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hanna & kirk

married 9-3-2016

 

Swedish + Country Style

 

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A Wish Come True

by Laura Vietmeyer

 

Hanna and Kirk met in Milwaukee, began dating in Sweden and made a wish on their future in Port Washington. Two and a half years later, they were engaged in Sweden. With a love story spanning two continents, the pair was wed in Milwaukee’s Historic Pritzlaff Building before 300 guests. Their wish came true, and their journey as a family is just beginning.

 

Hanna and Kirk met at Taylor’s, a bar in Milwaukee. Both of their good friends forced them to go out that night. “Little did we know we would meet because of that. As soon as I saw Kirk I knew I had to talk to him, but I was really shy for some reason,” Hanna says. “My friend, Bryant, walked over to Kirk, asked if he was single and said, ‘Good, she’s into you.’”


The pair ended up talking for the next few hours, but Hanna thought it was bad timing, as she was going to Sweden for a month. It turned out Kirk was going to be there for a week as well, and they ended up having their first dates in Stockholm. They returned to Milwaukee on the same day and have been together ever since.  


After four months together, they went to a lantern release in Port Washington where they both made wishes. “I wished that she would be my wife and mother of my children,” Kirk says. They were on the same page. “We found out when he proposed that we wished for the same things!” Hanna says.  


Kirk planned to propose in Thailand when the couple was on vacation for Christmas, but fate presented an even better opportunity. Hanna planned a trip to Stockholm with her father the week prior to leaving for Thailand and was planning to see Lissie, her favorite musician (and Kirk’s childhood friend) in concert. “A short call with Lissie and a plane ticket sealed the deal. “I flew into Sweden days after she had left, snuck into the country and two days later popped up on stage during the concert,” Kirk says.


During the concert, Lissie introduced a song about her and Kirk’s hometown, and mentioned to the crowd that Kirk’s girlfriend was in the audience. “She called out to me and asked me to come on stage. I had no idea why but she’s my favorite singer so I just went!” Hanna recalls. “Lissie said that she needed one more person to help with the song and I looked off stage and saw Kirk! I had no idea that he was in Sweden and I immediately started crying. He gave the most beautiful proposal speech and then got down on one knee, in front of 500 people at the concert and pulled out a ring.” Her answer, of course, was “Yes.”


The couple then set about planning their Swedish, country-style wedding. Hanna notes that her friends in the industry, Denise Liles and Marina Mathieu-Kuhn, were very helpful in planning the big day, as well as online resources such as the The Knot and Pinterest. Fresh flowers were something the couple knew they had to have at their wedding, and they also decided they had to splurge on their photographer and videographer to capture all the important memories. Hanna adds that having a day-of coordinator was worth every penny.


Additionally, the couple’s tapped talented friends to help make the day even more special. “A good friend of ours, Ren Lenhof, custom designed the calligraphy and flower designs we used on our invitations and programs,” Hanna notes. “For my dog Maisey, I had a custom harness and leash made by our friend Rachel Luetzow.”


Despite some splurges, Kirk helped keep things on track budget-wise. “I made it well aware that I wanted to make sure we didn’t go into debt for the wedding,” he says. “My top priorities were food, drinks and music. Overall, I viewed it as a time to celebrate with all of our loved ones and many other details faded into the background for me.”


The couple also used lots of DIY elements to personalize the ceremony. “My bridesmaid, Hailey, helped me make all the ribbon wands used after the ceremony as well as the honey jars for the favors,” Hanna says. “My bridesmaid Jemmé helped make many adorable signs and décor, and my mom helped with homemade décor including signs, bathroom baskets and the vintage suitcase for cards.” Hanna’s maid of honor, her sister, was also indispensable in the planning process.


