Maribeth & Erik: A Winter Wedding in Her Iowa Hometown

One afternoon in May, Erik called Maribeth to ask her to meet him after work. He'd be taking them to dinner at Grimaldi's -- a pizza place under the Brooklyn Bridge -- one of their all-time favorites. Since it was such a beautiful day, Maribeth (much to Erik's delight) suggested they walk across the Brooklyn Bridge instead of taking the subway. "Erik was acting very strange," she remembers. "He wouldn't let go of my hand on the bridge. The next thing I knew, he was down on one knee. I don't remember all the details, but I remember saying 'yes' over and over again. He then told me we weren't going to have pizza. We had other plans."

They headed to Maribeth's Brooklyn apartment where Erik had flowers and wine waiting. After watching the sunset from the rooftop, he told his new fiance to dress nicely for dinner. A car picked them up and took them to The River Cafe, where they dined at a table overlooking the entire Manhattan skyline. "I was so giddy," says Maribeth. "I kept telling everyone we had just gotten engaged...the waiter, the bartender, and the coat-check girl -- it was a spectacular evening. Absolutely perfect!"

THE BRIDE Maribeth Brown, photo editor at The Knot
THE GROOM Erik Romslo, an NYU law student
THE DATE November 23
THE SCENE The ceremony was at St. Patrick's Irish Settlement in Cumming; the reception was held at the historic Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines

Since they're both from the Midwest -- she is from Iowa, he is from Minnesota -- they knew they wanted to leave New York City and return home for their wedding. Though the majority of the planning took place from New York, Maribeth used her wedding connections as well as her artistic ability (and love of arts and crafts) to ease the long-distance planning process.

To complement her gown, Maribeth made her own fingertip-length veil, and she created a clip for the veil from her mother's silver baby bracelet. Her three attendants, dressed in cranberry-color outfits, all wore jewelry and carried handbags made by the bride.

Maribeth also created the save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menu cards, place cards, escort cards, and a guest information packet -- five vintage Iowa postcards crafted into a postcard booklet featuring information about the weekend wedding and fun facts about Iowa. And though all the bouquets were from a local florist, each arrangement included miniature pinecones from the pine tree in her parents' front yard.

On the afternoon of the wedding, guests traveled a country road to the small country Catholic church situated on a hill where two pinecone wreaths hung from the doors. Since Erik grew up Lutheran and Maribeth was raised Catholic, they married in a ceremony officiated by his family Lutheran minister from Minnesota and Maribeth's family friend, a Catholic deacon. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a recessional was led by a bagpiper in honor of Maribeth's Irish/Scottish heritage.

The reception venue reverberated with romance. With five rows of long narrow tables for the guests, dinner became an intimate affair. Earlier that day, her closest friends helped decorate the tables, adorning them with navy chiffon tablecloths laid over white linens, tall glass vases on round mirrors filled with bare willow branches, and lots of votive candles wrapped in navy and cranberry sheer ribbons.

Since Maribeth and Erik met in astronomy class while they were studying abroad in Rome, Italy, the celebration was a fusion of a celestial theme with Italian flair: Tables were named after constellations and the menu included primi (always a pasta) and secondi (a meat or fish) dishes. Even the favors -- Italian Baci chocolates, whose wrappers are silver with tiny navy stars -- perfectly suited the theme. In addition to a very classic wedding cake decorated with miniature pears, crab apples, and bay leaves, the couples offered guests an assortment of Italian desserts. They also served a kransekage, a Norwegian wedding cake, made by the groom's mother in honor of Erik's heritage.

Maribeth and Erik's first dance to "Now Touch the Air Softly," by Peter Mayer, a Minnesota musician, was performed by two of her high school friends. One of those men surprised the bride when, during the toasts, he sang another song he had written for the newlyweds. Then, in keeping with the celestial theme, the bride's best friend gave a short-but-sweet speech: "Mari has always sparkled, but with you, Erik, she sparkles even brighter."

The rest of the evening remained festive and warm. The band, The Soul Searchers, played very danceable rockabilly, swing, and blues. "They were amazing," says Maribeth. "People of all ages were grooving 'til the very end of the evening. The band had such energy and was so much fun."

-- Allison Micarelli
Photography © Elizabeth Grubb and Chantelle Hartman

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see right-hand column of this page.

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