Cafe & Bar Lurcat is an obvious choice when looking for a wedding venue in Minneapolis. With its elegant indoor and outdoor settings, Cafe & Bar Lurcat is sure to bring the romance to any wedding, leaving the couple—and the guests—swooning. What makes it even better is the love story that resides behind the fancy staircases, old brick walls, and twinkling lights. That is the love story between Cafe & Bar Lurcat manager, Michelle Jensen, and her wife, Jessica Jensen.
Having met 10 years ago at a restaurant where the two worked, Michelle and Jessica quickly became best friends. Fast forward seven years, and the couple officially tied the knot on Sept. 20, 2014 at what was their obvious venue choice: Cafe & Bar Lurcat. “When marriage equality passed [in Minnesota], we had been together for six years, so to us there was never a time to pop the question, that had been settled long ago. We immediately started planning our wedding for the following year and we already knew that it had to be at Café & Bar Lurcat,” says Jessica.
Once the couple began planning their wedding, they knew right away that they wanted it to be elegant and romantic by using simple colors like black and ivory. “We kept the floral design simple and beautiful, and trusted John Veda to run with his own vision. He incorporated lots of green, soft pale pinks, and white into the arrangements. We loved our bouquets!” says Michelle.
Cafe & Bar Lurcat offers a variety of outdoor patios and indoor banquet rooms to hold wedding ceremonies and receptions, and Michelle and Jessica were so entranced by the beauty of them all that they decided to use the entire venue. The ceremony was held in the Cafe Lurcat, followed by a cocktail hour on one of the outdoor patios sprinkled with pretty lights and scenery.
The couple’s wedding was a definite crowd pleaser for their 104 guests, but the wedding party might have been the ones to have the most fun. “We each had three people who stood up for us and gave them our own titles,” Michelle says. On Jessica’s side it was Best Man David Reyes, Queen B Rebecca Bann Aslakson, and First Lady Kim Oppegard. On Michelle’s side it was Best Man Michael Winton-Spatafora, Maid of Honor Kristin Kimball, and Bridesmaid Becky Hummer. They also had a ring bearer, Aaron Litschke.
However, the members of the wedding party that got the most attention weren’t even the ones standing beside the brides. “When we started telling people we were getting married, we had a weird phenomenon of several of our gay male friends asking if they could be our flower girl—and they were serious! We couldn’t pick just one, so we said they all six could go down the aisle. They really stole the show!” says Jessica.
“Our “flower girls” were Ian Pernick, Jason Cofer, Anthony Abdallah, Ryan Gagnon, Bruce Anderson, and Dave Michela. They all wore matching Vera Wang tuxedos. These gentlemen stole the show during the ceremony by twirling down the aisle and tossing purple orchids from giant martini glasses. During cocktail hour, they drank martinis from them, too. They all had moments during the wedding that we will never forget. Our photographer, Alex Johnson, captured them perfectly. We have spent years growing together and these guys are our family,” Michelle adds.
Jessica and Michelle’s wedding, catered by Cafe & Bar Lurcat, had several dessert options. The two cut into a “wedding white” cake made by D’Amico & Partners pastry chef Leah Henderson, and the guests were able to try a variety of desserts with the dessert bar that offered petit fours and a coffee station.
“We were offered a complementary tasting at Café & Bar Lurcat. We were able to create our dream menu. Apple, cheese & chive salad, Berkshire pork tenderloin, sea bass marinated in miso, roasted cauliflower, and the seven oz. beef tenderloin were our favorites. To this day people tell us that this is the best food they’ve ever been served at a wedding,” Michelle and Jessica say.
As the manager of Cafe & Bar Lurcat, Michelle often reflects on her own wedding experience when helping couples plan their big days at the venue. “I had no idea that I would actually end up doing the same thing for couples as we had both done for our own wedding. After our wedding, the ‘wedding bug’ stayed with me. I look back at our experiences when helping navigate couples that I work with at Lurcat now. I really enjoy working with couples and their families. It takes me back to the most magical day of my life,” she says.
Today, Michelle helps a number of couples between May and late October, Cafe & Bar Lurcat’s busy wedding season, as well as a growing number of winter weddings. “Lurcat accommodates weddings of all sizes,” she says, “there’s a lot of love at Lurcat.”
Between the two brides, nearly every aspect of the wedding contributed to their favorite moments. “The music was great, start to finish. We had the Loring String Quartet play during our ceremony, the Benny Weinbeck Jazz Trio during cocktails and dinner, and longtime friend DJ Lenka Paris kept us all dancing into the night. As a music fan, to me that was awesome. Also, hearing our guests laughing as our flower girls twirled down the aisle. Nobody likes a boring wedding!” Jessica says.
“[My favorite part was] when I stood hand-in-hand with Jess, holding back tears of joy and finally being announced as a married couple. I was so emotional, especially while waiting to start the ceremony. I’ll never forget it,” says Michelle.
After the unforgettable wedding, Michelle and Jessica took off on a honeymoon to enjoy a few nights in a cottage at Larsmont in Two Harbors, Minnesota which allowed the couple to slow down and appreciate each other’s company after the chaos of planning such an extravagant wedding. Additionally, they took a trip to Maui, Hawaii after the holidays when they had more time for a long vacation.
Michelle wants everyone to enjoy their weddings as much as she and Jessica loved theirs, which is why she isn’t shy to give people advice during the wedding planning process. “Selecting a venue with amazing food and service should be at the top of the list. It doesn’t matter if you are celebrating with an outdoor barbecue or in a nice restaurant. You and your guests will remember delicious food, and they will never forget great service. Most importantly, it’s your wedding, and it should represent you,” she says.
With the beautiful scenery, romantic lighting and architecture, and delicious dinner and desserts of Cafe & Bar Lurcat, Michelle and Jessica’s wedding definitely did just that: it represented them.
Photography by Alex Johnson Photography
Photographer: Alex Johnson, Alex Johnson Photography
Date of wedding: Sept. 20, 2014
Dating since: Sept. 20, 2007
Location of ceremony: Café Lurcat
Location of reception: Bar Lurcat
Florist: John Veda of Café & Bar Lurcat
Wedding coordinator: GM Christy O’Keefe Turman
Stylist: MN Bridal Hair and Makeup Artistry
Cake: Café & Bar Lurcat Chef Leah Henderson
Invitations: Paper Source