Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Important

It seems funny to me, but lately I've become more and more easy-going about wedding stuff.

I always knew that I wanted a wedding more personal, simple, and laid-back than many today, but I also found myself getting caught up in the details during the first couple months of our engagement. Now I'm increasingly inspired by the simple, meaningful ceremonies of past generations, as well as brides today who are getting married in their homes, backyards, and public parks.

When I'm not being inspired by practical brides today, I'm being inspired by my own lack of finances. I still haven't found full time employment and Aaron's finishing up school, so money is really tight. I don't consider this to have a negative impact on our wedding planning; instead, I see it as an opportunity to pick out and highlight what is really important to us. And long as I marry my best friend by the end of the night, our wedding will be a complete success.

Meg over at A Practical Wedding made an excellent point today: maybe we need to lower our expectations when it comes to wedding stuff. She wrote, "What is important is that your wedding day is really happy, and is the start of a fantastic lifelong partnership. The trick is figuring out what will make us happy, and what is just extra fluff."

Her post reminded me of a passage from Little Women:

There were to be no ceremonious performances, everything was to be as natural and homelike as possible, so when Aunt March arrived, she was scandalized to see the bride come running to welcome and lead her in, to find the bridegroom fastening up a garland that had fallen down, and to catch a glimpse of the paternal minister marching upstairs with a grave countenance and a wine bottle under each arm.
'Upon my word, here's a state of things!" cried the old lady, taking the seat of honor prepared for her, and settling the folds of her lavender moiré with a great rustle. "You oughtn't to be seen till the last minute, child.'
'I'm not a show, Aunty, and no one is coming to stare at me, to criticize my dress, or count the cost of my luncheon. I'm too happy to care what anyone says or thinks, and I'm going to have my little wedding just as I like it. John, dear, here's your hammer.' And away went Meg to help `that man' in his highly improper employment.
Mr. Brooke didn't even say, 'Thank you,' but as he stooped for the unromantic tool, he kissed his little bride behind the folding door, with a look that made Aunt March whisk out her pocket handkerchief with a sudden dew in her sharp old eyes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

For the birds

Dear readers,

This is a post from the fiancé. I think I'll be doing some guest posts due to a lack of affordable high-speed internet for the hills of southeastern Minnesota. I'm on a campus with fast and reliable internet, so the task falls to me.

I'm not skilled at finding hip, cool and fashionable things (clothing at least). So, I mostly have thoughts on potential wedding motifs. I thought of a mod-styled wedding, but I don't want it to be aloof and cold. Things can be simple and crisp but feature timeworn images that my fiancée particularly enjoys: Birds!

I'm not sure how to incorporate this yet. This post may surprise my fiancée too, because I have been fixated on the mod idea. After some Googling, I'm not as sure of that idea. I certainly like grey suits, but maybe not a square tie. We shall see...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ring

My beautiful engagement ring arrived after much anticipation. Aaron and I decided to have one made by the wonderful Renee Newton of Powder Mill Studio. We couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome! Renee is truly a wonderful artist and person, and the ring is gorgeous. The band is a white gold casting of a pine branch (perfect for the nature girl that I am) and the little diamond is set in so sweetly.
Renee makes matching wedding bands - I'm doing some serious consideration. The casting is so sweet and organic, and the texture makes the whole ring sparkle. It makes me feel like a little nature goddess.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Last month, A Practical Wedding (one of my favorite wedding blogs) featured guest posts by a bride named Amy about modern Jewish wedding traditions. One of my favorite aspects of wedding planning is reading about traditions from different cultures and faiths. One image I loved from Amy's posts was this photograph of their beautiful ketubah.

I'm not Jewish, it's true, but I'm secretly thinking about asking my wildly artistic sister to design a personal marriage contract for us - something this lovely that Aaron and I could frame and hang in our future home.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Minnesota Weddings: Mill City Museum

I keep gathering wonderful ideas for weddings in Minnesota. Since Aaron and I are only having one wedding and we've already decided on a backyard affair, I thought I'd share whatever other ideas I pick up in the hopes that someone else will run with them.

When I visited the Mill City Museum a few weeks ago, I couldn't help thinking what a beautiful site it would be for a wedding. The combination of old brick and modern glass is stunning, and the courtyard has a wonderful view of the Mississippi River. Perfect for the couple looking for a nontraditional location!

The museum can be rented for a Saturday wedding in summer for $1500 - the courtyard is an extra $350, and can hold 130 guests. You can read more about it on Minnesota Wedding Minister, which also lists many other wonderful locations for weddings big and small.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vintage Map Cufflinks

I adore these for so many reasons. One, my dear fiancé loves maps and atlases. His road atlas is a staple for every road trip, and when he's not using it to figure out where we're going, he likes to quiz me on its contents.

Two, the majority of our 5 1/2 years together have actually been spent apart. I attended college in Virginia, and while I'm back home, Aaron is still finishing his degree at his school in Indiana. The time apart has presented us with our most difficult moments, but I'm also grateful for how it has allowed us to grow as individuals and as a couple.

Anne Holman customizes these beautiful cufflinks with locations that have meaning to you. I'd love to get him a pair made with maps of Roanoke and Muncie.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just What "The Knot" Tells Us Not To Do

In their fall 2008 magazine, The Knot included an article on which aspects of a wedding you could do yourself, and which should be left to professionals. Here's where Aaron and I are breaking the rules:

Photography: My mom and sister both take beautiful photographs. I also have two dear college friends who graduated with photography degrees, and I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that they'll be able to make it to our wedding and snap some pictures while they're there.

