It began with “PlentyofFish,” progressed to two kids, a barn, two houses and some mighty fine mutts.
The moral of the story: be careful what you do for lunch.
“Ross and I met through an online site called PlentyofFish. We talked for a week or so and decided to meet for lunch one day,” noted recent bride Kristyn Tyrell. “After that lunch date, we just hit it off and decided to try dating.”
Kristyn, a native of Rapid City, S.D., may have gotten far more than she signed up for that noon hour in September 2011.
She and Ross Mensink, a Spring Valley-area guy, found each other while surfing online for someone to call their other – or better – half and they finally met at a bar and grill in Sioux Falls, S.D., where they both had settled to make their living.
“Lunch” turned into meeting the parents and the grandparents, according to Kristyn, and meeting the parents turned into questions about how long it would take for the two of them to decide that this was the end of fishing online.
She related, “Ross has this incredible personality that made me smile on the inside. He is so sarcastic yet caring at the same time. He made me laugh in ways I had not laughed in so long. We always have so much fun together.”
Then “lunch” turned into parenthood in early 2012 when they learned that their daughter, Morgan, was on the way in November.
“When we found out about her, we knew we had to make a decision about being together…I actually already knew he was the one,” Kristyn said.
They’d discussed marriage before Morgan, known affectionately on the ultrasound screen as “T-Rex,” but Christmas of 2012 came along and Kristyn got quite the surprise when she pulled a ring out of the bottom of her stocking on Christmas morning.
Kristyn recounted, “It was so unreal for me! It took weeks for it to finally set in that I was going to be his wife. We then decided to get married at the end of May 2014.”
At the outset, Kristyn knew she wanted a small country setting, the colors she wanted, the dress she wanted, but admitted that planning was quite the chore.
Tuxedos and formal shoes were definitely out of the question.
“I could never imagine marrying Ross in a big fancy hotel,” she continued. “I also knew that I would never get him to wear a tux, so a barn theme seemed appropriate. And with the barn theme came jeans and a snap dress shirt for the guys.”
The couple bought a house to renovate across from Ross’s parents’ house in Greenleafton shortly before Morgan was born. This meant there was plenty of family help available nearby for wedding planning — from finding a place to hold the ceremony and reception to shopping for the dress and making decorations while also keeping track of the baby as she attempted her latest acrobatic trick.
Kristyn had shopped several bridal magazines and online for her dress, set an appointment in the Twin Cities that she wasn’t able to keep, and eventually ended up making a spur-of-the-moment trip to Mestad’s in Rochester in July 2013.
“I took my soon-to-be mother-in-law along, knowing that she would support me no matter what I picked, even if it was the brown paper bag that Ross joked about,” she said.
A trip home to Rapid City garnered Mason jars from the Rapid City Civic Center Plaza, thanks to a family friend working there, and work on decorations began on the Tyrrell’s kitchen table.
Kristyn stated she “really had fun when my ideas came together and I could see it for real…I also had a lot of fun when I got to make my table settings.”
Surprises still abound once one has done lunch, bought a house, had a baby, gotten a puppy and become engaged, ordered a wedding dress and signed a contract for a wedding venue.
“The end of January 2014, we found out we were going to be having an addition to our family — Lincoln. With this addition came the stress of knowing I would be very pregnant during our wedding. I called Mestad’s immediately and let them know we would have to reconstruct my dress once it came in. My dress then went from a fit and flare to an even more gorgeous A-line,” Kristyn said.
She and Ross also changed their wedding venue because the original place they’d chosen was suddenly also booked for a golf tournament.
That’s when a barn wedding just a mile south of home in Greenleafton became their reality, complete with corn, pigs, tractors and hay.
With plans to move back to South Dakota in the works, Ross had gone back two months before the wedding, returning to Greenleafton to spend weekends with his family.
Kristyn stated, “The week before the wedding is when things started to really happen. My mother spent the week with me to help get things ready. We had people coming from parts of Minnesota and South Dakota, Texas, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, and when people actually started showing up, I got extremely nervous…but it was incredible knowing that these people were here to support you and show their love.”
Saturday, May 31, 2014, was sunny with a chance of sprinkles, and the bridal party rose early, trekked into Spring Valley to have hair done, piled into the bride’s “truckster” – the “mommy” version of a 4X4 – and got dressed for the big day, with bridesmaids looking boot-scootin’ cute in pansy-purple dresses and cowboy boots.
The bride finally got to wear that very important dress with her just-broken-in new boots. “It was the most amazing feeling to put my dress on,” Kristyn stated. “I felt so beautiful and grand! I was most nervous when Ross got to see me for the first time. His reaction was better than expected. He got a very large smile on his face!”
The Rev. Amanda Larsen, of Wykoff and Lanesboro United Methodist churches, officiated the wedding, and the bride’s arrival was announced by ringbearer and nephew Aeric Fontenello. He walked down the aisle pulling flower girl Morgan in a Radio Flyer.
Kristyn shared, “Actually saying my vows and ‘I do’ and all the other stuff was a lot easier than I would have thought. I expected to clam up in front of 100-plus people. I think having family and friends there to support us made it much easier. My favorite part of the ceremony was when Ross and I were saying our vows and it started pouring rain.”
Dinner – the first lunch they’d have as a married couple – followed in the former stanchion barn, with toasts from the bridal party and a dance to keep them on their feet for the rest of the night.
“I loved our speeches that came from our best man and maid of honor and a bridesmaid and groomsman,” Kristyn remembered. “Once the big day arrived, I felt relieved to know that I, with help, had pulled off everything I wanted in my wedding, from the decorations, to my dress, to my bridesmaids, to the groomsmen, and all the guests being there.”
She said her wedding was everthing she wanted it to be.
“I couldn’t imagine anything different. All I kept hearing after our big day was how everyone enjoyed everything about the ceremony and the reception and all the little details,” Kristyn concluded. “We heard how it was ‘us,’ referring to Ross and I.”