Emily has been preparing for her wedding her entire life. At age 5, she dressed as a bride for Halloween. As a teenager, she and her mother saved invitations they liked for future reference. And after college, she worked for a wedding planner in Chicago while simultaneously working as an editor at CS Brides Magazine. Yet on New Year’s Day 2008, she found herself swearing off men altogether. “It was my New Year’s resolution not to date for the year,” she says.
Of course, that’s when she met Brian. As she flew back to Chicago on Northwest flight 1251, she couldn’t help but notice the cute, well-dressed blond sitting across the aisle from her. It’s a good thing, too, because that Neil Patrick Harris lookalike in seat 2A would one day become her husband.
The two started talking as they deplaned and decided to share a cab after discovering they lived near each other and were both Notre Dame grads. “I call it an act of modern-day chivalry in that he waited for me while I got my checked bag,” says Emily. Within days, the two were dating—and would continue dating through Brian’s move to Minneapolis nine months later for work, a year and a half of long-distance, and Emily’s move to Minneapolis in 2010.
By 2011, Emily’s wedding immersion reached a new level when she was named editor of Mpls.St.Paul Weddings, an opportunity Brian used to aid in his proposal. “Emily had published one Weddings magazine at that point, and it was her first editor’s letter. It was obviously very important to her,” he says. So he created a special version of her editor’s column in which the first letter of each line formed the question Will you marry me?
Suddenly, Emily was able to put a lifetime of knowledge and planning to personal use. “I think we had a date set by that day,” laughs Brian. Already being immersed in the wedding industry proved both an asset and a challenge: Emily was familiar with all the best vendors, but she sometimes had an overabundance of information. “I had ideas for everything, and I had to narrow down all of them into what I wanted for my own wedding,” she says.
The save-the-dates and invitations proved to be a crucial (and challenging) early decision, as they set the tone for the entire wedding—elegant and formal, but with some wow factor. “My personal taste is pretty traditional but with a little bit of a twist,” says Emily. Tradition certainly informed the choice of venues: The couple got married at the Green Bay church where Emily’s grandparents married 62 years earlier, and their 330-person reception was held at the country club where Emily’s parents had their reception— but, of course, with a twist.
“I wanted to use my family’s club, but I had a very specific idea of what I wanted the reception to look like,” says Emily. So she decided to have Après Party and Tent Rental come to Green Bay to construct a tent—complete with candlelight, chandeliers, soft pink florals, and rich silver fabrics—adjacent to the club for the dinner and dancing portion of the reception.
There were plenty of other twists as well, including a rocking dance party that started before dinner, a choreographed flash mob, a 15-minute fireworks show, and a DJed late-night celebration inside the country club, complete with cheese curds, McDonald’s fries, and Juicy Lucys. “It was all very much about keeping everybody happy and enjoying themselves,” says Brian.
Emily’s planning prowess was evident in countless tasteful details, from signature drinks with his-and-hers stir sticks to the wedding cake that mimicked the lace pattern of Emily’s Vera Wang dress. “We really wanted to make all the touches personal,” she says. “It was taking the details to the next level, like instead of just having monogrammed napkins, let’s have monogrammed napkins in the calligraphy that matched our invitations that matched our envelopes.”
Those details included several nods to the couple’s shared Notre Dame heritage. The groom walked down the aisle to the theme song from Rudy, and a “Marry Like a Champion Today” sign hung over the church door. The groom’s cake highlighted Notre Dame as well as the couple’s shared love of travel—including replica tickets from the fateful flight that changed their lives forever.
Ceremony: St. Francis Xavier Cathedral • Reception: Oneida Golf and Country Club • Dress: Vera Wang from l’atelier couture • Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bella Bridesmaid • Groom’s/groomsmen’s attire: The Haberdasher Limited • Rings: Baumann Jewelery Co. (bride), Rummele’s Jeweler (groom) • Cakes: Gateaux • Flowers: Twigs Floral Gallery • Invitations: Paperista • Calligraphy: Rosann Konieczny • Ceremony music: John Kelley • Reception band: Rendezvous • DJ: The Music Caterer • Tent/linens/décor/Lighting: Après Party and Tent Rental • Wedding planner: Mi Mi Design • Hair/makeup: Haven Salon & Spa • Honeymoon: Bora Bora and Moorea