By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer
The lights dimmed in the reception hall at the Courtyard Marriott, and the silhouettes of the bridal party could be seen across the crowded room leaning forward in anticipation.
As the theme music from “Superman” played overhead, in it came — five tiers of wonderful, covered in various shades of chocolate, with a white cloth covering a surprise on top.
And then — lights, cameras and the big reveal: six-inch versions of groom Tony Friesen and bride Natasha Frost, molded out of candy and dressed as Superman and Superwoman.
“That’s quite a cake,” said guest Carl Nordmeier as the artistic creation by Hy-Vee’s Amber Rahe was wheeled around the dance floor.
The cake came to rest in front of the happy couple. Frost clapped excitedly. Friesen smiled wide. And they both stood to mirror the poses of their Mini-Mes.
The moment epitomized the seamless relationship between the newlyweds. Not many couples would be jazzed to see their likenesses clad in superhero uniforms atop their wedding cake.
For this couple, it was perfect.
“We are both very, very untraditional people in every aspect of the word,” Friesen said.
The coupling story of Friesen, bakery manager at hilltop Hy-Vee, and Frost, a public health attorney at William Mitchell College of Law, began 23 years ago.
In high school, the two had lockers next to each other at West. They were great friends, but nothing more.
After graduating in 1992, they stayed close. But it wasn’t until their 20-year high school reunion last June that the two started dating.
Frost said her romantic interest in Friesen bloomed before the reunion. So she took that event as an opportunity to make a bold move.
“I said, ‘Hey, how come you never asked me out growing up?’ And he said, ‘Well, I thought you’d say no,’” Frost said. “And I said, ‘Well, I wouldn’t say no now.’”
The two started dating then, and now, Friesen says, being together “just makes sense.”
“We grew up together,” Friesen said. “There’s not another human being on the planet who knows me better, and there’s not another human being on the planet I know better.”
Some might describe the couple’s courtship as a whirlwind. They were married less than a year after the relationship commenced.
Friesen sees it another way.
“It’s actually pretty slow,” he said. “It’s 23 years of getting to know somebody.”
“We’re in our late 30s, and we’ve been in lots of relationships, and you get to a point where you can sort through really quickly what you need,” Frost said. “He’s amazing in every single way.”
This was Frost’s first wedding. Friesen has been married before but had never spent time planning a ceremony. They both came to the realization that this wedding could be anything they wanted it to be.
They didn’t have to play classical music. There didn’t have to be tuxedos and priests.
There could be AC/DC and The Pixies. There could be a “ridiculous display of candy.” They could be married by Frost’s sister, Nitara.
“We’re individuals,” Friesen said. “We just kept pushing it further.”
Some elements were traditional, including the Hy-Vee floral displays of stargazer lilies, as well as Frost’s beautiful lace, beaded, ivory gown.
But many other details of the Frost-Friesen affair were quite unexpected. Even the couple’s invitation featured a photo of Friesen and Frost in their Superman/woman costumes and capes, hands on hips looking fiercely off into the distance. The caption: “A Love Story: Their Love Would Make Them Super!!!”
As the ceremony began, there were nine “Flower Children,” both boys and girls, who decorated the aisle with flower petals to the tune of the Beatles “Love Me Do.” Then the theme to “St. Elmo’s Fire” played during the wedding party processional.
Friesen, his best man, Spencer Vanderhoof, and “Boy Wonder,” his son Julian Friesen, wore fedoras and vests. “No suit coats allowed,” Friesen said.
And when Frost entered, the song “Concerning Hobbits” from the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack played her down the aisle.
“We’re nerds,” Friesen explained.
Laughs were had over the reading, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten”; and the “Power Kiss” scheduled in the program for after the couple said “I do.”
The vows, however, were “aww”-worthy — promises to always keep it interesting, to laugh, to think before speaking, to remain best friends forever.
Friesen had spent the past week before the ceremony doing what he does best: baking and making candy. Friesen’s dad, Ernest Friesen, was in the bakery business for decades before his son followed in his footsteps.
Years ago Friesen brought some of his family’s recipes for caramel corn, peanut brittle, fudge and divinities in a variety of flavors to Hy-Vee. Baking is such a big part of who Friesen is that he wanted to be in charge of the “candy buffet” at the reception.
The display included 12 kinds of treats, including caramel corn, fudge, peanut brittle, seven-layer bars and apple cinnamon crisp.
While the couple have many things in common — a love of superheroes and comic books, similar taste in music, outgoing personalities — this is one area where they differ.
“I don’t like sweets,” Frost said with a laugh. “I don’t like candy. I don’t like cake.”
But she was excited for Friesen, who was pretty pumped to see the cake. He wanted “the most insane cake anyone’s ever seen,” and he wanted it to be unveiled to the couple at the same time as their 220 wedding guests.
A few minutes after the bridal party was introduced at the reception to AC/DC’S “Thunderstruck” and took their places, Friesen got his wish. The look on his and his father’s faces showed how happy they were with the cake, helping to bring the Friesen family baking tradition alive at this important moment in their lives.
One room over — in the space where life-size cutouts of the couple in their superhero costumes stood for photo opps with guests — the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s presence was doing the same for the bride’s side of the family. Frost’s mom, Linda Frost, is one of the founding members of the museum in Mankato.
Linda said the museum has been a part of her family’s lives for many years, and it meant a great deal to her to have museum staff there Saturday, playing Legos, doing art projects and dressing kids up like superheroes.
“It’s just fun,” Linda said, adding that she enjoyed the other non-traditional aspects of the wedding too. “You know, I love it. We have a lot of non-traditional aspects to our family.”