Being a British blog we don’t often feature stateside weddings, so when we do you know the wedding is going to be an absolute cracker. I’m so excited to share this wedding with you today- it’s so classy, elegant and full of beautiful and meaningful personalised touches. The light is crystal clear and full of stunning Autumnal colours and captured beautifully by photographers Crystal + Zoe.
Caitlin, a former interior designer and now wedding planner and stationery designer, and Dustin, a property manager and handyman married at the rather beautiful Summit Manor House in Minnesota on the 8th of October 2014, surrounded by family and friends. I am so in love with Caitlin’s amazing vintage dress- that incredible neckline, tiny waist and gorgeous fabric – it’s just beautiful, and even more fabulous because it was also her grandmother Patricia’s wedding dress, purchased in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota in the mid 1950’s.
“My grandmother wore her dress at her wedding in June 1954. She had recently passed away (just three months before our engagement), and she and my grandfather Charlie would have celebrated 60 years of marriage that year. Wearing her dress was a beautiful tribute to them, and it fit like a glove.”
Photography by Crystal + Zoe
“I had the dress professionally restored, but did not alter the dress, except to be fitted. I LOVE the dress’ neckline, and the shape of the waist was flattering to my figure. “
“I purchased a new fingertip-length blusher veil from Che Bella to modernize the look and omitted the fingerless lace gloves my grandma wore. My bridesmaids and I recreated a photo that my grandmother had taken with her bridesmaids getting ready as well.”
I lived in the historic district of Saint Paul for several years with roommates and my running route included the amazing Summit Avenue, which was named one of the “10 Great Streets” with the largest stretch of Victorian homes in the United States. I always saw Summit Manor House set up for weddings, or drove by while events were happening so when we got engaged, it was the first and only place we toured. We set the date for 6 months later!”
“I wanted our wedding to feel like a step back in time. The venue’s décor spoke for itself, so I added to it with some vintage rental items.
Centrepieces were comprised of vintage items rented from On Solid Ground– books, clocks and bottles with sprigs of fresh floral. The dessert table was filled with antique glass plates and vintage crates to build height and interest.”
“Our escort cards were written onto vintage library cards, then organised alphabetically in a vintage card catalogue and we filled the mantle with family wedding photos dating back to 1929. We even asked our guests to dress in vintage attire!”
As well as being a wedding planner, Caitlin runs her own stationery business – The Curly Quill, and so designed and made all of the wedding stationery herself.
“I designed and hand-typed every single piece of our invitations on a vintage typewriter. Each invitation was bundled in twine and sent in a calligraphed string and button envelope with a lovely assortment of postage stamps.”
The two lovely bridesmaids wore different dresses in different rich red shades from Jasmine Bridal purchased via Rush’s Bridal, Minneapolis, and absolutely perfect for the time of year as well as the classic Victorian theme. Each lady also wore a pearl necklace given to them as a gift on the morning of the wedding.
To accessorize, Caitlin wore the gorgeous ‘starla’ by Miz Mooz in a wonderful burnt orange shade (reminiscent of those orange walls that brought her and Dustin together perhaps?) with two bracelets and a pair of earrings from Chloe and Isabel as well as a vintage mink shrug which belonged to her great-aunt.
The couple met when Caitlin moved into an apartment complex where Dustin was working as part of the maintenance team. After a lot of scheming from the other staff to get them together they finally bonded over DIY- painting Caitlin’s living room bright orange- and got to know one another over pizza and beer before their first ‘proper’ date a few weeks later.
“Dustin and I had been dating a year and a half before he proposed. It was an ordinary Sunday night in March; Dustin came over to my apartment, acting jumpy and nervous, and immediately suggested turning on some Sinatra music to ‘brush up on our dancing skills’ as we had recently taken ballroom dance lessons with our local community education. Completely unknown to me, he had just come from dinner with my parents to ask their permission, and I had just come out of the shower – yes, wet hair, no makeup, and pyjamas. When our first dance ended, Dustin got down on his knee and promised his life to me.”
These gorgeous images are the work of Crystal + Zoe – a Minnesota based duo whose work I haven’t come across before. I’ll definitely be watching out for them in the future though. Like Caitlin I especially love the candid shots, as well as the focus on detail as well as the photos copied from the original 1950’s wedding pictures. Caitlin and Dustin were thrilled with their work.
“We loved Crystal and Zoe! They did an amazing job capturing all of the details. Some of my favourite photos were candid shots of our guests and the truly emotional moments.”
The wonderful flowers were the work of florists La Petite Fleur.
“I was adamant about the wedding being a ‘wedding in the fall’ not a ‘fall wedding’ and so I wanted the flowers to be full of texture and colour, but not typical fall florals. I loved my bouquet and my mom took it apart after our wedding and filled glass bulb Christmas ornaments with the dried petals and materials – such a special keepsake.”
Caitlin was walked down the stairs by her father, Bob, who just looks so proud and the ceremony took place on the grand staircase. They entered to ‘Rylynn’ by Andy McKee.
