Laura Barmore doesn’t remember who designed her wedding dress. She narrates her wedding day with a series of unexpected, touching moments shared with friends, family, and fiancé Dillon. The wedding’s wintery splendor receives the occasional mention, but it’s not the focus. The day is remembered and retold as a celebration of Laura and Dillon’s connection to each other, but also to the ones they love.
“Dillon and I love people,” Laura says. “We are both very close to our families, so we wanted our wedding to have a comforting feel.” Plans grew from this vision, from a dance-centric reception, to a moment during the ceremony where the couple paused to face and greet the friends and family who had come to celebrate their love on that special day.
“The wedding ceremony and reception literally felt like a fairytale to me,” Laura says. This fairytale experience, however, began one year earlier, with the proposal.
The couple first met in fall 2009 at a summer leadership camp for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire incoming freshmen. They found themselves communicating nonstop until move-in day, and by December were exclusive. The pair spent three years studying, attending hockey games (Dillon as a forward player, Laura as manager of the team), and taking Dillon’s motorcycle for country-road spins. In February 2013, Dillon whisked Laura off on what he termed a "romantic date"—a phrase that barely begins to describe the getaway he had arranged.
The "date" encompassed a weekend stay at the family lake cabin, which Dillon had decked out with lights, rose petals, and candles. Upon arriving, the two walked down a luminary path to the beach, serenaded by one of their favorite songs. By this point, Laura was entirely enchanted and a bit more than mildly curious about how he’d engineered all the details. The shore greeted them with a bonfire, blanket, and bottle of champagne, and there Dillon proposed. After Laura accepted, family members emerged from the woods to celebrate—and Dillon confessed they acted as the crew that turned his idea into reality.
Laura and Dillon consulted each other on nearly every decision, which vastly reduced the stress of planning the wedding. With the date set for Feb. 1, 2014, a frosted winter theme emerged, guiding the couple to choose the rustic Woods Chapel in Long Lake for the ceremony and Bayview Event Center on Lake Minnetonka for the reception. The couple shied away from Christmas colors, finding inspiration in blush pink, white birch, and pine cones. Laura’s creative side drew her to the design and decoration components, while Dillon dove into arranging the groomsmen attire and wedding soundtrack.
“Dillon and I had to keep reminding ourselves to enjoy these moments and decisions because this is unlike anything we will do again, and it is such an exciting time,” Laura says. Helping hands from friends and family enabled them to execute DIY projects, from invitations to the corsage and bouquet arrangements.
Laura received warnings of wedding day slip-ups from all angles. But the day arrived and sailed by without a single blemish. “I told myself it doesn’t matter; all that matters is that, at the end of the day, I will be married to my best friend,” she says. “But to my surprise everything went perfectly.”
She received another surprise when Dillon produced his guitar and sang a song he had written and composed just for her during the ceremony. Laura admitted to crying from first to final chord. “How could I not?” she says. “There was so much weight and meaning behind the song.”
The wedding party had done some composition of their own as well—although Laura was in on this one. At the reception, the newlyweds, bridesmaids, and groomsmen performed a wedding dance as they entered the building, a routine they had created and practiced just the evening before. The dance prompted an atmosphere of high energy that carried on throughout the wedding festivities. Showing off the fun, spontaneous side of their relationship, Dillon and Laura also devised a game that periodically called on guests to either tell a story about them or sing a song containing the word "love." The wedding party rated the performance or story with handheld scorecards, and then the couple would kiss—the higher the rating, the "better" the kiss. The game kept the whole room entertained. But it also gave each attendee a personal opportunity to share a moment with the bride and groom. And that’s just what Laura and Dillon hoped to achieve on their special day.
Date: February 1, 2014
Ceremony: The Woods Chapel
Reception: Bayview Event Center
Bride's Dress: Raffine Bridal & Formal Wear
Bridesmaid Dresses: Macy’s
Groom's Attire: JCPenney
Groomsmen Attire: JCPenney
Rings: Kesslers in Madison, Wis. (Laura's) and Becklund Jewelers in Eden Prairie (Dillon's)
Photographer: Janelle Elise Photography
Videographer: Andrew Jay Film
Invitations: Handmade with supplies and templates from the Paper Depot in Minneapolis. Laura designed the invites and text.
Caterer: Bayview Event Center
Transportation: Rene’s Royal Valet
Flowers: From Van’s, designed by a friend and arranged by the bridesmaids, mother, mother-in-law, and family friends.
Hair: Becca Schilling, a friend