Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Personalizing a wedding: It’s in the details October 9, 2013

I PROMISED YOU no more photos from my daughter’s wedding.

But now I must break that promise because of Stacey, who lives in southern Minnesota and blogs at down to earth digs. (Check out Stacey’s incredible earthy and artsy homespun single-photo posts by clicking here.)

Anyway, when Stacey wrote the following comment on one of my wedding posts, I just knew I had to show you some of the details that shaped Amber and Marc’s September 22 wedding.

I think this is the most lovely, simply elegant wedding…so sweetly simple with amazing little details that were just perfect…the dress—so special, so beautiful…so perfectly worn by a beautiful bride.

Love the suits—not rented tuxedos….Love the setting of that historic building. The adorable card suitcase…the chalkboard…just wonderful!

The flowers—amazing! Ahhh, dusty miller in the bouquets…so pretty!

Yes, Stacey, an avid gardener and appreciator of all things simple and beautiful, understands the importance of details in comprising the whole, in shaping a setting and mood.

That said, let’s look back at wedding prep and the personal choices that, together, created, as Stacey says, a simply lovely, sweet and elegant wedding.

The bride's decision to shop for her dress at a vintage bridal shop in Minneapolis set the tone for the entire wedding.

The bride’s decision to shop for her dress at a vintage bridal shop in Minneapolis set the tone for the entire wedding. The bridal shop is housed in a former garage. Amber’s dad, my husband, is an automotive machinist. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Once the dress, a second-hand vintage replica gown, was chosen, Nikolina helped Amber envision the dress redone to suit Amber. She suggested adding a sash, which was the perfect addition to emphasize Amber's tiny waist and update the dress.

Once the dress, a second-hand vintage replica gown, was chosen, Nikolina (who runs Andrea’s Vintage Bridal with her mom, Andrea) helped Amber envision the dress redone. Nikolina suggested updating the dress with a satin sash, the perfect addition to emphasize Amber’s slim frame and tiny waist. The gown had to be taken in some, too.

Nikolina checked out the hem-line, which did not need to be adjusted, saving Amber lots of dollars in alterations. Hemming, we were told, is typically the most costly alteration. The beaded details and the flow of this body-hugging dress made it simply elegant.

Nikolina checks the hem-line, which did not need to be adjusted, saving Amber lots of dollars in alterations. Hemming, we were told, is typically the most costly alteration. The beaded details and the flow of this body-hugging dress create an elegant look.

When Amber initially chose plain navy blue pumps to wear with her wedding gown, I had to zip my lips, sort of. They were her "something blue," but I thought the wrong choice. I said something like "just make sure they don't show in photos." Eventually she changed her mind and chose these lovely bow-detailed and classy shoes. She had her toenails painted blue for the "something blue."

When Amber initially chose navy blue pumps to wear with her wedding gown, I had to zip my lips, sort of. They were her “something blue,” but I thought the wrong choice. I said, “Just make sure they don’t show in photos.” Eventually she changed her mind and purchased these lovely bow-detailed and classy heels. She had her toenails painted blue for the “something blue.”

Amber and Marc wanted to honor their parents and grandparents at their wedding reception and did so with wedding day portraits, like this of my parents, Elvern and Arlene, married on September 25, 1954.

Amber and Marc wanted to honor their parents and grandparents at their wedding reception and did so with wedding day portraits, including this of my parents, Elvern and Arlene, married on September 25, 1954.

Choosing flowers is no easy task. Amber and Marc researched online and in books.

Choosing flowers is no easy task. Amber and Marc researched online and in books looking for the right mix of colors and textures and design to shape the vision they wanted for their wedding. Tie selection is also important, finding just the right colors.

Ideas for bridesmaids' bouquets.

Ideas for bridesmaids’ bouquets. Notice the details, too, in the bridesmaid dress with the shirring at the waist and the tie. The dresses were custom made by Hong Kong based Mermaid Bridal.

Armed with information Amber had emailed, my floral designer sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, arrived at our home with fresh flowers and ideas.

Armed with information Amber had emailed, my floral designer sister, Lanae of Waseca Floral, arrived at our home with fresh flowers and ideas for the couple to consider. Check my blog posts for the stunning results.

The bridal couple and the father-of-the-bride worked on table numbers for the vintage blue canning jars that would grace tables at the reception. The choice of these jars followed the vintage theme and the color scheme for the wedding.

The bridal couple and the father-of-the-bride tie pink paper hearts on vintage blue canning jars for bridesmaids’ bouquets. The choice of these jars for bouquets and floral centerpieces followed the vintage theme and the muted blue/pink/green/grey color scheme for the wedding.

