Two Columbia teachers marry on Grant Elementary playground

Sunday, June 13, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:20 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 16, 2010
John and Kristin Nies were married Saturday at the only place that made sense to the two elementary school teachers — the playground at Grant Elementary School.

COLUMBIA — Peach fizz and butter.

These were the colors integrated into Kristin Borgstede and John Nies' wedding ceremony, which were as unique as the venue.


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Despite rain, family and friends gathered at Grant Elementary School’s playground Saturday afternoon to celebrate Borgstede and Nies' marriage.

Although Grant Elementary's gym was the couple's initial backup plan for uncooperative weather, they decided Saturday to keep the wedding outdoors.

“I’ve always been under the philosophy of rain or shine,” Borgstede said with a smile.

Borgstede, a fourth-grade teacher at Paxton Keeley Elementary School and Nies, a fifth-grade teacher at Grant Elementary, first met in 2007 when they both worked at Grant Elementary.

Getting married at Grant’s playground was the natural thing to do.

“Lots of people don’t get to do that — have their ceremony where they met,” Nies said.

The choice of venue also reflects Borgstede and Nies' love of their childhoods and passion for teaching.

“I thought it was kind of crazy but totally them,” said Samantha Ericson, a bridesmaid and longtime friend of Borgstede’s, reflecting on when she found out the two would marry on the playground. “They never do anything the way you expect.”

Because the couple decided to plan the wedding themselves, family and friends played a major role in getting everything ready for the big day. The archway under which Borgstede and Nies stood as they exchanged vows was built by Nies’ childhood friend, Josh Nardie. Students from Borgstede and Nies’ classes made decorations.

Borgstede and Nies’ students also contributed to the wedding in a much bigger way.

After weeks of practicing in music class, Kenny Roberts, 10, a student in Borgstede’s class, was ready to join his fellow students in singing The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” after the wedding procession and welcome.

“It felt amazing,” Roberts said.

Following the song, Borgstede and Nies exchanged the vows they had written.

“This whole time we’ve both been thinking about what it is we’re going to say to each other at this important moment in front of hundreds of people,” Nies said.

After they exchanged vows, Borgstede and Nies took part in a unity celebration. Each person poured water from fresh water springs near where Nies proposed into a vase.

Along with the fresh water came a little rainwater.

“I think it’s perfect that it rained,” Ericson said.

Now Borgstede and Nies will always have some raindrops from their wedding day.

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