Melanie & Andy: Puppy Love

September 24, 2011 — Graves 601 Hotel

  • Kelly Brown Photography
    Melanie and Andy were all smiles as they left Diamond Lake Lutheran Church.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    A bridesmaid’s classic navy frock from Flutter.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    The couple’s initials were spread throughout the reception.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    Sweets dotted with M and A in honor of the couple.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    The bride’s bouquet by Russell Toscano of Wisteria Design Studio.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    Votive holders matched the floral vases.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    The couple stole a brief moment alone together.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    The Bora Bora Blu drink in honor of their honeymoon.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    The pup that brought them back together was replicated on a tier of the cake.
  • Kelly Brown Photography
    Blue champagne bottles matched the theme of the wedding.

Melanie and Andy might not be together if it weren’t for a scruffy, tick-infested stray dog. After dating for more than three and a half years, the pair was on a several-month break (“He was sort of getting complacent . . . he needed a good shaking,” says Melanie) and wondering what the future held for them. The pivotal canine moment came in April 2010, when Melanie agreed to go up north to Andy’s Cross Lake cabin, the area where the two had first met and fallen in love in 2006.

During a bonfire at a friend’s house, a sweet homeless mini schnauzer mutt started cozying up to Melanie, who couldn’t resist. “The dog’s looking up at me, and I look at Andy and I’m like, ‘If you let me keep this dog, I’ll stay with you forever.’ And he goes, ‘Get the dog in the car!’”

The relationship moved forward fairly quickly once Baxter joined the family. Andy proposed to Melanie during a surprise trip to Duluth that fall, and shortly thereafter Melanie moved in with Andy. Once engaged, she wasted no time in lining up her “MVP team” of wedding vendors, starting with Kelly Brown on photography, Wisteria on flowers, and Gateaux on dessert.
Andy’s mother, Janet, also became a key part of the wedding team, helping to craft the vision of an “over-the-top but not obnoxious” event. “Janet and I have really similar tastes,” says Melanie. “It’s very elegant, clean, modern but not hard-edge; we wanted it to be very soft-romantic but not girly-romantic.”

Melanie’s dress captured that aesthetic well and became an event in itself, when Melanie’s mother, sister, and best friend joined Melanie and Janet on a dress-shopping trip to New York. At Manhattan’s Kleinfeld bridal store, Randy Fenoli of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress matched Melanie with a beautiful layered Monique Lhuillier dress she could easily say yes to.   

The aspect of the wedding that stood out more than any other, however, was the reception at the Graves 601 Hotel. Melanie chose her vendors carefully and then gave them free rein to pull off an intricate tableau of lighting, flowers, and décor that created a world of its own. As soon as the elevator doors opened, guests were greeted with a brilliant blue-lit wall with Melanie and Andrew’s names painted above white flower balls. The effect continued in the ballroom, which was filled with exquisite orchid bouquets, romantic blue light, and an undulating blue-lit ocean on the ceiling. “It was like the room surrounded you,” says Melanie. “I’d never seen anything like it.” Jokes Andy, “It was like a headlining rock show.”

The color scheme drew inspiration from the distinctive glass artwork in the Graves ballroom—a design that was also echoed in the wedding cake by Gateaux. It was here that Baxter, who played such an important role in the couple’s romance, made his wedding-day appearance, in a miniature sugar version made by the cake-maker (pictured: slide 9). “She had the detail down to his right ear—he’s got a right ear that kind of just flops, and she had gone to that extra detail. It was amazing,” says Andy. Adds Melanie, “He’s a huge part of our story and everything that we are now as a couple, and to have him in there was so cute.”

Other details left a distinctive mark as well, including the signature Bora Bora Blu drink (a nod to the couple’s upcoming honeymoon), the tasteful monogram that carried from the menus to the stir sticks to the buffet desserts, and the late-night after-party at Thom Pham’s downtown Caterpillar Lounge. “You know you’ve done everything right when your friends and family are wondering when we can do it again,” says Andy. 

Ceremony: Diamond Lake Lutheran Church • Reception: Graves 601 Hotel • Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Kleinfeld in New York • Bridesmaids’ dresses: Flutter Boutique • Groom’s attire/groomsmen’s attire: Savvi Formalwear • Catering: Graves 601 Hotel • Cake/dessert: Gateaux Inc. • Flowers/design: Russell Toscano of Wisteria Design Studio • Invitations: Watermark Stationery • Ceremony music: Tom Hinrichsen Bagpipe Associates • Reception music/lighting: Instant Request DJ Entertainment • Linens: Après Party and Tent Rental • Hair: Kim Erickson of Erickson Image Consultants • Makeup: Sarah Sponberg of MN Bridal Makeup • Videography: Princess Bride • Wedding planner: Anna Senrick of Fête Perfection • Honeymoon: Moorea and Bora Bora