Wedding in the woods

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CRW_4854“Wedding in the woods” was included on Alan’s and my wedding invitations, but for his sister Jessy, and her now husband Eli, it was actually true.
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Jessy and Eli have already been together for a long time, and have three children to prove it. Their wedding ceremony was very small, extremely intimate, and also superbly located at the bottom of a waterfall — at the end of a narrow dirt path up hills and under boulders.
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To be clear: I was not the official photographer. I was given the OK to take pictures but I also felt sort of awkward doing so, like I was trying to show up the photographer! But an intimate wedding at a waterfall at 10 AM in the UP? I didn’t have a choice, guys.
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The ceremony was over in about 5 minutes.
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Alan was asked to be witness, too.
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They’re pretty cute.
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Afterwards a few of us walked to a neighboring waterfall for more photos. Alan and I went because the bride and groom were our ride.
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It’s like a little fairy forest!
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And then, the “reception”….
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Pasties. The local cuisine of the Upper Peninsula. Alan and I got to know these guys pretty well in London. I would’ve eaten 5 of those things but that wouldn’t have been sensible. We got some frozen ones and are going to eat them in about, oh, half an hour.
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Before heading back to the hotel we stopped briefly at the Superior shore to buy boat tickets (which is coming up shortly.)

Congrats, Jessy & Eli! Much love <33

Wedding V: Dance, Dance, Dance

Dancing is a big deal to me. I’ve been frequenting a local discoteque for over five years, every week. I got my DJ friend, Jake to come in and handle the reception (and he did so with professionalism and charisma) and everybody had a great time. CarolineAlan_515Alan’s not much of a dancer, and while we meant to take dance classes (there’s a place a block away from our house!) we just didn’t. The night before the wedding, at around midnight, we decided to choreograph our dance. And it actually turned out pretty good! People were into it at least.

The first dance song… It’s so good, because TBT is a Minnesota band, doing a cover of a song we both love, and bonded over very early on (and we saw Pixies last fall!). Mm. I love when things line up like that. Plus it’s so sweet sounding! And it was a folksy cover of a rad old song (which I think we already covered this with the ceremony music.)
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CarolineAlan_532 CarolineAlan_534My father-daughter dance was pretty mellow, because I couldn’t stop cryyyyiiiing. We danced to “In My Life” by The Beatles, which is like *our thing* and it’s his favorite song. After that was over? Dance town!
CarolineAlan_541 CarolineAlan_561 CarolineAlan_559 CarolineAlan_554 CarolineAlan_553 CarolineAlan_552 CarolineAlan_550 CarolineAlan_549 CarolineAlan_548 CarolineAlan_545 CarolineAlan_543It was the most fun day, and everybody had a great time, which is all we really wanted anyway.

Next up is a little photobooth vignette and a big round up! And then that’s it!

ICYMI: Parts I, II, III & IV

Wedding IV: Let them eat cake

Just a few more of these. After the ceremony, the bus dropped everyone off back at the Chalet, and the wedding party took a ride around the chain of lakes while drinking Summit Summer Ale out of cans (scene missing). It was delightful. But, back to the Chalet…CarolineAlan_403CarolineAlan_386There’s more of that wedding branding. We hadn’t decided how we would do this until a couple days before. We had a year to plan, and so many things were done last minute. Typical us.CarolineAlan_389The Thursday before, we hadn’t decided how to mark tables. We knew they would all be towns and cities in the Midwest (mostly MN). I ended up using photos I took from our trip Up North last summer. We got the frames from Ikea. It all worked out! We bought a big lot of antlers from, you guessed it, Etsy (this shop). We dipped the milk bottles (from Ikea) in some white paint and bought fake flowers from Ikea and Michaels and I made little wildflower bouquets. They reminded me of taking bike rides up at the cabin through trees and meadows. CarolineAlan_390Alan and I sat at the Minneapolis table, natch.CarolineAlan_397 CarolineAlan_398I collected vintage Minnesota postcards from antique stores, and borrowed old thermoses from my friend Nick, who has about a million. One of my only main disappointments is that that clock was supposed to be taken down. Blech! CarolineAlan_411I was adamant we only have Minnesota beers served, which took some convincing on Alan’s part. Summit EPA is MY FAVORITE BEER. So glad we had it free on tap, so our out-of-town guests could know the joys of this legendary local brew.CarolineAlan_507I painted this big poster because we didn’t really want to do a guest book. This felt way more personal.CarolineAlan_412CarolineAlan_417The Chalet was a great venue to host this wedding. It was rustic and cozy and the swiss design gave it a real vintage campy feel. And the beautiful green everywhere fit so well into our theme. It was a perfect choice! And since it’s technically a Mpls park building, SUPER cheap to rent.
EDIT: Almost forgot, this was our entrance song!
CarolineAlan_421 CarolineAlan_423 CarolineAlan_429CarolineAlan_434 CarolineAlan_445 CarolineAlan_452Alan’s Best Man Andrew gave a lovely heartfelt speech about their history as best friends and where I came into the mix. My sister’s speech, on the other hand… Was off-the-cuff, and a bit snarky, and super super dry. People keep telling me how much they loved it.  My sister do have kind of a less-than-traditional relationship. We’re super close, but not like, bosom buddies, you know?CarolineAlan_459 CarolineAlan_463 CarolineAlan_470 CarolineAlan_471My dad… He’s a real old soul, and a class act, and a well known and very well liked writer in Minneapolis. I’ve seen him give wedding speeches and eulogies and biographical monologues. He kills every time. It’s a hard act to follow. CarolineAlan_482There’s like some thing about the Groom getting up at one point to say some words while his new bride sits and looks on adoringly. I was like, that’s dumb, so I got up to say some words, and to say thanks to all our families and our fantastic vendors. Then we ate burgers and mashed potatoes!CarolineAlan_495We had a simple little cake to cut, as we elected to serve our guests cupcakes for dessert.Dessert_Table Dessert_Table2And like, can you believe how adorable this is? Guess where I got the cupcake picks. ETSY, DUH. We had three kinds of cupcakes! S’mores (natch), A maple, lemon and blueberry (maple because of trees and northwoods, blueberry because blueberry is the state muffin of MN. Yes really), and “The Woodstock” which is based on a spectacular sounding cocktail we couldn’t get from our caterer because we could only get booze from one vendor and it wasn’t them. Just see what’s in it, and decide if YOU would’ve liked to drink this at your Minnesotan North Woods-themed wedding:
The unusual pairing of Minnesota maple syrup with Death’s Door Gin, made of wild juniper berries grown in Wisconsin, unites the deep piquant flavors of the north woods. Sunny citrus tones from orange bitters and fresh lemon bring a little levity to the glass.

