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 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