Norwegian couple ties the knot at Mindekirken

“Come on, baby, don’t say maybe”

wedding at Mindekirken

Rev. Gunnar Kristiansen officiated at the wedding ceremony. Once they had sad “I do” and everything was official, the happy couple danced down the aisle of the historic sanctuary.

Leslee Lane Hoyum
Rockford, Minn.

As huge Eagles fans, Geir Steinar Loeng and Inger Kronvold, from Dokka, Norway, heard the amazingly popular rock group was inaugurating its “Long Goodbye: The Final Tour.” They knew they had to go. Why not Minneapolis? They love the city and have friends and family nearby.

But there was a bit more going on in Geir’s mind. After a 20-year love affair, Geir asked Inger to marry him; she accepted. Perhaps Eagle lyrics were already in his head: “I gotta know, if your sweet love is gonna save me.” So, what started out as just a destination Eagles concert turned into a destination wedding at Mindekirken on a chilly November day in Minneapolis. Stop! There’s much more to the story.

wedding at Mindekirken

Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis, was the perfect place for Geir Steinar Loeng and Inger Kronvold of Dokka, Norway, to exchange their nuptials.

Christina Carleton, executive director of Norway House, originally planned to hold a mock wedding at Mindekirken on Nov. 18 to shoot photos for an upcoming brochure promoting weddings at Mindekirken with receptions at Norway House. She contacted Mindekirken Pastor Gunnar Kristiansen to coordinate only to find an actual wedding was scheduled. Hmm, are you following the possibilities? They contacted the couple and asked if they would be the subjects of the proposed photo shoot; they were thrilled.

Next, who could coordinate the flowers, food, and everything involved? Carleton called on friend Elizabeth Plaetz Lori to put the wheels in motion. As always, the Norwegian community came through. Flowers, food, including kransekake, and music were arranged in record time.

According to Geir, “The staff and volunteers at both Mindekirken and Norway House were so accommodating, nice and helpful. They made our event into so much more than we anticipated. We felt like royalty.”

After the couple was pronounced husband and wife, they recessed by waltzing to Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Pastor Kristiansen said, “Geir and Inger were rather sheepish about asking to dance their way out of the church, but they had beautiful smiles when I said yes. After all, it was their remarkable day.”

Geir and Inger were insistent that their wedding be kept a secret from family and friends because they wanted this to be a very special moment that only the two of them would share. Rest assured the newly married couple quickly notified their children and friends, since the Minneapolis CBS affiliate was there filming the nuptials. “Everyone was surprised but also very happy for us,” said Geir. “Some thought we were already married, while others said it was about time!”

“We would highly recommend Minde­kirken and Norway House as wedding and reception venues,” said Geir. “For us, it was almost exotic. They are unique places with great atmospheres.”

Mindekirken has a 100-year Norwegian-American history and richly preserves it. Norway House, a 30-second walk across the parking lot, complements the church’s history. It serves as a forward-thinking organization serving as a contemporary venue for all aspects of Nordic life in North America.

No proper wedding can take place without a celebration, and this one was no exception. Only a few feet away at Norway House, a feast of delights, including a festive kransekake, completed the day.

According to Pastor Kristiansen, “Mindekirken is a beautiful church with stunning stained-glass windows, a beautiful altar, and a very warm and welcoming atmosphere as experienced through its architecture and its congregation. It’s a perfect wedding venue.”

Christina Carleton agrees and adds that Norway House then offers the ideal reception setting. Norway Houses’s Sundet Great Room seats up to 280 people for a sit-down dinner or accommodates 400 for cocktail-style receptions.

Need a smaller venue? The Wedum Room comfortably seats 30 people for luncheons. The Torgerson Vestibule and Atrium is perfect for mingling events and receptions for up to 150 people for a casual, indoor-outdoor experience.

From beginning to end, there is no doubt that the wedding couple’s favorite Eagles tune described their magical day: “We may lose and we may win, though we’ll never be here again, so open up, I’m climbin’ in.”

By the way, Geir and Inger want everyone to know they made it to the Eagles concert. “It was fabulous!” they both exclaimed, “So, take it easy.”

Photos: Jabari Holloman / Akril Photography

Watch wedding highlights at: cbsnews.com/minnesota/video/norwegian-couple-weds-in-minnesota-after-20-years.

This article originally appeared in the January 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Leslee Lane Hoyum

Born and raised in Minnesota, Leslee Lane Hoyum attended the University of Minnesota and University of Oslo. Leslee is or has been involved with almost every Norwegian-American organization, including Sons of Norway, Sons of Norway Foundation, Ski For Light, NAHA, Leif Eriksson International Festival and Mindekirken. Leslee is a co-founder of Lakselaget and a founding member of Norway House, and has been decorated by His Majesty King Harald with the St. Olav Medal.