Hello Farmgirl friends!
It’s hard to believe it has already been almost a month since our wedding! Some of you might remember when Evan and I were engaged…five years ago. A lot has happened in the interim—two children, many new friends, a few hard losses of loved ones, new jobs, new homes and some fun vacations. It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that I don’t feel that much different after getting married. The most shocking thing I’ve had to accept is the new title of “Mrs.” which is how my step cousin addressed me as we chatted in the receiving line after the ceremony.
Nonetheless, a formal wedding was in order. Despite having reservations as we approached the day (maybe we should have eloped all those years ago when we attempted to, but our car broke down), we are so happy we had a ceremony and reception to celebrate with our nearest and dearest. Planning wasn’t too bad, I think partially because I expected it to be awful dealing with planning a Minnesota wedding from Alaska. Low expectations equaled pleasant results! Of course it was tiring at times, and I realized why people plan weddings before having small children in tow. Overall, I only had a few mild freak outs and avoided a lot of the stereotypical drama that seems to plague the modern bride.
It was a fun-filled weekend with some Farmgirl twists…
Since our ceremony and reception were on a Sunday we had a fun potluck picnic at a local park the day before. We grilled up Evan’s favorite childhood hotdogs from the local butcher in his home town—Valley Meat Hot Dogs from Valley City, ND. The side dishes people brought were yummy and a great addition to a fun day on the lake. We played in the water, paddle boated, paddle boarded and relaxed in the hot Minnesota sun for a few hours. This was a great opportunity to chat with people and get in some extra time with folks before the hullabaloo of the “Big Day.”
That evening we had the rehearsal dinner in my step-grandparents’ backyard. My dad hired a local pizza company to cater the event. Red Wagon Pizza from Minneapolis has a portable brick pizza oven! The pizzas were delicious, and the fresh arugula salad was refreshing. To cap off the night, my dad and step uncle made huge trays of peach blueberry crisp that were also cooked in the brick oven and served with local vanilla ice cream. YUM! The “rehearsal” was pretty hilarious—We had a rough outline of the ceremony jotted down on Evan’s phone so we did our run through in about five minutes with some “blahblahblah”s thrown in for good measure. It was apparent then that this was going to be a Wilder ceremony! Before the night was over I transferred a bunch of decorations and (perhaps too detailed) instructions to my cousin who graciously helped set up the venue the next day.
As could be predicted, we did not sleep very well the night before the wedding. I kept going through lists of what I had to do upon waking up—make my bouquet! make boutonnieres! get girls ready for a night away from us! eat! hair and make-up! get flowers and plants into Evan’s parent’s vehicles! don’t forget dress! don’t forget bag for night at B&B! I’m sure there were plenty of other tasks on my insomniac list…
A few of our Alaska transplant friends (friends who we met in AK who have since moved) stayed with us at my mother’s house and were indispensable in helping us make the wedding happen. Betsy, Emma and Amanda helped me make the bouquets for me, my bridesmaid and the flower girls as well as the boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party (including my brother-of-honor). They turned out so well! My friends are talented and quick. These friends also left early in the day to help set up the venue and did a fantastic job making it all look great. My mom was gracious enough to watch the girls all morning and transport them to the venue. My cousin was my bridesmaid and accompanied me to hair, make-up (and sneakily paid for them!) and finally the venue, helping me laugh and keep calm. She also made all of the chalkboard signs. Such talent in our families!
I was hesitant to get my hair and make up professionally done…it just really isn’t my style. But I figured hey! it’s my wedding day. I also realized that I don’t own make-up beyond some tinted moisturizer and old mascara…my ten year old niece guilted me into wearing make-up at all! I did feel beautiful and even kind of glamorous after the special treatment. So, it was well worth it.
The ceremony and reception were at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, MN. This is a working educational farm that is part of the county park system. It overlooks a beautiful non-motorized lake and boasts a CSA, nature center, several pastures and many buildings. The pastures around the rental pavilion had sheep and a llama in them! I didn’t notice, but the sheep grazed right behind the ceremony back drop (a beautiful stained glass arbor made by Evan’s mother and my brother) while it was taking place then dispersed as it ended. How cute! There were many hilarious photos taken with the llama. Luckily, after a week of ever shifting forecasts, the day ended up being pristine—upper 70s, partly cloudy and a light breeze.
The ceremony was a short 20 minutes and sweet. My uncle John played guitar as everyone entered the outdoor spot that overlooked the lake and sheep pasture. It started with comedy as both Ava and Opal wouldn’t walk down at their designated “flower girl” time. Evan walked down with Opal and his mom at first, then had to come back for Ava when she had a bit of a tantrum. He held Ava for the first few minutes of the ceremony—it was very endearing! My normally rambunctious nephew Jackson was the ring bearer, and he ended up sitting behind us throughout the ceremony, cool as a cucumber, playing in the grass. Evan’s uncle was the officiant, my niece Nola did a reading from “The Velveteen Rabbit” and my good friend read Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese.” Evan surprised me by singing “The Book of Love” by the Magnetic Fields—a song he recorded and sent to me when we were first dating. We recited our vows, exchanged rings and were pronounced married! It was also announced that we would be combining our last names to make new name: Wilder. It is made up of the first syllable of my last name and the second syllable of Evan’s. it is also fitting for us and our family: Wilder than some/most, but not the wildest! There was an impromptu receiving line after the ceremony and many people noted that they cried (some throughout the whole thing!), which was touching! I’m a wedding crier, too, so I get it :).
Finally, it was time to party! We took some obligatory photos with family before heading to the reception pavilion. My cousin, Devyn (devynlempkephotography.com), did an amazing job recording the day. When we got to the pavilion my older brother was the “emcee” and introduced us and started the music. Beer and wine were flowing and the food was served shortly after. We had Divine Swine cater the event with a pig roast, cole slaw, potato salad, watermelon and fixings—good, easy summer food. It wasn’t fancy, but in my experience, catered wedding food is never that great, so might as well have food that is guaranteed to be yummy and widely liked! The decor in the venue was perfect–colorful, fun and very reminiscent of of mid summer. I ordered kid play parachutes for the table cloths, my mom made colorful crocheted buntings to hang behind the head table and on the cake table, Evan’s parents are potters and made all of the vases for the event (!!) which we filled with both potted succulents and cut flowers that my cousin and I had purchased from the Minneapolis farmers market. I ordered mini cupcakes from Sweet Retreat cupcakery in Minneapolis and also a birch themed 8 inch round cake for us to cut. My uncle made an amazing cake stand out of birch and a darker tree–maple or oak? It is beautiful! The parachutes and plants/pots were the “party favors” for the wedding–making clean up a bit easier!
A few toasts were made, Evan and I thanked everyone for coming and contributing, and we moved on to our first dance, mother/son father/daughter dance, and finally a “family dance” where Evan, Ava, Opal and i danced to a “Sweet Child of Mine” cover from the movie Captain Fantastic. The song picks up about halfway through and we invited everyone out onto the dance floor and the band picked up from there. We hired a local bluegrass quintet—No Tent—to play for a couple of hours. They were AWESOME. Definitely the highlight of the day for Evan and I. My only regret from the day was not being able to watch their whole performance. There was a lot of boogying, and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was so great to see all of the kids dancing and running around.
The clean-up seemed to miraculously happen while I was getting Opal and Ava into their carseats for a night away. My step aunt and uncle watched them and got us a night at a French B&B in Minneapolis. What a treat!
The biggest mishap of the day happened while everyone was leaving and I noticed that Evan and I didn’t have our rental car keys! They had been packed up in the cleaning frenzy and brought to someone’s house. After many calls that someone ended up being my mom. My cousin’s boyfriend graciously drove 30 minutes each direction to return them to us! What a saint!
It was a lovely day and a great event. We were/are so fortunate to have the input and talent of our families and friends surround us. It was all a labor of love, that’s for sure! It is nice for it all the planning to be over; but it was a great, fun way to celebrate our love.
Thanks for all of your excitement in getting ready for the wedding. It’s fun to share it with you all!
Hope this finds you well.
Sending peace and love from Alaska,
Alex, The Rural Farmgirl