On Valentine’s Day in 2012, Christina left work, picked up takeout, and trudged home, where her dog and boyfriend were waiting. When she walked through the door and went to pet the dog, John stopped her and said, “The dog doesn’t get to go first. It’s Valentine’s Day.” Still in her coat and boots, she gave John a hug and kiss, and he held onto her hand, not letting go. Then he dropped to one knee on the kitchen floor and proposed. Saying yes was easy. "He's always by my side," Christina says. "He's my best friend."
John had the gorgeous vintage ring for months, and once it was slipped onto Christina's finger, the couple began planning the wedding right away. One of the first purchases was her dress. Christina’s mom took her to A&M Bridal Boutique, where she bought her wedding dress 32 years before. Together they found a dress—her "something new"—that had all the right details: gorgeous lace, delicate beading, and a classic, vintage look.
For something old, she included her grandmother’s hanky, necklace, and vintage brooch in her bridal bouquet, “to make sure that she was there.” She borrowed the first ring that her dad gave her mom, and John added to the tradition as well, gifting her with a sapphire vintage-inspired ring from Shane Company to serve as her something blue. Her dress, bouquet, and accessories represented the important people in Christina’s life, and the rest of the details followed suit.
The couple worked together with family and friends to create the invitations, programs, banners, and decorations. They hand-stamped monogrammed napkins, and made Mr. and Mrs. forks and a cake spreader that read “Spread Love." Christina’s dad made the card box to look like an antique trunk, and her mom helped create the heritage display.
On a table they arranged vintage frames filled with wedding photos from both sides of their family. It started with Christina and John’s engagement photo in the center, followed by images of their parents, then their grandparents, and continued to the oldest wedding in 1873. The heritage display showed the importance of family and the long timeline that led to their special day, 140 years later.
“We had an anniversary dance that was meant to honor everybody who’d been married before us and longer than us,” Christina says. Her grandparents were the last people on the dance floor, celebrating 60 years together.
It was important for the couple to include their families and ensure the guests felt welcome, “like they were coming to a party that was about them as much as it was about us,” Christina says. They chose a bright and cheery yellow for the color scheme, hired shuttle service, and put together welcome bags with treats from some of their favorite local haunts for guests to indulge in after the reception.
But they also made sure to do something special for themselves. “I think it’s important that the bride and groom take a few minutes for themselves during the day,” Christina says, and they did so by renting a 1939 Cadillac LaSalle from All Day and Night Limousine. “That was our time for just the two of us, where we could just be Mr. and Mrs. and relax during the ride and enjoy everything that was going on.”
They had much to enjoy. Friends said they couldn’t imagine a different wedding for her, and the photographer congratulated them on a well-organized and stress-free day. Flattered by the compliments, all Christina could do was thank the vendors and those who helped. “The [vendors] we picked were absolutely phenomenal," she says. "I think this is honestly one of the best things that we could do for them to say thank you. Because they were rock stars, and we were very lucky to find them.”
Christina knows she and John couldn’t have had the same wedding day without the help from their families, either. “It was wonderful to be able to have all the touches and details that mean something to me on one of the most important days of my life without having to sacrifice," she says. "I have champagne taste, but a beer budget, like so many people getting married and just starting out.”
But it was about more than just saving money. “Those little touches didn’t really mean anything to anyone else," Christina says. "They’d comment that they’re so cute or pretty, but I have those monogrammed glasses that we did, and I have those Mr. and Mrs. forks, and coming up on our anniversary now, I’m looking forward to pulling them out and being able to reuse some of those things that are a keepsake of the day, right down to the vintage brooches from my bouquet. I still have it assembled and dried and displayed in my house.”
From the moment John bought the ring, the wedding had a vintage-inspired theme. Christina and John both love the details of antique furniture and old buildings, and they also appreciate what it means to hold onto something from the past. “We are traditionalists,” Christina says. “The values are important. You don’t just move on or throw something away if it’s broken. You can see the beauty in it and work on it.”
Their values were apparent in the way they repurposed antiques and spent countless hours working with loved ones to make everything by hand. The entire event mirrored the commitment Christina and John have for each other, while creating a welcoming space for family and friends to enjoy the occasion and celebrate their love.
Wedding Date: September 7, 2013
Ceremony: Black Bear Crossings at Como Lake
Reception/Caterer: University Club of St. Paul
Photographer: Melina Miller from Camelot Photography
Dress: A&M Bridal Boutique
Bride’s Hair: Rhindie Schwebach from HAIRitage 'Hous
Bride’s Makeup: Tina Beaupre
Bridesmaids Dresses: A&M Bridal Boutique
Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Savvi Formalwear
Wedding Party Hair: Carrie Bissell, Heather Milbraith
Flowers: Colleen’s Flower Cellar
Cake: Rosa’s Cake Gallery
Officiant: Rev. Stephen Prokop
Ceremony Music: Joy of Music
Reception Entertainment: Adagio Djay Entertainment
Transportation: All Day and Night Limousine
Invitations: Anchor Paper
Lodging: Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel, The Saint Paul Hotel
Welcome Bags: Freddie’s Popcorn, Tremblay’s Sweet Shop, Golden Fig
Honeymoon: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on Kaanapali Beach