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Elegant Tuscany Inspired Wedding

Would you believe me if I told you this Italian inspired affair took place Stateside? Stunning beyond compare, Events Luxe set the scene at the St. Louis’ World’s Fair Pavilion for this regally romantic evening. From the Bride’s beautiful The Crimson Petal blooms, to the olive oil favors, Shelly Goodman captured every classically elegant detail here!

From Events LuxeWhen Erin reached out to me well in advance of her September wedding, I immediately took a double-take at the full name in her email. Her email signature showed she’s in Florida, but with a unique last name, could this be the same Erin I knew from high school? So I hesitantly mentioned a high school connection in my email reply, and to my delight she wrote back “YEP, it’s me!!” Erin was 4 years behind me, so we didn’t have classes together, but in our small high school, I definitely knew who she was. Because Erin now lived in Florida, we handled our consult on the phone, and seeing each other for the first time in over 10 years at her cake tasting was like no time had passed. How funny reunions can be!

During Erin’s consult, she told us that she wanted an Italian theme. She wanted a string quartet playing, she wanted the World’s Fair Pavilion with the amazing hilltop view of Forest Park, and she wanted the feeling to be decidedly “Tuscan.” Well, that’s all we needed, and Amanda and I spent about an hour after the call rattling off our ideas and feeling really excited.

We started working with Exclusive Events on some décor ideas we had. Mainly, we wanted to divide the pavilion space right down the center with an enormous pergola, which would be draped with greenery, under which dancing would take place. We knew the color palette would be very organic and natural – greens, golds, ivory. The wedding party looked amazing in the color palette and the flowers were out of this world. Erin also created a perfect DYI favor following with the Tuscan theme for her guests – little bottles of olive oil with their date and initials. After all, this is a Tuscan winery, right? Oh, we’re still in St Louis, MO? That’s OK, nobody has to know!

Even with a large guest list, the entire event felt intimate and super romantic, and everyone had a blast dancing the night away to the band and DJ (they dueled throughout the evening), inside the pavilion that we drenched in amber uplighting with projected ivy across the ceiling. It was all completely magical.

Photography: Shelly Goodman | Videography: Sweet Tea Media | Event Planning: Events Luxe | Floral Design: The Crimson Petal | Wedding Dress: Demetrios | Cake: La Patisserie Chouquette | Reception Venue: World's Fair Pavilion | Rings: Jared | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Catering: Butler's Pantry | Hair & Makeup: LALO Salon | DJ: Galaxy Band and DJ combo | Groom's Shoes: Savvi Formalwear | Groomsmen's Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Bridesmaids' Hotel: The Seven Gables Inn | Chairs: Sitting Pretty | Decor: Exclusive Events Inc. | Groomsmen's Hotel: Cheshire Inn | Linens: BBJ Linen | Slow-Motion Video Booth: Millennium Productions | String Ensemble: Quartet Accord | Wine Barrels: Finch Vintage Rentals

Classic St. Louis Wedding

This, loves, is a classic wedding done oh-so-right.  Think the prettiest of blue color palettes, fabulous paper goods from Chelsey Emery  and a dash of modern aesthetic to give it just that right touch of bling.  All crafted by an amazing team of vendors and featuring a stunning duo that knows a thing or two about perfect parties, don’t miss a moment captured by Photography By Betty Elaine right here.

From the Bride… We knew we wanted to get married in the town that has always been home. Fall in St. Louis is a perfect time of year, post-humidity, pre-snow (most of the time). Our ceremony was held at the church just steps form my parent’s St. Louis city home, a very classic, grand church with gorgeous details. After touring the Missouri History Museum we knew we didn’t want to celebrate our reception anywhere else — the idea of dancing under the Spirit of St. Louis was too exciting to pass up, and we booked it just as soon as we could.

Going into planning I knew a simple, muted pallet would reign supreme. Taking these classic colors, I put a modern touch on pieces that would lend themselves to a little creativity. Our entire days was a mix of traditional, classic elements and modern, clean details . We worked several personal details into our day as well, from the bride and groom on our cake table, borrowed from my grandparents’ wedding so many years ago, to the S and K marquee letters welcoming guests as they arrived.

Prior to our ceremony I knew I wanted to have a first look, but not with my groom (I couldn’t wait to see his reaction at the ceremony!), but with my dad. He helped give me the most perfect wedding day, and I wanted to capture a special moment with him, before all the hustle and bustle started. He was the first person to see me in my dress outside of my wedding party and his reaction was the perfect start to my day.

Something very few people knew, but a detail that meant so much to me was actually sewn right into my dress. My mom saved the sash from her wedding gown and gifted it to me as my ‘something old’. I took a corner of her ivory belt and had my new monogram sewn in as my ‘something blue’. For the entire day I had this special memento with me, remembering my old and welcoming my new.

Small homages were paid to our families throughout the day, as well. The mothers wore gardenia corsages, my mom’s favorite flower. Our bouquets and centerpieces boasted dusty miller, a plant my grandmother grew in her backyard. Songs were carefully selected based on our parents’ and friends’ favorite jams (and dance moves).

The whole day went by so quickly (and thanks to my wonderful team, without a hitch). However, we both remember, so vividly, the toasts by our wonderful friends. I don’t think we’ve laughed so hard or felt so loved, both our maid/matron of honor and best man did an amazing job and we cannot thank them enough for contributing to our day in such a special way.

Sean could eat popcorn for every meal. So to honor the groom’s favorite treat, we had a gourmet popcorn bar for guests to grab a snack in between dances. For those guests that wanted to celebrate with a cigar, we also had those available late in the night, which, thanks to the gorgeous weather, many were able to enjoy in the courtyard.

Sean and I went into our day knowing we wanted to have fun. We wanted to dance, we wanted to toast with friends and we wanted to walk away from the entire thing the happiest we’ve ever been. Even when he forgot the rings (yes, we almost got married without wedding bands, but thanks to our best man’s quick thinking –and driving–parents, the day was saved!) we remembered to laugh. Thanks to our wonderful team of vendors, our loving family and friends, we didn’t have a care in the world that day, we left any stresses at the door and we danced until the place closed down.

After the wedding was said and done and we waiting patiently for our photos from our wonderful photographer, reliving all the moments of the day through images was such an exciting experience. When we happened upon the images we took last in the day, in front of the wooded, fairytale-esque background we were both in shock, and it took us about 1 minute to decide they were are favorite photos. Our favorite photo, us stealing a kiss in front of the tall grass and fall flowers happily hangs in our home, a reminder of the best day ever.

Photography: Photography By Betty Elaine | Event Planning: Proposing Dreams | Floral Design: The Special Event Florist, Tina Barerra | Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza | Cake: Macarthur’s Bakery | Invitations: Chelsey Emery Design Boutique | Reception Venue: The Missouri History Museum | Jewelry: J.Crew | Bridesmaids' Dresses: The Ultimate Bride | Catering: The Butler’s Pantry | Groom's Attire: Michael Kors

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Romantic St. Louis City Museum Wedding

These self-proclaimed hopeless romantics wanted their Big Day to reflect their relationship. The decision? Marrying in a vaulted venue surrounded by their nearest and dearest (even their furry family member made a golden appearance). Before I Do filled with the day with the prettiest pops of pink a la Artistry Florist and ferris wheel fun, while Untamed Heart captured every sweet moment here!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Museum
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride.. If anyone knows me well, they know that I am a TRUE hopeless romantic. So naturally, one thing I knew for sure is that I wanted the overarching theme to be romantic, but also with touches of glam. Aside from that it was important for me to incorporate many details that encompassed BOTH myself, and my very British fiancé.

When we set out to find our venue, we actually wanted a barn…completely different than where we landed. We stepped one foot into the space and were just in awe. My fiancé was romanticized by the real bank vault in the middle of the space, as it was a nod to his profession. I was captivated by the stunning architecture and true uniqueness of the room. We knew this was the spot for us, as it represented BOTH of us.

