Lauren & Matt: Local Love

Their September 2011 wedding celebrated the city where they fell in love.


When Lauren and Matt got married, they knew they wanted their wedding to be an intimate affair that celebrated the city where they fell in love.

And where else to honor a love that bloomed in Minneapolis than the Lyndale Park Annual and Perennial Gardens? “We wanted to get married in a place that was already a big part of our life, instead of a hotel we would never go back to,” Lauren says. The couple had already spent many of their date nights at Lake Harriet—going on walks or taking Matt’s sailboat out for a romantic spin—so holding the ceremony at the gardens seemed like a natural choice. 

Lauren moved around a lot as a child, but spent her formative years in Minneapolis. After her family relocated to Virginia, she knew she’d be back someday. When she finally returned in 2006, she fell in love with Minneapolis all over again. Little did she know, it would only be a matter of time until she’d also fall in love with Matt, after meeting at a mutual friend’s birthday party.

To prepare for their wedding, a friend helped Lauren create Minneapolis-themed gift bags for out-of-town guests, including a map of the city that pinpointed all the couple’s favorite restaurants and parks. “We wanted people to experience the city that we love, the way that we love it,” Lauren says.

In an untraditional move, the couple chose to be present as their guests arrived before the ceremony, handing them a cold Izze and inviting them to play lawn games. “All these people came to be with us from across the country,” Lauren recalls, “so we thought: let’s actually be with them and really bring everyone in. We didn’t want our wedding to be a performance that people came to, we wanted everyone to feel like they were a part of it.”

When it came time for the couple to say their “I Dos,” friends and family were treated to a heartfelt ceremony beside the gardens’ romantic Turtle Fountain. The bride and groom spoke to the importance of friends and family in sustaining a meaningful marriage. “At one point we just stood up there and said a few words about how we were getting married, but we still needed our community,” Lauren recalls. “We wanted them to be a part of our marriage with us.”

After the ceremony, the bride and groom sped off on a scooter—the perfect way for the newlyweds to steal a moment alone before heading to their reception at the Grand Café. “It felt like a dream sequence,” Matt says of their spin around Lake Harriet. “It was a beautiful day, so there were many people walking around the lake, wishing us well. I didn’t think much of the idea as we were making plans, but as it turns out, it gave us a much needed chance to have a moment alone together.”

The couple chose the Grand Café for their reception because it, too, is full of personal meaning for them. Matt had thrown Lauren a golden birthday bash at the venue a few years prior, and they both fell in love with its European ambiance and charm. “The restaurant is so authentic, and has history for us,” Matt says. “Its character just fit our style.”

In keeping with the restaurant’s French sidewalk café theme, Patty and The Buttons serenaded guests with accordion and violin music throughout the warm September night. The evening was topped off with cakes from Turtle Bread and vino hand-picked by the wine connoisseur couple themselves. Ultimately, Lauren and Matt wanted to treat their guests to a day that reflected not only their love for one another, but for the city that had sparked their romance. “More than anything, we wanted our wedding to feel like us,” Lauren says. “Very earnest and warm, with lots of laughter.”

Date: September 10, 2011
Ceremony: Lyndale Park Annual and Perennial Gardens
Reception: The Grand Café
Photography: Melissa Oholendt
Bride’s Dress: Che Bella
Hair & Make-up: Roots Salon
Groom’s Tux: Custom suit from Heimie’s Haberdashery
Flowers: Amelia Flowers
Invitations: Jovaney Hollingsworth (design)
Cakes: Turtle Bread
Ceremony & Reception Music: Patty and The Buttons
Rentals: Après Party and Tent Rental