“The guy’s version” of how Jonathan Berg and Jennifer Ellefson met, as Berg tells it, was through mutual friends at a Fourth of July party. The only seat available when Jonathan arrived was right next to Jennifer, and easy conversation quickly turned into a budding courtship before the night was done. After three years of dating, Jonathan proposed at Lake Nokomis on one of those perfect May days that provide a glimpse into the sunny, blue-skied summer ahead, at the exact spot where the couple shared their first kiss.
Though their relationship milestones tended to fall in the warmer months, the two Minnesota natives had different plans for their nuptials. “We knew from the start that we wanted a winter wedding, just to stand out from the crowd. We’d been to so many summer weddings and we wanted to do something different,” says Jennifer.
By choosing the first venue they viewed, as well as the first photographer they met with, their wedding-day vision came together rather smoothly. “We’re very decisive,” Jennifer says with a laugh. Jonathan collaborated with Paperista to design the invitations with an elegant trio of black, ivory, and gold hues, an easy color scheme to match the James J. Hill Reference Library’s décor, where both the ceremony and reception took place. The big windows looking out onto the winter wonderland were a draw for the couple, as was its proximity to The Saint Paul Hotel, a perfect place for out-of-town guests to convene.
Friends from New York and Chicago marveled at the Twin Cities area. As Jennifer and her bridesmaids cozied up in the hotel prior to the big day, Jonathan took his groomsmen curling and to dinner at Heartland, while Mother Nature took care of the rest. The night before the wedding, a fresh snowfall blanketed the trees, and the day of, the sun shone bright (it was 25 degrees, a practical heat wave during the formidable “Polar Vortex”). With a team of wedding planners on top of their game, both families could rest easy and take in every moment. Both Jonathan and Jennifer note that having a stress-free day, especially for their mothers, was an absolute highlight.
The ceremony culminated with a receiving line, where the newlyweds greeted each guest individually. Then, the main event for these self-proclaimed “foodies” began with a dinner of pesto-marinated lamb shank, salmon with compound butter and capers, and butternut squash ravioli with a mascarpone sage cream sauce. Each table had an individual cake served to them from Patisserie 46, a touch that Jennifer loved. Jonathan’s favorite aspect was the photographer, Paul Vincent, whom he credits with creating and capturing genuine moments, and coaxing the couple away from the cocktail hour for a few moments to garner heartfelt shots.
After the dancing and party ended, Jonathan unveiled a final surprise to Jennifer: a car service waiting to whisk them away after the reception. “I wanted to make sure that we were able to get away, experience the moment, and take it all in, because it was obviously such a rush. We took a car down Summit Avenue and it was nice just to unwind,” Jonathan says.
Only two weeks after their wedding, St. Paul was named the most romantic city in the nation by USA Today. Jonathan and Jennifer laugh at the coincidence, but their celebration showcased exactly why the city earned the honor.
Date: January 18, 2014
Ceremony/Reception: James J. Hill Reference Library
Photographer: Paul Vincent
Dress: La Sposa, Brides of France
Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade
Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell, Nordstrom
Groom’s/Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang, Men’s Wearhouse
Rings: R.F. Moeller
Catering: Mintahoe Catering
Dessert/Cake: Patisserie 46
Flowers: Haute Flower Boutique
DJ: Jake Rudh
Ceremony Music: Bella Nota String Quartet
Cocktail Hour Music: Parisota Hot Club
Linens/Rentals: Aprés Party and Tent Rental
Wedding Planners: Bridget Connell and Marsha Hunt of Haute Flower Boutique
Bride’s Hair: Sarah Peterson at Evolution
Bride’s Makeup: Sal Rodriguez of NARS