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Minnesota has more than 10,000 lakes, so the odds that Britt Daugherty and Courtney Clemons would end up on the same one were, on the face of it, quite small. But on a July evening in 2012, Britt came home to find a tanned Aussie in yellow board shorts tying up a boat on her neighbor's dock. Britt immediately sensed a connection. "Something about him just felt really honest and familiar," she says. With a job in the agricultural industry, the Bunbury, Australia, native was traveling the United States for the summer, while Britt had come home from Boston on a break from her job at a nonprofit. He thought Britt was beautiful and fun, but out of his league. "I didn't know if I could run up there with the best of them," he laughs. Nonetheless, that night they went to a bar on the lake and bonded over a shared love of the outdoors. On the boat ride home, he kissed her under the stars.
They spent the next few weeks getting to know each other and then—realizing they were falling madly in love—moved into a cabin together for the rest of the summer. Over the next three years, their careers took them around the country, to Boston, Minneapolis (where Courtney proposed, on a lazy Sunday morning in March 2014), Washington State, and Kansas City, Kansas. It felt natural to return to Britt’s parents' house in Minnetonka, a suburb of Minneapolis, for the big day. Britt, a creative consultant, focused on the design—envisioning an elegant, intimate wedding with a bohemian air.
The night before their September 19, 2015, vows, all 80 guests—30 of them from Australia—met at a Scandinavian restaurant called the Bachelor Farmer, a nod to the bride's heritage (and, jokes Britt, "Courtney used to be a bachelor and a farmer"). The next evening, the two exchanged self-penned vows before a Zen Buddhist priest. After poolside cocktails, everyone headed to a tent on the lawn and dined on grass-fed beef tenderloin and tamales made from local corn. Later, the newlyweds danced to Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel," encircled by friends and family. "The love was palpable," Britt says. Afterward, they knew just where to go to relax: back to the nearby lake that had brought them together.
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Being that the wedding would be destination for most guests and a good amount of them would be traveling internationally, Britt and Courtney wanted something fun to get everyone excited about making the trip, while also giving them a feel for the celebrations that were to happen over the long weekend.
As children of the '80s, they landed on the viewfinder idea and thought it would be wonderfully nostalgic. On a visit home to Minneapolis, the couple went around with Britt's little brother and a 3-D camera to some favorite, iconic spots such as the Walker Art Center, the sculpture garden, the "yellow room" at the Guthrie theater, the Mill City Museum, the Mississippi river, and Hennepin Ave bridge with the Grain belt beer sign. Each photo has a phrase over it so when guests clicked though, it detailed that the couple was getting hitched and the general details of the event.
The viewfinders and slides were produced by Studio 3D and then packaged with a custom Kraft sticker by Jenna of Mon Voir, who also made a copper and charcoal letterpressed cotton card with a wild floral motif and a small letter letting guests know about the upcoming wedding, how honored the couple would be if they could attend, and their wedding website with further information.
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Britt's richly colored bouquet (made by Munster Rose) held white mink protea—native to Courtney's home country of Australia—and locally grown dahlias. It was a perfect accent to her Monique Lhuillier gown, which featured embroidered tulle sleeves and multiple types of lace adorned with subtle ivory beading.
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The couple's vows, which took place beneath an arch that featured olive branches, nandina, smilax, and garden roses, included a Buddhist wisdom water ceremony and a moment of mindfulness. Britt and Courtney wrote their vows together, making specific promises to each other that they'll come back to throughout their marriage to refresh and renew their intentions.
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Jeweler Caysie van Bebber designed Britt's recycled platinum wedding ring, a garland of vintage marquise diamonds; Courtney's simple white gold band was handmade by Dan Palmer of Ravens' Refuge. For the engagement ring, right, Courtney paired Britt's great-grandfather's diamond with an Art Deco sunburst setting from Brooklyn's Erie Basin.
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To mimic the stationery design, florist Jackie Reisenauer of Munster Rose created crescent-shaped wreaths of olive branches, ninebark, dinner plate dahlias, Queen Anne's lace, and blushing bride protea. Inspired by Dutch paintings, Britt says she "wanted the florals to feel like they were from another time but also foraged from the property."
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Getting Into The Swing of Things
Hydrangeas and vines from the property wove up a swing. Though it had rained all week—causing a bit of a panic—on the morning of the wedding, "it just opened up and was the most phenomenal, beautiful, Minnesota Indian summer day," says Britt.
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Each guest took home a small ceramic Sgraffito Spirit Eye dish made by Demetria Chappo. They were carved with crescent moons—fitting as both the bride and groom were born under crescent moons and the wedding look place under one as well—as well as the Roman numerals of the wedding date. Half were white and the others were dark teal. They were wrapped in gold-and-indigo marbled ribbon from Silk and Willow and calligraphed with a guest's name by Rosann Konieczny, before being placed at each person's seat at the dinner table. The couple uses their own for ring dishes (and a few extras as salt and pepper cellars on their dining table).
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Event planning, Sally Berry & Co.
Event production, Bungalow 6 Design
Creative direction, Lake Native
Catering, Fabulous Catering
Flowers and design, Munster Rose
Photography, Teneil Kable
Videography, Shark Pig Weddings
Officiant, Sosan Flynn
Invitations, Mon Voir
Day-of paper goods, Spark Letterpress
Day-of calligraphy, Rosann Konieczny Calligrapher
Cake, Cocoa & Fig
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Bride's engagement ring, Erie Basin
Bride's wedding ring, CvB Inspired Design
Bride's shoes, Oscar de la Renta
Bride's antique headpiece and groom's antique boutonniere, Polly McGeary
Hair, Haus Salon
Makeup, Nan Fletcher
Flower-girl dress and ring bearer's attire, Fleurisse & Léon
Groom's suit, Isaia
Groom's ring, Ravens' Refuge
Lighting of trees, Richfield Flowers and Events
Spirit-eye favors, Demetria Chappo Ceramics
Landscape architect, Edelweiss Design