Jeanne + Brian | Casual Wedding Festival
When Jeanne and Brian got engaged in March of 2021, they quickly enlisted the help of The Wedding Guys to plan their dream wedding day. But they didn’t want just a basic celebration, they had their sights set on a “wedding festival” filled with a day of activities, music, friends, and family. So, we designed a sophisticated soiree with whimsical and garden-inspired details.
Both avid lovers of music, Jeanne, now retired, and Brian, a mortgage lender, met at a Stephen Marley concert. After the show, they began talking at the bar, “Brian bought me a drink and gave me his business card. He tried to get me to go get another drink with him, but I headed home. A couple of days later, we got together for drinks after work, where I introduced Brian to a work colleague,” the bride says. During this time, she introduced Brian as “Steve” to her colleague, and even though this left Jeanne blushing after he corrected her, they still hit it off.
The wedding festival weekend kicked off with a farm-to-table rehearsal dinner at the bride’s brother’s home in Wayzata. We created a long poolside community table topped with clean, simple linens and tableware. This neutral palette paired beautifully with unique vegetable and floral centerpieces from Summer Harsh Botanical Artistry. Chowgirls Catering provided a custom menu with fresh items such as sumac-roasted potatoes, harissa-roasted squash, and grilled bone-in chicken. Jeanne even surprised Brian with a groom’s cake honoring his favorite baseball team and love of music.
Following dinner, a select few guests checked in to their glamping tents on Lake Waconia to really immerse themselves in the festival experience. Pitched curated six luxury tents right in the bride’s parent’s and sister’s backyards.
PLANNING A WEDDING FESTIVAL
When searching for venues, Jeanne loved that Ashery Lane Farms had plenty of space for everyone to spread out and allowed us to create unique moments through the property. As 200+ guests arrived for a pre-ceremony happy hour, they enjoyed each other’s company, played lawn games, and were surprised by a live music jam session between the groom and his friends. Guests enjoyed delicious bites including fresh sushi and roasted pear and gorgonzola flatbread from D’Amico Catering.
The bride loved being able to interact with guests before the reception, “Brian and I were able to greet our guests and spend more time just hanging out with them in our casual attire. Then, just before the ceremony, we snuck away to get the wedding dress and suit on… just in time for a 5 pm ceremony.”
Jeanne wore a custom bridal gown with the help of her maid of honor, “My maid of honor has a background in clothing design and she found a work colleague that makes formal dresses so my wedding dress was a custom dress,” she explains. Jeanne and the designer met several times to talk style while the designer created samples before landing on the design. “Then I actually went to New York City for a vacation and purchased the silk, appliqués, and silk tulle there. The dress was one of a kind for a one-of-a-kind wedding festival.”
With a picturesque backdrop of grapevines, apple trees, and blue skies, we didn’t want to overdo the ceremony decor. We placed flowering white trees at varying heights at the entrance and along the wooden arbor for a bit of brightness and texture. Jeanne had her 14-year-old daughter walk her down the aisle as her father was not in good health to do so. She walked down the aisle to a song by one of her favorite artists, Laura Nyro, covered by a local soloist.
Their wedding officiant was a close friend of theirs and memorized the entire ceremony! “We worked with him throughout the summer and the final draft was brilliant,” said the bride. She describes this as her favorite moment of the day as the officiant spoke eloquently while she looked at her future husband. To honor their parents’ Catholic faith, the bride and groom chose to do a unique candle lighting ceremony using their own baptismal candles.
MODERN & WHIMSICAL DESIGN
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed champagne and oysters flown in from both the East and West Coasts. After the cocktail hour, they entered the Grand Barn on the property that was filled with bright floral and rustic details. When working with the florist, we chose to go with a palette of blues, Jeanne’s favorite color, and bright greens to match the season. Towering centerpieces filled the space with modern and refined wildflowers. The centerpieces flowed from the bridal bouquet that used O’Hara garden roses, blue thistle, spray roses, anemone, greenery, and others.
We worked with Jeanne, Brian, and their caterer throughout the summer to create a refined 4-course dinner with a proper wine pairing for each course. The amuse course was a trio of deviled quail eggs followed by a seasonal salad course of apple, manchego, and chive—fitting for the apple orchard location. The pasta course was a decadent combination of beef raviolo with lemon ricotta and aged balsamic. Finally, guests chose between herb-roasted chicken, sea bass, braised short ribs, or vegan “crab” cakes as their main course.
The wedding festival activities continued with a live band for the reception, “We had a band who hail from Madison WI, where we (Brian and I) met, that embodied the type of party we wanted for us and our guest. Both of us have a deep love for art of all types, and especially live music,” Jeanne explains. “The People Brother’s Band knocked it out of the park!”
The following morning, all of the wedding guests were invited to a post-wedding brunch hosted by Jeanne’s sister for everyone to reminisce about their amazing night.
As for wedding advice, Jeanne says it’s worth waiting for the right person, and to hire a planner, “I got engaged on March 21st and was married on August 21st. Not a lot of time — the only way to make it all happen was having Matt and his team. Not only did Matt plan a Wedding Festival, but also the rehearsal dinner and a brunch the day after the wedding!” She also advises to not be afraid to make things personal and be vulnerable.
They waited a little while to go on their honeymoon but then rented a quaint A-frame in the Chequamegon National Forest in the fall. With no wifi or cell service, Jeanne says they filled their time with “lots of reading, watching sunsets on the dock, canoeing, fishing, hiking, grouse hunting, and some cribbage playing. We saw an albino woodpecker and freshwater jellyfish! We took one road trip on a rainy day to Ashland (got some delicious smoked fish), stopping along the way at the Delta Diner, in Delta, WI. It was perfect.”
Vendors Cont. — Tent Rental: Après Event Dècor and Tent Rental | Hair & Makeup: A-list Bridal | Restroom Trailer: Biff’s | Pre-Ceremony Music: Gregg Hall | Ceremony Soloist & Pianist: Erin Schwab and Jay Fuchs | Band Production: Northern Sun Productions | DJ: Tim Moon | Parking Assistance: Unparalleled Parking | Glamping Tents: Pitched Minneapolis | Rehearsal Dinner Catering: Chowgirls Catering | Brunch Catering: French Meadow
All wedding day images by Robert Evans Studios