When Abby Van Ness and Jack Dean met, it was supposed to be a girls-only weekend. But little did Abby know, she would return home Sunday with much more than she bargained for.
The former Mpls.St.Paul Weddings Real Bride blogger was visiting her old Mizzou stomping grounds for what was intended to be a rousing ladies’ weekend of football and flirting. After arriving with high hopes, Abby was greeted by her college roommate, Angela, and Jack—a boy. Despite her initial hesitance, Jack was the type of guy who just owned the room; he was the life of the party. They spent the entire weekend together—and so began the tale of the Ms. Mizzou and Mr. Purdue.
When the weekend came to an end, they remained in close contact by e-mail and phone (Jack lived in Kansas City at the time), but a mid-winter trip to visit Abby in the Twin Cities sealed their fate—Jack was someone special. “As soon as he left, I missed him. I think I knew he was The One when he kissed me goodbye,” says Abby.
The two courted each other across state lines—alternating the long stretch of I-35 between Minnesota and Missouri for weekend visits, cramming as many activities as possible into the limited time they had together. And after two years of long-distance, it was finally time for Abby to take the plunge. So in 2009, she packed her bags and headed south.
After living in Kansas City for two years, the couple planned a short getaway. It was supposed to be a weekend of good ol’ homecoming Mizzou football, but once again, not everything went according to Abby’s plan. In fact, Jack had plans of his own, the plot was already in motion, and she was blithely unaware. While exploring the campus, Abby was completely blindsided when Jack took a knee in front of Jesse Hall and popped the question. He told her the story of how four years earlier, he left Mizzou with a girlfriend, and this time around he wanted to leave with a fiancé. In October 2011, the couple was engaged.
For almost a year, Abby planned out every little detail of her Minnesota wedding from her home away from home. Deciding a location was easy. After living and working in downtown Minneapolis, Abby had become a fan of the Mill City Museum. “It offered a beautiful fusion of industrial and contemporary architecture,” Abby says. “With Jack’s job as a structural engineer and my working in the arts, it’s actually a wonderful representation of us.” With the venue locked in, it was the other details of the wedding that were just a bit trickier from out of state. Many of her vendors weren’t open for business on the weekends, and taking time away from her full-time job was difficult. “I think the most frustrating part is there’s only so much you can do over the phone and via Skype,” she says.
In the end, Abby and Jack’s fall wedding was a success. Filled with navy blue, grey, and blush accents, the Big Day was everything they had dreamed. And despite being a meticulously planned event, Abby still desired a small element of surprise for her groom. Since much of the wedding revolved around her hometown, incorporating elements of Jack’s Irish heritage was a high priority for his new wife. So as the night began winding down, an authentic bagpiper made an appearance, filling the courtyard with traditional Irish music. “The thrilled look on Jack’s face was absolutely priceless,” Abby says. The piper was a huge success, and by the second tune, guests were on their feet.
For some brides, planning a wedding is stressful, but Abby loved every minute of it. Her favorite part of it all? “All the little details coming together.” she says. “It’s overstated, but enjoy the process. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the little things.”
Gearing up to celebrate their one-year anniversary, the couple is now living in downtown Kansas City, but Minneapolis remains close to Abby’s heart. “We travel to see family and friends back in Minneapolis regularly,” says Abby. “I miss it every day.”
Wedding Date: October 20, 2012
Ceremony: Central Lutheran Church
Reception: Mill City Museum
Dress Designer: Rivini
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo from Bella Bridesmaid
Groom's Attire: Calvin Klein from Savvi Formalwear
Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein from Savvi Formalwear
Rings: Kennedy's Custom Jewelers
Photographer: Beau Petersen of BP Photography
Videographer: Beau Leslie of eMotion Cinematography
Invitations: Jessica Stephens Design
Caterer: D'Amico Catering
Cake/Desserts: D'Amico Catering
Flowers: Shelli DeBilzan of Forever in Bloom
Makeup: Tina Beaupre
Hair: Leah Lubbe at Juut Salonspa in Gaviidae Common