The cupcake was maple, with lemon filling, and gin frosting. Gin frosting! It was like, a spicy, peppery thing, and it was a huge hit with guests.

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Next: Dance, dance, dance.

ICYMI: Parts I, II & III

Wedding III: Ceremony

**I just want to point out, before I begin, that I like to reference song titles and lyrics a lot in my blogs, and “Ceremony” is what this post is about, and a New Order song. It’s good, listen to it later.

Anyway. We knew it was supposed to rain. The week of May 24-30 was so beautiful and we could’ve had our wedding on any of those days, including the day before the wedding. During our rehearsal it was *gorgeous* out. But, we knew it was going to rain, no matter what. We considered pulling the trigger on the rain plan, which would’ve kept the whole event localized to one spot. This would’ve solved a few problems of ours, like a.) getting a ton of stuff to our wedding site, which was not near any real parking, so we had to go in little trips, and b.) get all the people to the site. We had to rent a bus to take everyone over. It was all rather charming, and for the most part it worked out pretty well. I stood on the patio at the Theodore Wirth Chalet watching people get on buses, and it was still fairly nice out. I had two beers, so I was like, pretty chill. CarolineAlan_028 CarolineAlan_029 CarolineAlan_030 CarolineAlan_031First I want to talk about my invitations, which were seriously challenging to do. My wedding invitations needed to be “up there” in terms of things I’ve designed. I felt like there was SO MUCH pressure on me (pressure only coming from myself). I went through multiple stages of what it should be. I’m really basically a minimalist though and had to say “no” to all the fussiness that invitations usually are. I made a logo which was on everything. I designed everything for this wedding. We got vintage stamps too, and black envelopes. MMM they are so good. CarolineAlan_387Alan’s ring is pretty simple; white gold paladium with a brushed finish, much like my engagement ring. My wedding band is from One Garnet Girl on etsy. She did both my rings, and they are just the best. It looks like this. While I’ve grown to absolutely hate chevron patterns that have been co-opted by mom bloggers, I love the subtlety on this ring. For the “ring pillow” we found a birch slab at Michaels and drilled a couple holes in it. Booom, done.CarolineAlan_246 CarolineAlan_247Everything you see here was done in the last week. I found the chalkboard sign at Michaels. Before then, I had no idea what kind of sign I was going to use. I made the programs and printed them, and my mom and aunt came over to help tie the little strings. I used that black and white twine for tons of stuff. All the print materials cost less than $300, because I designed and printed everything myself. Hey, do you need wedding invitations made?CarolineAlan_248 CarolineAlan_258So calm. Our officiant was Rob, who I’ve been friends with for a long time. He was excellent and put on a lovely, secular wedding ceremony, complete with a few references to our favorite nerd things.CarolineAlan_270Oh man, here it comes.CarolineAlan_271I love Alan’s face here. He’s walking our moms down right before the ceremony started and he is absolutely terrified that the rain is going to come and destroy everything. And lightning, I guess. He’s afraid lightning is going to kill our guests.
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Our wedding party walked down the aisle to “Good Feeling” by Violent Femmes.CarolineAlan_278 CarolineAlan_280 CarolineAlan_283 CarolineAlan_287It like, literally started downpouring as soon as it was time for my dad and me to walk down the aisle. I couldn’t hear any of the music. I was just going off my personal attendant Kat, who was doubling as coordinator.CarolineAlan_289People really liked the rain, which I’m grateful for, because it means that we have rad, low-maitenance wedding guests who go with the flow. I also liked the rain, because walking down with my dad was something I knew would be hard to get through, and the rain kind of made us laugh instead of cry. CarolineAlan_292 CarolineAlan_297 CarolineAlan_298Once I got to the back of the seating, people were cheering, and I couldn’t really see anyone, except our photographer Matt, who was super into all of it, and it felt all so electrifying and I got this adrenaline rush and that’s all I remember. I couldn’t even hear my processional song until I got very near the front.

