When it came time to settle on a location for their long-awaited nuptials, Megan and Justin knew there was no spot better than his childhood home. And with a family of makers and designers to help them plan the day, their backyard wedding turned into an elegant affair with a black and white palette guiding every detail. A Sunshine Moment captured the beauty and lucky for you it’s all waiting here!
From the Bride… Justin and I met in high school. We grew up in a small town, he was a senior and I was a freshman when we first met, so it was a big deal when we sparked a interest for one another. We both knew something was there between us, but we didn’t start dating until years later. Due to various life events (mainly in part to the fact that we were both so young and at very different stages of our lives at that point in time), Justin and I went our separate ways and had little to no contact for 3 years. Then one day, I got a random text message from him. As he would say, he couldn’t stop thinking about me and just decided to reach out to see if I would respond. Obviously fate has different intentions for us than we had expected. We began dating and the rest is history!
When Justin popped the question, we had been together for 6 years and both new we wanted to spend forever with each other, so of course I couldn’t respond “YES” quick enough. Justin proposed in a fairytale-like way. Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely LOVE the holiday season. It truly is my favorite time of year, so when Justin popped the question on New Years Eve 2011, it made perfect sense. Going to plays is one of our things we love to do together, so weeks in advance he had planned a date night for us to go see Cinderella at a local theater and grab dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the city. On the night of New Years Eve, 2011, we walked out of the play and it was snowing these huge, puffy, white gorgeous snowflakes, the sight was so beautiful it made me tear up – little did I know what was coming that would make me really cry. He asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the park that is across from the theater. The park had all the trees light up, dripping in gorgeous, sparkly white lights. We walked hand-in-hand, soaking up the beauty of the snow, loving that moment with each other…. And then Justin got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It was truly a magical moment.
When we began discussing the details of our big day, we considered everything from getting married on a mountain top in Vancouver to a Chateau in the French countryside, but after much deliberation (over a year) we landed on home, literally, Justin’s childhood home. Twenty acres of trees, rolling hills, and open grassland in a small town northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A place that encompasses our history, our present lives and our future! Home is where the heart is, and that is truly the case for us. Justin isn’t very emotional…yet, the thought of celebrating our marriage surrounded by family and friends where he grew up brought tears to his eyes. At that moment, we knew the Zwieg home is where we needed to make the day! The close relationships with our family and friends is what means the most to us, so we wanted all of our loved ones to be a part of our special day.
One of the biggest challenges of our wedding was that we finally solidified the date and location four months (Yes – FOUR MONTHS!) before we said I do at the Zwieg home! Needless to say it was a busy four months for everyone involved, especially because we did most everything as a family…thus, truly a “family affair!” Justin comes from a family of designers (Justin is an Art Director/Graphic Designer; his brother Jamison, is an Interior Designer; his Mom is a Designer, his dad isn’t a designer per se, but he can make or do just about anything.) It only seemed fitting that we put all of our brains together and decide to conquer this fete together. Justin and I’s big focus for the wedding was simple; we wanted it to be comfortable and welcoming for our guests, beautiful (in a tangible and intangible way) and we wanted it to feel like us, both as individuals and as a couple.
Our color palette was sophisticated with mostly black, white and silver with a little pop of pink for some fun! For us, everything is in the details, so every tiny aspect was planned out for very specific reasons. Justin designed our own personal crest, which we used throughout the wedding on large signs, coasters, and napkins. We plan to use this family crest for years to come! My mother-in-law planted all of the urns and outside arrangements, and made all of the bouquets. Our Mom’s and Justin’s siblings helped plan the entire wedding. My father-in-law had a rigorous mowing and watering schedule to ensure that the yard and plants were kept in impeccable condition throughout the heat of the summer.
My dad created the pergola structure where we got married underneath, cut all the wood slabs and loaned us his deer antlers for the nature element in the table centerpieces and throughout. My girlfriends helped me make the “Love is Sweet” sign on the dessert table and our table numbers. The guys all helped wrap the trees with white lights – dozens of trees! Justin’s high school friend was our officiant. My brother-in-law, Jamison, is an incredible designer and he took all of the pieces we imagined, and all of our desires and turned the location into a masterpiece. He set every table with help of family members, added his black crystal chandelier to the pergola to add flair…added some lamps to add ambiance and luxury to our head table…he cut the grass in a cross cut pattern to make sure it was perfect for our walk down the aisle…among so much of his design work. Jamison and I even went to Otten Brothers Nursery in Orono, MN (a family nursery on my Dad’s side) and were able to borrow dozens of trees and shrubs to add to our estate décor – wow! Everything, and I mean everything, about our wedding was done in four months and with the help of our families and friends.
