A Country-Chic Wedding on a Private Estate in Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Oriana Zens (29 and a graphic designer) and Adam Nelson (30 and in finance) hung out in high school, but they didn’t realize they had feelings for each other until they were in college. They dated long-distance (Adam was at Yale in Connecticut; Oriana was at the University of Wisconsin in Madison), broke up after college, then gave their relationship another try when he was in Denver, Colorado, and she was in St. Paul, Minnesota. “We finally both moved to Chicago, where we discovered that living in the same city was so much better than weekend visits and plane tickets,” she says. Chicago quickly became their city, yet Minnesota—where their families live—has special meaning to them both: It's where they grew up, it's where they met, and it's where Adam proposed. He went to great lengths to make the winter proposal memorable by setting up a tent on a frozen lake on his parents’ property (complete with cozy blankets and pillows, fancy hors d'oeuvres and a bottle of champagne inside; and a bonfire outside), then played along when Oriana wondered what the deal was with the tent on the lake. When the couple made it to the tent, Adam got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife, she said yes, and fireworks lit up the sky. Shortly afterward, family members showed up to help the couple celebrate. Fast-forward to that fall, and the couple were married at Oriana's childhood church and had their reception—for 450 guests—in a beautiful, newly built horse barn and riding arena overlooking the same lake where Adam had proposed nine months earlier. Oriana's great eye for design and sense of style helped transform the space into one exuding a country-chic vibe with a touch of sparkle and glam. A live band, horses, and a fireworks show and sparkler send-off provided entertainment throughout the evening. "Our wedding was the facility's first big reveal and will always be the first memory of the place," she says. "It's been special to relive that day every time we go home and every time we walk into that barn and arena." Plus, she adds, other than the special connection they have to the property, it was also the only facility within 60 miles that could accommodate all their guests. —Chrissy Sorenson