When Grace Myers and Andrew Martin met as college seniors in Indiana, the pair bonded over their common Minnesota roots—she’s from Stillwater, he’s from Minnetonka. But even after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, it would still be a year before the pair reunited in their home state. While Andrew started medical school at the University of Minnesota, Grace went on to pursue her master’s degree in England. She returned a year later, happy to—once again—be in the same city as her future husband. “We got to explore together,” Grace says. “That was a really fun and special time for us.”
With Grace’s love for St. Paul and the small Grand Avenue apartment she occupied while Andrew completed medical school, where else could he pop the question but downtown, while walking on Summit Avenue. “There’s a little park near the University Club overlooking the bluffs,” Grace says. “That’s where he proposed. I was really surprised actually.”
Having left their cell phones at home when they went out for the walk (an accidental incident which Grace says made the experience more special), the couple had a few hours to themselves, only calling friends and family after returning home from a celebratory drink at The Muddy Pig.
While the couple got to work planning an October wedding—at that point only a year away—two things were certain: the wedding would be in St. Paul, and the bride would wear a dress that had been in the family for decades. “It wasn’t a difficult decision,” Grace says of the choice to wear her grandmother and mother's gown. “Growing up, I remember looking at the photos of my grandma and she looked so pretty in the dress. It’s very simple, very timeless and classic. I went to get it altered and everything fit perfectly. That was it.”
To match her vintage dress, Grace and Andrew settled on venues that are equally aesthetically beautiful and historic. The St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, a church that Grace had always admired when she lived nearby, was an easy choice for the ceremony, while the decision to host the reception at the James J. Hill Reference Library stemmed from the bride’s love of writing and the couple’s shared memories of spending hours in the library as college students.
Grace’s desire to play up the “old feel of the city” carried over to the wedding party attire and decorations as well. Bridesmaids donned champagne-colored dresses, complete with hand-knit shawls made by Grace and her grandmother, as well as Andrew’s aunt and mother. “It was very special for me to see my bridesmaids in the shawls that women throughout different generations and different branches of the family all helped out with,” she says. Grace and her soon-to-be mother-in-law also worked together to stitch signs and table numbers for the big day.
Looking back, Grace admits that taking on that DIY labor of love was “a little bit crazy,” but the relaxing task also helped her cope with stressful wedding moments—like when the delivery of the bridesmaids dresses was delayed, or when the bakery where they ordered their cake went out of business without any warning. On top of that, Andrew’s job relocated them to Chicago only months before the wedding.
Despite these challenges, Grace and Andrew made sure to focus on enjoying their special day and wanted their guests to as well. For that reason, the couple felt it was important to balance out the formality of the ceremony with fun elements. For Grace and Andrew that meant playing lively music and sending the guests to Patrick McGovern’s Pub to watch their alma mater play football before the reception.
It may have been untraditional, but that didn’t matter to the newlyweds. Says Grace, “Be confident in your vision and your choices. It might not be what’s trendy or what your friends are doing, but if you have something that you really want to do that’s a little bit different, just go for it.”
Date: October 20, 2012
Ceremony: St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church
Reception: James J. Hill Reference Library
Photographer: Becca Dilley Photography
Tailor: Brenda Bishop, River Falls
Hair & Makeup: Phresh Spa Salon
Groom’s Tux: Men’s Warehouse
Flowers: A Day in Provence Floral Design
Invitations: Dick & Jane Letterpress
Cake: Cocoa & Fig
Music: Instant Request DJ