When Carissa relays how she met Ryan, she starts with a laugh and says, “Well, it’s kind of a funny story.”
The two met by chance, after a University of Tennessee homecoming football game in October 2010. Carissa was in Knoxville visiting a childhood friend, while Ryan was cheering on his alma mater for the weekend. After talking all afternoon, he asked for her number, to which she responded, “You live in Washington, D.C., I live in Minnesota, and we’re in Tennessee right now, so probably not!”
But she did, and despite the distance, they began talking every day and visiting whenever they could. “One thing led to another and here we are,” says Carissa. Ryan’s animal science and agriculture degree made the Minnesota job market more promising, so he moved in July of 2011. The couple bought their first home together in St. Paul shortly after, and by fall they were ring shopping.
The proposal came a few months later, on an unusually warm day in February 2012. Ryan led Carissa on a walk down the Mississippi River, and when they reached the arches to the entrance of the University of St. Thomas, Carissa’s alma mater, Ryan got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. “I love walking by the river and through the campus, and he knows that my heart is there,” she says. “It was perfect.”
She said yes and the two set the date.
“We chose April because he didn’t want a winter wedding and I didn’t want to have an engagement too far out,” says Carissa. Little did they know, fate had different plans for April 20, 2013—including five inches of snow before the big day.
“It was kind of funny because everyone was wearing these spring dresses and I had these spring colors, but snow was covering the ground,” Carissa says. “So it was a winter wedding. But the day of, it ended up being a high of 50, super sunny, and gorgeous. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The mid-afternoon ceremony at the Basilica of Saint Mary was a natural choice for Carissa, who had attended services there for years. The Calhoun Beach Club hosted the reception later that evening. The majority of the guests were from out of town, so a Minneapolis locale just “made sense.”
With spring in mind, Carissa chose a peach and mint color scheme, accented with metallic gold, to decorate the reception. Peach and pink roses were centered on every guest table, while a mint chevron-patterned runner lined the head table. The three-tier white frosted cake by D’Amico Catering featured peach and mint chevron stripes, and gold candelabras and ribbons tied it all together.
Deciding what and how to incorporate all of the small, personal touches into her and Ryan’s wedding was the hardest part of the planning process for Carissa. “Obviously this is the first time and the only time I’ll ever do this, but I’d never really planned anything like this before,” she says, noting that if she had to go back and do it all over again, she would have a wedding planner. “If I had that guidance, it would have cut down on a lot of second-guessing.”
Even so, the couple’s faux-spring nuptials went off without a hitch. Despite crazy weather causing a little bit of chaos, the newlyweds look back on their special day fondly. “People didn’t want to leave the dance floor! It was a good time,” Carissa says, “It was just a fun, festive day full of celebration, which is exactly what I wanted.”
Date: April 20, 2013
Ceremony: Basilica of St. Mary
Reception: Calhoun Beach Club
Dress: Enzoani, from Bridal Accents Couture
Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan, from Nordstrom
Groom’s Tux: Heimie’s Haberdashery
Groomsmen Attire: Heimie’s Haberdashery
Rings: Hers from Diamonds Direct; his was a family heirloom
Photographer: Scott + Hannah Photographers
Caterer: D’Amico Catering
Cake: D’Amico Catering
Flowers: Martha’s Garden
Makeup: Jett Makeup
Hair: Erin Jerabek of The Loft Salon
Music: Instant Request
Invitations/Website: Alicia Schindle (bride’s sister)
First Dance Song: “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison