Hadier Jassim and Mitch Riebow both disliked their neighbors in 2010—until they met at a party, hit it off, then realized they were each other’s neighbors. “We were both attending college at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota,” the couple shares. “We met at a Halloween party hosted by our mutual friend and learned that night that we were next-door neighbors in our apartment complex. It was funny because Hadier would always complain that the neighbors next to her were playing loud music, and Mitch and his roommates would always complain about how loud the neighbor girls were. It was actually funny when we met, because we felt like we had known one another for a while.”
It wasn’t until almost a decade later that they got engaged, and Hadier never saw it coming. “We went out to eat in downtown Minneapolis, but little did Hadier know that Mitch had planned this lunch for many months,” the couple says. She didn’t sense anything amiss; going out to lunch was a normal Saturday date for them. “After lunch, Mitch took Hadier to the iconic Stone Arch bridge for an afternoon walk. In the middle of their walk, Mitch noticed a white box with a piece of paper on it that said ‘Don’t touch.’ Hadier followed Mitch and insisted that he stop trying to open the box. She didn’t know the box was for her.”
Of course, he opened the box. Inside was an array of donuts spelling out: “Will You Marry Me?” “It was truly a sweet moment!” Hadier says. “Mitch’s family was there, incognito, taking pictures of the entire surprise.”
Wedding planning presented a roller coaster of emotions as the couple navigated evolving COVID restrictions. “We did not want to have a wedding that was going to jeopardize our guests and their health and safety,” they say. “It was hard to tackle that while trying to envision a wedding that we had dreamed and waited for so long to have.” Guiding them through it all was Gretchen Culver of Rocket Science Events.
The extra time the pandemic built into their planning schedule turned out to be a good thing as they honed in on their aesthetic. “We were very fortunate to work with Gretchen because she is truly a wedding magician,” Hadier says. “We met Gretchen toward the end of 2019, and the process of working with her was phenomenal. We went through several, and I truly mean several, design proposals and went back and forth on a ton of things.”
Despite one postponement and the worry of more, Hadier and Mitch were ultimately able to get married on an incredibly meaningful date: “Our wedding date was the day that Hadier’s parents immigrated to the United States,” the couple shares. “That day meant a lot to us because we know how much Hadier’s family sacrificed to be here.”
So on October 9, 2021, they said “I do” in front of 155 guests in Minneapolis. Read on to see the beautifully dramatic florals and design details, planned by planned by Rocket Science Events and photographed by Janelle Elise Photography.
The vision was “a colorful explosion of fall colors,” the couple shares. “We are very expressive people and wanted our personalities to come out in our decor. We got engaged in the fall, took engagement photos in the fall, and had our wedding in the fall—we truly wanted to embody the breathtaking colors of fall and did not want to skimp on that.” An invitation suite in a warm autumnal palette set the tone.
“My hair stylist and I decided on Hollywood waves, but modern,” the bride says of her beauty look for the day. “I have really long hair and have never cut it more than two or three inches at a time. Although it was a bit humid the day of the wedding, I loved the curl and wave it took with the weather elements.”
Mandy Baustert styled Hadier’s hair with a pair of botanical clips by Jay Kay Braids & Bridal, and Hadier complemented the look with Valentina earrings from Olive + Piper. For the ceremony, she added a chapel-length veil with a pearl and crystal border by Toni Federici—but for photos she let her hair shine.
Hadier wore mehndi applied by artists at Kahani Event & Design to honor her Middle Eastern heritage. The artwork also helped show off her Michael M sparkler: a 3.01-carat oval center diamond set on a platinum band with 116 round brilliant-cut diamonds. She finished off the look with a manicure. I had acrylic nails painted with a peachy polish color and small diamond gems on my ring finger,” she says. “My pinky finger had a glittery polish.”
The bride chose the designer, fabric, and color—Jenny Yoo velvet in dark berry—but let each of her eight bridesmaids choose the style that fit them best.
Groom Mitch wore a custom black velvet tuxedo from Suitsupply and opted for a deep purple paisley interior lining. “Our initials and our wedding date were stitched in gold inside his tuxedo jacket,” Hadier says. He finished the look with black velvet loafers. “He started the day with a haircut and beard trim from his barber of many of years; his barber is someone he has known since he was in high school, so it was really important for him to be a part of our day.”
Their first look was one of the couple’s most cherished memories. “There are not many words to describe how we both felt at that moment,” they share. “It was just the both of us—no one else—spending time with one another and talking about how wonderful this day has already been.”
