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!
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