A Lush Garden Wedding at Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Julia “Connie” Milan (29 and a senior account manager) and Kent Gliadon (30 and owner of a landscape design company) knew of each other through mutual

Julia “Connie” Milan (29 and a senior account manager) and Kent Gliadon (30 and owner of a landscape design company) knew of each other through mutual friends but didn't meet until they were on the rooftop at Stella’s in Uptown Minneapolis. They hit it off, dated for six years and got engaged. When they started planning their wedding, Connie didn't know a lot about Minnesota venues. She wanted to get married outdoors, surrounded by trees, flowers and water, “but I never imagined what I would find at Nicollet Island Inn,” she says. After seeing photos of the Minneapolis venue online, “I knew right then I didn’t need to look any further,” Connie says. The couple went with a red and pink floral theme, fitting because Kent owns a landscape design company and Connie enjoys making succulent arrangements. Some unexpected elements included a nine-foot custom-built cedar arbor for the ceremony, 11-foot columnar birch trees brought inside the venue to carry the outdoors feeling indoors and a four-by-eight-foot flower wall doubling as a photo booth backdrop. (To save costs, they decorated with zinnias and hydrangeas grown in the their garden, along with Connie's parents' and the florist's gardens.) The cake featured gold-leaf effects, along with additional succulents, and the videographer created a same-day wedding video to share with guests. “Rob Kopp is such an incredibly talented videographer,” Connie says. “Artistic touches, combined with his eye for just the right angle and movement of the video, made our same-day edit better than I could have imagined.” Every guest received a special keepsake to remember the day—a three-inch succulent as a place card and a favor, lovingly made by the couple. Throughout the wedding-planning process, Connie and Kent never lost sight of the big picture. “Remember, at the end of the day, this is about you two joining your lives together and everyone else coming to share in the celebration,” Connie says. Try to savor it. “This day will go faster than you imagined.” —Chrissy Sorenson

Connie’s wedding dress was the third dress she tried on. “I didn’t think I would find my dress at the first place I visited,” she says. “I had an idea of what I wanted but later realized that I’m not sure anyone really knows what type of dress they’ll end up with until they try them on.” She fell in love with a simple, elegant and figure-flattering lace and bead Maggie Sottero fit-and-flare gown with a sweetheart neckline.
The boutonnieres and bridal bouquets featured succulents.
Connie gave Kent a pair of socks before the ceremony, "in case he got cold feet."
Both flower girls received personalized hankies to save as their something old for their own wedding day (long in the future). The sashes on their Etsy gowns were created from leftover fabric from the bridesmaid dress alterations.
Connie had succulents added to her bouquet for an unexpected twist.
After seeing Pinterest photos of an Australian wedding where the bridesmaids wore gorgeous watercolor print slip dresses, Connie searched high and low for a similar style for her 10 bridesmaids. Eventually, her brother’s fiancee sent her a picture of a gown in the newly released Jenny Yoo Vintage Floral 2016 Collection. Since the line had just launched, the dresses weren’t available yet, but Connie—who happened to be on a work trip in New York City during the designer’s trunk show—was able to see the dress in person, “fell in love with the print and style and that was all I needed.”
Connie and Kent had a decorated chalkboard sign encouraging guests to tag them on social media with a custom hashtag.
Connie and Kent exchanged vows under a canopy of bright, romantic flowers.
Connie’s custom cathedral-length veil was created by local tailor Louise Kegley. Connie was concerned that the veil would whip around during the outdoor ceremony, so she asked Louise if she could add some weight to it. She did—with tiny, delicate crystals.
“One thing I wanted was a lot of greenery,” Connie says. “We wanted to feel like we were in a lush garden, surrounded by bright florals, textures and beauty.” They found what they were looking for at Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Each guest received a three-inch succulent as a place card and a favor. Flat escort cards, custom-printed with each person’s name and table number in different ink colors (corresponding with their meal choice) were ordered from Etsy, then adhered to tiny green sticks and stuck in the soil. Connie spray-painted the containers gold, unpacked 280 bare root succulents, then repotted them all a week before the wedding to avoid watermarks on the containers. Kent and Connie planted and replanted the succulents a few times. “I knew this would be a lot of work but didn’t realize just how much work,” she says.
It made sense that flowers would take center stage at their wedding, especially with Kent owning a landscape design company and Connie having a side business of making succulent arrangements. After many meetings with florist Alex Lehr of Thistle Floral, complete with building mock-up hanging floral wreaths, they decided on a loose hanging wreath of greenery above the head table.
The couple hired wedding planner Nadia from Simply Elegant to help pull together the details. Connie, a self-described "control freak," says it was one of the smartest things she did.
Connie and Kent's first-dance song, “Forever and Ever Amen” by Randy Travis, was popular when they started dating. “It’s a bit corny but sentimental to us,” Connie says. “We would dance to it in my apartment.”
Two of Connie’s hobbies—creating gold-leaf effects and making succulent arrangements—were represented on the three-tier chocolate mudslide/vanilla lemon curd raspberry/chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cake through a hand-painted gold-leaf design.