Cake: The Knot tells me that I should not bake my own cake, because the quality of the outcome will be lacking. I disagree. My wonderful mother makes the most mouth-watering chocolate cake I've ever tasted, Aaron's mom makes a cheesecake that he loves, and one of my best friends is so excited about the opportunity to bake us a cake that she's already started looking at recipes. A decorative cake is not a priority for me, but delicious cakes baked with love by our family and friends? How could I have it any other way?

Day-of Coordination: For me, this is a loving circle of family and friends ready to lend a hand on the big day.

Centerpieces: I'm thinking a few fresh flowers tucked into mason jars. For help, I have sisters who've decorated our Thanksgiving table beautifully for the past few years and have a wonderful artistic eye.

Catering: Aaron and I are thinking of stepping outside of tradition for this and eating dinner before the ceremony. Our thoughts? Grilled brats and hot dogs, potato salad, fresh garden produce, and a favorite beer set up buffet style. We want dinner to be a little more laid-back - a time for everyone to get together and enjoy some simple, good homemade food.

Music: The Knot specifically tells us not to turn to the iPod, but that's exactly what we're thinking of doing. We want to include our guests by allowing them to send in song requests early - that way the music won't be limited to what Aaron and I like as a couple (a big concern for The Knot). My dad also plays the violin, and I'd love to have him play during the evening. Also, since we're getting married on Switzerland's Independence Day, I think an alp horn and some yodeling is in order!

Sorry, The Knot, it looks like we're taking on everything you've told us to leave to the pros...

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Perhaps it's a little too early to begin thinking about how I'll wear my hair (up with a fresh flower tucked in?). I also love these silk poppies by foundling - they're so sweet, and have a beautiful vintage feel to them.


Aaron designed this fabulous inspiration board for us - his own twist on the beautiful boards I've shown him on Style Me Pretty. On the top is the color palatte we're considering - bright, summery colors mixed with deeper jewel tones. After all, why limit ourselves to two or three colors? The rest of the board is a collection of images that I find inspiring.

The majority of these images are from real weddings featured on Style Me Pretty and A Practical Wedding, where I find endless inspiration. Others are fabulous finds from Etsy Wedding.

What I love about these photographs:
The lace dress peeking out from behind the lilac bouquet. A bride walking herself down the aisle. The dance, the backdrop, the dress. An intimate gathering of family and friends. A beautiful dress handmade by hollystalde - perfect for the beach, backyard, or city hall. A peck on the nose. A fun umbrella featured on the Offbeat Bride - an essential for a rainy day! Well-wishes from guests that will be made into the couple's first quilt. A gorgeous option for a bridesmaid dress. A sterling silver leaf necklace for the nature-inspired bride. A classy buffet. White lights strung between rafters. The beautiful simplicity of wildflowers. Zinnias. A swallow necklace that would look killer with a strapless gown. A warm and simple arrangement of candles and flowers. Terrariums - perfect centerpieces! Homemade cake . . . yum. Vests. A collection of family wedding photographs on display. An incredibly beautiful image of a bride. A cake buffet! A quiet moment. And I absolutely love this kiss...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two of Us

My mom took these photographs at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, MN. These are a couple of my favorites. You can find more here.

The Proposal

In mid-July, a severe storm tore across my family's farm, uprooting and splitting trees (including my favorite maple) and tearing down the front of of our metal pole barn. Luckily the house was fine, although my family was without power for several days. Aaron and I went over on Saturday to find my dad's brother and his family, as well as mine, sharing deli sandwiches on the deck. In a true spirit of community, we all piled into a car and drove to the nearby bike trail to help with clean-up.

That night, one month ago today, Aaron and I returned to his house. There was a beautiful full moon, and Aaron started walking toward the red barn. "Come look at the moon," he said.

I was tired. "I can see the moon from here," I grumbled. But something tugged at me, so I followed him.

We stood there behind the barn holding hands and looking at the moon. Suddenly he turned to me. He didn't get down on one knee. He just held my hand and looked at me and said, "Kate, will you marry me?"

"Are you seriously asking me?" I blurted out.

He was! Of course, neither of us could sleep after that. We went back into the house, put on an old TV show (Star Trek Voyager - yes, we decided to celebrate my junior-high geekiness), talked, and cuddled.

The next morning when we went to tell my family, my mom said, "What's up? You're smiling ear to ear."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lykkelig & Glede

A couple of years ago, an incredibly tender independent film titled Sweet Land came out of Minnesota. In the film, a German mail-order bride named Inge travels from Norway to Minnesota just after the first World War to marry Olaf, a quiet Norwegian farmer. Their marriage is forbidden by the local minister on the grounds that America was at war with Germany.

The next day, Olaf takes a photograph of Inge in front of his farmhouse, her hand raised to brush a lock of hair away from her face. Olaf's neighbor, Frandsen, encourages her to smile, asking Olaf what the word for happy is. "Lykkelig," responds Olaf.

"Lykkelig is happy? I thought glede was happy," says Frandsen.

"That's more like delighted," says Olaf.

"What's the difference?"

"There's no difference."

"So why have two words then?"

Forty years later, at Olaf's funeral, Frandsen holds Inge's portrait in his hands. "Why are lykkelig and glede different?" he asks again. "Different kinds of happy," says Inge. "Different kinds of happy."

Encompassed in just two words are fortune and happiness, delight and joy, the ability to please and gladden. In the last month, I've felt a constant shift between elation and quiet joy. It makes my feet itch to move and it puts me to bed at night.

Here's to a lifetime of happiness.