Christopher & Michael
Oct. 10, 2009 at the Landmark Center and Saint Paul Hotel in St. Paul
Christopher Westlund and Michael Rand have the kind of story pulled from a movie script. Though they were strangers before meeting through an online dating site in 2003, their second-degree connections are astounding: their dads grew up in the same small town and were a part of the same cub scout troop; at one point Michael’s parents worked at the same company as Christopher’s grandmother; both of their grandparents knew each other and—strangest of all—Christopher was the front desk attendant that checked Michael’s sister and brother-in-law into their hotel room before they departed for a Mexican vacation. Of all the millions of people online, it’s apparent Michael and Christopher were meant to find each other, even across states at different colleges.
After two years dating long distance, Michael moved to Minneapolis and they've been together ever since. Then on the eve of their sixth anniversary, Michael blindfolded Christopher and drove him to the site of their first kiss, Lake Calhoun, where he proposed.
The pair and their families excitedly planned a formal fall wedding, with a ceremony at Landmark Center and reception at the Saint Paul Hotel. Everything about their big day was personalized, from a custom monogram used on their Gateaux-designed invitations and cake to vintage diamond broaches pinned as boutonnieres. The vows provoked tears, laughter and a surprise ring bearer–their yorkie maltese Cooper. Dressed in a tuxedo and with two matching two-carat diamond rings tied to his Coach collar, Cooper froze with stage freight and need to be carried to the altar.
Post-ceremony, guests crossed Rice Park to the Saint Paul Hotel, where after champagne and hors’ devourers, they were treated to a custom menu of six courses. Michael and Christopher worked side-by-side with the hotel’s executive chef to create amuse bouche of duck confit and cherry chutney, butternut squash soup, crab louis salad, grilled shrimp with a carrot puree and buerre blanc and a filet mignon with a blackberry demi glace and piped buttermilk potatoes.
Speeches kept the tears and laughter rolling, and a Wii station set up near the dance floor helped the party continue into the night. It was a day filled with love and support from 150 of the couple’s closest friends and family, one they will cherish forever.