Unity ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes – candles, sand, locks, crosses and braided cords of rope. They are all lovely and symbolize a very powerful union between two people. However, our motto for our wedding was to do things in a way that felt like ‘us’.
We knew we wanted to do something different. Nothing quite felt right. Nothing we had seen before seemed to represent us as a couple. I am not sure exactly when the idea forged. I wish I could tell you it was a great ah-ha moment but honestly I think we were just watching tv when Kyle turned to me and said, “How about a Unity Painting?”
At first I thought I would have to be crazy to paint in a wedding dress!
The more I thought about it I couldn’t shake the idea. As an artist painting is something I really enjoy doing and it really is a lovely metaphor for marriage. Two artists coming together to create one painting of a cross that symbolizes our Christ-centered marriage.
Now is our painting perfect – no? Will our marriage be perfect? – no. But it is a masterpiece – a work in progress. As it hangs on our wall it is a perfect reminder to us of the covenant we share with one another.
When we were painting the picture the song “From the Ground Up” by Dan and Shay was played. In the beginning of that song it says something about painting a picture of 65 years. I hope Kyle and I are blessed to have that many. I can’t listen to that song without tearing up.
The unique idea to have a silent art auction was thought up by my wonderful mother. I just supplied the creativity and the man power. Kyle and I often talked about how we wanted to celebrate and enjoy the company of our guests as much as possible. We did not want to have a dollar dance to raise money for our future. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of buying a bunch of bubbles or other party favors either. Not that there is anything wrong with that – it just didn’t feel like ‘us.’
As an artist I often give gifts to family members and around Christmas time my mom suggested the idea of having a silent art auction at our wedding featuring my work for guests to purchase. The idea grew from there. While I will admit it was a little out of control at times and stressful too – I would do it again. I created over 60 items from mugs and sculptures to paintings and drawings. They were sold at the wedding to whatever guest wanted to bid on them.
The silent art auction was a huge hit – bigger than I could ever imagine! And as an artist selling your work is a big deal. It was very humbling for both of us. I even heard there were big bidding wars taking place between family members – but I am happy to report no permanent family feuds were caused.
I LOVED your wedding venue Bloom Lake Barn, really. The couple who owned the barn were charming to speak with and I love photographing their daughters during the reception. Can you tell us a little more about their story? – Matt
Bloom Lake Barn was another one of those stumbled upon ideas, found by my wonderful husband, Kyle. We have a very large family. Finding a place to fit them all and our friends – it was a challenge. In these days it seems like there is nothing the internet cannot find. With a lot of hunting we found Bloom Lake Barn. I kid you not I had a spread sheet of around 20 different “barn venues” with pricing, location, all the important info so I could compare it all side by side.
Bloom Lake Barn was the largest of all these venues within our price range – however there was a catch – it wasn’t finished!
When we went to first visit the barn a little under a year out from our wedding it was still red. It had no concrete floor in the bottom level, there were holes in the ceiling and to get to the second level we had to climb a ladder. Needless to say Kyle and I were sold on arrival.
I think we traveled back in time to our childhoods – we both grew up on farms and I spent so many hours playing in our big barn climbing ladders, jumping around hay bales and raising kittens. I think I literally had flashbacks the whole time we walked around Bloom Lake Barn. Needless to say – it felt like us.
We didn’t see an old barn – we felt at home. If that wouldn’t have convinced us – Adam and Monique Wallis, the owners would have. They are two of the kindest, hardworking and open-hearted people we have ever met. They described to us their whole vision and we booked the barn less than two weeks later. We believed in their dream and with that faith we believe we had the best wedding in the world. Not that we are biased or anything!
Oh boy – advice for other brides out there. Involve your groom! It’s his day too.
Kyle was involved with so many aspects of the wedding. I truly feel it was a day for us and what we both wanted it to be. I would also say… if it doesn’t feel like “you” as a couple – don’t do it! We didn’t have a lot of traditional aspects to our wedding. We didn’t have a dollar dance, we didn’t get married in a church, we didn’t cut a cake, we didn’t even have cake, we didn’t rent a party bus, we didn’t have a grand send off all these things that people make you feel like your wedding should have or you have seen in weddings. You don’t have to have them if you don’t want them.
Splurge on 3 things – because they are the only 3 people will remember – 1. Venue 2. Food and 3. Photographer – memories fade but pictures last forever. We are so happy with our photos and all the aspects we chose to splurge on.
Never forget to say “Thank you.” I still feel like I could write a thousand more thank yous and it not be enough. Keep your loved ones close and let those who want to help you help. You are going to need it!
For us it was also to keep it simple. We used fresh farmer’s market flowers to decorate and 10 cent vases from the thrift store. The barn was so beautiful – who needs all the decor?
Don’t worry about silly things that happen – I had lipstick on my teeth in our first look photos – which now include photos of him removing lipstick from my teeth. I never wear lipstick! Was it embarrassing? Sure – but it makes for great memories.
Take some time to be with your groom alone after your vows – you can breathe again. Those moments you will never get back – first ones as man and wife. (Take your photographer too )
Lastly, enjoy your day. Let little things slide. It goes by way to fast for all the time you put into planning it so enjoy it!
Of course we would like to thank Matt from Del Sol Photography. He is the most dedicated and hardworking photographer. I am not just saying that – what photographer do you know that will scale an arbor to get the perfect angle for a shot? Matt is the best!
My husband, Kyle, hates being the center of attention so you can imagine how photos usually go… Matt made him completely comfortable so our photos are fantastic. We couldn’t be happier with our choice. Also a huge thanks to his assistant photographer Amber Rhodes of Minneapolis for helping photograph our day – we are so blessed to have two great creative minds working for us.
Also thank you to our caterer – Devine Swine. Bruce is super timely and willing to attend to your every need. Our food was hot, delicious and extremely affordable.
We adored our sneak peak photos. They truly were the highlight of our week. Matt was truly able to capture how Kyle and I are in everyday life – we just happen to be in wedding attire – That was exactly what we wanted in our photos.
For me, I enjoyed traveling and seeing a new space and specifically, meeting all the family members. I find myself traveling chasing love stories all over the world. We often talk about #TravelForLove and use the hashtag as a collective organizational tool when we post images on social media. In this case, many of the guests of your wedding actually traveled and the majority of them would consider this a “Destination Wedding”. Can you tell us what it felt like to have all of your guests travel to this one place and to be together throughout the wedding experience? – Matt
There is nothing more humbling than looking out into the crowd at your wedding day and seeing a room full of people there to support you. They gave up their weekend, many drove through city traffic, they spent money on a gift, hotel room and travel. It’s truly like hitting a brick wall realizing how much people care for you – and your relationship. It was so amazing to have so many of our friends and family there.
Kyle and I have the privilege of being together for 8 years (this January) so our families truly know nearly everyone on both sides. It was a almost like a big reunion. We are so thankful to everyone for supporting us in our journey as a couple and many more years to come.
Wedding Location: Bloom Lake Barn, Shafer, Minnesota
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal and altered by Cindy Mathison at “Not your Grandmother’s Apron”
Bride and Bridesmaids shoes: Vera Wang
*Kyle is actually a cousin of mine and although we met last year, I have spent more than half my life traveling to the Midwest United States visiting his grandparents and other cousins over the years. It was so much fun meeting and seeing all of these wonderful people and getting to know some family members that I had never met before. Spending the day photographing these families come together was some of the most fun I have had at a wedding in a long time. I just want to say thank you to the Walker, the Rusch and the Calkin’s families for extending such amazing hospitality and love. Can’t wait to see everyone in 2017!! – Matt Adcock