Leah + Brandon | Vintage Glam Wedding
Venue:Earl & Wilson
Planner + Florist:Ashley Skeie Events
Catering:Fork & Flair
Bridal Shop:Annika Bridal
Rentals:Botany Creative Works
Entertainment:Harmony DJ/Kernco Productions
In May of 2022, one lucky couple received a call that engaged couples can only dream of. Leah and Brandon of South Saint Paul were selected as the random winners of The Wedding Guys’ $10K Wedding Giveaway contest and were given a $10,000 check to use for their dream wedding! A year and a half later, the couple held the most beautiful celebration for their family and friends and we have a look into their day and how they used their bonus cash. To read how the couple met and the story of their romantic engagement, check out this article.
On October 21, 2023, exactly seven years after Leah and Brandon first met at a Kesha concert, the couple held a gorgeous wedding day in the heart of St. Paul for 180 of their loved ones. An industrial backdrop met with vintage elements and a color palette of black, white, navy, dark teal, and baby blue set the stage for their celebration.
The couple toured many venues, but when they toured “the one” something just felt right, “We toured several venues, some more modern and bright, and some more traditional,” says the bride. “When we walked into Earl & Wilson, something happened in both of our minds that made us picture our day so clearly and we knew that it was the perfect space for us!”
Their top priority was to have a packed dance floor and to feel at ease throughout the day, and they knew having a stellar team of professionals was crucial, “We wanted to make sure that we prioritized a vendor team that would make that happen so after booking our venue we chose our photographer, DJ, and day-of coordinator first,” Leah shares.
Having an extra $10K to add to the budget didn’t hurt, either! With their extra cash, Leah knew exactly what she was going to use it for. “Disco balls! We had the coolest installation over our dance floor thanks to Botany Creative Works and had a ton of mini disco balls placed around the space that we purchased from Facebook Marketplace. I also was able to get my dream dress, and we were able to spend more on a DJ – which was MORE than worth it!”
Historic and beautiful on its own, the couple knew the venue didn’t call for an abundance of décor, but still wanted to infuse their vision into the space. “We chose classic black and white elements mixed with some romantic and whimsical floral to help set the tone for the day. We incorporated our colors with table runners, printed signs, and our party favors but did so sparingly as to not take away from the space,” says Leah of planning the design.
As Leah searched for her dream dress, she was a bit unsure of what she was looking for at the beginning. “Every dress I saved on Pinterest had a different vibe – ballgowns, fit-n-flares, 3-D lace, plain satin; the list goes on,” she says. Like many of today’s brides, she went to TikTok for inspiration. There, she found a gown she could not get off of her mind, but the designer didn’t sell their dresses at any stores in Minnesota…yet. To her surprise, the stars aligned at a local bridal boutique. “Within a month or two, Annika Bridal announced a trunk show with the designer and I knew I had to try it! I tried four other dresses on at that appointment but as soon as I put on that gown, I knew that it had to be mine.”
Brandon, on the other hand, knew he wanted a navy tuxedo with a black satin collar from the start. He also knew that this would also be the color of the groomsmen’s looks as well. They found the perfect suit at a local formalwear store, “Milbern was fantastic to work with from selecting the best option for our party to making the most minor adjustments for Brandon’s suit to fit perfectly,” the bride gushes
Leah and Brandon’s wedding party was filled with people who were important throughout their lives. “My maid of honor was my sister, and bridesmaids were close friends of mine that I met in college or through Brandon,” Leah shares. “Brandon’s Best Man was his best friend since elementary school, and groomsmen were longtime friends from his childhood and college days.” They also had their siblings play the role of the ushers.
Bridesmaids looked absolutely gorgeous in dark teal gowns. “I wanted everyone in the same silhouette and color, and with a couple of pregnant bridesmaids that meant making sure that we found a style that could work with a growing baby bump,” Leah says of her wedding party attire. “Jenny Yoo’s crepe material is SO stretchy and worked perfectly for everyone! I want to take one of theirs for myself – it is a great formal event dress.”
An increasingly common trend that we love to see is couples sharing a private first look and vow reading, and Leah and Brandon did just that. Both of them share that this was their favorite moment of the day. “Seeing each other for the first time and reading our vows was enough to make any other worry for the day vanish.”
Following the first look, family and friends gathered for a sentimental ceremony at the venue led by Leah’s pastor whom she has known nearly her entire life. For their unity ceremony, they included a shared hobby of theirs. “Anyone who knows me knows that I know too much about wine for my own good – and Brandon has grown to appreciate it over the past several years. We decided to create a time capsule for our unity ceremony by cellaring a bottle of our favorite wine in a box with some mementos from our day,” the bride says.
Guests then moved into the reception where they enjoyed delectable bites from Fork & Flair. For cocktail hour, guests raved about the passed mac and cheese bites and red pepper jelly canapes. And as for dinner, “WE had a braised beef roast, chicken with pesto cream sauce, and a vegan ratatouille with quinoa. All three were delicious,” Leah shares. For dessert, an array of bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes were quickly devoured.
Not a lot of people know, but the music we chose for our day was all music that was important to us as a couple. The song I walked down the aisle to is from our favorite re-watch show, New Girl, our reception entrance song was Kesha, which we met at her concert – everything was selected as something meaningful to us.
Loved ones danced the night away under the disco balls and all of the couple’s hard work planning a spectacular day paid off. And a few lucky guests walked away with a memento, “During our dance, in lieu of a garter toss we decided to do a t-shirt toss! We had 10 custom-printed shirts that we threw into the crowd to a few lucky winners. It was a huge hit!”
If you are currently planning, Leah has some sage advice that we 100% agree with, “Prioritize the vendors that will make your wedding day vision shine, and don’t sweat the small stuff! Things will go wrong, or not go the way you planned, but what matters is that you are marrying your person. And assign someone to make sure you eat food and drink water on your wedding day!”
The newlyweds just got back from a dreamy honeymoon in Hawaii. “It was the trip of a lifetime – exactly what we pictured our honeymoon to be. We did the first half on Maui and the second on Hawaii,” they share. “The coolest part was a nighttime snorkel to see Manta Rays, but we also had a great time enjoying time by the water and eating really great food!”
Vendors Cont. — Dessert: Nothing Bundt Cakes | Stationery: Truly Engaging | Wedding Party Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids, Jenny Yoo | Beauty: Primped artists Kimmy and Alison | Rings: Shane Co. | Videography: Dillon Ray | Bartending: Liquid Motion
All images by Sarah Newhouse