This is my kind of Bride: a woman with a vision. Her vision? A “timeless, classic and romantic” wedding. And with gorgeous flowers and greenery decorating the space, a beautiful invitation suite designed by the Bride’s friend, and a candlelit ceremony, it’s safe to say this Bride executed her vision to perfection. See every beautiful detail captured by Carretto Studio in The Vault!
From The Bride…Greg and I met at work in 2009. A seasoned sales rep with the company, he was gifted the task of being my trainer– a cross-country friendship sparked as I was in Baltimore and he was in Dallas. Years later, we both started new jobs and moved back to our hometowns of Detroit and St. Louis, and some how after all that came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to finally start dating… long distance. After two and a half years of paying a small fortune to Delta Airlines, Greg’s sales skills finally convinced me to move to St. Louis. It was on December 23rd, 2014 when Greg asked me to meet him at a park around the corner from our condo. When I walked through the gates, he was holding the world’s most adorable King Charles Cavalier puppy in his jacket. (We later named her Lucy.) He handed her to me and wished me a “Merry Christmas”. My heart stopped…seriously?? We wanted a puppy, but I wanted a RING. Greg waited a few agonizing moments of me loving on the puppy to finally ask, “Did you think I was going to propose??” When I responded with a disappointed yes, he responded “well good, because I am”. He got down on one knee and pulled out the most beautiful cushion cut diamond I could have ever imagined. The engagement was very private, just how we both imagined it. Knowing how badly I would want to savor that moment forever, he had secretly hired a photographer to capture the memories. Every time we look at them, it brings us right back to that amazing December day.
We kicked off planning a May 2015 wedding at a gorgeous Northern Michigan resort. After my parent’s retirement plans moved them out of Michigan, our wedding plans quickly followed. We loved visiting Chandler Hill Vineyards during my visits to St. Louis while we were dating, so we felt like it would be a beautiful venue for our big day. Our goals for the wedding weekend were to create an event specific to our story, make it a memorable experience for our out-of-town guests and make it as personal as possible. As I stated earlier, we are a couple that cherishes memories so naturally our most important steps would be the big details – photography, floral design, venue, videography and entertainment. We didn’t want a theme, but a feel — “timeless, classic and romantic”. My biggest fear was that we would be type casted by Pinterest because our venue was a vineyard. I must have told all my vendors a thousand times how much I despised the words rustic, vintage and burlap.
The most taxing step was finding vendors. Since I did not grow up in St. Louis, I decided to go with our gut and trust referrals from those who did. A friend from college recommended our amazingly talented photographer, Andy Carretto of Carretto Studio. A few close friends had used our florist, Barb Wehking of Bloomin’ Buckets. We had been to 12 weddings this year (we were invited to 14) and every one of them had hydrangeas used in the design. I love hydrangeas and all of the weddings we attended were gorgeous, but I wanted something different. Sue was the only florist we met with who truly understood that vision. Our invite suite was custom designed by a close family friend, Jennifer Smith, who started her own custom culture company called Madranas in Detroit. Our videographer was a random find, but a beautiful gem. Mike Dalton of Mike Dalton Films is an up-and-comer here on the St. Louis wedding scene and boy-oh-boy was he worth taking a shot. We used Karmen Rowles, a friend of my mother-in-law, for coordination, which was key for bringing the entire look together.
Although we are both Catholic, we decided to have a close friend marry us at Chandler Hill. We knew it was out of the box, but fit much better in our “personalized” feel. While planning, we always pictured the ceremony taking place outside on the deck with the sun setting into the fall colored trees, but forgot to take daylight savings time into account. Instead we were married by candlelight and it all turned out beautiful. We held the cocktail hour outside and moved everyone inside for the reception. The room was a vision of white and blush-toned roses, peonies, football mums and gladiolus for extra height, all were tied together with the most gorgeous greenery and candles. We wanted to have a grand feel to the room since the ceilings were so high with beautiful exposed wood on the beams and the large bar. We mixed the tables with pin-tucked satin linens; rose-gold sequined tablecloths and we left our thirty-foot feast table bare with exposed wood as well. The fireplace was lit and the lights were dimmed. We couldn’t have been happier. The evening went off beautifully – we couldn’t have asked for better weather for a November wedding in St. Louis. (65 and sunny during the day and a brisk 45 at night.)
Instead of sharing our personal vows in front of all of our guests, we chose to do them in front of our bridal party and parents at sunset. We shared traditional Catholic vows during our ceremony.
We ended the evening with fireworks! Chandler Hill Vineyards is in the middle of wine country and the pitch-black sky created the perfect setting for the display! Our feast table sat twenty-five people (parents, bridal party and spouses) and featured a forty-foot garland of beautiful greenery and roses.
Greg sported a custom tuxedo from Brooks Brothers. The groomsmen wore black on black, while his was midnight blue with a black grosgrain lapel to help him stand out. The tables were each named by a city that played a significant role throughout our long distance relationship.
As one of the readings, Greg’s brother read the Irish Lord’s Prayer in remembrance of his late mother and grandparent’s proud Irish heritage, which ended up being the opening voiceover for our video.
Photography: Carretto Studio | Cinematography: Mike Dalton Films | Floral Design: Bloomin Buckets | Wedding Dress: Clarice's Bridal | Cake: Celebrating Life Cakes | Stationery: Madrana's | Catering: Chandler Hill Vineyards | Makeup: Flawless STL | Hair: Valerie Brown | DJ: DJ Who | Groom's Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Chandler Hill Vineyards