“My Dad and I stood at the top of the steps filled with emotions. We fought back tears and made the crowd and Dustin wait for at least 30 seconds after the song started!”
“During the ceremony, our friends and family stood below us, supporting us as we exchanged vows. It was an incredible experience to look out into a crowd of people that love us. In lieu of a unity candle, we decided on a tree planting ceremony; Dustin is an avid gardener and loves the outdoors. We placed soil from our respective childhood homes into our tree and watered it together. We pulled scripture about roots and created our own reading.”
I absolutely adore the idea of a tree planting- my husband and I did one as an extra thing the day after our wedding but I’ve never seen it actually incorporated into the ceremony itself. The couple wrote this part of the ceremony themselves, and the idea was to symbolize the roots of their relationship and the continued growth of their love as they become each other’s family on their wedding day. The soil symbolized the strong foundations each of their families gave them and the sun soil and water they would provide for the tree represented the encouragement, trust, and love required to nurture and nourish their connection and commitment to each other. So very lovely.
Part of the ceremony went as follows:
“The marriage of Caitlin and Dustin shall be like the trees of the forest; firmly rooted while reaching towards the light… skyward to the heavens, whispering to God their praises of gratitude for the gift of divine love and grace. Together their bond stands firm, yet bends and yields to gusts and gales in order to keep from breaking as their love endures all things. The roots grow deeper and the tree grows stronger; so shall it be with their love.”
“Our officiant surprised both of us when he announced “Caitlin, you may kiss your groom” – The whole room cracked up!”
For entertainment, our couple booked Gary LaRue from Ratpack Entertainment who both sang and later orchestrated the party music. The couple also played games with their guests and chose to do the famous ‘flower toss’.
“Gary was the best. He serenaded our guests during cocktails and dinner with all of the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin classics (the same songs we had learned to dance to), sang our first dances and then switched over to DJ for an awesome party.”
“The best part of the day was the once-in-a-lifetime experience to have all of the people in the world that we love all in one room – hands down the most incredible take-your-breath-away moment. The advice I give to any bride I encounter is to steal a moment away together to look around the room and soak it all in. The day goes too quickly!
We ended the night with the traditional bouquet toss and ‘The Shoe Game’ – where we answer questions like “who is a better cook?” with our own or our partner’s shoe raised in the air – our guest could see our answers but we could not see each other’s. Some of the guys spent the evening on the porch, enjoying a cocktail and a cigar and the rest of us danced the night away. We had “Time of Your Life” played as the last song, and Dustin and I did ‘The Lift’ from Dirty Dancing…”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Don’t feel pressure to have a lot of attendants. We only wanted two each, keeping it to siblings and each of our best friends (plus, we could only fit a couple of people on the staircase!). I still wanted my good girlfriends to be with me on the day of the wedding, so I invited them out to the salon if they wanted, out to lunch, and to be a part of the big moments (getting dressed, getting a peek of our first look).
Sometimes I feel like Father of the Bride gets forgotten about until it’s time to walk down the aisle. I had a special Father/Daughter ‘First Look’ and, with a nod to tradition, had him escort me out to Dustin for our own ‘First Look.’
At the start of planning, make a list of your top priorities separately and strive to incorporate as many of each other’s ‘must have’ wishes as possible; seek compromise on the minor details that you may disagree on.
Looking back, I wish we had hired an on-the-day wedding coordinator for things like setting some of the little details/decor, managing our running out of alcohol crisis, packing away cards and gifts and managing our venue coordinator. They were all things we dealt with on the wedding day, but it would have been nice to have never known about some of the issues that popped up.
Dustin’s advice is to have a solid plan, but expect the unexpected, keep smiling, and don’t dwell on it if something goes wrong.”
Thank you so much to Crystal + Zoe for sharing their gorgeous images, and of course to Caitlin and Dustin for sharing the details of your big day with us all. I hope your eighteen months of marriage have been as happy as your wedding day clearly was!
Is anyone else wearing an heirloom dress? Please get in touch and let us know!
Photographer – Crystal + Zoe
Venue –Summit Manor House, Minnesota
Wedding dress – Vintage family gown
Shoes – Miz Mooz – Starla
Accessories – Jewellery by Chloe & Isabel, vintage mink shrug
Scent- Caitlin: Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana; Dustin: Altitude by Victorinox Swiss Army
Bridesmaids – Jasmine Bridal via Rush’s Bridal, Minneapolis (styles B163023 & B163011)
Groom – Suit, Heimie’s Haberdashery
Hair and Makeup – Root Salons
Florist – La Petite Fleur
Cake – Cocoa & Fig
Rings – Caitlin, Shane Co., Minnetonka MN; Dustin, Arthur’s Jewelers, Roseville, MN
Stationery – The Curly Quill
Entertainment – Gary LaRue, Ratpack Entertainment
Decor hire- On Solid Ground