Some of my very favorite details of the day were the small, inconspicuous touches that had meaning behind them. The miniature white & gold bunnies that held our table numbers, because Mark calls me “bunny”. The signature Pimm’s Cup, as a nod to his British roots. The miniature champagne favors we used as escort cards, because if anyone knows me they know that I rely on a nice glass of champs! Lastly, the gold spray-painted pomeranian figure we displayed on the gift table since our favorite furry family member Scarlett was not permitted into the museum.

The day was everything I wanted and more. I only wish we could do it again!

Photography: Untamed Heart Photography | Event Planning: Before I Do | Florist: Artistry Florist | Wedding Gown: Amy Kuschel | Cake: The Cakery | Ceremony Venue: St. Louis City Museum | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Catering: Butler's Pantry | Make-up: MakeUp Artistry | Chalkboard Sign: Worn Vintage Rental | Grooms Tux: Bonobos | Invitations/Paper Goods: M. Haley Designs

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Modern + Timeless St. Louis Wedding

This modern affair from Katie Saeger Events is absolutely bursting at the seams with beautiful bits. First, I suggest you read the Bride’s lovely story and get two know these two lovebirds—I’ve kind of fallen in love with them and their dreamy fete. Including one thousand! paper cranes crafted by the Bride’s sister, feast your eyes on every detail snapped up by Lisa Hessel and don’t miss the film created by the groom!

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Hotel
Styles
Elegant

From the beautiful Bride…From our first introductions by a mutual friend at a happy hour, I knew Pete had no intentions of staying in New York City. So when we hit it off, we decided we’d simply enjoy each other’s company for six months, have some adventures and a few good laughs, and go our separate ways when the time came. Those first few months together were wonderful—we traveled, we danced, we shared stories. We immediately felt comfortable with each other, as though we’d known one another for a very long time and it was very refreshing. When Pete received confirmation that he would be moving to St. Louis shortly, we began to truly realize the connection we had with each other. So when my dad passed away only a few weeks later, I began to reevaluate my priorities; that’s when I realized how special what Pete and I had together was… and when I shared that sentiment with him, he expressed that he felt the same way. We were not ready to go our separate ways. So with one or two serious conversations, I began making plans to completely overhaul my world and move to a new city to be near him. It was truly the best leap of faith I ever took.

Pete proposed on a moonlit beach in Mexico during our last vacation before I began a new job. We had decided it was the perfect time to take a vacation to celebrate the end of his first year in a new position as well as the beginning of my new position. Since the vacation had that significance to us already, I never suspected that I would become a future Mrs as well!! Pete knows me well, and was aware that I would not be one for big public proposals and a lot of attention. Instead, he suggested we take a quiet walk on the beach after dinner the first night we arrived in Mexico. A short distance from the hotel, he stopped to “look at the moon and the clouds.” He then turned to me and began talking about all the wonderful things about our relationship. I thought it was sweet of him, though I was slightly confused by his sentimentality. Finally he looked at me and said, “You know why I brought you here, don’t you?” At that point, he got down on one knee and proposed. I don’t believe he finished asking before I was laughing and jumping and yelling “YES!” To this day, he teases me that I didn’t cry during the proposal, much to both our surprises (I’m a total sap), but it’s true, there were no tears; I could not stop my giddy laughter. We stopped back at the hotel lobby for champagne together before sharing the news with our families (who, not surprisingly, had known long before I did).

When Pete and I started looking at wedding venues, we didn’t have a clear vision of what we were looking for. We looked at restaurant event spaces, art galleries, and lofts. We knew we could likely make anywhere work for us, but we were not completely enamored with any of them. I only booked one hotel ballroom appointment. The day we planned to go see the Statler Ballroom at the Renaissance Grand Hotel, Pete was running late at work and we considered canceling our appointment. However, I picked him up from work at the last minute and drove straight downtown. The moment we walked into the Statler Ballroom, we knew we had found the perfect wedding venue for us. The Statler Ballroom was originally the lobby of the old Statler Hotel built in 1917 and we were struck by its elegance and grandeur. We loved the original details including the old marble columns, the vaulted ceilings, and the old reception desk that had been turned into the bar. As soon as I saw the venue, I could finally envision our dream wedding day— a mix of modern simplicity with classic, timeless elegance.

