I have fallen head over heels in love with this next little number by Lisa Hessel Photography. It is filled to the brim with prettiness, of course – the flowers are perfect, the color palette is flawless and the Bride is GORGEOUS, but when I read the description by the new Mrs., I realized that this DIY duo is even more darling than I had even given them credit for. Their teamwork approach to their big day paid off and then some, making for a full gallery worthy of more than a few oohs and ahhs. Trust me.

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From the bride… Sean and I knew even before we got engaged that we wanted to be married in October. It’s one of the most beautiful months in St. Louis and means a lot to both of us since that’s the month our story started. We had 16 months to plan, so  we took a “first things first” approach and immediately made a list of the top three tasks we wanted to check off our to-do list as soon as possible: venue, date and photographer. We feel like we really lucked out and worked with some of the best vendors available to us by taking this approach! We went for a simple, rustic and crafty feel that fit our venue perfectly. I definitely mean WE when I say it too, as Sean was a huge help throughout all the DIY creations I dreamed up. Sean’s biggest project was the save the date stop-motion video, while mine was our invitations. He spent many, many hours creating a story board, taking over 400 photos, importing them to iMovie and adding music. I spent well over a month sourcing the perfect (cotton) paper, setting up a new printer at home, designing, cutting, gluing, personalizing and hand-addressing over 100 invitations. Most of the decor for the wedding was handmade too. Sean, my mom and I folded, cut and fluffed around 250 crepe paper flowers to make the rings around the lanterns on each table. I wrapped 4-inch craft letters in yarn for our gifts table and used a leftover lantern as our card box. The seating chart was a hand-painted banner that read “find your seat,” and we painted a few pieces of wood to collage frames on that read every guest’s name and table number in alphabetical order. I designed and printed the table numbers to match our invitations, and my bridesmaids helped me cut and glue them. Sean and I cut and glued 200 paper flags that read “Yay” and “Hooray” for guests to wave as we walked down the aisle together. The cake topper was handmade by Brandi of Milk Tea, which I won through a contest on Love and Lavender. Our guestbook was probably one of my favorite details at the reception. I saw a similar example online from a bride who had used wine bottles to gather messages from guests, and I knew something like that would be perfect for our day since our venue was a wine garden. I collected bottles and put labels on them to correspond with the anniversary we’d be opening the bottle. We reused strips of paper from a wedding countdown chain Sean’s cousin had made us as a gift the previous Christmas. Our guests wrote their notes on the strips, rolled them up, and put them in a bottle of their choice. We loved reading the notes from the bottle labeled 10.15.11, and I had to pack away the remainder of the bottles so we’re not tempted to break in to any future anniversary bottles before we’re supposed to!  Finding my gown was easy — I saw it online and knew it would be the one. I chose to switch up tradition a bit and go with “Something new, something old, something black and something gold” in honor of the 100th anniversary of Homecoming at my alma mater, Mizzou, which occurred on our wedding day. My dress and shoes were new, and I wore a vintage brooch to accent my pearl bracelet as something old. I made myself a purse out of gold and black fabric to represent my school’s colors. The pearl bracelet was actually a necklace I borrowed from my mom that used to belong to my grandmother. I did manage to also wear something blue, which was the stone in a Claddaugh ring my parents had given me as a souvenir from their trip to Ireland years ago. Sean and I can’t think of a single thing that we didn’t love about our wedding day. We’re proud to say that we made sure to eat plenty, drink very little, and get a piece of the wedding cake as well!

Wedding Photography: Lisa Hessel Photography / Wedding Venue: Wine Country Gardens in Defiance, Missouri / Dress: Watters via Nolte’s Bridal in Kansas City, Missouri / Hairpiece: eBay / Flowers: Les Bouquets / Cake Topper: Milk Tea / Invitation + Program Design: DIY, Bride + Groom / Bride’s + Bridesmaids’ Clutches: DIY, Bride / Save-the-Date Video, Guestbook Wine Bottles, Centerpieces, Boutonniere Favors, Paper Flags, Photobooth Props + Signs: DIY, Bride + Groom / Ceremony Musicians: Groom’s Cousins

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