When Shelly Bartels’ sister got married in 2010, she noticed one of the groomsmen, Tyrel Nelson, had some pretty great dance moves. Though he asked her to dance many times and she coyly turned him down, she had her eye on the sweet cowboy. And as fate would have it, the two happily dated for several years before the professional rodeo star dropped to one knee to ask Shelly to be his wife.
Since the west is a big part of the groom’s life, Shelly knew that incorporating rustic elements into the décor would make him happy. The most exciting – and central – part of the wedding was the location. “It was the oldest barn in the state and very original inside,” describes Shelly, who was thrilled that they would be the first couple to marry at the property. “There were several floors with small rooms, and a catwalk that lead to a large room, which is where the ceremony took place.” Overlooking the service was a hay loft, which served as a balcony for people to sit and watch, as well as offer a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.
Bridesmaids dressed in navy blue one-shoulder gowns, and groomsmen donned grey suits with blue ties. To complement the theme, everyone in the bridal party wore cowboy boots and the groom and his groomsmen accessorized with cowboy hats. Shelly was radiant in a beautiful embellished ivory gown and carried a bouquet composed of alabaster blooms arranged in an organic, fresh design as she walked down the aisle. The couple exchanged vows in a Christian ceremony featuring a few notable prayers and several readings from The Bible, in addition to a sand ceremony.
With the help of her mother, the bride set out to make many of the centerpieces, floral bouquets, and other details all by hand. A quilt created using materials from Shelly’s grandmother’s wedding dress was on display at the guest sign-in table. Rustic doors, wagon wheels, and cream cans were used as decorations around the barn to satisfy the country theme. Atop table runners made of burlap and lace, centerpiece designs showcased canning jars in navy blue and cream filled with off-white flowers and accented with greenery and pearls.
The couple shared their first dance to “Look at You Girl” by country music singer and rodeo champion Chris Ledoux, and guests celebrated on a dance floor overlooking the river. From the setting, to the décor, to the music selections, Shelly and Tyrel made an effort to stay true to their personalities and western roots throughout the planning process. “[We wanted] to make sure the wedding represented us as a couple,” says the bride. Following the buffet-style dinner service, loved ones enjoyed slices from a four-layer cake, with each tier featuring a different flavor: white cake with raspberry filling, carrot cake, chocolate cake with fudge filling, and strawberry cheesecake.
From the special ceremony location to the memories shared with loved ones, the bride and groom relished the love of friends and family and happily rode off into the sunset as husband and wife.