My sister (matron of honor), AJ, provided the biggest inspiration for our wedding décor. As she and I started creating a design board to bring to my wedding planner, AJ jokingly suggested paper cranes as an element to our theme. At that time, I don’t think she realized what she was signing herself up for! I immediately began to scheme up amazing ways to incorporate paper cranes and the idea snowballed. Our wedding décor included ONE THOUSAND paper cranes, gifted to us by AJ as a symbol of one thousand years of happiness and prosperity. Her cranes were all hand crafted with love and we incorporated them into every element of our design. The most spectacular aspect of the design was our backdrop, laid out by AJ and our amazing wedding planner, Katie Saeger, which was used for the ceremony as well as our photo booth later in the evening. Our centerpieces included paper cranes strung on Manzanita branches with reflecting candlelight. Our escort cards were paper cranes dipped in plastic and strung as ornament favors for our guests. It was such a delight to receive photos from friends of their cranes dangling from their Christmas trees a few months later!

Our wedding day was flawless. On our late fall day, we had clear skies and 70 degree weather! The autumn colors had reached their peak and the outdoor views were magnificent. Our good mutual friend officiated our ceremony for us. Our ceremony was not long, but we felt it truly represented the most important aspects of our marriage. Pete’s nephews graced us with their character and spirit as our ring bearers and scattered petals with great gusto prior to my procession. Pete and I chose my younger sister, a trained classical singer, to serenade us during our unity candle ceremony, a symbol of two individual flames merging as one. We also presented roses to our mothers as a token of gratitude for and acknowledgement of the origins of our love and the nurturing examples our parents set for us. We asked a close friend to read Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVII in Spanish to recognize Pete’s Spanish and Venezuelan heritage. Lastly, we incorporated the Jewish tradition of breaking of the glass, which has many interpretations from warding away evil spirits to serving as a reminder of our responsibility to help relieve some of the pain and suffering of others even in our times of joy, as well as to mark the beginning of our celebration!

Our wedding reception was drenched in candlelight and paper cranes. It was utterly romantic. The details provided by our loved ones, from the paper cranes to the homemade display cake made by Pete’s mom, were wonderful sentimental, personal touches. Despite believing I had meticulously planned my wedding, my loved ones managed to incorporate a few surprises. Pete soulfully serenaded me with an acoustic version of Sam Smith’s Latch. Our matron of honor and best man brought a few tears as well as raucous laughter to the whole crowd. A recording of my late father telling a story of my childhood was shared. I will always treasure my memories of the happiness, love and laughter that filled the ballroom— if our amazingly beautiful, joyful wedding day is any sign of what is to come, Pete and I are destined for an amazingly beautiful and happy life together.

Photography: Lisa Hessel Photography | Planner: Katie Saeger Events | Florist: Special Event Florist | Bridesmaids' Dresses: MJVOCouture | DJ: CJ's Disc Jockey Services | Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss | Hotel: Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel | Bride's Dress: Essense of Australia | Bridesmaids' Robes: Singing Slowly | Ceremony Musician: Lliam Christy | Hair/Makeup: DanielleStyles - Annie | Men's Accessories: The Tie Bar | Paper Goods: Ten Four Paper | Photobooth: Todd Studios | Wedding Headpiece: Melinda Rose Design | Wedding Served Cake: Sarahs Cake Shop

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Elegant Summer St. Louis Wedding

These two lovebirds’ story was too cute not to share and so they used it as a backdrop for their St. Louis celebrations. Cheree Berry weaved their tale throughout all of the stationery and with Cosmopolitan Events leading the way, we have one super creative, super personal soiree. Jon Koch captured their happily ever after and my Pinterest boards are getting a hefty update from all the goodies right here.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
ChurchPark
Styles
Elegance

From The Bride… Here’s the story I wrote for my 3rd grade class to tell my students I got engaged: Once there was a girl named Bridget who went to Indiana University. She was very fun and outgoing and could not wait to venture out on her own! While she was in college, she decided to study abroad in Ireland. While she was there, she met a boy named Brian who went to Butler University, and they quickly became great friends. While they were in Ireland together they traveled all over and made lots of great friends. When it was time to return to the United States, they decided to remain friends and stay in touch with each other.

