When we started talking about what we envisioned for our wedding day we discussed many different options. Should we elope? No, we wanted our families to be there. What about a destination wedding? No, that may have been cost-prohibitive for some of our guests. Perhaps a small-ish and intimate local wedding? Hmmm, that sounded more like it. After numerous discussions we decided to host our wedding in our hometown of Minneapolis so we could share the day with our closest family and friends. We knew we didn’t want a big, traditional, formal affair so we opted to host what we called a “casual, fun, and laid-back wedding” that was comprised of things that we loved and enjoyed as a couple. Those things being: delicious food, beer and hand-crafted cocktails, good wine, live music, dancing, and of course, our children, our family, and our closest friends
I designed the save-the-dates, invitations, reply cards, and programs myself and had them printed at Vistaprint. I opted to pay a little extra for the linen finish which was definitely worth a few extra pennies. They turned out beautifully! What I love about Vistaprint is that you can always find a coupon for 25 – 40% off so it helps to save a little money on the budget. Vistaprint provides plain white envelopes with invitation print orders but I chose to purchase blush metallic envelopes to coordinate better with the design.
I knew I wanted to tackle most of the decor myself to help save on our budget and because I really enjoy event planning and styling. In order for me to execute many of the ideas I had, I knew we had to find a venue that would serve as a blank canvas and allow for DIY decorations and set-up. We ended up choosing a historic hall in Northeast Minneapolis known as the Polish National Alliance Hall. Since 1917, the hall has served as a community gathering place for the Polish community and is also rented out for wedding and other events. Although the hall had beautiful bones – hardwood floors, original woodwork, tall ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows – it needed a lot of work to transform it into the romantic backdrop I envisioned for our wedding ceremony and reception.
As if I didn’t have enough to do, I decided to create my own bouquets and boutonnieres. I ordered all of the flowers from an online wholesale vendor and had them shipped directly to my home three days prior to the wedding. The day before the wedding, I made simple nosegay bouquets with powder pink garden roses, deep burgundy dahlias, and seeded eucalyptus. I also did all my own floral arrangements for the centerpieces and other areas of the ceremony and reception using a mix of powder pink garden roses, blush pink garden roses, deep burgundy dahlias, ivory hydrangeas, and seeded eucalyptus. I adorned the alter with a 25 foot seeded eucalyptus garland. The bouquets and arrangements turned out beautifully and we saved thousands by going the DIY route.
After we selected the venue the theme and decor quickly fell into place. We decided on a vintage theme with shades of gold, ivory, blush, and deep burgundy to complement the charm and character of the historic venue. I scoured local thrift shops and flea markets to find anything and everything gold, crystal, antique, and vintage to incorporate into the decor. I found tons of beautiful gold frames for signage, antique crates to use for centerpieces, crystal platters for the dessert bar, and a fabulous antique chalkboard easel to use for the welcome sign. I paired my thrifty finds with a few newly purchased items to complete the space which included string globe lights, ivory linens, lace overlays, lanterns, and excessive amounts of pillar candles to create a romantic glow. It was actually cheaper for us to purchase these items rather than rent them plus that meant I could resell them after the wedding to recoup some of the money we spent.
The ceremony was officiated by a former colleague of mine and I wrote the ceremony which incorporated old traditions as well as our own unique touches including personalized readings and the writing of our own vows. We included my two children in the ceremony and my husband made promises to him in his vows. In lieu of the traditional celebratory kiss, we opted for a family group hug – of course we snuck in a quick kiss above their little heads. We ended the ceremony by walking out with the children for the recessional. At the reception we heard from many guests how heartfelt they thought the ceremony was and how they could tell how much love and detail went into it. Mission accomplished!
We opted to go with a cocktail-style reception in lieu of a formal seated dinner. This meant there was a a mix of low-top tables and high-top tables with no prearranged seating plan. We chose this format so we would have more time to mingle with our guests. The reception began immediately following the conclusion of the ceremony and featured passed hors d’oeuvres, specialty food stations, a dessert bar, infused beverage station, and a hosted bar featuring beer, wine, champagne, cocktails, and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages.
The reception was catered by Gastrotruck | Artisanal Street Cuisine & Catering, a locally-owned and operated company most known for their food trucks. All of the menu items were handcrafted from scratch and made with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. Menu highlights included a gourmet slider station with house-made condiments and a macaroni and cheese bar with a variety of toppings.
My hubby and I aren’t really cake people so we decided to have a dessert bar instead. We ordered a variety of bite-size gourmet desserts at our local Lunds & Byerlys which included mini cheesecakes, lemon bars, brownie bites, chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate chip cookies, fruit tartlets, raspberry marscapones, lemon raspberry tarts, white chocolate cookies and cream truffles, lemon raspberry truffles, and cookie dough truffles. Absolutely delicious!
Instead of hiring a traditional wedding DJ to provide music at the reception, we decided to have a piano-bar entertainer. When vacationing together, we’ve always enjoyed the interactive element of solo and dueling piano shows at places like the Redhead Piano Bar in Chicago, the Bar at Times Square in the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas, and our hometown Nye’s Polonaise Room in Minneapolis. The piano entertainer played songs from all genres and eras and was a huge hit with our guests!
To keep along with our vintage theme we chose vintage-inspired attire for the bride and groom and our small wedding party. I wore a simple fit and flair ivory taffeta gown with ruching and tiered ruffles that I scored online for a steal of a deal. My husband wore a custom postman blue suit with a beige wool vest from Men’s Wearhouse. My son was the ring bearer and wore a beige wool vest paired with chocolate slacks and my daughter was the flower girl and wore an ivory tulle and lace dress with gold shoes. We took some outdoor pictures prior to the ceremony so I dressed the little ones in dress coats in coordinating colors. My daughter and I also wore vintage gold headbands and bracelets. We were very pleased with how everything coordinated together nicely without being too matchy-matchy.
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