KJ and Kenny are two Midwesterners currently living in California, and when they became engaged, they knew that they wanted to marry in the groom’s hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The classic Detroit Lakes Country Club was the perfect (albeit only!) choice for their outdoor ceremony and tented reception, which fused their North Dakota and Minnesota roots with elegant details, such as a fabulous floral arch by Natalie of Native Poppy that served as the backdrop for their vows. Using local greenery foraged from the Detroit Lakes area and over 2,500 blooms, Natalie created gorgeous arrangements and a cascading bridal bouquet that is simply heavenly! Fun details honoring their home states, such as die-cut state invitations and escort cards and a Fargo-friendly hashtag–#youBlattcha (youbetcha, get it?)–make this Midwest destination wedding a favorite! We are head over heels for the beautiful images from Abby Anderson!
In their own words
How did you meet?
Kenny met KJ on Bumble when she had the audacity to swipe right. After hours of fun banter taunting one another about their respected college football teams over the world’s strongest margaritas, the two learned that they had grown up only two hours apart in Jamestown, North Dakota (KJ) and Callaway, Minnesota (Kenny). The list of things and people in common was astounding. KJ attended UND in Grand Forks, while Kenny attended NDSU in Fargo with many of KJ’s hometown friends. The couple that introduced KJ’s parents to one another at UND lived in Kenny’s hometown and were family friends of his. KJ and Kenny even spent two years in San Diego in the same areas never crossing paths before she moved north to Laguna Beach. After nearly 20 years not meeting one another while numerous aspects of their lives from friends to places and events were all intertwined, we’re happy to celebrate our special day with all of you. Thank goodness for modern technology!
What is your proposal story?
Claiming he knew from the very first date, Kenny proposed while the duo enjoyed a trip back to the Midwest to see family. After planning for more than a month, and making a secret trip ahead of time to ask KJ’s parents’ permission in person, the proposal was a go. As far as KJ knew, the plan was to spend a low key day together and then meet up with Kenny’s friends for dinner. Instead, he spent the day showering KJ with love notes ordered from her favorite stationery store. Each special note had a special meaning revealing how much she meant to him. In the afternoon, Kenny treated KJ to a trip to the hotel spa for a massage. On the way to dinner, he announced that it would only be the two of them for a romantic dinner at her favorite restaurant. After their meal, Kenny continued to surprise KJ with more sweet cards. He then whisked her away to another local restaurant, where he’d arranged for them to serve her favorite drink, pineapple-infused vodka. When they finally arrived back at their hotel room, Kenny still had more surprises in store. He had ordered 12 dozen white roses, KJ’s favorite, and had them arranged throughout the room. He then handed her a final love note to open, requesting it be read out loud. As she read his sweet words, Kenny got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. And then she said yes!
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important part of our wedding was that we were together and surrounded by our friends and family. Everything that went in to our wedding weekend was planned with the guests in mind. We skipped on a few rentals and stationery items to splurge on photography and video. In lieu of a guest book, we had a second photographer and a photo lounge set up so that every guest could have a professional photo taken with or without their guest or family. We compiled them into an amazing guestbook, while many of our guests used the images for their holiday cards or framed gifts for loved ones.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
We used the cake cutter that my parents used nearly 45 years prior at their wedding. It also was used by both my brother’s at their wedding. Instead of a unity candle lighting, we chose to have a monogrammed wine box, which we filled with a bottle of wine from the year we met (2016) and we each placed a love letter to the other in there before sealing it up. We plan to open it on our first anniversary. The bride’s veil was made using lace, beads, thread, and other parts of her Grandmother’s wedding gown. The bride also had her grandmother’s locket woven into her bouquet for the big day. In honor of those who had passed, calligraphies leaves were tied into the floral arch that we were married under.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Remember what is most important – you and your groom. Make sure to always be communicating and take nights away alone that aren’t dedicated to wedding planning. Weddings bring out emotions in family and friends you never knew they had. Be mindful of that. Also, while it’s kind to listen and take note of everyone’s thoughts and opinions, it’s your wedding day. Make sure you both stick to what’s important to you as a couple ahead of all else. Plan your budget in advance and stick to it, but pad your budget with 10% more just in case you need to splurge or something comes up. Make your guests feel welcome no matter what venue or style of event you have planned.