A Modern Jewish Wedding at Minneapolis Central Library in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Even though Marisa Kowalsky (30 and a portfolio manager) and Dan Myers (30 and an optometrist) aren't natives of Minneapolis, Minnesota, they made sur

Even though Marisa Kowalsky (30 and a portfolio manager) and Dan Myers (30 and an optometrist) aren't natives of Minneapolis, Minnesota, they made sure to show their 200 guests the "sophisticated and natural vibes" of their adopted city before they said "I do." The pair kicked off their wedding weekend on Friday evening at home, with a wine-and-beer rooftop party for 90. The following day, Marisa's parents hosted a city tour and a visit to a local brewery for 180. Then on Sunday, Dan's parents rented a warehouse and treated all 200 guests to a variety of foods, from gelato to street food. "All these events gave us and our special guests time to spend time together over the course of the whole weekend, not just the few hours of the wedding," Marisa says. 

A simple-chic streak ran through the ceremony, which was held in Minneapolis Central Library's bright, airy atrium. Attendants took their seats on either side of a lily-lined aisle. "The theme of the wedding was whimsically elegant," Marisa says. "We wanted it to have clean lines to reflect the architecture of the library, but also be very organically lush." Garland, woven from olive branches, cascaded 30 feet from a wall. The olive branch symbolizes peace and unity in Judaism. In addition to their garland decor, Marisa and Dan signed a ketubah (the Jewish wedding contract), recited their vows under a flower-draped chuppah (the Jewish wedding canopy) and gave their guests gold-trimmed, personalized yarmulkes (the Jewish head covering). Marisa wisely swapped her glamorous metal cherry blossom high heels for a pair of sneakers before the hora (the Jewish chair dance) at the reception, which was also at the library. When their special night ended, Marisa and Dan relished their sparkler send-off on the library's steps. They then pedaled away, their rickshaw dangling tin cans and a "just married" sign from its bumper behind them. "People cheered us on as we rode through downtown," Marisa says. —Alexa Wybraniec

Dan surprised Marisa with his proposal. "We had just gotten back from a visit with my family and were sitting down to have some pizza and relax," Marisa says. "I opened the box to get a slice and found a ring box there. I was so happy and immediately got down on the floor to hug him. I still look at my ring almost every day. It reminds me how much Dan loves me and wants me to be happy," Marisa says.
"My mom told me from the beginning that she knew I was going to get a ball-gown-style dress," Marisa says. "It's what I always choose for special occasions." She ended up falling for a strapless, lacy A-line gown with a trail of buttons down its back. Some of the lace from the bottom of her dress was stitched onto her veil.
"My bouquet and my groom's boutonniere were both made up of lilies," Marisa says. "I loved the simple lines and how it flowed with the space."
"My shoes were some of the most beautiful ones I've ever owned," Marisa says. "They had metallic cherry blossoms going down the heels that covered the cream silk of the rest of the shoe." She also brought a pair of sneakers, which were a must-have for the reception.
Dan wore a bespoke black tuxedo with a cream-colored vest and bow tie. "As a gift to my husband, I got him Kansas University basketball recycled flooring cuff links," Marisa adds. "They were very special, since he is a huge Jayhawks fan."
"For my hair and makeup, I wanted to make sure I still looked like myself," Marisa says. "It was just a more glam version of my everyday look. I also had a beautiful metallic and crystal hair clip that was very difficult to find. I wanted something that was modern yet romantic."
All the signs and the menus featured the couple's custom-designed logo in navy and rose gold. Since their theme was "whimsical elegance," they opted for lots of clean lines to match the library's modern architecture.
Each guest received a program filled with information about Jewish wedding traditions, plus champagne flutes and personalized yarmulkes (the traditional Jewish head covering).
Marisa and Dan were married in the library's atrium, while their 200 guests sat on both sides of the lily- and garland-lined aisle.
Marisa and Dan stood under a chuppah (a traditional Jewish wedding canopy) made of birch wood and draped in asymmetrical blooms. The stage was raised, so no one strained to see.
Before the ceremony, Marisa and Dan had their close friends sign their ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract). "Afterward, we took shots of Slivovitz, a plum vodka, which is my family's tradition at holidays and special occasions," Marisa says.
Guests sipped on craft beers and enjoyed classic cocktails from the bar, which was illuminated with the couple's initials.
Since most of Marisa and Dan's guests were from out of town, the couple wanted the wedding weekend to show off the "sophisticated and natural vibes" of the Twin Cities. The pair's custom-designed logo was one of countless sleek features of their modern wedding.
A 30-foot-long garland hung down a wall and decorated the dinner tables. The garland was made from olive branches, which is believed to be a symbol of peace and unity in Judaism.
Circular menus, layered between the glass charger plate and the actual plate, dressed up place settings while saving space. Marisa and Dan treated their guests to a sit-down meal and then invited them to pick from desserts, including cookies, cake and ice cream.
Marisa and Dan's traditional four-tier cake was decorated in a rose gold color, ombre style. Fondant flowers flowed asymmetrically down one side. The groom's cake, also fondant, was molded into the shape of the Jayhawk, the University of Kansas mascot.
"The most important things for us were that everyone danced, drank and had a great time," Dan says. "It was also a high priority to have a great hora (a traditional Jewish dance), and that was very much accomplished with the help of our great band and strong guests."