Shannon Albright first met Ben Guill while out at a bar with some friends. "He's British, and I was immediately drawn to his accent," says Shannon. The initial attraction stuck and, nearly nine years later, Ben proposed to Shannon over dinner at home. "It was really sweet and private," she remembers.
When the pair started planning their August 23, 2013 wedding near Minneapolis, they sought out a venue that would let them have an intimate outdoor wedding, and found a family friend with a beautiful historic estate near Lake Minnetonka. They set to work planning a wedding on the lawn, inviting 80 guests to join them for a celebration al fresco.
When the couple first chose the venue, they knew there was some work to be done. "Our friend was restoring the home and grounds, so we had to put extreme trust in him to have everything ready in time," Shannon says. "Luckily he came through, and then some!"
The invitations set the scene with a watercolor flower motif that carried through to the reception.
To catch the waterfront breeze, Shannon chose a beaded chiffon gown by Jenny Packham and left her hair in loose waves, held back with an embellished headband. Her three bridesmaids wore mismatched dresses in soft pastel hues.
All the women carried soft bouquets of dinnerplate dahlias, garden roses, jasmine, and bush ivy. "I wanted something romantic and sophisticated without feeling too garden-y," the bride explains. The dahlias were a surprise from Shannon's florist, Jackie of Munster Rose. "Dinnerplate dahlias are hard to come by in Minnesota, so she grew them in her garden!"
Two flower girls wore crowns of rosebuds and tossed paper hearts instead of petals as they walked down the aisle. "Our officiant had the girls give Ben a fist-bump when they got to the end of the aisle. It gave them a target to aim for!" Shannon laughs.
Ben wore a light gray suit for the summer affair.
The ceremony took place on the lawn, with vintage gold lanterns and ribbons strung between two trees. Paper parasols gave guests some shade from the August sun. During the ceremony, Ben's sister sang an acoustic version of Adele's "Make You Feel My Love" as a friend of the groom played the guitar.
"I had a grand vision of one long, winding dinner table in the yard," says Shannon of the reception. The couple had to rent everything, from the furniture and the linens to plates, silverware, and sound equipment, to deck out the home for their celebration.
Escort cards were strung on strips of fabric and hung from trees near the table. Ben built stands to string cafe lights over the table.
Punchy hues of paprika and coral mixed in with softer blush and champagne. Shannon made the linen dip-dyed napkins that were placed at each guest's seat. The menu was a serious treat, featuring beef tenderloin, grilled salmon, and farmer's market pasta. "We hired a caterer who could custom-design the menu with us," says the bride. "Ben and I worked with them to create interpretations of some of our favorite recipes."
Instead of a cake, the couple served a selection of miniature sweets, like French macarons, mini flourless chocolate cakes, mini apple pies, and fresh fruit tarts. When the festivities wound down, the newlyweds and 25 friends headed to downtown Minneapolis for a second dance party on a rooftop bar. "The whole day felt easy and seamless," says the bride.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Estate || Bride's Wedding Dress & Headband: Jenny Packham || Shoes: Charles David || Jewelry: Nadri || Hair: Blowdry! || Makeup: MAC Cosmetics || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Attire: Heimie's Haberdashery || Wedding Bands: Robert Foote Jeweler, Exotic Wood Designs || Floral Design & Styling: Munster Rose || Invitations & Paper Goods: MaeMae & Co. || Music: Flow Event Group || Catering: Graham Catering || Desserts: Cocoa & Fig || Rentals: The Vintage Type, Ultimate Events || Photography: Canary Grey Photography
Did you love this bright wedding in Minnesota? Then watch another couple say "I do" surrounded by colorful flowers!