by Vicki Ikeogu
For St. Joseph native, Ashley Theisen, the past three years have been spent alongside one of her best friends, Britan Eisenbeis.
“I met Britan through a mutual friend,” Theisen, 29, said. “He’s a low-key, casual guy who loves fishing and stuff like that.”
And after a few years of dating, Theisen said Eisenbeis decided to pop the question.
“We got engaged on Oct. 28,” she said. “We were carving pumpkins together and he carved out ‘Marry Me’ on a pumpkin. After we were finished, he told me to leave the room so he could assemble it. It was pretty creative.”
In the months since, Theisen and Eisenbeis, who call Bismarck, N.D. home, have been in the midst of preparing to spend the rest of their lives together.
And like most engaged couples, they are planning a wedding.
“We are getting married on Sept. 22, 2018, in Red Lodge, Mont.,” Theisen said. “I always pictured having a mountain backdrop for my wedding.”
Theisen is no stranger to the wedding planning process, having done this once before in central Minnesota.
So far, the wedding plans for her and Eisenbeis have been slowly taking shape.
“My first priority was picking the date according to where we wanted to have it,” she said. “Then it was the photography and then DJ.”
Remotely planning a wedding has kept the University of Mary human resources coordinator extremely busy.
“It’s been a lot of calls and Skype,” she said. “It’s challenging, but that’s the reality of it. Doing this you have to be more organized.”
One of the biggest hiccups in the planning process so far has been working on finding a photographer to fit her needs.
“One of the big things I noticed, especially when it comes to photographers, was they had these huge packages,” Theisen said. “I don’t want the same, typical packages everyone has. And trying to get that message across to them has been difficult.”
But for the most part, she and Eisenbeis have a solid plan. And not to mention a solid budget.
“I had originally wanted my wedding to be very small,” she said. “But my fiancé has never been married so we decided we were going to have five (bridesmaids and groomsmen) on each side plus personal attendants.”
Theisen said she has started on the process of finding the perfect dress to say yes to and looking at places such as Pinterest and Etsy to find ideas for bridesmaids’ dresses and flowers.
“I like to be crafty so if I can get ideas off Pinterest that are super simple that’s always a bonus,” she said.
She was even throwing around the idea for a food truck instead of hiring a caterer.
Unlike her first wedding, Theisen has opted to take on a more direct approach, ensuring her wedding to Eisenbeis will be what they both want.
“The biggest and hardest thing about planning a wedding is the pressure,” Theisen said. “Everybody wants to know where it is, when it is, what the colors are. We didn’t make plans to do anything for about a month just so we could enjoy being engaged. But hardly anyone let us do that.”
Sticking to their guns has been trying at times. And both have had to give each other reality checks.
“Planning a wedding is stressful,” Theisen said. “And it doesn’t get easier. But don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Just enjoy the moment.
“The first time around I wanted my mom and my future mother-in-law to be really involved,” she said. “And that got to be really stressful. This time around I’m sticking to just us (Britan and me) making all the decisions. Ideas from others are helpful, but in the end it’s what you two want.”
Vicki Ikeogu is a local freelance reporter from St. Cloud. Ikeogu is a 2015 mass communications graduate from St. Cloud State University. Ikeogu was previously the business reporter at the St. Cloud Times. She currently works as a transportation planner for the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization.