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

 

28 Responses to “Personalizing a wedding: It’s in the details”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Well that was fun!!! I am glad you broke your “no more wedding posts” and wrote this one. I loved seeing all the behind the scenes photos and the candid shots of how things were put together to make that stunning final event. It makes me want to have a wedding to be able to do some of these great ideas but alas—I think that is a long way off for my boys and even then—-as the mother of the groom I doubt I will have much input. So I live vicariously through your lovely journey. Thanks for sharing.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I think you are right in that the mother of the groom would not have as much immediate involvement. However, that may depend on location. With Marc’s parents living in California, they were here to help with set-up and take-down, which was great. Do not under estimate how you can help.

      I assisted only when asked. Some mothers of the bride are way more involved. My theory: This was Amber and Marc’s wedding to shape as they wished. If they asked for suggestions or ideas or needed me to gather info, I was there. And, of course, Randy and were there when all the rentals needed to be picked up, hauled to The Loft and then returned.

      Just when you least expect it, your boys will fall in love and you will have those daughters-in-law. That’s how it happens…

  2. Carole Jones Says:

    Thanks for sharing your link with me. I looked last week at your other posts about the wedding and it was beautiful! I adore the venue!!! I always appreciate your kind comments on my blog from a fellow Minnesotan.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yup, and a Minnesotan who grew up on the prairie, not far from you, on a farm south of Vesta.

      Your daughter’s wedding is going to be absolutely gorgeous and personalized. I just know it.

      As for the historic venue where our daughter was married, it was a beautiful, perfect for the couple’s vision.

  3. Loving your post and it is the details that make the memories:) I love that photo of the two of them outside the Reception place with the sidewalk chalk board! The card holder is so vintage along with the vases. Happy Hump Day:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, they were definitely going for vintage, achieved in the details. Who would guessed the bride’s dad’s suitcase would be used at her wedding?

    • I love the older suitcases and there is so much you can do with them too!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Any suggestions? I have only this one hard-sided suitcase. I’ll have to check with my mom and see if she still has the one she and my dad used.

  4. Love the details and planning; all very well executed ideas. Nicely done.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you. It was a team effort with the bride-to-be directing. I expect to see some equally creative ideas for your upcoming nuptials.

  5. Jackie Says:

    I”m so glad you showed us the “Details”, I loved reading all about the process and decisions that had to be made along the way.I can really tell there was a lot of love put forth for these two sweet hearts. Everything was just beautiful Audrey, what a special day for Amber and Marc!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Amber and Marc definitely did not want status quo. They wanted unique with meaningful details to reflect their personalities. Mission accomplished.

  6. Thread crazy Says:

    So enjoyed your pictures and story. Great call on the urns outside reception area; I would have done the same thing and love they way they were transformed.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you. Yes, I simply could not let dead flowers in urns slide by. My sister did a great job transforming those with the hydrangea from my yard and the curly willow, ornamental kale and greens from hers.

  7. hotlyspiced Says:

    I’m not at all sorry, Audrey that you’ve included a few more images and stories from Amber’s wedding. It’s an event I’m happy to revisit over and over. Such attention to detail and I do agree with you that navy shoes would have seen me bite more than my lip so it’s good that she reconsidered. And I also agree that first impressions count and those floral urns at the entrance were just stunning. Amber is very slender and the dress showed off her figure beautifully. Are they still in Hawaii or are they home by now? xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The honeymooners arrived home from Hawaii a week ago and are now back at work.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the details, Charlie. Perhaps these will inspire other brides. I was thankful, too, for the shoe color change and that we chose to re-do those urns.

      I totally agree about the vintage replica dress on Amber. She looked radiant and stunning.

  8. I love old windows like that! Yes, details are everything. They had a sweet old suitcase at my nephew’s wedding for cards, too – I hadn’t ever seen that before!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I just saw an idea for hanging round Christmas ornaments in an old window frame painted red. May have to keep my eyes open for a frame that has no nostalgic significance and which I can paint red.

      The suitcase idea for cards worked great. Easy to transport, too, with no one the wiser that it contained money and gift cards. Remember those wedding reception party crashers? Well, thankfully gifts and suitcase had been removed from the venue before the pair wandered in off the street. Otherwise I expect we would have been reporting a theft.

      • Glad that all worked well! I have about 15 old windows out in our shed – I’d collected them from the annual Spring Cleanup that Wgtn has each April. People put their junk on the sidewalk and other people can take it or the city will cart it off. I’m not sure what to do with the windows but I know that someday I’ll figure something out!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, yes, you will think of a fine way to use these old windows. Maybe in your writer’s retreat. I remember that wonderful “little house” in your backyard.

        I just saw an idea for old window frames for the holidays. Paint the frame red and then attach white hooks inside and hang Christmas ornaments from them. This can then be propped against or hung on a wall. Here’s the link:

        http://adiamondinthestuff.com/2010/12/window-ornament-holder.html

        Now I need to find an old window frame that has no sentimental meaning because I don’t want to paint either of the two I have. Hmmmm, there’s this friend down in Worthington. If only she didn’t live so far away…

      • 🙂 I’m pretty sure that all of mine still have the glass intact…which might be a problem! Thanks for the link!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, just smash out the glass. LOL.

      • some of them are old and wavy and cool! I think one or two have cracked panes, though, so maybe breaking the panes in those ones wouldn’t feel so awful!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Sounds like you found some really wonderful old windows. And, no, don’t break the panes. I’d have a tough time breaking window panes also.

  9. Margaret Says:

    I have loved all your wedding related posts. Especially the story and photos of the wedding gown.

  10. Audrey,
    Thank you for including my words in your wonderful post–how very kind of you. Your writing always inspires me, to look at my surroundings just a little closer.
    With 4 daughters of my own, someday we will be planning a wedding…hopefully as simply elegant as your beautiful daughters.
    Stacey

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are welcome, Stacey. You deserved inclusion.

      Yes, with four daughters, you will have lots of fun planning weddings. And I know with absolute certainty that they will be beautiful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.