Melissa & Nick: Crafting Happiness

The couple and their families banded together to create the perfect day.


Some say love is blind. In Nick Ballard and Melissa Burggraff’s case, love was shy. Melissa warmly confesses that Nick was bashful when the two met in 2009 at a concert in the Twin Cities. Despite his demeanor, Nick was intrigued by Melissa right away. Within three months, the two became good friends and Nick eventually asked her out. Sharing dinner in Uptown at moto-i, followed by a trip to Bryant Lake Bowl for laughs and to break the ice, the date progressed well despite a few nervous moments.
“I liked him for a long time, but he was so shy," Melissa says of her loving beau. "On our first date when we were in the elevator, he couldn’t even look me in the eye. I found out later he was just nervous because he really liked me and wasn’t sure how I felt.” But once Nick felt comfortable around her, his personality shone through and she fell for him. His personality and sense of humor also won over Melissa’s mom and two sisters, who Melissa says adore him.
Their relationship continued to blossom with a trip to the North Shore about two years after their first date. At Nick’s request, they woke up early one morning to scout out Devil’s Kettle waterfall. And as they trekked through the rocky landscape and admired the waterfall, Nick stopped and nervously asked Melissa to marry him. She gushes that she could barely wait until he finished talking before she accepted.
That same enthusiasm kicked in during the wedding planning process. While some brides choose to hire a wedding coordinator to take care of all the details, Melissa and her crafty family wanted to carry out the details themselves. But planning a wedding is no simple task, so both sides of the family worked together to set up the couple’s dream outdoor ceremony at Melissa’s childhood home in Little Falls.
Looking back, Melissa says her special day could not have happened without the help of her family and close friends. “It was just this crew of us the whole summer working together to make this wedding beautiful," she says. "That's what I remember the most. I mean, the day was fun and perfect, but it was all about the experience of being together and working toward something that really made my experience so special.”
To achieve the shabby-chic ambience the couple desired, everyone contributed their own creativity and skills. “During the week, all the women would go to thrift stores to find treasures, and then on the weekend we would come together at my mom’s house—the wedding location—to work,” says Melissa. For brides trying for a shabby-chic or vintage wedding, Melissa advises that it helps to be open-minded: “A lot of our wedding décor was taking things that people wouldn’t expect and transforming them—we could see past what things were and made them into something else.”

Aside from going to thrift stores, the ladies also checked out T.J. Maxx/HomeGoods and estate sales, looking for items they could repurpose into wedding décor. The homemade bar used at the wedding was originally a $20 thrift store purchase that Melissa’s mom found. “My mom is so good with things like that," Melissa says. "She saw this headboard with shelves and knew it would be perfect as the bar for the wedding.” Revamping and repainting the headboard made it come to life. Melissa’s sister added the final touch by painting the message: "Ballards, Established 2012."
While the women were the creative geniuses gathering items and conceptualizing décor ideas, the groom, his father, and other family and friends worked hard to turn those ideas into something tangible. Outdoor weddings involve landscaping and building standard wedding fundamentals like gazebos and benches, and this wedding required all of the above from this dedicated team.

When the big day arrived, it was special for everyone in attendance since many of the guests helped create the day for Melissa and Nick. However, people weren’t the only ones involved in making the wedding memorable: beloved family poodle, Lil, was the unofficial flower girl. As Melissa’s personal attendant sprinkled flower petals, Lil—who was sporting a special ribbon collar for the occasion—happily pranced up and down the aisle next to her. The couple married beneath lush trees on a small island jutting out from the family’s lakeside yard.
The rest of the wedding went smoothly with guests mingling, eating, and dancing into the late evening, all under a canopy of trees and amid vintage-style homemade décor. The creativity extended to the guest gifts, which were personalized candles and bookmarks. Once the sun set, guests made a crackling fire, and shared drinks, s’mores, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Date: September 15, 2012
Ceremony/Reception: Melissa’s childhood home in Little Falls
Dress: Casablanca from Heartstrings Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom's Attire: Heartstrings Bridal 
Groomsmen Attire: Heartstrings Bridal
Rings: Jared
Photographer: Jennifer Jacobs of Kitestrings Photography 
Caterer: HomeStyle Catering
Cake: Coldspring Bakery
Flowers: Coborn’s Floral
Hair & Makeup: Fresh Hair Professionals 
Music: C J Promotions & Ramao Trio
First Dance Song: "I Want to Make You Feel Wanted" by Hunter Hayes