A marriage proposal from the love of her life featuring her dream engagement ring, followed by a surprise hot air balloon ride on a beautiful summer morning – it all sounds like a fairy tale come to life.
For Katie Mans, whose July 30, 2016 wedding day was better than she could ever have imagined, the fairy tale began when she met now-husband Tanner Mans at a Teens Encountering Christ retreat during her freshman year of school.
After they met, the couple became friends, and over time their friendship grew and developed into a romance that ultimately culminated in a surprise proposal.
“I knew he was going to propose, but I had no idea when,” Katie explains. So she wasn’t the least bit suspicious when a friend of hers asked to meet for breakfast one summer morning, and afterwards asked Katie if she wanted to visit Tuthill Park.
“It seemed kind of random, but it was a beautiful day. I figured, why not?” recalls Katie.
When they arrived at the park, they noticed a hot air balloon set up. Having no clue that the balloon was intended for her, Katie took a picture of it with her cell phone, with the intention of texting it to Tanner.
“I wanted to send it to him and say, ‘Look at this, we should do this sometime!’” she laughs. So it came as quite a surprise when Tanner himself appeared near the balloon, got down on one knee, and proposed.
“I was completely surprised,” says Katie.
After the hot air balloon ride, the couple began planning the details of their wedding day. For the ceremony, they chose First Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, where Tanner works full-time as a Youth Director.
“It’s very symbolic for us,” Katie explains, “because that’s the place where we’re making our beginning. That’s where our journey together will continue.”
Katie’s dream wedding dress came from The French Door, where the staff went above and beyond to assist her in finding the perfect selection. She had an idea of what she was looking for, but she didn’t have an exact style in mind. When she found a dress that was almost perfect, The French Door assistants Leslie and Stacey helped make arrangements for alterations and created Katie’s dream dress.
The original dress was pink and featured a low neckline. The version created for Katie was ivory, with an illusion neckline of lace embroidery. The lower part of the dress was made up of thin layers of English netting, creating a light, flowing effect. Katie’s veil was a short style, and the train of the dress was medium-length, creating an overall look of delicate elegance.
The flowers for the wedding and reception were of particular importance to Katie’s father, and he urged her to make sure she took her time in selecting the perfect florist for her special day.
“My dad loves flowers and gardening, and he really wanted me to have the perfect flowers for my wedding,” says Katie with a smile. “That was the one detail that was so important to him.” She chose Josephine’s as her florist, and was thrilled with the results.
“They are artists,” says Katie of the floral stylists at Josephine’s, who furnished the bouquets and centerpieces. The bride’s bouquet was made primarily of white garden roses, white Veronica, and white lisianthus flowers, and also featured eucalyptus leaves and greens. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were smaller versions of Katie’s bouquet, and also included purple Veronica. At the reception, wooden boxes of baby’s breath and wine bottles filled with wheat grass decorated the tables. The flowers featured throughout the wedding day captured the whimsical garden theme that Katie envisioned, and beautifully incorporated her wedding colors of sage, lavender and ivory.
Providing transportation for the newlyweds and the bridal party was Stellar Limousine, who furnished what Katie suspects was her groom’s favorite part of the day: a black 1980s-era Rolls Royce getaway car.
“I think that was definitely Tanner’s favorite part of the whole day!” laughs Katie, recalling how excited her new husband was about the prospect of being chauffeured around town in such a high-end vehicle. The couple was given a memorable escort by the Rolls Royce through downtown Sioux Falls for a few photos. The car was then hidden beside the church so the guests would be surprised when it appeared after the ceremony to whisk away the newlyweds.
“The guests were stunned by the car!” says Katie. “All of my aunts wanted to ride around in it.”
Overall, Katie feels the most important and special part of her dream-come-true wedding day was the spirituality of the occasion.
“Above all, we are thankful to God,” she says. “We are so very blessed, and He has been with us from beginning to…to continuing!” she laughs.
“The day was all about love.”