After college, Bridget moved to the big city of Chicago to pursue her dream of working in advertising. She moved in with her best friend from high school named Whitney and Whitney’s best friend from DePauw University, Katie. The three girls loved living together and had so much fun together. Soon, Bridget’s friend Brian from studying abroad also moved to Chicago and became friends with Whitney and Katie too.

One weekend, all of Bridget and Brian’s friends from Ireland came in town for a “study abroad reunion” and Katie came along too. It became clear that weekend that Brian had a crush on Katie (even though Bridget warned him to stay away from her friend!), and they started getting closer sharing new music and their favorite bands. Katie and Brian became inseparable from that weekend on. They enjoyed going to concerts together, traveling to new places, playing tennis, getting together with friends and playing with her dog.

But then, something very bittersweet happened. Brian got an amazing promotion within John Hancock that would take him to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sadly, Brian moved away from Chicago and Katie. Soon after, Katie got a dream teaching job offer in St. Louis that she couldn’t turn down and she left Chicago as well. So Brian and Katie lived in different cities for two years traveling back and forth to see each other.

After over two years of long distance, Brian decided that he wanted to ask Katie to marry him. Brian started conspiring with Katie’s best friend Cassie to find out what Katie wanted and designed a beautiful ring he thought would be perfect for her, and it was. He was originally planning on asking her parents’ permission on a weekend visit to see Katie, but soon found out her parents would not be there! Brian wanted to do things right so he drove ten hours to talk to her dad without Katie even knowing he was in St. Louis in order to get her dad’s permission to ask for her hand in marriage.

On Brian’s next visit, he had a plan to propose to Katie before they saw The Script (one of Katie’s favorite bands) in concert at Art Hill on Thursday night. Unfortunately the weather was uncooperative so Brian spent the entire concert carefully guarding the ring in his pocket. The next day, he asked Katie if she would like to take her 100 pound yellow lab Payton on a long walk in Forest Park. It was a beautiful fall day so Katie happily obliged. They walked all around the park and enjoyed each other’s company. When they got to the top of Art Hill, they stopped to look at the scenic view. Katie was lamenting that poor Payton was too short to see the beautiful fountains below over the wall, when all of the sudden, Katie looked down and saw Brian on one knee holding a sparkly ring. He asked her to marry him, and she said yes! Katie and Brian were ecstatic, and even her dog Payton was overjoyed to have Brian join their family. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to get married in Santa Fe where my family visited each summer. Brian wanted to have a big party where all our friends and family would be able to attend. We decided to merge the two together by having a Santa Fe themed wedding in St. Louis (my hometown). Our goal was to recreate the feeling of being in Santa Fe through the flowers, food, décor (plank tables with low hanging chandeliers over them), and jewelry. The flowers and place cards included succulents to incorporate the southwest theme. Catering St. Louis custom designed a dinner menu with Southwestern flavors including cumin rubbed beef tenderloin, green chile crab cakes, and green chile grits. We also searched to find wood plank farm tables and hung eclectic chandeliers low over the tables to recreate the intimate feel of our favorite patio in Santa Fe. I wore my Navajo squash blossom necklace for the ceremony and my squash blossom bracelet for both the ceremony and reception. I also opted to wear cowboy booties under my dress. Our hotel welcome baskets were also from the Santa Fe Cooking School with a Southwestern snack sampler.