Hanna’s talented bridesmaids helped the couple plan the first dance, as well. “My bridesmaid Anneliece is a professional ballroom dance teacher in New York, and her and her dance partner created a beautiful routine for our first dance,” Hanna says. “And my other bridesmaid, May (also a professional ballroom teacher), helped teach us the routine in the months leading up to the wedding whenever she was in town.”


On the big day, Hanna walked down the aisle in a unique Yaki Ravid dress, which her friend Marina helped her pick out. “Since I have modeled dozens of wedding dresses I wanted to find something that no one has seen me in before, and I found that with a dress that actually didn’t even come out until this fall,” Hanna says. “The designer is Yaki Ravid and I just fell in love with the dress as soon as I put it on. I knew it was my dress. It seemed to be made for me.”


Hanna’s jewelry was custom made by her designer friend Renee Pawele, who also made a beautiful custom veil with cascading Swarovski crystals, to match the dress. She found her belt with the help of another friend in the industry, Cynthia Apfelbach, at Zita Bridal Salon. She followed the “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” tradition with her Swedish grandmother and great grandmothers’ wedding bands, borrowed family heirlooms that were tied to her bouquet and a new lace handkerchief from her grandma that was purchased in Italy. Her engagement ring was her something blue. “I already knew it, but she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Hanna was positively stunning and I know I’m a lucky man,” Kirk says.


Kirk and Hanna exchanged letters and gifts on their wedding day. “I gave Kirk some homemade cookies (his favorite treat), letters that I had written to him that he has to open on different dates, cuff links with Swedish coins on them, and some socks that said ‘H + K The perfect pair.,’” Hanna says. Kirk gave her diamond earrings and a tennis bracelet. He also have her an old portable cd player with a note on it that read “Play me.” “That was my favorite part because he had recorded a song that he had written and sang about our story of how we met and fell in love. I cried all my makeup off listening to it, it was so amazing!” Hanna recalls.  


At the beginning of the ceremony Kirk and Hanna had their guests pass around their wedding bands during the readings. Each guest was able to bless the rings and help them start their life together with love and happiness. “We wanted to write our own vows and we had one of our best friends, Vimal, marry us,” says Hanna of the other special elements added to the ceremony.
When asked about the humorous moments from the day, Hanna recalls, “Our flower girl and niece Madison thought that since she dropped the petals coming into the ceremony she had to pick them up as she left. he was holding up the rest of the people picking up each petal one by one. It was so cute!” Hanna also adds, “I think watching everyone’s awesome dance moves was the second funniest of the night. People really had a good time! “


Looking back, Hanna would advise brides not to throw out the invite list, addresses and notes on what gifts the guests gave. “Keep lists and get a wedding binder/app that helps keep payments, due dates, and every little detail in order so nothing is forgotten about.  There are so many details and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and overlook something.” Kirk says he would hire someone to help earlier in the planning process to balance the goals, desires and personalities of the family. “In the end, this wasn’t just about me and Hanna and the process involved many people with different visions.”  


Regarding marriage advice, Hanna says, “Always listen to your partner, say ‘I love you’ at least once everyday, and just be a good friend. It’s not always about being ‘head over heals’ in love, it’s about having a best friend to share everything in life with; the really romantic heart pounding times as well as the stressful, crying, tough times. I married my best friend and the love of my life — that is the key.”


Another piece of advice the couple offers it to take at least a few days off before leaving on your honeymoon. “It was so nice to hang out with some friends and family the day after the wedding, since we didn’t get much time with at the wedding,” Hanna says. Taking extra time allows you to decompress, catch up on sleep, and get organized.  


Looking to the future, the couple has a rough idea of what they hope things will look like. “In 10 years, probably three or four kids by then, just having a normal happy life together with our family. In 20 years, sending our kids off to college and traveling the world. And 50 years, hopefully sitting on our porch with our kids and grandkids visiting and  running around having a good time and just enjoying the life we built together.”


As for the immediate future, Hanna and Kirk are happy to announce that they are in the process of buying their first home and are expecting their first child June 2017!

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