Luxe Elopement Styled Shoot

It was a cold February day at Verde on Cherokee when this amazing group of vendors gathered to create some magic. This magic seems even more relevant today with everything surrounding COVID-19 and our lives. Everyone, of course, is affected – but in my world, the world of weddings, we are being shocked to our core. We are having heartbreaking and tear-inducing calls with our precious couples, talking about cancelling or rescheduling a day they have been planning for a year or more. But also having conversations about how important love is and really refocusing on the marriage aspect of what a wedding day is. We are getting creative, going outside of our boxes, and working through something that we have never been trained or taught to handle. Through this all, we will be better. Better problem-solvers. Better lovers. Better friends. Better workers. Better people.

With all of that being said [yes, probably for the thousandth time], we want to let you know that all of us are open and love the idea of intimate gatherings and/or elopements. I know that right now we are to stay at home and social distance and I’m on board with those decisions. But when these mandates are lifted, we know that weddings might not look the same for a little while. Life might not look the same. But we still want to get you married and give you your happily ever after! So read and scroll through this blog to get inspired, to see that your wedding doesn’t have to look like your cousin’s did, that you and your true love can have just as much fun one-one-one versus two-on-two hundred.

If you have any questions – about elopements, intimate weddings, rescheduling, cancelling, anything – we are here for you. As are all other vendors here in St Louis. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Sure, we are busy with what’s going on, but we also are stuck at home and eager to help anyone and everyone! Now let’s get to the really good stuff….

It all started when Steph Masat reached out to me about wanting to create a really luxurious elopement styled shoot. I got to work creating a mood board, of course, and we spent the following few months working to create something beautiful.

Mood Board

Venue: Verde on Cherokee

Verde on Cherokee is a brand new venue in southern St Louis and is perfect for intimate gatherings and elopements. For pricing information, hit this link to head to their website! They offer hourly rates, extended hours, rentals & more.

Hair & Makeup: Abigail Joy HMUA

Abbey is a wonder when it comes to beauty! She is not only photogenic herself but will make sure you look and feel your best on your wedding day. I just love the look she created for this bride.

Bridal Hair $75 / Bridal Makeup $65

Bridal Gown & Accessories:
White Traditions Bridal House, Sara Patino Jewelry & Shein

White Traditions Bridal House is a boutique full of gorgeous gowns created by so many brilliant designers. They are my go-to and have a sister store called Cleo in O’Fallon as well. Check them out for your own wedding gown and even bridesmaid dresses!

Dress: Lillian West’s Fit and Flare Gown with Flutter Draped Sleeves STYLE 66112 $1,623

Sara Patino Jewelry: inquire for pricing on all custom jewelry (necklace, ring & gold bangles) / Deep Dive Mother of Pearl Earrings $74

Shoes: $27 from Shein

Groom’s Suit & Accessories: The Black Tux

The Black Tux is an online suit rental and concierge service. They are the perfect choice if your groomsmen are scattered across the world or want the convenience of at-home try ons. Check out their website to understand more about their services and process!

Tan Suit $110 / White Dress Shirt $20 / Apricot Silk Necktie $10 / Brown Suede Shoes $35 / Brown Suede Belt $10 / Gold Pearl Cufflinks $5

Stationery: Seven Cranes Calligraphy

Anisa at the newly rebranded Seven Cranes Calligraphy is alllll about the details! She brings along this magical box full of styling items, place cards, and custom stationery. She created these really beautiful, intricate pieces with peach and deep raspberry tones that perfectly matched the color palette.

All of Anisa’s work is custom created and designed so be sure to check out her website and inquire for pricing! She also has these amazing “Change the Date” PDF’s available on her website to assist with the postponing process we have been facing the past few weeks.

Florals: Roses + Mint

Oh, Roses + Mint, how I love you. Kira & Sarah are my soul mates and looking back through our relationship (both personally and professionally) I’m just astounded by how God brings people together. They are love, life, joy, and all things laughter. They put together this really unique bouquet and centerpiece to complement. Just look at the texture and unique elements!

Bouquet $425 / Table Compote $140 / Cake Blooms $50 / Styling Blooms $50 / Candles for Tablescape $55 / Please note that these prices also do not reflect their team fee, which would include delivery, setup, and breakdown.

Floral pricing varies based on season, desired flower blooms, and even economical factors. There are lots of things that come into play, so make sure you set up a consultation with Kira & Sarah to discuss all your options!

Tablescapes: Verde on Cherokee, An Affair to Remember,
Roses + Mint & Allyssa Elaine Events

This tablescape was unique because we wanted to bring in several textures, layers of color, and really create some depth to the sweetheart table. It is the perfect combination to create a really luxurious feeling environment without overspending!

An Affair to Remember: Taupe Velvet (underlay) 90×156 $55 / Peach Matte Satin (overlay) 90×156 $35 / Fawn Dream Catcher Runner (table runner) $15 / Khaki Microsuede (cake table) 90×156 $65 / Ice Peach Dupioni (ceremony) 90×156 $35

Personally acquired items: Place Mats $9.99 each / White Dinner Plate $3 each / Magnolia Salad Plate $4.99 each / Linen Napkins $9.99 for 4 / Flatware $19.99 per 5-piece set

Cake: Made by Lia

Lia has made a few cakes for past styled shoots & clients and every cake she makes is truly a work of art. She is opening up her bakery soon and we can’t wait to go in and try all the sweet treats!

$200 for a two-tier cake that serves 40 / flower placement costs additional

Signature Drink Recipe

Photography: Steph Masat

Steph was the brains behind all of this and her eye for details and out-of-the-box shots are so amazing. She is one of a kind and her elopement photography is extra special! Be sure to check her out for yours – whether it was planned or due to these crazy times!

Photography Collections starting at $2,500

A huge shoutout to my vendors below! Be sure to support them during this time by liking, following, and sharing!

Photography: Steph Masat Weddings 
Planning & Design: Allyssa Elaine Events  
Venue: Verde on Cherokee 
Florist: Roses & Mint 
Cake: Made by Lia 
Bridal Gown: White Traditions Bridal House 
Designer: Lillian West 
Bridal Shoes: Shein 
Jewelry: Sara Patino Jewelry 
Suit & Shoes: The Black Tux 
Hair & Makeup: Abigail Joy Hair & Makeup Artistry 
Stationery: Seven Cranes Calligraphy 
Linen Rentals: An Affair to Remember 
Models: the Foresyth’s 

Maine Inspired Styled Shoot

On a very warm, late summer day, the incredible vendor team listed below pulled together a gorgeous styled shoot. Styled shoots are an amazing way for vendors to meet & collaborate, as well as branch out and get our creative juices flowing. But I want them to be more than that. I want brides to not only be inspired but also know that this is something they can achieve for their special day. I want them to see the image and not just think, “That’s beautiful, but probably out of my budget.” So I decided to pose an idea to my fellow friend-ors on how to make this shoot stand out even more. All of the items we pulled together for this shoot are 100% attainable for the average budget in St Louis and we as vendors have also priced out each of the products/services that went into this project! Keep on reading!

In June, Sarah Harvey, of the newly re-branded Sarah Harvey Photo & Film (and founder of kelyn.), met with me to brainstorm. [Fun fact: Sarah was also a bride of mine back in April 2018!] She wanted bright whites and stunning imagery and I had recently been inspired by a trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. Full of rocky coastlines, amazing character, and ferns galore. So we set to work…

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Venue: Sunflower Hill Farm

We thought that finding a setting in Missouri to mimic the feel of Maine would be difficult, but lo and behold, Sunflower Hill Farm offered everything and more! They have beautifully detailed buildings surrounded by lush greens and landscaped rocks all around the property. Down to the greys and whites of the venue, it was perfect.

Sunflower Hill Farm‘s pricing and packages vary based on season. Please inquire for customized proposals and go out and tour the venue to see the beauty for yourself!

Sunflower Hill Farm

The day of the shoot proved to be HOT (it was August after all) – but we, in all our sweaty glory, labored on and created something truly beautiful. I may be biased. But see for yourself…

Hair & Makeup: Mikki Weaver of Ravishing Bridal

Mikki is the BOMB. I’ve worked with her on multiple styled shoots and I just love her fun energy and unique ideas. She also has magical hands. Every look she creates is so stunning and flawless – and isn’t that what you want on your wedding day? She works with Ravishing Bridal so check them out!

Bridal Hair $85 / Traditional Bridal Makeup $65 / Airbrush Bridal Makeup $85

Bridal Gowns & Accessories: White Traditions Bridal House

Jess & her WTBH family are so adored by all of my brides and so many vendors in St Louis. I love just stopping in and smelling their signature candle and browsing beautiful gowns. They are located near Main Street in St Charles and also have a sister location, Cleo Bridal, in O’Fallon!

When I reached out to Jess & Carolann, they mentioned they had a new and exclusive designer entering their gorgeous store. How could I say no to using not just one but two of these dresses? Madi Lane is a newer designer to the market and I was floored when I started scrolling through their Instagram and website. Click the links to check them out for yourself. And make sure you stop in White Traditions to get your hands on a gown for your wedding day!

