Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My beautiful niece on her wedding day September 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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Carlyn and Jared leave the church in the early evening, showered with birdseed.

Showered with birdseed, Carlyn and Jared leave the church in the gorgeous early evening light of a perfect September day.

IT’S SO CLICHE to say that the bride was radiant. But no other word seems fitting for my niece, Carlyn, so in love with her now-husband, Jared, her high school sweetheart whom she married on Saturday at English Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove.

Just a historical note here. The English Lutheran church bell dates back to the late 1800s, when Charles Ingalls, the father of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, donated monies toward its purchase.

Lots and lots of birdseed tossed.

Lots and lots of birdseed tossed at the newlyweds.

The bridal couple, family and guests walked below that bell Saturday before witnessing a beautiful ceremony celebrating faith and family and the beginning of a new life together.

Look at how happy they are...

Look at how happy they are…that loving look Jared is giving his new bride.

Carlyn cried more than any bride I’ve ever seen. Cried walking down the aisle. Cried during the ceremony. Cried when she hugged her parents. So much emotion overwhelming her.

That look, oh, that look on the new groom's face...

That look, oh, that look on the new groom’s face after the ceremony.

And I thought how fortunate she is to live only blocks from her parents, to work side-by-side with her mother in a family-owned daycare. Likewise, Jared works with his father on their nearby farm.

Instead of signing their names in a guestbook, guests signed the leaves on this tree.

Instead of signing their names in a guestbook, guests signed the leaves on this tree.

These newlyweds will be surrounded by those who have loved and nurtured and cared for them their entire lives.

I watched as kids wove freely among adults on the church grounds and at the reception in the Westbrook Community Center. Small town carefree. Connected. Something you wouldn’t see at a wedding reception in a larger community.

Jared and Carlyn await their introduction and entry into the reception hall.

Jared and Carlyn await their introduction and entry into the reception hall.

On one end of the reception venue, kids tossed a toy football back and forth. A boy rumbled a toy truck across the floor. Preschool boys splashed in the drinking fountain.

And in between it all, adults laughed and conversed and danced to the beat of polkas, country line dances, 70s tunes that I once sang as a member of the Wabasso High School choir and more.

As my husband and I passed below street lights outside the community center, past the impressive corner veterans’ memorial and the old brick implement dealership where the bride’s dad (my eldest brother) worked before a new facility was built on the edge of town, I considered what a perfect day it had been. September weather at its best. My mom recovered enough to attend the wedding and reception. And love. Radiant.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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10 Responses to “My beautiful niece on her wedding day”

  1. Rena Says:

    What a lovely job catching the emotion on their faces, just at that perfect moment!

  2. How wonderful. We don’t get to go to many weddings. I couldn’t help but notice the bride’s hair — wow, so elaborate and pretty.

  3. Jackie Says:

    I just love weddings, you captured some lovely photo’s that I’m sure your niece would love to have. Isnt it crazy when all these kids grow up and start getting married….then come that babies 🙂

  4. Ted Aaberg Says:

    Thanks Audrey for sharing the wedding of your niece Carlyn and her now husband Jared. Nothing is better than a family wedding where kids and parents mingle and all celebrate the joy. Hank is quite the little boy.

    My ancestor Johannes Bakken lived in Walnut Grove in the the later part of the mid 1800s, a member of the English Lutheran Church. His daughter Olina married O.P Johnson from Garvin, Minnesota. These are my great grandparents. My sister has the spinning wheel belonging to Olina (with her name written on it with rosemaling); and I have their dinning room table (Oak Threshing table), which stretches to 14 feet with all leaves put in place.

    Thanks again for sharing the wonderful wedding: Carlyn and Jared make a handsome couple!

  5. Sandra Lindaman Says:

    Thank you so much, Audrey, for capturing those pictures that maybe no one else did! I am Jared’s mom, Sandy, and it was so fun to meet you in the receiving line after the wedding. We just feel that Jared is so blessed to marry into such a wonderful family!


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