Minnesota boy meets Minnesota girl in a freshman humanities course at Stanford. Boy likes girl. Boy pelts girl with Hershey Kisses “grenades” during the class’s World War I trench warfare reenactment to get her attention. Boy and girl start dating.
“Well, we weren’t ‘officially’ dating, but basically,” clarifies Kerstin (the girl). The reason the pair was hesitant to make it official was because Erik (the boy with good aim) was studying abroad in Russia. Although the two stayed in touch via Facebook and phone calls while on different continents, they finally went on their first real date—dinner and a movie—when he returned.
When it was Kerstin’s turn to study abroad in Paris and Erik came to visit, he had something up his sleeve—something a little better than Hershey Kisses this time—and on a walk along the lakefront in Geneva, Switzerland, Erik pulled out a ring and asked Kerstin to marry him. She said yes, and the couple began their journey to wedded bliss.
The location for the wedding was an easy choice: Duluth, Kerstin’s hometown. But they first had to get permission to have an outdoor ceremony at Old Main Park from the Parks Department. It took two years, but after much persistance (and help from event designer Laura Mullen), “they changed Duluth laws and permits to have our wedding there,” laughs Kerstin. And the wait, just like their long-distance relationship while studying abroad, was worth it.
The couple says the best decision they made during the wedding process was hiring Laura. “She had the resources and knowledge of details we wouldn’t ever think of, and was able to tie our theme elements into every aspect of not only our wedding day, but our whole wedding weekend," Kerstin says. For example, with 90 percent of their 180 guests coming from out of town, Kerstin and Erik did something a little out of the ordinary the night before the wedding. “We rented out a theater in Duluth and showed Casablanca. It’s one of Erik’s favorite movies, and it fit with our black and white, timeless theme,” she says. Guests were also treated to bags of popcorn and a candy table filled with black and white sweets.
At the ceremony the following day, the bride walked down the aisle to a teary-eyed groom. With a picturesque backdrop of brick archways, the elegant ceremony had many nontraditional elements, like a Medieval hand-blessing ceremony instead of a unity candle, and when the newly-married couple took their first steps together as husband and wife, guests rang bells—an Irish wedding tradition—and threw lavender petals to represent love, loyalty, devotion, and luck.
Initially, Kerstin wanted a strictly black and white color combination for a timeless look, but a visit to her reception venue, the Greysolon Ballroom, inspired a few additions. “[The room] had light celery-colored walls. It feels weird to say celery was one of my wedding colors, but in the space, it’s really beautiful,” Kerstin says. A floral star symbol from the ballroom’s gold molding also played a big part in the décor, appearing on their invitations, menus, napkins, and cocktail stir sticks.
Mr. and Mrs. Adams kicked off the reception with a romantic first dance to Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” while guests sipped on their signature drink, the “Just Married Mojito,” and local North Shore beers. A focal point of the night was the five-tiered cake that was roped off for viewing during the cocktail hour. “That was one of my important things because I love all cake baking shows,” Kerstin says. “It was really a masterpiece.”
Kerstin and Erik’s most cherished memory from their wedding, however, didn’t happen until after the guests bid them adieu through a tunnel of sparklers. “[From our hotel] we had a beautiful view of the lift bridge lit up and sparkling. We sat and talked through our favorite moments from the day,” Kerstin says. “Just to have that moment together and reflect back on the two years of work was really incredible.”
Boy and girl lived happily ever after.
Date: June 30, 2012
Ceremony: Old Main Park
Reception: Greysolon Ballroom
Bride’s Dress: The Wedding Shoppe
Bridesmaid Dresses: The Wedding Shoppe
Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Rings: Rogers & Hollands
Photographer: Laura Ivanova Photography
Flowers: A Day in Provence
Cake: Gateaux Inc.
Music/Entertainment: Urthema String Quartet, Kenny B Productions
Wedding Planner: Laura Mullen Event Design