Ceremony Look: Madi Lane Haven Gown $1,899 / Veil $255 / Earrings $247 // Modeled by the gorgeous Elizabeth Dopp

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Reception Look: Madi Lane India Gown $1,899 / Hairpiece 6781 $147 / Vera Wang Nude Pumps $70 // Modeled by the gorgeous Elizabeth Dopp

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Groom’s Suit & Accessories: The Groomsman Suit

The Groomsman Suit is an online suit rental and concierge service. They are a perfect choice if your groomsmen are scattered across the world or want the convenience of at-home try ons. Check out their website to understand more about their services and process!

Brilliant Blue Suit $194 / Taupe Slim Tie $15 / Graham Cognac Shoes $75 // Modeled by the dapper Jean Paul Light

Stationery & Signage: Minted & Allyssa Elaine Events

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Minted with many of my couples to create their Save the Dates, Invitation Suites & now they even have custom signage!

Falling Branch Suite [in cotton] $767 total, includes: Invitation $234 / RSVP Card $147 / Direction Insert $163 / Reception Card $163 / Belly Band $60 *based on an order of 100*

I also spent time custom creating menus and a signature drink sign to add that extra level. They were both designed by myself and printed using Zazzle. I wanted to put a fun little touch to these paper goods because these are the aspects of your day that don’t have to be quite so formal! Our menu featured small illustrations to capture the foods and the signature drinks incorporated water color images.

Menus $0.50 per / Signature Drink Sign Print $8

Blueberry Mojito & Bar Harbor Bourbon

Florals: SS Wedding Designs

Stefani, owner and creator at SS Wedding Designs, pulled together unique floral and greenery elements to create a one-of-a-kind bouquet for our model. She also created pieces to finish out our tablescapes (below). Including lots of different ferns and white blooms, she really captured the feel of coastal Maine.

Floral pricing varies based on season, desired flower blooms, and even economical factors. For instance, a few flowers are hard to order right now due to the political unrest in Ecuador. There are lots of things that come into play, so make sure you set up a consultation with Stefani to discuss all your options!

Bridal Bouquet $250 / Boutonniere $13

Tablescapes: Madeline Rentals, An Affair to Remember, Allyssa Elaine Events & SS Wedding Designs

This is one of my favorite setups to date (and there are a lot to choose from)! From the stark whites to the glimmery gold and pops of greenery. I’m a huge details person so I was so thrilled to find these gold fern napkin rings. I also love the way the glass chargers let the beauty of the farm table show through. All-in-all, I’d say these vendors knocked it out of the park!

Madeline Rentals: Farm Table Rental $100 per

An Affair to Remember: Gold Beaded Chargers $5 per / Cream Matte Satin Napkins $0.75 per / White Lanterns $10 per / Gold Rimmed Mady Votives $3.25-$4.25 per

SS Wedding Designs: Vintage Glass Vases $1.00 each to rent / Blooms & Greenery $75.00 (average of $6.25 per vase) / Vintage Brass Candlesticks $2.00 each to rent / Other smaller pieces start at $20.00 / Dessert Florals $35.00

Personally Acquired Items: Gold Flatware $22.95 for a set of 4 / Napkin Rings $24.99 for a set of 12

Live Painting: Florelle Studio

We also had the fun treat of having Florelle Studio come out and do a live painting of Sunflower Hill Farm and our shoot! She is extremely talented and made a completely unique piece and she can do the same for your wedding!

Bride & Groom Portrait $1,000 / Detail Painting $600 / Post Wedding Portrait based on commission (inquire for a quote)

And last, but very not least….

Photography & Film: Sarah Harvey Photo & Film

Sarah and I have been through a lot together! To planning our weddings at the same time, pulling hers off to perfection, and all the things in between – she is a true gift to the wedding industry. I’m so excited for her and her newest business venture! She absolutely killed this styled shoot and I’m so excited to work alongside her for a few weddings we have booked in 2020 together! Everybody, a round of applause for Sarah!

Photo & Video packages starting at $3,500

Thank you to all of my fellow vendors that helped pull this off! So much love for these guys, xoxo

Honeymoon in Greece

I am finally getting around to posting pictures and sharing all of our honeymoon adventures in Greece! Please keep in mind, I’m a wedding planner not a photographer. A lot of these are fun phone pictures or ones taken with a Nikon by an inexperienced individual – bear with me. Luckily Greece speaks for itself.

If you didn’t follow along on Instagram – After an amazing wedding day, we were stuck in the St Louis and Chicago airports from 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM. American Airlines delayed our flights causing us to completely miss our flight to Greece. For a while we didn’t even know if we were going to have a honeymoon. It was a frustrating, tear-inducing, tiring day of navigating airports, being told no, and not eating. We finally, through the gift of my aunt, got to a hotel to rest before finding out our honeymoon fate the next day. When we got back to O’Hare at 10 AM the next morning, AirItalia employees told us immediately they would re-book us for their flight that day and not charge any fees or cancellations. It was the most amazing thing we had heard since, “I now pronounce you as husband and wife.”

