Schnieders-Marshall Wedding

8 08 2009

Most young girls start dreaming about their wedding at a young age, with visions of lace and cake on a perfect summer evening surrounded by family. As the years go by, the image of that perfect wedding shifts as elements are added and subtracted and the image of that perfect person waiting at the altar becomes clear. For Margaret, one of Renewing the Countryside’s program associates, and her new husband Chad, during the planning of their June wedding it became clear that the day she had always dreamed of would revolve largely around her surrounding communities to make her day an unforgettable one.

Wedding Party by Laura Ivanova

Working a career with a focus on making environmentally and locally conscious consumer decisions, Margaret had a large knowledge base to use to make her dream day come true. The wealth of information does not mean making decisions on each aspect of the wedding was simple, rather she found some elements to be unexpectedly difficult.

To start, Margaret selected her caterer, which she knew would be an essential decision for her expectations of her big day because the dinner was more important than the location. “We wanted it to be good food,” she said. “Whole food is important to us, and we knew dinner would be a big part of the wedding.” Because food was a focal point in the planning of the wedding, the couple needed to make sure they worked with a company with the same prospects.

Throughout the year at Renewing the Countryside, several cooking demonstrations are done to promote local food, which introduced Margaret to Good Life Catering, a company based out of the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis that creates local and seasonal menus for their customers. After having positive experiences working with Good Life Catering at those events, it seemed a clear and easy decision to make, so they selected their caterer before their venue.

hope butter by Brett OlsonUsing local food does not come at a small cost, but Margaret and Chad budgeted their wedding to incorporate local food because it was so important to both of them. They knew they couldn’t cut corners on local produce, what kind of butter they wanted (after many discussions they decided that it needed to be Hope Butter) and the diary products that they wanted used in their cake.

In addition to her working relationship with Good Life Catering introduced through Renewing the Countryside, Margaret also formed a strong relationship with Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables – so strong in fact that they donated all of the produce for the wedding reception. This generous gift offset the costs that they were facing in planning their wedding and allowed them to serve fresh, local ingredients for the dinner.

Good Life Catering Staff by Laura Ivanova

With the main course set, the next feat was selecting a cake and trying to make it as local as possible. Margaret met her pastry chef in an interesting and rather fitting way – at her bridal shower. In early November, her family flew in from all parts of the country to celebrate the engagement, where they visited the Midtown Global Market to do two different cooking demonstrations.

Nationally Cutting the Cake by Laura Ivanovaacclaimed pastry chef Michelle Gayer of the Salty Tart did one of the demonstrations and it seemed an instant fit for Margaret and her family. Margaret recalls that, “Michelle was hilarious, she was just so funny and the food was so delicious. My grandmother was there and she has a really strong personality and they just played off of each other.” So when Margaret and her parents discovered that Michelle was from the same small town in Iowa as her other grandmother, it sealed the deal.

Aside from making unforgettable pastries, the Salty Tart is known for incorporating local and seasonal ingredients, which increased the appeal of the company to Margaret. But when it comes to making wedding cakes, presentation typically takes weight over using local ingredients. Local ingredients often inflate the cost, which would turn most customers off. In meetings leading up to the wedding, Margaret and Chad decided they were comfortable increasing the cost of the cake to include local ingredients, a decision that they would not regret since most of their guests haven’t stopped raving about the cake a month later.

Another essential element to the dinner table were the flowers. Margaret and Chad ordered the flowers only a week before their big day, a technicality for freshness that would make most wedding planners’ heads spin. After looking in floral shops, it was clear that the couple wanted a more natural look than the pristine bouquets they were seeing, and were not comfortable spending more on flowers than more important components of their wedding. Brett Olson, creative director at Renewing the Countryside, referred Margaret to Der Thao from Der Flowers after seeing her flowers at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market and remembering how naturally remarkable they were. Though they were in contact for several months prior to the wedding, Der’s policy is that flower orders cannot be placed until a week before an event to ensure that the items requested are actually available.Flowers by Laura Ivanova

So, without fail, a week before her wedding Margaret and one of her bridesmaids ventured out to the Farmers’ Market with a list of items they needed to place their order. This required flexibility and avoiding the common pitfall of planning an entire wedding around a color scheme. Aside from having a breathtaking floral arrangement, Margaret was able to let someone else worry about the planning with confidence that it would be wonderful.

The local focus didn’t stop with dinner and flowers though, since there was still the wedding dress, invitations, welcome gifts and music to be considered. Even with her knowledge base of Minnesota products, some of these items were rather difficult to acquire. Margaret’s unconventional light blue wedding dress was custom made by a local designer that her aunt had noticed on her walks around the neighborhood, which surprisingly cost less than the least expensive dress that she had tried on in a bridal store. The dress was made by hand and though it wasn’t made from organic fabric like Margaret hoped, she knew that the person who created it got a fair price for her work and that it wasn’t made overseas.

Eco-friendly wedding invitations are not widely available outside of the West Coast, so Margaret created her own by asking Brett to make a design that they could print and create themselves, adding a personal touch to them. While wedding favors were not given out, welcome gifts were provided to the out of town visitors coming in for the wedding. Equal Exchange Tea and Ames Farm Single Source Honey packages were waiting for the guests with bottled water for them to share in their hotel room, using local products to welcome them to the Twin Cities. The band was a friend of a friend, bringing more of a community feel to the wedding through the bonds that they already had with one another.

Margaret’s dream wedding came true this June, using consumer principles that are not often seen or considered when planning for such a big day. When spending quite a bit of money on something you will remember forever, it is important to make sure you put your dollars in practices you really support. Margaret’s advice for people planning their future weddings is, “Make sure you know what you want and know how to ask the right questions.” By bringing together her personal and professional communities to celebrate her wedding, Margaret had a unique and unforgettable Minnesotan summer wedding.

Margaret and Chad by Laura Ivanova

To view more pictures of the Schnieder-Marshall Wedding, see the Flickr slideshow.

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One response

6 09 2009
Marry_tools

Tnx for nice blog. It’s really interesting, I’m continue to read your blog and waitning for your next posts =).

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