Kerstin & Jacob’s Magical Prairie Wedding

Today’s wedding is a huge treat for me, because it is like no wedding I’ve ever seen. Kerstin and Jacob’s wedding is old fashioned in the very best sense of the word – handmade and thoughtful. The wedding leaps off the screen as joyful, vibrant, and full of love. It’s a wedding made by a community. Kerstin, take it away:
The scene: We had the wedding at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center which is about 5 miles from where I grew up in rural Minnesota. The Learning Center is a vast expanse of prairie and wooded area, with a couple of buildings for events. We had our ceremony outdoors (thank the universe that it was the only beautiful Saturday in September!) overlooking a field of native prairie (meaning it has never been mowed, plowed, etc. — it’s just the way Minnesota prairies used to be hundreds of years ago!). There were a lot of yellow jackets — my husband got stung – and a little gopher made his way under my skirt for one part of the ceremony! No one noticed but me and my sister, who was the maid of honor – but I thought it was pretty funny…
What made our wedding creative: Our wedding was creative because Jacob & I created it ourselves, from the heart, to reflect our personalities and our values. We literally started with a blank slate, and we made all of our decisions very intentionally – from the site, to the food, to the flatware (made out of corn, and the plates were out of sugarcane fiber!). We designed, printed, punched, and addressed the invitations, programs, and thank you cards together A dear friend of ours officiated the ceremony, and we worked with him a couple of weeks beforehand to nail down the casual ‘feel’ that we were going for, and the spiritual aspect as well. My mom made my dress. We decorated with things that we already owned. We registered with a local potter to make place settings and serving pieces for us – we were unsure of how this would go but it was a real hit! I also painted & wrote a Quaker Marriage Certificate that everyone signed after the ceremony rather than having a guestbook — which turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the day.
What made our wedding thrifty: I believe the whole thing came in under $3000. The site was a huge bargain (but don’t tell them that!), we got our flowers from a local garden owner who picked us two five gallon pails for cheap We got all of our food from Costco and a local fish market (an array of assorted smoked fish), I made our cakes and we also purchased truffles for a great price from a friend of my mom’s. Next to the site fee, the most expensive thing was the band, which was also a real bargain and did a bang-up job – who can beat live blue grass music at a prairie wedding!? We had a very talented friend take the photographs for us for just the cost of developing the black and white pictures. And, of course, my mom made my dress (which only ended up being $80 worth of fabric in the end — and a priceless amount of work), and my sister/maid of honor made all of the jewelry!What made our wedding sane: I think that having it in a setting that is most focused on nature helped to keep the whole day sane for me. The prairie, the colors, and just the open air allowed me to breathe and just take it all in. Our ‘wedding elves’ were all of our friends – and we could not have had such a perfect day without their tireless efforts. But – doing all of the work leading up to the ceremony (which wasn’t until 5:00 p.m.) really helped to take the pressure off – I had seen Jacob all day long as we went about our separate tasks, we had a fun moment after we both went to get ready and we saw each other for the first time in our wedding attire, but we were really able to relax and just enjoy the time with friends and family, and with each other. It also helped that we had the ‘groom’s dinner’ on Thursday night, then a potluck dinner on Friday, and the wedding on Saturday – so we had a lot of opportunities to connect with people, which was wonderful! It was great to have extra time with family and friends – who had come from all over the United States. After the wedding, we all went out to a nearby state park, had a campfire, sang songs, and danced in the moonlight.
A huge bottom of my heart thank you to both of you for sharing your day with us. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wedding quite like this one, and it melts my heart. This is what a wedding should be about. Here is wishing you many happy years together. May your wedding day be the start of a long adventure.

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  • Wow. Simply and stunningly beautiful. It looks like a truly meaningful and memorable day focused on all the important things. Thank you for sharing!

  • What an extraordinary wedding! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  • Excellent, and I love her dress story!

  • This is such a beautiful wedding. I love the location and her dress is so pretty :)

  • Gorgeous wedding. I’d love to find a location like that.

  • This is my dream wedding! Simple, creative, romantic and full of family, friends and love. I need to forward this to McG right away!

  • E

    Love it so much.

  • MWK

    Uh,so weird and fabulous! I read this website all the time, but I definitely know Kerstin (Jimbo), we worked together for a time and I knew all about this from the photographer friend! Thanks for featuring it on your site (and hey there Kerstin if you are reading this!)

  • I heart me a Quaker Marriage Certificate. Seriously. Heart.

    And how pretty to be in a big field. Mmmmmmm.

  • Love the back of that dress! So simple and yet elegant looking. goes so well with the style of the whole wedding.

  • What a great looking wedding. I love the Quaker marriage certificate. So cute.

  • what a gorgeous and thoughtful wedding. i love all the personal touches…and the “wedding elves” much like a “bridal brigade”! love the community effort weddings…

  • The prairie landscape is striking. Love the bee and gopher details of their ceremony! Congrats and thanks for sharing.

  • Growing up I adored Little House On The Prarie so to see a wedding in photos there is just gorgeous! Congratulations to the newlyweds- what a beautiful wedding!

  • Wow, what a seriously gorgeous dress. Your mother is very talented! Congratulations on a really beautiful wedding.

  • I agree that it is one of the most beautiful weddings! That’s the kind of meaning and feeling that I’d love to have at my own wedding. Just wonderful!

  • What a beautiful wedding–I just got married in July in Minnesota and also had a bluegrass band, and relaxed wedding…I wonder if it was the same band. :)

    Everything, and one, looks so relaxed and beautiful. Fab looking wedding.

  • Oh, how strange! My mom is also making my dress for my wedding in October and I swear it is the SAME dress! That is, if it came from a Vogue pattern… It turned out beautifully and so did your wedding. Love it! Congratulations on a simple and beautiful wedding put together by your loved ones.

  • This is such a beautiful, simple wedding. I loved that everyone signed the Quaker Marriage Certificate–how perfect!

  • Beautiful photos!

  • kerstin

    Jess, the dress is from a Vogue pattern! I absolutely loved it, and my mom said that it was really easy to work with… thanks for all of your wonderful comments ;)

  • I have been looking awhile for other Minnesota brides in the blogging world! Glad I found two in this post. I have two questions. First, what is the name of your bluegrass band and could you give me their number? Second, What exactaly does the quaker marriage certificate say? Thanks and congrats!

  • The Bluegrass band we used was called "The Flapjacks," and they are based in Minneapolis. I'm not sure what their number is. They are also known as "Lady Franklin." If you google the name Lady Franklin, minneapolis, you should find their site.

  • Stephanie

    What pattern was used for the dress? gorgeous!

  • J

    Wow. I’m planning my wedding and stumbled across this blog. All the handmade things and help from friends is just like my sister’s wedding in South Dakota was, and I hope how my wedding will be to. So meaningful!