‘Where it all started…’

Five generations of love surround bride in May at Stillwater church

Lauren Kupka and Tony Determan will be married in May at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Stillwater where five generations of Kupka's family have wed.

Lauren Kupka and Tony Determan will be married in May at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Stillwater where five generations of Kupka’s family have wed.

The love of generations will surround Lauren Kupka and Tony Determan on their May 4 wedding day at The Episcopal Church of Acension in Stillwater.
Kupka will be the fifth generation in her family to marry at the church. a line going back to her great-great grandparents, Helen Mar Mower and L.E. Torinus on Oct. 13, 1864.

“My mom and I belong to a church we love in Plymouth, but the priest that I really connected with moved on and I don’t really have a great connection anymore, but I thought if I don’t have a connection with the priest I should have a connection with the place,” Kupka said. “I was at a wedding show looking for a photographer and we were looking through some books and my mom said: ‘That looks like Acension. That’s where I was married, and where your grandma was marrried before you’ and that put it into our head to have the wedding there, because I thought about how unique and special that would be.”

They found the names of other family members when they looked into Ascension’s

Kupka's Grandparents, Betty Tolen and George Janecky smile at their wedding on May 18, 1946 at The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Stillwater (Submitted photo)

Kupka’s Grandparents, Betty Tolen and George Janecky smile at their wedding on May 18, 1946 at The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Stillwater (Submitted photo)

records. The other family members include great-grandparents Lois Torinus to Gordon Tolen on Sept. 27, 1905; grandparents Betty Tolen to George Janecky on May 18, 1946; Kupka’s parents, Helen Janecky to David Kupka on Jan. 29, 1972, and an aunt, Candace Janecky to Randolph Kutter on Nov. 30, 1991.

“I think it’s pretty impressive and it says a lot about the town and the church there. and I know she’s pretty excited for it, I’m kind of just along for the ride.” Determan said.

And what a ride it has been.

Kupka, who currently lives in Orono, and Determan of Forest Lake, met through mutual friends when Kupka was working as a receptionist at a salon about two-and-a-half years ago. One of the salon’s hairstylists introduced Kupka to Determan.

“He (the boyfriend) noticed me because of my height, and he thought of his friend Tony, who was tall and single. So he thought since we were both single and both tall that we’d get along,” Kupka said with a laugh. “So we went out and found out that we had more in common than just our height and we both just knew right off the bat. I’d always wondered if it was really true to just know, you know? But I know it is because as I was going out with him I thought: ‘this is the man I’ve been picturing all these years.’”

Their first date was with their friends and their friend’s son, who will serve as a ring bearer in the wedding. Where that first date started in August 2010, the salon parking lot, is where Determan proposed.

Kupka said although the proposal wasn’t anything spectacular, it was just so them. They planned on meeting Determan’s sister at a nearby restaurant after they finished getting their hair cut. They got into Determan’s truck and he moved it around and then parked.

“I think it’s right here where we met,” Determan told her. “This is where we parked, this was where I kissed you for the first time.”

“I just thought that he was being sentimental so I got a little silly with it. But then I looked at his face and he was dead serious and I saw this little box, and that was it.” Kupka said.

“I’ve been thinking about this forever and thought this would be the perfect place to ask you, where it all started,” Determan told her, “It was the only thing that made sense.”

For Kupka, getting married in the church where generations of her family have married made perfect sense, too. It was true to her vision of a wedding day in an old church with beautiful architecture and the sentimental value was icing on the wedding cake.

“I hope the day doesn’t bring too many tears. I don’t care that everything’s perfect and I hope that it’s a beautiful day with them all around.” Kupka said. “I’m just the luckiest girl to be marrying this guy and I see it as a first day of a wonderful life ahead.”

“She’s just a heckuva girl and surprisingly she’s just the right fit for me,” Determan said of Kupka. “(The marriage) means a lot to me. It means everything to me and it’s going to be a great start to a whole new world.”

What better place to begin than where it all started.

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