This Saint Louis couple has put quite the sunny disposition on a classic black & white affair. Captured by Jeffrey and Julia Woods ~ Photographers, their big day was just that – big. And gorgeous. And classy. And glamourous. And so many other amazing adjectives, but instead of listing them all, I’ll just give you a link to the gallery so you can create your own list!

I’ll start our story with the end of our wedding day because there’s something magical about how Tim and I felt when we ran through a line of our friends and family holding sparklers as we departed our wedding. We’ve never been happier. I was breathless. It was the culmination of our wedding weekend and the wrap our whirlwind year of planning.

I love looking back knowing that Tim and I planned our entire wedding together, down to the last detail and the details were the priority. It was a team effort and we decided from day one that our wedding was a celebration of our relationship, and also about embracing our friends and family as they came together in a city where most of them had never been before or rarely visit – my hometown, St. Louis, Missouri.

Tim and I live in Atlanta, but we wanted to take on the challenge of planning a wedding in another city because it was going to be really special to have everyone in St. Louis. We kicked off the weekend with taking our wedding party to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game, and then on Friday invited all of our guests to a rehearsal (BBQ style) at my parent’s house.

But on to planning of our big day, we wanted simple and understated with a touch of glamour throughout – oh, and our wedding had to be an absolute blast. The first part was selecting the venue and we were sold by the Ninth Street Abbey’s floor to ceiling stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and old world charm. The all brick building was built in the 1800’s, was covered in green ivy and was in the oldest part of the city. The Abbey had enough character to set it apart from an indoor ballroom and at the same time had a way of making a large wedding more intimate.

Tim had the most fun picking out his custom tuxedo, and I fell madly in love with floor length Melissa Sweet bridesmaids dresses in a fitted but relaxed jersey material. My oversized bouquet of all white peonies and my sparkling heels were my favorite accessories, along with my grandmother’s blue necklace as my something blue.

I had a lot of fun incorporating family into the wedding. Just as it has for all of the women in my family, my wedding day started with breaking a plate (for good luck) as I left my parent’s house. Tim and I took first look photos in the same park that my parents got married in 30 years ago (and we found our very talented photographer through SMP!). When guests entered our wedding they could see a photo of each of our grandparents who could not be with us but who we felt were there in celebration. My cousin officiated the ceremony, my uncle was the soloist. I wore my other grandmother’s ring as my something borrowed and her handkerchief as my something old (my dress was something new). Our cake topper was the same one on my grandparent’s cake when they got married in the 1940’s – I just had the base updated to match our white and silver color palette, it sparkled!
Then of course we wanted to share St. Louis and we did this in a big way through the food. We served St. Louis’ famous toasted ravioli at the cocktail hour, an Italian feast in honor of my family heritage and had a special surprise of Ted Drewe’s frozen custard (a St. Louis favorite – and one of Tim’s) as late night dessert. Incorporating all of these details really made things special for Tim and I, and for our friends and family.

Decorating the venue was done with lots of rose peals (12,000 to line the aisle!), lighting and our custom letterpress design (courtesy of Twin Ravens Press) on paper pieces throughout the ceremony and reception. My neighbor so kindly created the simplified floral centerpieces that were placed on each table.

My one piece of advice to brides (and grooms) is to really take care of your guests. Tim and I poured so much time into our seating chart, but it made such a difference to our guests when they had a place to sit down, relax and enjoy their meal. Plus, we also greeted every guest as they entered the cocktail hour and this gave us a chance to speak to everyone. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry about making sure we spoke with all of our guests, and we could dance the night away later on! Which just so happened that we basically had to peel our guests off the dance floor at the end of the night. Six months later, people still tell us how much fun they had at our wedding and that is so rewarding to hear. Our guests especially loved the gospel choir we hired to sing “Oh Happy Day” as we recessed down the aisle. People started dancing as they left the ceremony.

I also think it’s important for all brides (and grooms) to remember to make time for themselves at their wedding. Tim and I ate our dinner at a table for just the two of us and I’ll always remember how wonderful it was to enjoy our first meal together as a married couple.

Finally, don’t forget that the moments you don’t plan will be some of your favorite. People still tell the story of my 65-year-old uncle doing the splits on the dance floor at our wedding. I’ll also always know how surprised I was when Tim gave me a little blue box with a necklace inside for me to wear and always have to remember our big day.

Photography: Jeffrey and Julia Woods ~ Photographers / Ceremony Flowers: Sisters Flowers / Wedding Coordination: Bride’s Vision / Catering: Patty Long Catering / Ceremony & Reception Venue: Ninth Street Abbey / Invitations, Programs, Menus: Twin Ravens Press / Calligraphy: Little Flower Calligraphy / Ceremony Music: Rosewood Ensemble / Reception Band: Galaxy Red / Cake: The Cakery / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Dress: Priscilla of Boston / Groom’s Tux: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaids Dresses: Melissa Sweet / Groomsmen’s Tuxedos: Calvin Klein  / Mother of the Bride Dress: Melissa Sweet / Mother of the Bride & Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar Loungerie / Hair: Olivia Ebers / Makeup: D’Shannon Llewlyn

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