Jennifer Techau sat at the front of the bus ferrying her to her wedding at Saint James Lutheran Church in West St. Paul, looking out the window at a scene as white as her dress. Outside, a historic snowstorm raged. The Minneapolis-St. Paul airport had closed. Cars were spinning out of control. And so was Jennifer. "I started crying," she tells us. This was not the spring wedding she and her fiancé, Jonathan Hagberg, had imagined when they set their April 14 wedding date. "I wondered if any of our guests would make it, whether our vendors and pastor would make it," Jennifer tells us. "I wondered if we'd even be able to get married."
Jennifer, a field sales and service manager for Mayo Medical Laboratories, and Jonathan, an art director for Mayo's Brand Strategy and Creative Studio, had gotten engaged a year earlier — April 1, 2017 — on a blue-sky day so perfect they decided to schedule their wedding for a similar time of year. "It was sunny, in the 70s, everyone was excited it was spring," Jonathan says.
What a difference a year makes. As their wedding day approached, Jonathan and Jennifer consulted weather apps, all offering a steady drumbeat of bad news. "Seven to 10 inches of snow and winds gusting," Jonathan tells City Pages. "We knew it was going to be an interesting, cold day."
Jennifer and Jonathan's Mayo Clinic colleagues had been watching the weather as well. Many of them have known the couple for more than a decade, and were determined not to let a little snow keep them from the wedding. They implemented what they dubbed the "emergency staffing plan," heading to the Twin Cities from Rochester a day early to beat the worst of the weather. "They got hotel rooms for an extra night, got babysitters to come early," Jennifer says. "They made the effort to be there."
Those efforts would continue the next day. Jennifer and Jonathan had arranged for shuttle buses to transport guests from the hotel to the reception. But when it was time to depart, one bus nearly didn't, thanks to the heavy snow that had accumulated around the tires. That's when a group of passengers — including several of Jennifer and Jonathan's colleagues — went where many-a-Minnesotan has gone before: to the back of the vehicle to push.
"Most Minnesotans know you have to get it rocking, keep it rocking, and keep it moving until you get out," Brent Westra tells City Pages. Westra, senior product manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories by day and shuttle bus shaman by night, snapped a photo of the team in action — and Jennifer tells us it's an image that perfectly captures the Mayo spirit. "Our colleagues' attitude was, 'Whatever needs to be done, we're going to do it,'" she tells us. "We have wonderful colleagues. They're like a second family to us. We feel honored and blessed that they made such an effort to be with us."
The couple tells us they also appreciate the florist, DJ and other vendors who made sure the wedding went off without a hitch. "We got them all Dairy Queen gift certificates to thank them for going above and beyond," Jonathan tells us. To be used, of course, "for a Blizzard they could actually enjoy."
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