“I wanted my makeup to look flawless and light, but I needed my eyes to make a statement on the big day,” Hadier says. “I used to hate my big brown eyes until I finally came to terms with myself that they are my most beautiful asset.”
Her makeup artist from Primped mixed dark and light shadows make the eyes pop. “I also love a bold lipstick, so I had a bit of a dark berry-meets-mauve lip. It was my favorite thing to play around with during my makeup trial, and my makeup artist created a beautiful color by mixing three or four different colors.” They topped it with gloss for a high-shine finish.
Hadier fell in love with the Pickford gown by Pronovias Privée at first sight. “I saw it online and immediately knew it was the one,” she remembers. “My biggest requests for my wedding dress was that it be long-sleeved, lacy, and beaded; this dress had it all and more. I didn’t have to try it on to know it was the one. Looking back, it was definitely a risk to take, but it was a risk I would take 100 times over. I really felt like a queen in the dress.”
Though she ultimately found her gown online, Hadier enjoyed the shopping process. “I asked my mom to come with me dress shopping in Minneapolis in March of 2020,” she says. “It was such a fun experience and I was so happy to have my mom present. I don’t have any sisters, so it was a really beautiful time for my mom and I to experience with one another.”
“We wanted to try a different type of floral design,” Hadier says. “I have always seen weddings with just roses or just greenery. I wanted something more inviting and captivating, so we had a plethora of different types of flower and colors: roses, orchids, dahlias, ranunculus, delphinium, anthurium, and, my favorite, pampas grass. Our florist painted palm leaves, asparagus fern, and a lot of unique foliage to create our color palette.” Her bridal bouquet was dramatic and colorful and tied with a raw silk burgundy ribbon. “Each of the bridesmaids carried petite posies that were all different and complemented my bouquet.”
“To be honest, there was no easy part of planning a wedding,” the couple shares. “And that’s why it was really the best day of our lives. It was so rewarding how much time and effort we all collectively put toward this wedding. We were very fortunate to have great vendors that truly put us at ease and never told us they couldn’t do something. They worked with our vision and created a magical spectacle.”
We are creating a beautiful masterpiece that will end with us being married—how awesome is that!
For that reason, they encourage other couples to stay excited about planning. “There are a lot of things that can muddle your happiness when planning a wedding—ours included COVID—but we prevailed,” they say. “However, be excited in every moment you have planning. You will never have this opportunity again and while it can look stressful, it is a beautiful moment you are creating between you and the person you truly admire and love. That is what kept us excited throughout. We would tell ourselves that in this moment, we are creating a beautiful masterpiece that will end with us being married—how awesome is that!”
The rest of the wedding party soon joined in for photos. “Mitch chose black suits for all of his groomsmen from The Black Tux,” Hadier says. “He wanted his crew to look clean and sleek.”
The bride’s three nephews acted as ring bearers, also donning black suits. “It was a special moment to have my nephews be ring bearers because I truly consider them my own children,” she says. “I have seen them grow into the most adorable human beings. They are very kind and honorable little guys. They mean everything to me, so it was extremely important for them to be a part of our day.”
“We picked Machine Shop because it was a beautiful blank canvas; we truly could make it into whatever color we wanted and the space was grand and elegant to design,” the couple shares of their venue. “We loved the high ceilings and grand windows that showcased the city we got engaged in. It was our only choice when looking at venues.” The space was ideal for both ceremony and reception, and featured an upstairs area for guests to sip cocktails while the room was flipped.
“The best part of the decor was the almost 60-foot undulating ceiling installation,” Hadier says. “Our venue had the perfect ceiling for a statement decor piece, and I have never seen anything like what we did. It was made up of predominantly dried floral elements. The colors were striking! In the day, it was almost technicolor. At night, the lighting made it more moody.”
“The blank slate venue allowed Gretchen to design something unique and personal to us,” the couple shares. “She collaborated with our florist to suggest this design and we could’ve never envisioned this look. We were so excited to see it come to life. The ceremony backdrop was stunning, almost 15 feet wide and seven feet tall. It was a colorful mix of painted dried and fresh flowers.” At the reception, it doubled as an epic photo backdrop.
Having everyone close to us witness our love together was a favorite moment.
The bride walked down the aisle with her father to “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele. At the end of the aisle, her dad stayed at the altar—he was also officiating. “It was his first time and he did phenomenal!” Hadier says. This made the ceremony was extra special for the couple. “Having everyone close to us witness our love together was a favorite moment,” the couple shares. “It took a long time for this to happen, and the people close to us know this and have supported us throughout it all.”