When Brian and I first got engaged, I wrote a story about it to tell my third grade class at the time. We decided to use this story throughout our save the dates, invitations, and day of paper products created by Cheree Berry. Our save the date was a mini-book telling the story of our relationship. Our invitations also included another mini-book as the reception card. Finally, each of the table numbers at our wedding was as chapter in our story. Cheree Berry custom created a pattern for many of the paper products using my squash blossom bracelet as inspiration as well.

My favorite moment was walking into the reception as husband and wife seeing all my family and friends. I was so overjoyed to be married to the man of dreams, and proud to be able to show him off as my husband! The room also felt so inviting and warm, and looked even more perfect than I imagined. We could truly feel the love and support from all of our loved ones in that moment.

Brian’s favorite moment was sitting together listening to the speeches from my dad, the best men, and matron of honor. This was our opportunity to finally sit back and relax with our loved ones. Brian highly anticipated my father’s speech after his speech at my sister’s wedding, and his speech did not disappoint. Brian’s best men also made us laugh and cry through their amazing storytelling and use of props.

Photography: Jon Koch Photography | Event Planning: Cosmopolitan Events | Floral Design: Wildflowers | Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka | Cake: Encore Bakery | Ceremony Venue: Webster Groves Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue: Forest Park Visitor's Center | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Coren Moore | Catering: Catering St. Louis | Transportation: Best Transportation | Ceremony Musicians: Rosewood Ensemble | Hair & Make-Up: Danielle Style | Paper: Cheree Berry Paper | Reception Musicians: Griffin & The Gargoyles | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Algonquin Golf Club | Wooden Table Rentals: Chicago Farm Tables

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Valentine-Inspired Winter Romance

I love this quote from Alphonse Karr that inspired this stunner of a shoot from Elizabeth Ngundue. “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”  It defines the birth of something beautiful, from something otherwise harsh and lacking vigor and life. And it’s exactly what this slice of pretty stands for, from the dress from White Traditions Bridal House to the vibrant petals from Accents Floral Design.

Colors
Seasons
Winter
Settings
Outdoor
Styles
Rustic

From Elizabeth Ngundue PhotographyI am so thrilled to share this inspiration shoot with you! My inspiration came from a quote by Alphonse Karr: “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” I was instantly drawn to the message portrayed in this beautiful quote, and I started planning this shoot, only to watch every idea fall perfectly into place. I decided that winter was the perfect time for this shoot; it’s dull, dry, and seemingly lifeless. Creating something incredibly stunning in the midst of something boring would portray this quote in exactly the way I intended. I wanted to incorporate a Valentine’s Day color palette to truly bring out the beauty of love. Roses were the perfect addition to the cascading florals, tying my concept all together swimmingly.

The details were truly a joy for me to work on for this shoot! I selected antique silver plate chargers and candle holders for the table setting. I incorporated blush into the linen napkins, and used ivory china lined in brushed metal and green to compliment the beautiful greenery in the florals. I chose deep red champagne flutes to pair with the antique pewter goblets on the table. I wanted an ombre cake with a naked middle tier to truly tie in my vision, and the gorgeous Valentine color palette. The florals brought everything to life, with stunning blush pinks, deep reds, and exquisite greenery. Everything was exactly as I had hoped it would be!

This Valentine Inspired Winter Romance Shoot was intended to make a statement. I love challenging brides and grooms to seek beauty in every aspect of life. Creating beauty that breaks the typical wedding stereotype is something that can make your wedding images look completely unique and your own. My wish for couples is to allow their minds to be inspired by who they truly are, and what they love. Don’t feel pressured to get married in the fall if you love February! Every couple is unique in their own beautiful way. I challenge you, my friends, to see the silver lining in every situation; to be grateful that thorns have roses. Don’t be afraid to be different; because different is beautiful, too.

Photography: Elizabeth Ngundue Photography | Styling: Elizabeth Ngundue Photography | Floral Design: Accents Floral Design | Cake: Bella Cakes | Groom's Attire: Savvi Formalwear | Bridal Gown: White Traditions Bridal House | Hair / Makeup: Flawless Makeup | Paper Goods: La Happy | Vintage Furniture: Finch Vintage Rentals

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