Nicole and Matt’s Fun, DIY Wedding at a Minnesota Plant Nursery
Nicole and Matt are a sincere and funny couple - they’re both creative and funny, they love art and crafting things. I know Nicole from my time at St. Olaf College, and so was thrilled when she reached out about photographing her wedding to Matt! A few months back,I visited their home for an art consultation, like I do with most of my couples (learn more about the art design process), and I was amazed by how handmade, collected, and curated their home is. There is intention and story behind much of what they display, along with pictures of friends, family, adventures, and travels.
Their attention to detail and craftsmanship was not only evident in their home, but in so much of their wedding day as well. Nicole’s parents run a plant nursery and have a big beautiful property with flowers everywhere, and I love that they decided to have their wedding in their backyard. Nicole and Matt’s personal touches and DIY details for their day (from home-grown flowers from Nicole’s mom, to a hand-built bar made by Matt) helped the day feel incredibly special and true to them.
Getting ready at Nicole’s grandparent’s house
Nicole’s grandparents live across the street from her parents, and so Nicole got ready in their living room, getting her hair and makeup done with her wedding party. Fresh lilies of the valley from grandma’s yard were hand woven into her hair and made for a super sweet personalized detail. Her mom and grandma helped her into her dress before she went outside to share a first look with her wedding party - they had the best reactions!
Matt and his groomsmen had a relaxed and happy time getting ready. Each of his groomsmen was gifted a beer stein Matt crafted and turned himself, and I love the calm, happy vibes in these photos of them hanging out that morning.
First look, a surprise, and wedding party photos
I adore this picture of Nicole greeting her grandpa on the way to her first look! It was such a sweet moment and an honor to document.
Nicole wanted to do something unique to embrace her and Matt’s goofy and fun relationship, and she planned a surprise addition to her first look with Matt. She had been inspired by a viral video where a bride did a first look wearing an inflatable dinosaur costume! Nicole’s dress was pretty fluffy, and she didn’t want to try to get in and out of the costume with her dress, so a member of her wedding party stepped in to wear the dinosaur costume.
With Matt facing away, I walked up with Nicole and her friend Sara (wearing the dinosaur costume). I initially had Matt turn to his side so he could see only Sara. He turned around and started freaking out and laughing because he thought Nicole had done a remake of the viral dinosaur video - until he realized it wasn’t her! At that moment, Nicole walked up as he turned a little further and they shared a sweet, teary first look together after all the fun and laughter of the dinosaur surprise.
After some couple portraits, we took relaxed wedding party photos under lush green trees and left time for them to enjoy some down-time and a beer at the bar Matt had built before the ceremony started.
Ceremony in the summer sun
Nicole and Matt’s ceremony was super happy, sweet, and high-energy in a beautiful setting under the trees in the summer sun. Matt created the stunning wheel-shaped backdrop and worked with Nicole’s dad to build a bridge leading to their ceremony location. For their unity ceremony, they both poured whiskey into a wooden cask barrel to enjoy at an anniversary in the future. It was a ceremony filled with details that were so joyful and very them - including Matt’s groomsmen breaking out in a Prince song during their vows.
relaxed couple portraits after the ceremony
As guests moved into cocktail hour, we took portraits of Matt and Nicole alone walking through her parent’s woods. This time away allowed them a chance to catch their breath, take in each other, and bask in the fact that they were married for a moment.
Dinner and dancing on the property
In my experience, it can be super helpful to have a day-of coordinator at DIY or handmade weddings - especially if the wedding is at home and there is no event staff. Mary of Pure Event Planning + Design was Nicole and Matt’s day-of coordinator and an incredibly calm presence on their wedding day. She took care of making sure things happened as they were supposed to and handled any little problems that came up.
As dinner approached, everyone headed into the barn that had been beautifully decorated by Mary. Guests sat at long tables with wood slab chargers in front of them cut from trees on the property, holding napkins with pretty pieces of lavender tucked in with their silverware. Each table was lined with colorful centerpiece flowers planted by Nicole and her mom, and tiny donuts from Sleepy-V’s were enjoyed for dessert.
The rest of the evening was filled with dancing and lawn games and a lot of happiness. The black and white photo of Nicole’s grandparents on the dance floor is from a super special moment: Nicole and Matt’s wedding day was also their 62nd wedding anniversary, and to celebrate there was a dance just for them.
Right at sunset we walked outside onto a field for Nicole and Matt’s last portraits of the evening. These photos feel so loving and romantic - I love the mix of expansiveness and tenderness.
Nicole and Matt, thank you for the privilege of documenting your wedding. Seeing all of your intentional details and handmade masterpieces amidst your love was beautiful, and you had such an inspiring community surrounding you. I loved being your photographer and am so thankful we could work together - congratulations! <3