The couple exchanged wedding bands—hers featuring 100 round brilliant-cut diamonds set in platinum, his a custom 18-karat gold band engraved with their initials—and personal vows. “We wrote our own vows, which literally took months to create because we decided that every month we would sit down and talk about our vows and how much they meant to us.”
They processed out to “Before I Let Go” by Beyoncé. “We had recorded music brought by our DJ, and we had crafted the specific timestamps we wanted him to play,” the couple shares.
During cocktail hour, the ceremony space was transformed for a beautiful reception. “For centerpieces there was a mix of tall and low arrangements; lots of colorful fresh floral with dried and painted accents,” the couple shares. “The lighting was subtle. In addition to the lighting on the hanging installation, there was a natural wash on the backdrop and pinspotting on the tables.”
Round guest tables were covered in a rich mustard velvet. “I love gold, so Gretchen found gold flatware and an elegant glass and gold rim charger for the place settings,” Hadier says. “The napkin was a soft mauve and the menu slipped inside. The color palette and fall floral theme was beautiful."
“Our head table felt elegant and special,” says the bride. “It was in the center of the room underneath the ceiling installation; it made for stunning photos. The long wood farm table had a mustard velvet runner to tie in to the guest tables. Pink chairs made for the perfect pop! Gretchen also found the coolest blush and gold chargers.”
There was an array of desserts and a couple of signature cocktails, as well. “Mitch’s was an Old Fashioned because that was the first drink I saw him have when he turned 21,” Hadier says. Hers was a sparkling raspberry concoction: vodka, muddled raspberries, honey simple syrup, and fresh lemon, served over ice and topped with Prosecco.
“Of all things designed in this wedding, we spent a lot of time with the food menu,” Hadier says. “I take a lot of ‘notes’ from other weddings I attend. It sounds bad, but I truly never come back from a wedding and say, ‘Wow, that food was amazing.’ So that was our motivation designing and crafting our food menu. We wanted people to come back and say, ‘Wow, this was a delicious meal.’ I think we did that.”
On the menu? Sautéed farmhouse chicken, with Champagne sauce and dried fruit chutney, seared tenderloin with blue cheese fried Yukon potatoes, and vegan “crab” cakes with hearts of palm and chickpeas. Late night, guests got mini butter burgers with red-wine shallot butter, crispy chicken sliders with chili mayo, and garlic truffle fries. “We wanted guests to be fed well.”
“We cut our wedding cake with a sword that was brought from the Middle East, as that is a tradition in Middle Eastern weddings,” Hadier says. The four-tier design was dressed in on-theme burgundy and mauve buttercream and had a layer of fresh raspberries inside.
“Aside from designing the decor and crafting an awesome food menu, Mitch and I spent a lot of time figuring out what songs we wanted to include in the wedding and into the reception,” Hadier remembers. “We would spend weekends listening to 1,000 different songs and highlighting which ones we liked. It was a fun moment between us, highlighting our love for music.” Some top picks included “I Choose You” by Willie Hutch for the first dance, and “I’ll Be Around” by The Spinners for the mother-son dance.
The father-daughter dance was one of Hadier’s favorite memories, “Our DJ mixed 10 songs together and my dad and I made a dance to it,” she says. “The starting and ending song was ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder. It was a beautiful experience I still cry about!”
Venue Machine Shop
Wedding Planner Rocket Science Events
Bridal Gown Designer Pronovias
Bridal Salon The White Room
Bride’s Veil Toni Federici via Kinsley James
Bride’s Jewelry Olive + Piper
Bride’s Shoes Jimmy Choo
Bride’s Hair Mandy Baustert
Bride’s Makeup Primped
Bride’s Hair Accessory Jay Kay Braids & Bridal
Bride’s Henna Kahani Event & Design
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Jenny Yoo
Groom’s Attire Suitsupply
Groomsmen’s Attire The Black Tux
Ring Bearers’ Attire Men’s Wearhouse
Engagement Ring Michael M
Wedding Bands Michael M; Lashbrook
Floral Design Lilia Flower Boutique
Invitations Stylie Studios
Guest Book Velvet Raptor
Signage Stylie Studios
Music DJ Digie
Catering D’Amico Catering
Cake Farina Baking Company
Rentals BBJ La Tavola; Après Event Decor & Tent Rental; Collected & Co.; Girl Friday
Transportation Valley Limo & Coach
Accommodations Loews Minneapolis Hotel; Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel; The Depot
Photography Janelle Elise Photography
Videography Flom Films Wedding