This month’s bonus wedding is brought to you by Sara and Neal at the White bear lake Gazebo.
Well, it’s no secret that Earl and I adore micro weddings so getting to document Sara and Neal’s bonus micro wedding last week was pretty fantastic.
Starting with an in-home first look with dad, Sara anxiously waited for the drive to meet Neal at the Gazebo. I had the pleasure of riding in the car with Sara and her dad and overheard some adorable dad humor and banter between dad and daughter. I can only imagine what goofy joke he was telling her while he walked her down the grassy aisle to meet her fiancé.
Socially distancing, Sara and Neal had a few guests spread out on the lawn of the park. All eyes on Sara and Neal in the Minnesota heat, yep it can get hot here too, as they said their vows under the Summer sky. They even had a letter ceremony to which they wrote their future selves in 5 years all the warm and fuzzies they love about each other.
So naturally, after the amazing outdoor park ceremony at White Bear Lake, we had to go to Cup and Cone! For my favorite bridal party pass-time ever. An epic ice cream eating contest! You can literally feel the brain freeze poor Neal experienced as the bride Sara took the lead and finished first place. Alas, just another benefit of having a micro wedding or elopement with a few family and friends.
The reception was also to be small and in Sara’s parent’s backyard classic BBQ style- but that didn’t stop them from doing the bonus wedding cake cutting or bonus first dance! Twirling in her super fluffy and layered dress.
Great smiles and laughs all around are such a wonderful wedding day experience and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year even bigger!
Before the wedding we also asked them a few fun questions:
What are you most excited to look back on when seeing photos of the wedding day:
The look of awe on our faces when we first see each other. Seeing the love and laughter in the faces of our friends and families.
Tell us your story! How did you meet? Who asked who out?
We met online (Plenty of Fish). We originally matched, we can’t remember who started the conversation first, but Sara saw that Neal had an interest in hockey. Living in TX that is a rare thing to see so she made conversation about that. We are pretty sure that Neal suggested the first date. We went mini golfing (we still have the score card), then out for some appetizers. After this date, Neal went on a ten day hiking trip with his brother and dad out west. The entire time he was gone, we continued to hold good conversation. When he came back we went on our second date and the chemistry has continued ever since.
How did the proposal go?
We went hiking in Banff, Canada. I t was the last day for long hikes. On the way up the mountain we ran into one of Sara’s coworkers from TX we tried to convince the to do the same trail as us, but we ended up doing the trail alone. On the way up, we passed some smaller groups, as they were coming down. One couple told us to make sure we went to the very edge of the peak and look down, there we would be able to see the lakes at the different elevations that we had passed on the way up. When we got to the peak and looked down the view was breathtaking. After a small lunch of fruit and granola bars, Neal said he had brought something else from Houston with him. He hinted that it might be chocolate, from the freezer, but instead pulled out a box with a ring in it. At the top of Mount St. Piran, almost 3000 ft up, he asked Sara to marry him.
Now that they are wedding veterans, we asked them for some advice and favorite memories:
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
Wedding insurance is a thing (no, we never got it)
Read your contracts, know what is and is not in your contract (especially now that venues and vendors have added parts about pandemics)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, there were so many things we were confused on and wanted to double check. Our vendors were all great and helping us understand.
Be flexible, things change that you may have no control over. In the end, your wedding day is about YOUR marriage, not what everyone else wants.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Your wedding day is about a marriage to your partner in crime for the rest of your life, don’t let the opinions of everyone else deter you from what you and your other half want. There is no way to make everyone else happy, do what is going to make the two of you happy.
Even though we are dealing with COVID and have had to split our wedding into two parts, we have made the most of the situation, we are so happy that we got to do it this way. We were able to to celebrate with the ones we love and I think that we got more out of our wedding day knowing we aren’t worried about everyone else. We cannot wait to celebrate with more family and friends later.
We were so glad that we were able to keep it simple this year, it really reduced a lot of stress.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Ice Cream eating contest! Oh, and the actual marriage part was good too, I guess.
Neal saying “yes” instead of “I do”
Lastly, we want to thank all the awesome vendors that helped make the Bonus Wedding magic happen!