friends & family. So that’s exactly what we did!
We hosted an afternoon wedding in the park behind my parents’ home with appetizers, ice cream & social time to follow. It was simple and wholeheartedly us and most importantly, it gave us so much more time to talk with our guests and enjoy that time with them. It held true to what Ben and I love about gatherings of people, getting to converse and connect, as guests got to spend the afternoon mingling, eating ice cream and playing various yard games.
We had our official rose petal send off at around 6pm (yes, you read that right!) and said goodbye to our guests as we left to take photos at the lake, just Ben & me, Mr. and Mrs.
Photos at Lake Superior
Taking photos at Lake Superior was one of my favorite parts of the day and something I’d always dreamed of when I imagined my wedding day. Because having that time by the lake was so important to us, we made sure to schedule it into our timeline and had a whole hour, just the two of us (plus our amazing photographer & videographer).
We started with cocktails at Vikre. Something fruity for me. Something with whiskey for him. We had so much fun hanging out there and recounting our favorite moments of the day. Then, we took off for Park Point to spend some time on our favorite beach.
At Park Point, our photographer, Anna, gave us a few minutes to be alone and take it all in. We had the whole beach to ourselves and in a full day, these five minutes were my whole world. They helped the two of us slow down, soak everything in and memorize it all.
After Park Point, we drove back to my parents’ house where our incredible families had the most beautiful dinner waiting for us. This was the one part I hadn’t seen ahead of time and it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. It was fun after all the planning that had gone into the day to still be surprised.
In the hour while we were gone, our families carried a ginormous, HEAVY dining table from the park to my parents’ driveway (bless their souls) where we had our wedding dinner with just our immediate family and bridal party. Now I know, a dinner in the driveway doesn’t sound all that great, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. (I know I was.)
Finding a balance between a big wedding or a small intimate one was something we struggled with in the planning process. So we did both! During the day we got to celebrate with all of our people and that night, we got to slow down and be present with just our families.
While every moment up until then had been amazing, the dinner truly was hard to top for us. Each of our siblings gave a speech (which I hadn’t been expecting) and it was so personal & intimate since it was just us — no one to perform or put on a show for. All of the people who are closest to us got to be at one, big long table together and for that I’ll always be thankful.
We spent the evening drinking red wine and sharing one of our favorite meals, and when the moment felt right, we shared our first dance under the string lights and stars.
My favorite parts of the day:
And there you have it, the full recap of our wedding day. We loved absolutely everything about it. While it’s not exactly what I would have planned if we had an unlimited budget (doing everything yourself is a LOT of work), it was absolutely perfect for us. The details have faded but these main moments I’ll never forget…
- The first look. I can’t begin to describe how giddy I was to see Ben and how much more time we got together as bride and groom because of this being scheduled into the day.
- Reading letters from each other in the morning.
- Writing our own vows. The first time we ever shared them with each other was at our ceremony and it really was more beautiful than I could’ve imagined. (highly recommend doing the same for your big day!)
- The ceremony itself. I still can’t believe how present I felt during this and soaked in every last word.
- Just the two of us at Park Point, our first moments alone as husband and wife.
After all that, I’ll leave you with this: our wedding day was beautiful, but marriage has been so, so much more. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Photographer: Anna of Along an Inland Sea | Videographer: Tyler of Tyler Bishop Studios | Catering/Appetizers: Duluth Grill | Ice cream Cart: Love Creamery | Dress: The White Room | Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN | Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Men’s Warehouse | My Shoes: BHLDN Tent Rental: Doucette’s Special Events
Things we did ourselves:
- The location: There’s a park tucked away in my parents’ neighborhood that was big enough to accommodate our 250 guests and also hit many of the elements of my ideal wedding list. My mom was the one that first suggested it and once she did, I knew it was perfect.
- Benches & wooden arbor for ceremony: my dad and Ben built the benches and wooden arbor together as we prepped for the big day.
- Furniture, table settings & decor: all things we had including my grandma’s china
- Dinner afterwards: my mom made food ahead of time and close friends served it to us
- My earrings: were my mom’s from her wedding day. (my something 80’s?!)
- Programs & invites: designed & printed myself