Officiating four weddings in 13 months might not be an unusual schedule for any of the clergy serving in the local area. However, having four children from the same family tying the knot over a 13-month period is something you do not hear of every day.
But that is what is taking place with the children of David and Suzie Olsen.
“People heard all four of our kids were getting married in just a little over a year and they would say, ‘Oh, I am so sorry,’” Suzie says, laughing. “Most people cannot believe we were having all of these weddings.”
Brandyn is the oldest of the Olsen children and graduated from Blue Earth Area in 2013. Kaitlyn is the next oldest and was a 2015 graduate. Karli was just a year behind and graduated in 2016. The youngest is Brady, who graduated in 2020.
“Kaitlyn was the first one to get engaged,” Suzie explains. “She and Trever Zierke got engaged on July 26 of 2019, which was her birthday.”
Karli was the next Olsen child to say yes to a marriage proposal.
“I have to think to keep this all straight,” Suzie comments. “Karli and Chris Sanders became engaged in August of 2020.”
Next, Brandyn popped the question to his girlfriend, Taylor Monteriand, on Jan. 2, 2021.
“Brady was the last one to get engaged and that happened last July (2021) when he asked Maddie Armon to marry him,” Suzie explains.
Three of the Olsens, Kaitlyn, Karli and Brady, were marrying their high school sweethearts from Blue Earth Area.
“Kaitlyn and Trevor dated seven years, Karli and Chris dated six and Brady and Maddie have dated five,” Suzie shares. “Brandyn was attending Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato when he met Taylor. She was a student at Minnesota State – Mankato.”
Before any wedding dates were set, a little thing called the COVID pandemic occurred.
“Brandyn had his own place, but when the pandemic hit and the colleges switched to online learning, Kaitlyn, Karli and Brady all moved back home to isolate and continue their college education,” Suzie explains. “Trevor and Chris also moved in. They each had their own room and Maddie came out and also spent quite a bit of time at our farm.”
Having that many kids trying to take their college courses online was about all the Olsens’ Wi-Fi network could handle, according to Suzie.
“But it helped make for a close-knit group,” she mentions. “Everyone got along great. It was a blast and a good relationship builder.”
However, COVID still had a part to play as all of the wedding plans began to take shape.
“The hardest part for the kids was finding available dates for the venues they wanted,” David explains. “Because of the pandemic so many of the weddings which were originally planned for 2020 got pushed back to 2021. Chris and Karli set their date based on the availability of their venue.”
Chris and Karli chose their wedding day to be June 5, 2021 at The Barn of Chapeau Shores, a wedding venue located in Albert Lea. They then had to wait and see if restrictions from COVID would be lifted or if they would be forced to scale back their plans.
“The restrictions were eased about one month prior to Chris and Karli’s wedding,” David says. “If that had not happened, they were going to have to make some tough decisions on what to do.”
Wedding plans for the second wedding, between Kaitlyn and Trevor, also began to take shape.
“Their wedding was on Aug. 14 of 2021 at Country View Acres near Joice, Iowa,” David comments. “Iowa did not have as many restrictions regarding COVID so it made things a little easier.”
Brandyn and Taylor, who is originally from Blaine, were the third couple to get married.
“Their wedding was at Legacy Hill Farm in Welch on Aug. 28,” Suzie offers. “We stayed in Red Wing the weekend they were married.”
The first three weddings took place in a matter of three months. Brady and Maddie’s wedding will be in June of this year.
“One thing which was nice was we were able to have a combined bridal shower for Kaitlyn, Karli and Taylor with the Olsen side of the family and their friends,” Suzie notes.
David and Suzie took on a slightly different role with each wedding.
“I just wrote the checks,” David says, chuckling. “Suzie is the one who really did the work.”
And, she says, she enjoyed it immensely.
“Karli pretty much gave me free reign and said have fun,” Suzie shares. “I did the silk flowers for the centerpieces, the bouquets, and I helped make signs and decorate.”
One thing Suzie and her father, Les Hintz, did which she says was really special to her was build a photo wall backdrop which has been used in all three weddings which have taken place and will be used again for the wedding this June.
“Guests take a Polaroid in front of the wall and then put the picture in the guest book with a note to the couple,” Suzie explains. “It has worked very well.”
Next, it was time to help Kaitlyn with her wedding plans.
“Kaitlyn had more of an idea of what she wanted so I just followed her instructions,” Suzie notes. “It was kind of funny because our two girls ended up with the same colors and many similar things. So, as different as they think they are, they are really quite similar.”
For Brandyn and Taylor’s wedding, Suzie mentions she had less to do.
“Taylor’s colors were ivory and rust. I helped out with decorating and making signs but Taylor did most of the planning,” Suzie comments. “But that left me available to help Taylor out with the little things which needed to be done.”
None of the grooms wore tuxes.
“Chris wore a gray suit, Trevor’s was a navy plaid and Brandyn’s was navy,” Suzie says.
Four weddings also meant Suzie has four new dresses, all a different color.
“I think she will soon have four dresses for sale,” David mentions with a grin on his face.
Brady and Maddie’s wedding will be at the Timbers in Northwood, Iowa, in June, and will cap off a 13-month period where David and Suzie saw all four of their children get married.
Suzie reports the three married couples have all settled into their homes and new jobs.
“Brandyn and Taylor live in Mankato. He commutes to work on the family farm and Taylor is a psychologist for Christian Family Solutions in Mankato. Trevor and Kaitlyn live in Round Rock, Texas. She is a Registered Nurse (RN) and he just graduated with a doctorate in chiropractic care and is starting his own business called ATX Rehab Performance,” she explains. “Karli and Chris are both RNs and work for Mayo Health in Rochester.”
Suzie shares Brady and Maddie do not know for sure where they will live.
“Brady is a pilot for Global Air Charters operating out of St. Paul and Maddie will graduate with her teaching degree from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in May,” she shares. “Where they live will probably depend on where Maddie gets a job.”
Asked if they have any advice for parents having multiple weddings in their family in a short period of time, David says being organized is important.
“You need to stay on top of things,” he says. “Do not let things slide.”
For Suzie’s part, she tells people to enjoy each moment.
“I have had so much fun,” she states. “I never got stressed. It was a good time from the start through the clean-up after each wedding.”
Then she stops and thinks, and admits there was one problem.
“I did have one meltdown,” she confesses. “I had a car full of girls heading to Karli’s wedding in Albert Lea. We had gotten as far as the Frost corner when I realized I did not have my makeup. Thankfully, I was able to reach David at home and he saved the day by bringing what I needed.”
Their other advice was simple.
“Remember it is their day, not yours,” David offered.
Suzie comments she has told her children watching them get married was one of the happiest days in her life.
“Not when we were born?” they asked.
“‘No,’ I told them. That involved a lot of pain,” Suzie says, smiling. “But, to see your children at their weddings, knowing they are marrying their ‘one,’ is a wonderful, all-encompassing feeling. And the way things have worked out with all of the weddings – I would not want it any other way and would not change a thing. It has been a family celebration.”