They say birds of a feather flock together. For Laura and Craig, that idiom couldn’t be truer.
After a blind date with her co-worker’s brother, Laura knew Craig was the one. “We went for drinks, and ended up talking for hours,” Laura says. “The rest is history.”
And so much of their story is rooted in a history that extends beyond their courtship. After a year of dating, the couple moved into the house of Laura’s grandfather Ralph, who was 95 and in assisted living. Soon, they decided to buy it, a choice that Laura says surprised even herself. “I never thought I wanted to live in Richfield, it’s where I grew up,” she says. “But one day I turned to Craig and said, ‘You know, I really love this house.’”
It was in this house that Craig proposed—placing the engagement ring inside an empty toaster box on Black Friday. “We had lived in the house for more than a year and still didn’t have a toaster,” Laura laughs. “I didn’t catch on at first, until he insisted that I read the instructions inside the box. I picked it up and it was really light. Then I realized what was happening. But I was still shocked.”
Laura and Craig’s big day incorporated many memories of the years they had spent together and the support given to them from past generations. Every detail represented their love and the examples set before them. Their 18-month engagement gave them what Laura says felt like “all the time in the world” to collect their thoughts and craft unique elements, including Laura’s favorite detail: lit birdcage centerpieces—an idea she got from one of her earlier memories with Craig.
Laura fell in love with birdcages while falling in love with Craig at a Florence & The Machine concert. In their earlier dating days, the couple saw the band perform at the Minnesota Zoo. Laura loved the tall birdcage lamp Florence had on stage and knew she wanted that to be one of the focal pieces for her tables. Fortunately, she comes from a crafty family, so her mother got to work learning how to gut light bulbs (thanks to online tutorials) and replaced the electrical wiring with strands of battery-operated lights. Together, Laura and her mother devised a way to have them hanging inconspicuously inside several thrift-store birdcages.
To tie together the birdcage theme, Laura and a team of friends and family stamped aqua and coral birdcages onto nametags—keeping with the colors of their wedding—and handwrote all 200 guests’ names. Her father, also handy, found a way to tie each nametag to a large picture frame the couple found in Laura’s grandfather’s basement. It was just another way to represent their families in a special way.
“We always joke that we are never alone,” Laura says. “We love to be surrounded by people. Our families get along so well, and so do our friends. Here we were with this big collective of people, so we wanted to remember all the amazing people that came before us.” In addition to the birdcages, every dinner table was adorned with generational family wedding photos, dating as far back as the 1900's.
With so much love for each other and for the people that came to witness their marriage, Laura and Craig went out of their way to make sure everyone was comfortable and having fun. For the flower girls, Laura picked cotton dresses rather than a traditional style, which she says was too serious for them. She worked with Esty designer Brittany Chavers to create one-of-a-kind necklaces for her bridesmaids, and to lighten the mood between ceremony and reception the couple took their wedding party to the basement of W.A. Frost—the perfect spot for a St. Paul boy like Craig.
Ironically, they chose an inside location for photos in case the weather didn’t cooperate, but because it was a sunny day, they had the entire bar to themselves. The day was seamless, Laura recalls. Everyone had a great time, including her grandfather, the man who’s house her and Craig live in—and they snapped a photo to prove it.
“Everyone is so overjoyed when they see the picture,” Laura says. “He was such a big part of our life and it was so special that he was able to come to our wedding.”
Wedding Date: June 9, 2012
Ceremony/Reception: Church of the Assumption and Mendakota Country Club
Dress: WToo (of Watters), Macy's
Bridesmaids Dresses: The Wedding Shoppe
Groom's Attire: Elsworth Menswear
Groomsmen Attire: Elsworth Menswear
Rings: Ben’s Jewelry and Landmark Jewelers
Photographer: Jennifer Whalen Wedding Photography
Caterer: Mendakota Country Club
Cake: Buttercream Bakery
Flowers: Nancy Griemann, Richfield Floral & Gardens
Hair & Makeup: Brynn Soderlind (bride's only)
Music: Complete Music
First Dance Song: Otis Redding "That's How Strong My Love Is"