Our big day was magical! We woke up to a beautiful, sunny, Minnesota summer day. The heat was on, not only temperature wise, but also getting everyone and everything ready for our 5pm event of our lifetimes. This past summer was one of the hottest summer in years. The girls got ready at my childhood home, while our families were rushing around at Justin’s childhood home getting everything setup and in place. The time flew by! Before we knew it, guests were arriving and it was show time. The energy was high, love was in the air and the emotions were a roller coaster ride – this was the day that Justin and I had been looking forward to for years. As the ceremony began, the sky went from bright and sunny to dark grey. It was mystical, ethereal – but not a drop of rain fell. We got through our very intimate ceremony, did the entire receiving line and once every last guest was seated and Justin and I walked into the tent to start the reception – with a strike of lighting and a crack of thunder, it started pouring rain. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect… it was a refreshing, summer evening rain that cooled the temperature down.
We weren’t interested in the typical banquet food, so we hired a caterer that came onsite and grilled everything outside. We served delicious, comfort food that everyone loves – angus burgers, chicken sandwiches and mac ‘n cheese for the main course and dessert was a local bakery’s delectable Tres Leche cake and my dad’s famous homemade chocolate chip cookies. Our wedding was a black tie event, but Justin and I are passionate about good food and wanted our guests to really enjoy their dinner. Our menu juxtaposed with black tie attire was the casual elegance that we wanted to accomplish on our wedding day. After dinner, our fathers, siblings’ and dearest friends gave the most touching speeches. Truly one of our most favorite moments of the evening. They were the longest, most thoughtful speeches I have ever experienced. There was not a dry eye in the house. After the speeches, we turned down the lights and danced the night away. Throughout the night the thousands of twinkle lights and bunches of tiki torches stayed light and sparkled all night. The rain added to the ambiance of the evening and according to an old fortune says that rain on your wedding day is good luck.
Our families and close-knit group of friends made everything come together perfectly. The day was an absolute dream come true. We couldn’t have asked for a better celebration to mark the next chapter of our lives together.
Photography: Kaia Calhoun, A Sunshine Moment | Bridesmaids Dresses: Mixed – Ladies’ Choice (Tahari, J.Crew, Eliza J., White House Black Market, Sangria) | Catering: Dehmer's | Makeup Artist: Jodi Favata | Officiant: Micah Blake | Art Director: Justin Zwieg, Vantage / Se7en | Bride’s Earrings : Erickson Beamon Chrysler Earrings From Rent The Runway | Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang From L'Atelier Couture | Bride’s Perfume: Flora By Gucci, Gorgeous Gardenia | Bride’s Ring: Designed By The Groom From Graham Jewelers | Bride’s Sash: Vera Wang From L'Atelier Couture | Bride’s Shoes: Glint Radiance From Nordstrom's | Cake - For The Guests: Cafe Latte | Cake - Specialty Vanilla Bride & Groom Cake : Crazi Coffee, Bakery, Flowers & Events | Cake Topper: Oh Dier Living | Chandeliers (outside): Jamison Zwieg Design Group | Event/Landscape/Exterior Design: Jamison Zwieg, Ron Zwieg, Nancy Zwieg And Nicole Daly - Jamison Zwieg Design Group | Floral Design (Exterior, Landscape And Bouquets): Nancy Zwieg, Jamison Zwieg Design Group | Florist (boutonnieres And Corsages): Candle Light Floral | Graphic Designer: Renee Rodgers, ReneeNicoleDesign | Graphic Designer: Justin Zwieg, Vantage / Se7en | Groomsmen Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Groom’s Ring: Graham Jewelers | Groom’s Shoes: Florsheim From Nordstrom’s | Groom’s Suit: Indochino | Groom’s Watch: Gucci | Hair Stylists: Renee Douville And Brenda From Hair By Hughes And Crew | Location: Private Residence | Musicians: Sara Jeddeloh And Anna Alvarez | Plants, Flowers And Shrubs: Otten Brother's Nursery | Tent, Linens & Chandeliers (in The Tent): Apres Party And Tent Rental | Wedding Planners: Our Families