Where do two wild souls get hitched?
At a quiet, outdoor ceremony in the Wisconsin Dells, of course.
At least, that is how Bart and Jenny Oelke, née Flett, decided to tie the knot last summer.
“It was so beautiful, so intimate,” says Jenny, reflecting upon her wedding day with a smile.
As co-owners of Blue Earth’s Wild Soul Boutique and Vintage Soul Photography, and busy parents of five, Bart and Jenny pared their special day down to the essentials. The result was a stunning outdoor celebration with family.
“We were going to do a huge wedding, but decided that since we were opening a business, and moving our lives around, we wanted something intimate,” Jenny explains. “We invited our parents, siblings, children and one friend.”
The day’s simple perfection aptly reflected Bart and Jenny’s easy, but strong connection as a couple.
The pair met through mutual friends in Blue Earth, and they officially began dating on Jan. 8, 2019.
“I was head over heels for him the first time I saw him,” she says. “We were inseparable. We are still inseparable.”
Accordingly, the couple’s first date was a full-fledged trip to a small town near Appleton, Wisconsin.
“That’s why we ended up getting married there,” Jenny says.
Not only did Bart and Jenny say their vows in Wisconsin; Bart also popped the question in the Badger State.
“It was my birthday weekend last September,” Jenny recalls. “Bart took me to Bayfield, Wisconsin, to Madeline Island. He asked me there.”
Laughing, Jenny continues, “He had this whole plan, but he couldn’t wait. He asked me in our room. He was so nervous and excited.”
What typically follows is a whirlwind of wedding planning for the soon-to-be newlyweds. However, Bart and Jenny, who already had plenty to do apart from planning a wedding, took a much simpler route.
After locating a venue for their special day - Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells – the Oelkes handed the reins to a wedding planner employed by the resort.
“We didn’t have to worry about anything,” Jenny says. All that was left for her to accomplish was the enjoyable business of picking out her wedding dress, and selecting gowns for her daughters.
Jenny highly recommends the resort wedding experience to other couples looking to have some responsibility taken off their plates.
“We have beautiful places that surround us,” she says. “Reach out to resorts – they usually have a wedding planner. Make a vacation out of it.”
Indeed, Jenny and Bart’s wedding weekend became a lovely four-day family getaway.
The day of the ceremony itself - June 3 – dawned gorgeously sunny.
Jenny and Bart had chosen a country-bohemian theme for their wedding. Their ceremony venue was embellished by the beautiful weather, the great outdoors, and dusky rose, pale pink and white flowers.
In tribute to the couple’s love of Western style, Bart donned a cowboy hat while the Oelkes’ sons wore cowboy hats and boots.
Meanwhile, wrapped in white lace and a cascading veil, and wearing her great-grandmother’s ring, Jenny waited inside for Bart’s father to escort her to the ceremony.
This was one detail which was very important to Jenny, as her own father had passed away previously.
One of Jenny’s favorite memories of her wedding day is Bart’s father’s reaction when he opened the door, and saw Jenny in her wedding dress.
“He just burst into tears,” Jenny says.
She thought these would be the only tears of the day. Bart had previously assured her he was not going to cry as they said their ‘I dos.’
However, when Jenny stepped outside on Bart’s father’s arm, the wind catching her veil, she looked down the aisle and saw that Bart’s eyes were filled with tears.
“It was true happiness, true love,” she says. “I will never forget that. It makes you feel like a million dollars.”
Jenny’s journey down the aisle was preceeded by her and Bart’s children: Summer, Autumn, Nathan, Zoa and Marcus. However, during the ceremony, she and Bart stood alone in front of an arch bedecked with flowers.
After they shared their first kiss as a married couple, the Oelkes also shared a first dance.
“My sister played our songs right after the ceremony,” Jenny says, adding one of her and Bart’s favorites is ‘Millionaire’ by Chris Stapleton.
A small, but extravagant family dinner followed the ceremony. The fancy evening out was generously gifted to the couple by Bart’s parents.
Looking back upon June 3, Jenny says, “It was the most beautiful day.”
A photographer herself, capturing her wedding day on camera was extremely important to Jenny.
“It was something we splurged on,” Jenny says. “It’s our memories.”
Farmhouse Memories, a photography company in the Wisconsin Dells, was in charge of forever saving those precious moments for the Oelkes.
Jenny admits it was strange for her to be on the other side of the camera for a change.
“It was so weird, because I could see what to do,” Jenny explains. “I knew the lighting, and kept asking, ‘Could we stand over there?’”
She was pleased with the results, however, and concludes, “She (the photographer) did an awesome job. She was super fun to work with.”
Now, the pictures preserve a day which the Oelkes will cherish forever.
Jenny is also excited for the days to come, however.
“We are best friends,” she says, of she and Bart. “We are identical; we think the same, and finish each other’s sentences.”
She adds, “We parent together very well.”
The Oelkes’ large, blended family saw few changes following their nuptials last June.
“We really felt like we were married already,” Jenny explains. “I just have to get used to calling Bart my husband.”
She and Bart already have hopes and dreams for the future – raising their kids on their farm outside Blue Earth, for example, and growing their business together.
In the distant future, however, they want to truly live up to their reputation as ‘wild souls.’
“When the kids graduate, we hope to move to the south for six months a year; maybe get a Sprinter van,” Jenny says. “That’s the wild soul in us.”