Planning a wedding is no easy task. Now, imagine trying to plan a wedding while your significant other is deployed to the Middle East! It happens to military couples all the time. Someone in the wedding industry in Minnesota not only noticed, but decided to do something about it.
"You think okay, well, he's going to deploy and I'm going to stay at home and plan our wedding," says Kristin Hendrickson, "That's not the case." "It's very difficult from half-way around the world," chimes in her husband Ben.
Ben is in the Air Force Reserves and was deployed last year. The two decided to say a quick "I do" at Rice Park, in the middle of winter, before he took off.
"While it was a sweet moment, it wasn't everything that we wanted because we didn't have anybody there that we loved," said Kristin.
The idea was that Kristin would plan the "real" wedding while Ben was gone. It just became too much. Luckily, the two love-birds have a fairy Godmother, or Godmothers.
"It's the least we can do for the service they provide our country," says photographer Amy Coppersmith.
Coppersmith, who owns Coppersmith Photography, teamed up with Terri Uy-Lennon of Uy-Lennon Floral & Events to make military wedding dreams come true. The two were working with a bride that just couldn't seem to make the date happen with her fiancé coming and going to war zones.
"Let's just adopt her and make this wedding happen. We called all our friends in the industry and we took her out to coffee and said let us be your fairy Godmothers, let us plan your wedding," says the duo.
Once that was under their belts, it just kind of, well, became a thing. The Fairy Godmother Project Minnesota.
Wedding planners Jenn Rosen and Janea Mitcheltree of RoseTree Events were working with Ben and Kristin when things started to fall apart. The two decided to nominate the couple for the special wedding and they were chosen.
"At that point in my deployment, I was kind of at a down cycle where I was really missing home and my new wife and to get that news was incredible," says Ben Hendrickson.
The group says the typical, low-key, Minnesota wedding dresses online runs about $30,000 these days. That's enough to price a couple right out of their dream day.
"We had already given up on that hope and now they're giving us our dream," says Ben.
The Fairy Godmother Project Minnesota isn't some high-profile non-profit, it's just the brain-child of a couple women who wanted to make a difference. They don't want your money, they want your reception hall, your flowers, and your photographer.
"We reach out to our vendor friends and whoever is able or willing to donate their services, that's how it works," says Terri Uy-Lennon.
Proof that it's no tale...Fairy Godmothers do exist!