Nov. 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM ET
There are plenty of fish in the sea, but Nicole and Alex Altstatt didn’t find theirs until they both signed up to explore the waters of online dating.
Nicole, 28, found her fish on the first hook: “I signed up for a bunch of different sites and decided to go on one date per site,” she said. “I hated the idea in the first place but luckily I didn’t have to go any further!”
Alex was her first and last date from the dating site "Plenty of Fish," and the two knew quickly that this was the real thing.
“The first thing I noticed about her were her good looks and her kind attitude,” said Alex, 32.
And Nicole saw a man who was masculine but had a soft side. “He’s still a guy’s guy but he made time for me. And he continues to do that. That definitely stood out for me.”
They dated for a little over two years, and then Alex decided it was time to ask for Nicole’s hand in marriage during a photo shoot with her family.
While taking pictures in front of Minneapolis’ iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry statue, the photographer asked them, “Are there any other poses you’d like to do?” That’s when Alex dropped to one knee and said, “I have one I’d like to try.”
“I thought he was joking at first!” Nicole said. “But then I saw the ring and I knew it was real.”
Once the engagement was taken care of, an impressively quick seven months of wedding planning commenced.
Nicole and Alex were married on July 12 at Our Lady of Victory Chapel on the campus of St. Catherine’s University where Nicole got her undergraduate degree. The bride wore an ivory Mori Lee gown and the groom wore a light grey tuxedo.
For Alex, the best part of the ceremony was the end.
“When they said, 'I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride,'" he recalled. "Everything was leading up to that.”
The ceremony was followed by a reception at A’bulae, a new event space in St. Paul, Minn.
When the couple booked the space, it wasn’t even finished yet, so they had to take a leap of faith — which paid off.
When it came to décor inspiration for the big day, Nicole looked to the Internet for ideas. “Pinterest was my number one idea source and I did use that for almost all of my decorating ideas, including the ceremony,” she said.
Aided by a craft-minded friend and her florist, she was able to bring to life many of the ideas she found online without having to do too much outsourcing.
When the wedding rolled around, it was a beautiful day with friends and family — and not without a surprise or two.
“My father-in-law and his close friends who’ve known Alex since he was born took a big tarp and in a big heart wrote 'Nicole and Alex,'" the bride remembers. "My father-in-law owns a building in lower St. Paul, which you could see from the roof of the reception. Cocktail hour was on the rooftop and when I looked over at the building a few blocks away, the tarp was on the roof of his building.”
Guests enjoyed a mixture of lively music and a unique and delicious amaretto and raspberry cake from Buttercream bakery.
These days, the couple is enjoying married life in Hugo, Minn., a town just north of St. Paul, where he works for a machine shop and she works as a registered nurse at a hospital.
They say it’s their love, honesty and most important, compatibility, that keeps them going strong.
Check out more pictures from their big day:
All photos provided by Bellagala in Minneapolis, Minn.