The historic Bachrach Building in downtown Faribault was the perfect venue for the wedding couple's vision of their reception. However, about a month before the wedding, I noticed that the flowers in the outside urns were mostly dead or dying. When I mentioned this to Amber, she admonished me to drop the idea of replacing the flowers because she did not want to spend more time and money on this. Because first impressions count, I contacted my floral designer sister. Together we hatched a no-cost easy plan to beautify the urns. I clipped nearly 40 hydrangea from my yard. Lanae brought ornamental kale, curly willow and greens from hers. She transformed the urns into stunning floral masterpieces that impress.

The historic Bachrach Building in downtown Faribault was the perfect venue for the wedding couple’s vision of their reception. However, about a month before the wedding, I noticed that the flowers in the outside urns were mostly dead or dying. When I mentioned this to the bride-to-be, she admonished me to drop the idea of replacing the flowers because she did not want to spend more time and money.  I quietly overrode her decision, which I would not typically advise. But, because first impressions count, I contacted my floral designer sister. Together we hatched a no-cost easy plan to beautify the urns. I clipped nearly 40 hydrangea from my yard. Lanae brought ornamental kale, curly willow and greens from hers. She transformed the urns into stunning floral masterpieces as shown here. The bits of purple peeking out are the petunias which had been planted in the urns.

The couple arrives at the reception venue in the Bachrach Building in historic downtown Faribault. The social hour was held in the first floor Atrium and the reception in the second floor The Loft. The exterior floral pieces were created by my floral designer sister, Lanae Feser of Waseca Floral. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography of Minneapolis.

The couple wanted a sign out front to direct guests into the reception venue. The folks at The Cheese Cave, which is housed inside the Bachrach complex, kindly lent their sandwich chalkboard to us for the reception. Amber told me to write “Schmidt wedding” on the board. I added the hearts and the “A + M” detail inside the bottom heart, using two of the wedding colors, pink and green. Details, remember. Photo by and courtesy of Rochelle Louise Photography of Minneapolis.

Mini chalkboards were used elsewhere throughout the reception venue, here to label the cheeses purchased at The Cheese Cave. The bride and groom wanted to showcase fine locally-made and/or aged cheeses.

Mini chalkboards were used elsewhere throughout the reception venue, here to label cheese purchased at The Cheese Cave. The bride and groom wanted to showcase fine locally-made and/or cave-aged cheeses. This photo does not show the actual set-up at the reception, but rather a shot I propped at home.

A "sweetheart table" just for the bride and groom. It's covered in one of the vintage tablecloths from my collection. The table was purchased for $15 months ago at a Montgomery, Minnesota, used furniture store. At the time of purchase, my husband asked why I was buying it. "Because I like it," I told him then. Little did we know our daughter would use if for her wedding.

Great care went in to selecting the vintage tablecloth for the bride and groom’s sweetheart table. I collect vintage tablecloths and pulled out those that matched the wedding color scheme of muted blue, pink, green and grey.  The bride selected this one from among several. The wine glasses came from the groom’s paternal grandparents and are engraved with the Schmidt family name.

Card gift boxes, in my opinion, are not exactly original. So the bride and I came up with an idea that was simple and vintage and personal. Here Amber attaches CARDS letters to jute with clothespins from my clothespin bag.

Card gift boxes, in my opinion, are not exactly original and rather boring. So the bride and I came up with an idea that was simple and vintage and personal. Here Amber attaches CARDS letters she made, to jute with clothespins from my clothespin bag.

And then the jute string of letters was hot glue gunned inside the bride's dad's vintage 1970s suitcase.

And then the jute string of letters was hot glue gunned inside the bride’s dad’s vintage 1970s suitcase, a suitcase used by the bride, too, when she was growing up. Not only was this vintage chic, but many memories are attached to this converted suitcase.

First the bride considered using old picture frames to hold guests' seating place cards. But then I remembered two old barn window frames stashed in our garage. One came from the Helbling family farm, where my husband grew up, and the other from my childhood farm. Perfect.

First Amber considered using old picture frames to hold guests’ seating place cards. But then I remembered two old barn window frames stashed in our garage for nearly 20 years. The one on the right came from the Helbling family farm, where my husband grew up, and the other from the Kletscher family farm, my childhood farm. Perfect. Meaningful and unique.

Name cards that the bride and groom created were attached to the old barn windows via jute and clothespins.

Name cards that the bride and groom created were attached to the old barn windows with jute and clothespins.

And all the "stuff" that went into creating the envisioned wedding and reception, mostly crammed right there into the back of the bride's parents' van.

All the “stuff” that went into creating the envisioned wedding and reception was mostly crammed into the back of the bride’s parents’ van. There are linens and vintage canning jars and window frames and tables and more inside the morning after the wedding. Hauling everything to the reception venue, because it had to be carefully packed, took three or four trips.

FYI: To see the end results of the above detailed planning, check my Minnesota Prairie Roots archives from September 23 – October 2. Or click here to view professional wedding photos at Rochelle Louise Photography.

To see the offerings from MermaidBridal, click here.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling