Real Wedding | Erin + Blake

Looking for a sure-fire way to jam pack your big day with meaningful moments and details?  Let us present to you, Erin + Blake’s super-lake-house-outdoor-ceremony-family-filled-musically-charged-uber-diy’ed-kid parade-lemonade-hour-reception-willow-tree-detailed-paper-lantern-wedding day of goodness.  That’s right, this is the Mary Poppins of all weddings (…you know, in that magical anything can happen kind of way). And if you ask me what exactly is my favorite part, I am simply going to tell you: All of it.  Enjoy!

Erin + Blake  | September 9, 2011, Lake Owasso + McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

The Ceremony
Several months before we got engaged, Blake bought a lake home that was in need of a full renovation. It has a huge backyard overlooking the lake that we each thought, independently from each other, would be perfect for our wedding. So once we were engaged, the lake side ceremony site was an easy decision and we knew it would keep us focused on hammering out remodeling on the house knowing that 200 of our closest friends and family would be coming over. Compromise #1 was our wedding colors. I love green and Blake loves orange so we both agreed it was only fair to each have our fave colors represented on our big day. I’m a DIY girl, so I cut many expenses by doing things myself and thinking outside the box…from having a graphic designer at my work custom design a monogram that we used on all our paper goods, to utilizing Craigslist to find great pieces to re-purpose. We wanted everything about the event to be unique and a reflection of our style, which made it VERY fun to plan. Our ceremony included: live music provided by some talented friends, us whipping out power tools to build a cross for our unity, a kid parade with a handful of the wonderful kids in our lives (and our precious pup), a message from a dear friend, post ceremony champagne pontoon cruise around the lake with our bridal party, and a lemonade reception hour to connect with our guests. It was wonderful!

The Reception  
We carried the outdoors into our reception and used natural elements such as willow branches, grasses, moss and rocks as our reception decor. The theme complimented the modern design of McNamara Alumni Center (located at the University of Minnesota) perfectly! I even brought in a real willow tree to be our “Family Tree” with family photos adorned from the branches (the tree is now planted in the yard of our new home). I had several friends run a Polaroid photo booth for our guests to have fun at with an assortment of props I provided. The photos were then places in an album where our guests could write us a note. Blake loves country music, so I brought in a talented and lively country cover band to entertain us for the evening. Guests loved it! For those who didn’t feel like dancing, they could just sit back and enjoy the show. A big thing I really wanted at our reception was something different that would really make our day memorable for our guests. Half way through the evening our MC’s instructed the guests to make their way outside to the plaza. I had friends handout lighters and large biodegradable paper lanterns (that were green and orange to match our theme) that we all proceeded to light and release into the night sky. It was spectacular! Guests loved it and were buzzing about it all night. Definitely a highlight! It has been almost a year since our wedding, and I still receive comments from friends and family about how much they loved this or that about our day. I know the day was technically about Blake and me, but I didn’t just want it to be fun for us… I wanted it to be a thank you to all the incredible people in our lives who help us to become who we are today.

Erin’s Dress Search
Blake and I dated for several years longer than what I would have liked (HA!), so I began my wedding dress search 10 months before we were actually engaged (of which was unknown to Blake at the time). I’m the type of girl who sets her mind on something and does it; so wedding dress shopping was one of those things. In two weeks I went to just about every dress shop in the Twin Cities and tried on hundreds of beautiful gowns. The whole time I had a dress and budget in mind. I knew I wanted lace, sweet heart neckline, a low romantic back, and a form fit. I dabbled outside my parameters a bit, but at a charming bridal boutique in downtown Minneapolis called Rush’s Bridal, I found “The One” when I slipped into Enzoani’s Diana gown. It was just what I had dreamed of and was everything I had pictured and so much more!

How Erin Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Overjoyed in beautiful elegance

Why Erin Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
I simply LOVE my dress, but I know that I will never wear it again so it will just hang in my closet going untouched. I would much rather it be able to shine again and be the wow factor that hundreds of people see as they stare at a beautiful, blushing bride walk down the aisle in elegance.

Wedding Dress: Enzoani Diana | Photography: Kristen Anne Photography | Ceremony Venue: Our backyard on Lake Owasso in St. Paul, MN | Reception Venue: McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota | Floral Design + Event Planning: By today’s featured bride | Cake: D’Amico Catering