**When Alan and I met, we didn’t really have a lot of the same musical tastes in common (he’d never even listened to The Smiths). But on our first or second date he asked if I liked Neutral Milk Hotel, which I did, and for want of anything else to listen to on the way to our first camping weekend, I put on that CD and that’s one of my earliest memories of our time together. In February we saw NMH at First Avenue (granted, he was in the back, and I was up front with my friend [and bridesmaid!] Anna). There was no other option for what I would walk down the aisle to. Really. There was no question. We knew instantly this had to be it. I really love music. It’s one of my greatest loves. Alan, not so much, but, like the invitations, the music selections had to be PERFECT. And they had to speak for both of us. In my previous life, I probably would’ve walked down to The Smiths, and gone back down to New Order. The “special music” would’ve been David Bowie probably. Anyway.

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We had Alan’s sister do a couple readings for us. By the way, if you’re trying to have a secular ceremony, but don’t want readings that are too hippy dippy, or poetical, or whimsical, the selection pool is really very shallow. We managed to find a couple great ones that were both romantic and pragmatic.

Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected. — Madeline L’Engle, The Irrational Season

I guess maybe it is like rolling off of a log — my heart is filled again and I’m choked with emotions — and love is so good and powerful — it’s worth preserving — I know nothing can separate us — we’ve stood the tests of time and our love is as glorious now as the day it was born — dearest riches have never made people great but love does it every day — we’re not little people — we’re giants… I know we both have a future ahead of us — with a world of happiness — now & forever. — Richard Feynman, Physicist

It was important to us to have cultured readings. Because we’re pretentious! Hahahaha……..CarolineAlan_331 CarolineAlan_340For us both being pretty chill, generally humorous personalities, our vows were quite serious and emotional. Who knew! I won’t post them, but Alan and I did agree that I would call him “My Sun and Stars” and he would call me “Moon of my life.” It’s a nerd thing. You wouldn’t get it. CarolineAlan_349 CarolineAlan_354It kinda stopped raining in time for our unity ceremony. You know how in most weddings, they have some thing like, lighting a candle, or putting sand in a jar? We wanted to be a little more creative, and, more importantly, a little more on-theme. With us, and the ceremony in general. We got a little pine tree (which, I love pine trees, so much) and a pretty stoneware pot, and planted it together. Trees last for a long, long time. And they grow big and strong. Pine trees especially can weather many storms. The tree is now planted in our back yard.

“The Book of Love” was our tree-planting music. Alan always loved this song, and when I first heard it I knew right away that would be it.CarolineAlan_356Ha ha ha, it’s funny, because that tree doesn’t need watering!!! CarolineAlan_359 CarolineAlan_364It was a super short ceremony, which does seem a bit silly, only because it was such a big thing leading up to it. But it was so, so special. I’m really triumphant in this photo, not *just* because the deed was done, but because our recessional music got timed out perfectly, which is probably what I was most concerned about.

This was an Alan selection. I thought it was totally appropriate, because it’s a folksy cover of an old standard, which is *kinda what we were going for with all of it*
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I really loved the music we (I) chose for the pre-ceremony too. Give it a listen:

Next up: Party time.

Wedding II: Good Feeling

CarolineAlan_069 CarolineAlan_072More wedding SNAPS. I suppose a bit of the drama of seeing each other before the vows was a bit downplayed considering we woke up in the same bed that day. But our First Look was still a very tender and intimate moment. Just us and the two photographers.CarolineAlan_074CarolineAlan_075 CarolineAlan_084 CarolineAlan_086 CarolineAlan_104 CarolineAlan_111CarolineAlan_101My lovely bouquet was only ordered a few days before this. I loved holding it.CarolineAlan_163 CarolineAlan_156My bridesmaids were my two sisters (on the right) and two of my best friends.CarolineAlan_133CarolineAlan_175Alan doesn’t have any brothers, but luckily he’s got some really awesome friends. I love all these guys!CarolineAlan_199We got tie pins for Alan and his groomsmen from this etsy shop. Alan is the stag.CarolineAlan_198 CarolineAlan_197 CarolineAlan_195 CarolineAlan_196 CarolineAlan_194Super into those gray wool ties too.

Next up: Ceremony!

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