When I met Jenna & Ryan, I was absolutely ecstatic to hear about their wedding plans, because they are truly people after my own heart. I learned that these two were in the midst of planning a romantic, intimate wedding day on the middle of the Gunflint Lodge, and I was absolutely sold. Not only does their venue provide an absolutely perfect backdrop year-round, but I am (not so secretly) obsessed with the North Shore and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to work with these two. Jenna also spent a lot of time explaining to me that her dog Tanner was her baby and soulmate, and that having him and his fur-friends involved in the wedding day was extremely important to her. As a momma of two fur-babies, I understood exactly what Jenna meant - they really are our kids!
I was devastated to get a call from Jenna just a few days after their engagement photos (which Tanner was the star of, of course) to learn that he had crossed the rainbow bridge. Just because Tanner couldn't make a physical appearance during their big day, it was impossible to not feel him there! His bow-tie was part of Jenna's bouquet, his tag was sewn into her wedding dress, and he walked Jenna down the aisle in a beautiful wooden box with his collar shining bright. Watching friends and family share their stories of Tanner's impact on their lives was so much fun to watch, and although it was obvious that Ryan & Jenna missed him dearly, I believe he was watching them all day.
Ryan & Jenna made sure that their big day was truly representative of them! Their new pup Tabby was front and center (and starred as one of their flower-dogs), and the staff at Gunflint Lodge set up a meet & play with their sled team dogs for the newlyweds! Without question, one of the most emotional parts of the day was learning that the Lodge had made Tanner an honorary member of their sled dog team, and presented Jenna & Ryan with a tribute to him, including his new harness.
While there were lots of amazing parts to this wedding, the weather had to be one of the craziest factors! These two got three seasons in one, as we started with freezing rain in the morning, gorgeous sunshine in the afternoon, ten minutes of beautiful, heavy snowfall, and a sunset that was better than we could've imagined. I always warn brides not to get their hopes up when it comes to Minnesota weather - we never know if we will get a sunset, or snow, or rain, or wind - but these two must've done something right, because they got it all!
I don't think anything about the Connelly wedding could've been more perfect. This bridal party was one for the books - non-stop fun, so helpful, always smiling and laughing - exactly how it should be! The Lodge itself presented endless photo ops (including Jenna's dress hanging perfectly in her cabin - I mean, come on). Of course, these two adventurers were all for a snowy hike for some pictures, too - snowboots and all!
Most importantly, I have to mention the true love that these two have for one another. I mean, look at these first dance photos. My heart is just melting! I have loved getting to know these two over the last year, and seeing just how much they can lean on and depend on each other, during the good times and the bad times, is so inspiring. There were no dry eyes during their ceremony, or during their parents' speeches, which were so moving and sincere. One of the biggest perks of a more intimate wedding, in my opinion, is that you really are surrounded by your closest friends and family - and the love in the room is overwhelming!
Ryan & Jenna, I cannot thank you enough for inviting me to share in your wedding day. SO MUCH FUN, even while I was attempting to get my crappy rental truck un-stuck in the slushy ice. You two are such a perfect match, and I can't wait to watch as life takes you on so many more adventures as hubby and wife!
With so much love,
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Connelly! 3-15-2019 Grand Marais, MN