A Playful and Elegant Winter Wedding in Minneapolis

Molly and Sam

Liz Banfield

Seven years to the day before their wedding, Molly Sonsteng and Sam Utne first crossed paths with help from a friend who wanted to set them up. At first, Sam didn't want to meet Molly because he was moving to New York City (where the couple now reside). So the friend organized a casual happy hour instead of a one-on-one date, and Sam met Molly without realizing she was the girl intended for the initial blind date. The organic meeting turned romantic, she moved to the Big Apple the following year, he popped the question five years after that, and on January 4, 2014, their original meeting spot became the wedding venue, when they made things official.

The bride and groom worked together to dream up a creative, playful, and elegant soiree that celebrated the inescapable fact that January in Minnesota means it would be a white, wintry wedding.

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Inspired Invites

Yellow and Gray Wedding Invitations
Liz Banfield

Molly loves writing letters and sending cards, and the wedding invite was no exception. She penned the words, which were then letterpressed on white cardstock. The save-the-dates featured an illustration by Sam of a pair of giraffes—an animal both the bride and groom have an affinity for since they started seeing them everywhere early into their courtship.

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Welcome Bags

Liz Banfield

The soon-to-be-newlyweds gifted out-of-towners with gray paper bags rubber stamped with the same giraffe artwork from the save-the-dates. Inside were Minnesota staples—Old Dutch potato chips, Pearson's nut rolls, Pearson's nut goodies, and hand warmers—Bulleit bourbon (the couple's favorite), Runa tea (from a friend's company), ibuprofen, two clementines, and a gift certificate for an Uber car ride.

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The Fashions

Liz Banfield

Sam sported a custom three-piece suit by Freeman's Sporting Club and a pair of Belgian Shoes. Molly dazzled in a vintage-inspired Jenny Packham sheath from Gabriella New York Bridal Salon, and Jimmy Choo shoes.

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Vintage Flair

Liz Banfield

Molly went for a subtle 1920s look, adding earrings that are Sam's family heirlooms and a Jenny Packham headpiece to her ensemble.

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Elegant Jewelry

Liz Banfield

A pearl-and-diamond bracelet (another heirloom from Sam's family) offset the beading on the bridal gown. Molly's vintage engagement ring was found at Erie Basin.

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A Seasonal Bouquet

Liz Banfield

Mi Mi Design created the bridal bouquet of privet berry, ranunculus, lisianthus, eskimo roses, kumquats, camellia leaf, and phaeleonopsis orchids. It highlighted the color palette of mostly grays and whites, with a pop of navy and the orangey citrus, which was the actual starting point, since it signifies winter but adds brightness to the surroundings.

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Cold Weather Wardrobes

Liz Banfield

For their outdoor portraits, and to stave off the cold, Sam put on a Melinda Gloss overcoat and Molly slipped on a vintage fur.

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The Programs

Liz Banfield

Molly's handwriting graced the programs too, which were also letterpressed.

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The Ceremony

Bride and Groom at Ceremony Altar
Liz Banfield

The couple's friend performed the ceremony, which took place at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis. It included a reading of the lighthearted quote "We're all a little weird..." and an excerpt from Philip Glass' "Knee Play 5" from his final opera, Einstein on the Beach, which was played with the lights turned down and glowing candles all around. The couple exchanged vows they wrote using the theme of "I choose you."

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A Brisk Walk

Liz Banfield

Instead of a vintage car, the couple chose to hit the pavement from their ceremony venue to the reception, which was on the other side of their favorite park. "It was such a romantic idea," Molly said. "But in theory it was so cold that we had to rush in order to escape the freezing conditions."

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The Escort Cards

Liz Banfield

Molly wrote the escort cards and displayed them on a board set on a clear easel.

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The Guestbook

Liz Banfield

Attendees wrote well wishes for Molly and Sam in a handmade wood journal by Three Trees Bindery that was adorned with a customized brass nameplate.

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The Reception Room

Liz Banfield

Tables were covered with gray paper runners.

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Drawn With Love

Liz Banfield

Stockmar crayons in navy and white were set atop each place setting. "One of our favorite things to do is to come up with silly games, poems, and puzzles," Molly said. "We thought it would be a great way for guests to engage with one another during dinner and for them to write notes to us too." The couple cut out all of the sketches and writings as a keepsake for the day.

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The Reception Décor

Liz Banfield

Taper candles and arrangements of privet berry, kumquats, ranunculus, lisianthus, eskimo roses, lilies, and camellia leaves ran the length of the tables at Bar Lurcat. The venue was extra special, as it was where the couple first met.

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The Menus

Liz Banfield

The bride and groom collaborated on the menus, which were handwritten and illustrated and then letterpressed.

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The Dinner Menu

Liz Banfield

Dinner began with an apple, cheddar cheese, and chive salad, followed by a choice of miso sea bass, mushroom risotto, or beef tenderloin.

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The First Dance

Liz Banfield

At a going-away party for Sam before his move to New York, Molly sang him "Dream a Little Dream of Me" by the Mamas and the Papas. It's been their song ever since, making it a natural choice for their first dance song.

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Cozy Touches

Liz Banfield

The venue boasts an outdoor patio space, which the couple utilized. Bulb lights were hung overhead and a fire pit burned throughout the night. The cold temperatures prevented most people from experiencing the space for long periods of time, but for those who adventured out, hand warmers were readily available. Simple gray paper and orange twine dressed them up for the occasion.

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The Cake

Liz Banfield

The couple's friend Zoë François made the petite wedding confection, which was an orange blossom honey sponge cake with vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream, layered with kumquat-Champagne confit. Instead of serving it at the wedding, the couple saved it for the farewell brunch the following morning, and opted for a dessert course of small bites (blood orange ricotta cheesecake, chocolate passion fruit tart, and a lemon financier) during the wedding reception.

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The Favors

Liz Banfield

Red Wing Stoneware tulip mugs filled with a cellophane bag of homemade cookies went home with each guest. The baggies were tied with an orange string and a stamped tag noting the sweets' flavors (peanut butter and chocolate chip), their maker (Molly's mother), and that the mugs were made nearby (in Molly's birth place of Red Wing, Minnesota).

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Liz Banfield

Photography: Liz Banfield
Ceremony Location: The Woman's Club of Minneapolis
Reception Location and Catering: Bar Lurcat
Event Planning and Flowers: Mi Mi Design
Stationery Letterpress Printing: Lunalux
Cake: Zoë François
Rentals: Après Party and Tent Rental
Hair and Makeup: Jamie Duden of Rocco Altobelli
Transportation: Lorenz Bus Service, Inc.

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