When Kristin Medley first met Ben Hendrickson – an officer in the United States Armed Forces – at a mutual friend's wedding on the St. Croix River, she felt an immediate connection. Though he left the next day to return home to Colorado, the couple reunited two years later when Ben moved back to Minnesota and had the same chemistry. "We have been together in love ever since," shares Kristin. When the time was right, Ben proposed while on orders at Pearl Harbor. "I remember feeling so complete and content. Most of all, I felt lucky," says the bride of the moment when her groom proposed. "I found him... the soulmate that all girls dream about. I found him and he loves me as much as I love him."
Since the groom was deployed during most of the wedding-planning process, Kristin found help in her mother, friends, and wedding planner. Taking the deployment harder than expected, coupled with a few hardships at home during the Minnesota winter, Kristin was losing hope that her wedding would ever come to fruition – until one special day that she'll always remember. Kristin was thrilled to receive the news that she and Ben had been nominated by her wedding planner and selected to be the deserving military couple who would receive their dream wedding, free of cost, from The Fairy Godmother Project.
"We got a wedding... a wedding to share with our family and our closest friends," explains the bride. "My dream of proclaiming my love for this man in front of our biggest supporters came true. I could not be more honored or more grateful. [It was] an absolute, magical dream come true." The bride shared her vision of having a "winter glam" wedding with her planner and the founder of the annual project (also her photographer), and the vendors involved donated their time and resources to ensure the couple's dream wedding came to life.
The selected venue, which featured open ceilings and exposed brick walls, is located on the same river where the bride and groom first met, beautifully representing the couple's love coming full circle despite the circumstances. Kristin, who had always dreamed of wearing a gold dress on her wedding day, was radiant as she walked down the aisle carrying a vanilla bouquet to exchange handwritten vows with her beloved. The color palette for the evening featured navy, gold, and white hues with sequin and crystal details. "We wanted our wedding to reflect our military background and our deep respect and patriotism for our armed forces and our country," shares Kristin, so dress blues, a POW table, and a traditional saber cake-cutting ceremony were implemented into the celebration.
The bride and groom attest that they wouldn't have done anything different for their big day – except start the celebration earlier. "I will never be able to express the feeling of gratitude, respect, and admiration that we both feel in our hearts for everyone involved in this project. I can only hope that each person just knows how grateful we are," shares Kristin. "I have never been surrounded by more heart, passion, soul, kindness, generosity, and giving energy in my entire life. Our world is forever changed by this project."
Bridal Gown: JenMar Creations, Rhinestones Unlimited, Mary Meyers Crystal Creations; Bridal Salon: a&bé bridal shop; Cake: Miss Sara's Cakery; Calligraphy: Hooked Calligraphy; Catering: Marna's Catering, With a Twist; Cinematography & Videography: A. B. Rich Films; Handmade DIY Items: Knit-n-Jules; DJ: Adagio Djay Entertainment; Wedding Planners & Event Designers: Girl Friday, Rosetree Weddings & Events; Floral Design: M Studio Flower Affair, Uy-Lennon Floral & Events; Hair Stylists: Laura Westrem Artistry, Mani Mela; Invitations & Stationery: PaperThick Ink, Id & Ego Creations; Linens: Avant Decor; Live Event Painter: Nick Reitenour; Men's Attire: Bridal Accents Couture; Officiant: Positively Charmed Boutique Décor; Photography: Coppersmith Photography; Rentals: Après Party and Tent Rental; Transportation: Stillwater Trolley; Venue: The Loft at Studio J