Driftless Weddings: Nice day for a Walsh wedding

Matison & Zack Walsh throw a party to remember.


By Brittnee E. Henry

While the thought of a destination wedding crossed their minds, Matison and Zack Walsh of Decorah ultimately decided that their dream wedding day would be one surrounded by family and friends and include traditions that spanned generations. On a beautiful October afternoon, Matison and Zack put on a party for 230 of their closest friends and family, but not without a few scrambling moments leading up to the big event.
“I was so organized. I had a binder with everything in it. I scheduled and paid vendors well in advance to make sure we got what we ordered. No matter how well you plan, something will go wrong,” said Matison.
Despite the few glitches, Matison and Zack have nothing but wonderful memories of their wedding day, which included a ceremony at Madison Lutheran Church near Ridgeway – a place that holds many special memories for Zack’s  family. Zack wanted the church to be a part of his and Matison’s wedding memories, too.
“My great-great-grandfather helped build Madison Lutheran Church and my grandparents, Maynard and Diane Hovden, and my parents were married there. It’s a special place for our family,” Zack said.

Matison is the daughter of Jim and Trina Scanlan. Zack’s parents are Tracey (Hovden) and Jerry Walsh. 

Matison and Zack left the ceremony in the same vintage car that Zack’s parents and his sister and her husband rode off in on their wedding days. Other ways the couple honored family traditions included the purchase of their rings from Holstrom’s Gift and Jewelry in Cresco, where Zack’s grandparents and parents purchased their wedding jewelry. However, Zack’s  ring didn’t make it to the cere-mony – something the couple laughs about now.

“I left his ring and a note on the table reminding him to bring it with him,” Matison said. Unfortunately, due to some of the pre-event scrambling, Zack didn’t bring the ring.
“I thought one of the groomsmen or the ring bearer would have it. We quickly figured out who had one that would fit me, and I ended up borrowing my brother in-law’s ring for the ceremony. It’s a part of our day that we won’t forget,” Zack said.

The party
Zack and Matison agreed early in the planning of their wedding that throwing a great party for their friends and family was a priori-ty. They decided to hold their reception and dance outdoors at the Cresco Country Club, with food catered by U2 BBQ from Calmar. Guests enjoyed signature his and hers cocktails – a version of a “Manhattan” called a “Perfect Pig” for Zack and a “Malibu Sunset” for Matison – and dancing with live music provided by the “Blue Water Kings Band” out of Chicago. 
“We splurged a bit on the band, but they were a huge hit and definitely made the party fun for everyone,” Matison said.
What the Walsh’s may have splurged on for the band, Matison made up for in thrifty creativity with the décor. With some clever sourcing, Matison, along with help from family, made all the decorations, including a large palm leaf backdrop. 
“I got all the palm stems from family. The small palms for the table decorations came from Zack’s  grandparent’s winter home in Palm Springs. The large palms came from my aunt and uncle’s place in Scottsdale, Arizona,” Matison said.
Matison dried the palms and constructed a scaffolding on which to attach them. She added a custom neon sign bearing their last name. After the wedding she sold the palm backdrop and most of the other decorations she made, recouping the cost.
The newlyweds held a brunch the morning after the wedding at Hovden Oil in Ridgeway. Zack’s  grandparents founded the compa-ny in 1957 and the headquarters provided a perfect and meaningful space for Zack and Matison, who are both employed there, to en-tertain family and special guests who had traveled from far away to be with them for the weekend. 

The look 
Matison chose a neutral color palette for her bridesmaids that she incorporated into her choice of flowers and décor. She drew inspi-ration from boho trends including her gown which featured flowing bell sleeves.
“I had always wanted a fall wedding and love the colors of the season,” Matison said. The bouquets melded fall colors with neutral tones using both fresh and dried flowers.
When it came to picking out the groomsmen’s attire, Zack chose hunter green suits.
“I didn’t want just regular suits. I wanted something different. The dark green ended up looking great,” Zack said. He noted that most of the questions about wedding attire are directed to the bride, but guys like to have input, too. 
“I cared enough to have an opinion,” Zack said.
When it came to choosing someone to capture their engagement and wedding day pictures, Matison looked to a photographer whose previous work matched the feel she was going for.
“I knew her style and followed her stuff on social media. I like bright pictures and her photos really matched that. I am completely in love with all our photos from the wedding,” Matison said. 
The Walsh’s photographer, Keela Hoskins of Rushford is married to the videographer they chose, Tyler Hoskins which made it a seamless experience.
“They were super efficient and made it easy for everyone,” said Zach.

Walsh’s suggestions for wedding planning
• Prioritize what’s important, whether it’s the dress, the party, or having special people attend.
• Expect something to not go as planned. Have friends or family to call on to help.
• Be creative. Source items for free or for as little as possible. Sell purchased items after the wedding to recoup costs.
• Include the groom in choosing his party’s attire and other elements of the day that are meaningful to him. 
• Stay organized. Keep records of contracts, receipts, vendor contact information and delivery schedules. Confirm with vendors in the weeks and days leading up to the big day.