Candlelit proposals along Minnesota’s waterfront or dedications of love broadcast to thousands on a jumbotron at Target Field are not Brittany and Matthew Whalen’s couple personality at all. Actually, Matt can barely wait until Christmas to give Brittany her gifts, the bride divulges, so planning an elaborate proposal was never part of this equation.
The couple’s laid-back attitude began the night they met in 2003 while enjoying a night out in St. Paul with friends. From that chance meeting, Matt took Brittany on their first date to Claddagh Irish Pub in Maple Grove. Within the next year, the happy couple moved in together. And, after spending a few years of quality time getting to know each other, Matt popped the question.
On December 20, 2009, Brittany came home exhausted from working retail during the holiday season, hoping to unwind from the day’s chaos. However, Matt had other plans for their night. “I just got home from work and he was laying on the bed watching TV,” says Brittany. Hiding the ring for a few weeks intending to propose on Christmas, Matt just couldn’t wait any longer. “He was just so impatient so he just asked me right there in the bedroom after I got home from work! He got down on his knee, of course, and he started crying," Brittany says. Although the proposal wasn’t very romantic in the traditional sense, she admits, “It was so totally us.”
The silk chiffon Starlight gown Brittany wore from Monique Lhuillier’s Fall 2011 collection set the 1960s, Mad Men-era tone the couple wanted for their wedding. A sparkly veil with hand-sewn crystals dancing across the bottom of the train as she walked accented Brittany’s Starlight dress. The bride also had a secret stash of bling on her feet with coral suede shoes by Miu Miu strewn with silver rhinestone crystals. Staying true to soft tones, Brittany’s bridesmaids were decked out in soft gray knee-length, A-line dresses. The groomsmen complemented the bridal party with fitted dark silver pinstripe suits and silver vests. But you can’t have a 1960s-themed wedding without bright pops of color: Cue the coral and pink flowers from Just Bloomed that demonstrated a warm color burst throughout the day.
A nod to Matt’s passion for fishing, the couple chose marina-style NorthCoast (now closed) for their reception in Wayzata, and dined on succulent walleye and tuna tartar. As far as the highlight of the reception food, the wedding pastry that took the cake, so to speak, was the couple’s buttercream-frosted, almond tuxedo cake with raspberry filling from Long Lake-based Country Cake Cupboard. “The cake was simple. I love polka dots so it was kind of a take on that,” Brittany says. Though most people stick with traditional fondant cakes for their wedding, Brittany and Matt wanted to go with something they enjoyed, versus what was conventional. “I love the buttercream they do at Country Cake Cupboard, it’s so delicious. That’s why we chose that instead of fondant.” The white buttercream cake was accented by coral and pink flowers that tied together the wedding’s color theme.
As far as the rest of the décor, Brittany and her mom shopped local antiques stores to find table decorations and even the bridesmaid’s gifts. “I picked out separate vintage necklaces that I thought best represented my bridesmaids’ personalities to give as their gifts.” Matt went with a similar personalized theme for his groomsmen gifts: personalized baseball caps with each groomsman’s name or nickname, and the date of the wedding embroidered on the cap. Brittany happily says the wedding party still makes use of their gifts.
Choosing the right reception music to keep people dancing all night can be a concern, but the Whalens booked a DJ and were happy with the outcome. Brittany says most people—including the grandparents—stayed to dance long into the night. Though choosing the right music is important, Brittany says if she had to do it all over again, she would make sure the venue they chose could have accommodated more people. She advises to wait to sign a contract with a venue until a guest list is finalized. Speaking of headcounts, Brittany suggests brides-to-be connect with their groom and decide as a couple who they want at their wedding before opening the discussion to the parents of the couple. "Wedding parties can get too large and it’s your special day," Brittany says. “You’re the two people getting married so make sure that the people you want first and foremost are on your list.” All good things come to an end, and as their big day came to a close, the couple looked forward to their honeymoon at El Dorado Royale resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Date: August 27, 2011
Ceremony: Mary Queen of Peace in Rogers
Reception: NorthCoast in Wayzata (now closed)
Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Shoes: Miu Miu
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN
Groom’s Attire: Savvi
Groomsmen’s Attire: Savvi
Rings: Shane Co.
Cake: Country Cake Cupboard
Flowers: Just Bloomed
First Dance Song: “Come a Little Closer” by Dierks Bentley
Hair and Makeup: Twigs SalonSpa
Honeymoon: El Dorado Royale resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico