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MEMORABLE WEDDINGS –
Jennifer & Greg


A breathtaking view in a destination wedding like no other

A breathtaking view in a destination wedding like no other.

Text by Melanie Saxton    |    Photos by Renee North Photography

Jennifer Hennessey and Gregory Bremseth were introduced in June 2016 on Facebook, thanks to a matchmaking mutual friend (and future matron of honor). Jennifer lived in Texas, Greg was stationed in Alaska, but the miles were no barrier to true love! The couple wed on August 5, 2017 at the United Protestant Presbyterian Church in Palmer, Alaska, also known as “the church of a thousand trees.” Their reception at Elks Lodge in Wasilla drew family and friends from all over the United States.

Jennifer graduated from Lakeview Centennial High in Garland and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at University of Texas-Dallas. She attended Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated cum laude as a doctor of veterinary medicine. She is an ER veterinarian at Animal ER of Northwest Houston.

Greg graduated from Buffalo Senior High School in Minnesota and earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at the University of Minnesota. He is a sergeant major in the U.S. Army and Purple Heart recipient and is stationed at Fort Sam Houston after serving at the USARAK base in Alaska.

 

First Date  

Jennifer flew nine hours from Houston to Eagle River, Alaska to see Greg after six weeks of phone calls. Their first date lasted a week and they took in the sights at Eagle River, Homer and Willow.

 

The Proposal and Engagement

On Thanksgiving 2016, the pair visited Greg’s family’s farm in Minnesota. They shopped at the Mall of America and enjoyed dinner and wine before shuttling back to their airport hotel. It was their last night together before departing back to Texas and Alaska, and Greg proposed. Jennifer remembers Christmas songs playing as it snowed, like a scene out of a holiday movie.

 

Elopement

The couple eloped in Anchorage during Jennifer’s visit in January 2017. Four feet of snow covered the landscape and the temperature was 13 below zero. They were married at Greg’s house by dear friends Jeff and Vicky Swing in an intimate exchange of vows followed by cake and dinner. Then they began planning for their formal wedding ceremony and set a date in the summer when Alaskan temps are a more favorable 68 degrees.

 

The Wedding

The couple agreed on a monochromatic color palette of purple, as the groom is a Minnesota Vikings fan and the bride loves the color.

Floral and Décor: Bouquets and the boutonnieres were composed of Picasso calla lilies wrapped in purple ribbon. The unity candle was detailed in burlap and ivory lace. The couple’s formal military exit after their vows included a saber line with four army officers and the tradition of the saber swat to the bride’s rear with the announcement, “Welcome to the Army, Mrs. Bremseth!” The couple drove to the reception in their white ’65 Corvair Stingray with red dice hanging from the rear view mirror, the windows down and the mountains ahead.

Bridal Party: Officiant Tim Carrick performed the ceremony as matron of honor Amanda Foshee and man of honor Roger Zinn stood with bridesmaids Taylor Hen­nessey (the bride’s daughter) and Angela Bremseth (the groom’s daughter). Best man Dominic Soucie stood with groomsmen Jim Ricard and Jason Crow. Luke Hennessey (the bride’s 8-year-old son) served as ring bearer. Family members and bridesmaids were ushered by Army officers in dress blues.

Attire: The bride wore an ivory strapless Oleg Cassini ball gown with corset detailing, beaded Venice lace appliqués and a dramatic
layered ruffled skirt. Custom-made purple-dyed lace peep-toe heels by Ellie Wren, a tulle appliquéd Vera Wang cathedral veil, and a handmade gold necklace and earrings of pearl with Swarovski crystals by Maria LiOr from Lithuania completed the ensemble and served as her “something new.” A handkerchief and wedding band from the bride’s late grandmother, Elaine Battenfield, served as her “something old.” Her “something borrowed” was her matron of honor’s grandmother’s ring. Her “something blue” was a small stone gift from her daughter Taylor.

Bridesmaids wore lace, mesh and chiffon one-shoulder dresses in regency purple, wisteria and iris with illusion necklines. The man of honor wore a purple shirt with an eggplant array plaid bow-tie. The groom, being an active duty sergeant major, wore his U.S. Army dress blues including a professional Army service uniform coat and trousers, Hamilton-finish buttons, black neck tie, and appropriate enlisted insignia. Groomsmen wore grey suits, purple ties, ivory shirts and black shoes.

Top Wedding Moments: The family enjoyed a rehearsal dinner at The Grape Tap in Wasilla, and the next day the bride and her daughter prepared for the big moment during a hair and makeup session. The bride’s  son escorted her down the aisle in lieu of her parents, Connie and David Walls, who could not attend due to the long flight from Texas to Alaska… but not before a bee became entangled in her veil! The bride didn’t have a hand free to deal with the bee because the matron of honor left her bouquet with her, and ultimately the photographer’s assistant set the bee loose without anyone getting stung. The pastor teased the groom that the bride might have changed her mind due to the delay, but she finally walked toward the altar with two bouquets and watched her groom hug her son. The ceremony was tender, softspoken and full of smiles, and the pastor rang the church bell announcing their union as they exited for the saber line.

 

The Reception

The bride envisioned a classic, rustic celebration inspired by the Alaskan outdoors. She and her groom made their reception entrance to the song Crazy in Love by Beyoncé and went straight to the dance floor for their first dance to Marry Me by Train.

Floral and Décor: The hand-painted reception entry sign was designed from a custom wood crate. The entrance included a purple lace-covered table on which guests signed a burlap and ivory lace guest book. A variety of large ivory and purple hydrangeas and carnations complemented arrangements of Picasso calla lilies and ivory roses. A handmade drape of purple ribbon, ivory lace and burlap adorned one wall. A photo piece with images of the bride and groom was created from an old frame and chicken wire and sat on the gift table. Old license plates symbolized their journey from Minnesota and Texas to Alaska for the wedding. Handmade wall art stated, “Hey yall,” “Dontcha know” and “head over tuffies in the snow.”

Centerpieces were hand-cut from a birch log with an assortment of flowers and Mason jars wrapped with alternating hues of purple, ivory lace, burlap and ribbon. Some jars included little purple “B’s” or sewn flowers, while others held fresh flowers of ivory, lilac and dark purple carnations and large ivory hydrangeas. Small chalkboards were used for labels and designations including Reserved, and also to label the food items on the catering table. “Tuffy boot” jars sat on the sweetheart table. Toasting glasses and cake servers were from the Ukraine and detailed with fine ivory swirls and scrolls in a vintage look. As favors, guests received purple “Catch of a lifetime – Jenn & Greg” koozies.

The Cakes: The four-tiered cake resembled thick birch tree logs with a “J + G” carved in a heart on top. The top and mid layers were blueberry swirled and blueberry filled. The second layer was flavored in pink champagne and vanilla filled, and the bottom layer was flavored in chocolate raspberry and raspberry filled. Bride and groom moose topped the cake and a little wooden sign announced “The hunt is over.”

The groom’s square single-tiered cake was decorated in camouflage that sat atop of a Minnesota Vikings’ emblem. The cake was filled with raspberry and flavored in lemon raspberry to capture the team’s purple and yellow colors.

Top Reception Moments: The reception had several great moments. A groomsman and the matron of honor took over the dance floor, singing and jumping to Shipping off to Boston by Dropkick Murphys. The bride and her son joined in. The man of honor snapped candids of guests with photo booth props and guests uploaded pictures with the WedPics app to capture behind the scenes moments. Little toy soldiers were used as drink tokens at the open bar. The  top reception moment was likely when the best man, man of honor and matron of honor jumped off the deck – still in their wedding attire – into the lake outside the reception hall.

The Exit: Guests threw bird seed and blew bubbles from bottles labeled “Love is in the air.” The couple was so covered in bird seed that they left in their truck instead of their Corvair so it would stay clean.

 

The Honeymoon

They spent the following week in Alaska with their children Taylor, Luke, Angela and Owen and enjoyed hiking and exploring clear glacier-water rivers and Thunder­bird Falls. They toured a reindeer farm, and the bride’s children were interviewed by visiting Vietnamese journalists and spoke on camera about reindeer and Alaska. The family spent an entire day at Alyeska Ski Resort and took the aerial tram up 2,300 feet above sea level to bask in the scenic views of Girdwood and see mountain glaciers up close.

Just married! The wedding was absolutely glorious, according to the blissful couple.

Just married! The wedding was absolutely glorious, according to the blissful couple.

The bride’s daughter, who was also a bridesmaid, is ready to help put on her mother’s wedding veil

The bride’s daughter, who was also a bridesmaid, is ready to help put on her mother’s wedding veil.

The bride enters The Church of a Thousand Trees on a glorious summer day.

The bride enters The Church of a Thousand Trees on a glorious summer day.

Last-minute details: the bride gets help preparing for her walk down the aisle.

Last-minute details: the bride gets help preparing for her walk down the aisle.

A gold necklace of pearl with Swarovski crystals by Maria LiOr from Lithuania adorns the bride.

A gold necklace of pearl with Swarovski crystals by Maria LiOr from Lithuania adorns the bride.

Purple flair: the bride wore custom-made purple-dyed lace peep-toe heels by Ellie Wren.

Purple flair: the bride wore custom-made purple-dyed lace peep-toe heels by Ellie Wren.

The bride's hairstyle was a half up-do swept to the side with a rhinestone headpiece.

The bride’s hairstyle was a half up-do swept to the side with a rhinestone headpiece.

The bride’s bouquet consisted of Picasso calla lilies wrapped in purple ribbon.

The bride’s bouquet consisted of Picasso calla lilies wrapped in purple ribbon.

The bride’s stunning Oleg Cassini ball gown is backlit by a stained glass window.

The bride’s stunning Oleg Cassini ball gown is backlit by a stained glass window.

The perfect pair surrounded by their wedding attendants in a beautiful Alaskan setting.

The perfect pair surrounded by their wedding attendants in a beautiful Alaskan setting.

Officiant Tim Carrick unites Mr. and Mrs. Bremsmith in holy matrimony.

Officiant Tim Carrick unites Mr. and Mrs. Bremsmith in holy matrimony.

The couple kiss amidst a full military exit and saber line.

The couple kiss amidst a full military exit and saber line.

The matron of honor and man of honor take a selfie with the bride.

The matron of honor and man of honor take a selfie with the bride.

The joyous groom in full dress blues stands ready with the officiant and groomsmen.

The joyous groom in full dress blues stands ready with the officiant and groomsmen.

A peek into a chapel wonderland set in the heart of Palmer, Alaska.

A peek into a chapel wonderland set in the heart of Palmer, Alaska.

The beautiful bride and handsome groom pose after the ceremony.

The beautiful bride and handsome groom pose after the ceremony.

Burlap and lace centerpieces accented flowers in purple and cream hues.

Burlap and lace centerpieces accented flowers in purple and cream hues.

The hunt is over! A bride and groom moose topped the four-tiered cake.

The hunt is over! A bride and groom moose topped the four-tiered cake.

The bride and groom display their wedding bands.

The bride and groom display their wedding bands.

A unique collection of images was displayed on an old frame with chicken wire.

A unique collection of images was displayed on an old frame with chicken wire.

The cake sat on cut logs in keeping with the outdoor theme.

The cake sat on cut logs in keeping with the outdoor theme.

Guests and attendants took over the dance floor at the Elks Lodge in Wasilla

Guests and attendants took over the dance floor at the Elks Lodge in Wasilla

The bride, man of honor and matron of honor show off their moves on the dance floor.

The bride, man of honor and matron of honor show off their moves on the dance floor.

The couple drive to the reception in their ’65 Corvair Stingray with red dice hanging from the rear view mirror.

The couple drive to the reception in their ’65 Corvair Stingray with red dice hanging from the rear view mirror.


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