Trolley rides and Scandinavian style define a Minnesota marriage

You can take the girl out of Minnesota, but you can't take Minnesota out of the girl. Though she moved to Boston after college, Mary Katherine Aspnes (known as Katie), 28, grew up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and she couldn't imagine marrying her fiancé, John Gaines, 29, anywhere else. So it was no surprise that Katie infused their August 27 wedding in her hometown of Minneapolis with lots of local flavor.

After an interfaith service at the Plymouth Congregational Church that honored Katie's Christian and John's Jewish roots, everyone took trolleys to the Mill City Museum, an old flour mill on the Mississippi River, for the reception. Says Katie: "All but a handful of our guests were from out of town, so we wanted to do something really different but that also celebrated Minnesota."

The menu featured specialties like fresh-caught walleye and wild rice cakes; tables were named after famous waters such as Lake of the Isles and Lake Minnewaska. As Katie's family, like so many Minnesotans, are of Norwegian descent, the wedding cake wasn't typical buttercream tiers, but a traditional Scandinavian creation called a kranskake, made with stacked cookies. But the miniature dessert bar was all-American, focusing on the couple's favorites: cheesecake, carrot cake, Key lime pie and chocolate-dipped fruit. The fun lasted long into the evening. "Everyone loved our band, Pizzazz. They played jazz and Motown and were so lively and fun that people didn't get off the dance floor the whole time," says the bride. "It was the best night of our lives!" –Nancy Mattia


Our Favorite Things

Good Grain: Since their reception was held at a mill, Katie and John used a wheat-sheaf motif on their invitations, menus and place cards. Her parents got creative and incorporated wheat sheaves in the cocktail table centerpieces.

It's Personal: The nod-to-nature letterpress wedding invitations were designed by the maid of honor's mother, a close family friend. She worked with handmade paper decorated with flowers from her own garden.

All Aboard: Four trolleys were hired to shepherd guests from their hotels to the wedding-day festivities and back again at night. "We didn't want people to worry about navigating a city they didn't know," says the considerate bride. Between the church service and reception, guests were treated to a mini tour of the city.

The couple used a wheat-sheaf motif on their invitations.

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