So fast forward – A day late and exhausted from 36 hours of travelling – we finally made it to Almyrida. Almyrida is a small town in Crete on the side of Chania. This part of our trip was for relaxing and beach time. Definitely needed after the work it took to get there! The views were amazing and the blue waters do not disappoint. The water was so clear that even my ocean-fearing husband swam every day.

Even though we were exhausted, we spent our first few hours on the island exploring the little town, going to the beach to see the sunset, and eating the first of many amazing meals. [You’ll see a trend throughout that we really enjoyed the food in Greece – and still talk about it on an almost daily basis.]

We stayed at an AirBnB apartment which was perfect. We had our own space, bought cereal for breakfast, had lazy mornings, and still had cleaning services every day.

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Caprese Wood Fired Pizza

Our second day, we slept in (obviously) and went for a jog to see the views of the town. We spent most of the day on the beach and what is so great about this little beach town is that all the restaurants are ocean-side. So we could get meals to go and eat on the beach or we had an amazing view from our table. Plus all our meals were actually much less expensive than we had budgeted for!

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This was our first day trying gyros (pork), (real) Greek salad, and the acclaimed saganaki (fried cheese with honey). I hate to say it, but we did not enjoy saganaki like we assumed we would. It is one of the foods that anyone who has been to Greece LOVES – and maybe it was the hype that made it disappoint. But, to each their own and I’m sure you would still enjoy it if you tried it! The salad and gyros were amazing though – so fresh and full of flavor. It is amazing how RED their tomatoes are compared to what is in stores in the U.S.

We watched the sunset every night from atop a cliff overlooking the blue waters. Then we would wander into the town again and pick a new restaurant to eat food at.

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The food and restaurant below ended up being our absolute favorite from the trip. The customer service here was incredible and they really pulled out all the stops – homemade dips and bread, special drinks, and free dessert. But the meal …. chicken souvlaki (skewers) with fries and a four cheese penne pasta that I still dream about. It was legitimately the best chicken and pasta I have ever tasted in my life (and I eat pasta a lot).

The owner of the restaurant even gave us his beach side chairs the next day, brought us drinks and pizza right to the beach.

A few quirky things in Greece:

-Their restaurants are split apart by a street. So the kitchen and prep space is on one side of the main road and then the dining area is on the other side. People also drive crazy in Greece so it’s a wonder the food makes it to the table.

-They have LARGE sizes of drinks and lots of experimental ones too. We don’t necessarily recommend the Snickers shake..

Our final day in Crete we went “hiking” to see the sunset from a farther west cliff. Conner was bored in the process and started playing baseball with a stick and a rock.

After the hike back to town, we capped it off with an ocean-side cheese bread and gyros.

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The next morning, at 4:30 AM, we drove to the airport for our leg in Santorini. Here’s the thing about Greek islands – you have to fly back to Athens pretty much anytime you want to go to another island. You can also take a ferry but it takes a lot more time. So we ended up with 10 flights during our entire 9 day trip.

Once we made it to Santorini, we explored the surrounding shops and a bit of Fira. Our first meal was more chicken saganaki and white cream pasta at Katerina’s.

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We stayed at a hotel called the Pension George in Karterados, a small town right next to the capital of Fira. Things people don’t tell you when they post pretty pictures of Santorini:

-the beds are not comfortable (sorry, but I’m a girl that needs my memory foam mattress)

-the water is not drinkable. ALWAYS buy water bottles (they are very cheap due to this)

-the island is so small that internet is very spotty, if available at all

-you can’t flush toilet paper, it has to be disposed of in a trashcan

Fira was a short walk from our hotel – they had some amazing restaurants and cute shops. I promise that pictures of Oia and Imerovigli are coming up, but I think the most surprising thing to me about Greece is how barren it looks unless you are in one of the white-washed, blue-domed cities.

Lucky for us, Santorini is a very small island and relatively cheap, even though it was tourist season. We were also concerned is was going to be too hot since we were there in August – but the temperatures remained around 82 degrees and there was always a nice breeze being so close to the ocean.

Our second day we rented an ATV (HIGHLY recommend – they are easy to drive and ours cost only $40 for 24 hours in peak season). We took one of the two main roads in Santorini up to Oia. Knowing there are always crazy crowds that visit this city each day, we went earlier around 10 AM and the streets were almost empty. It was so great to explore this city without the crowds pushing at you and everyone taking the best photo spots.

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The winding alleys and marble streets are so amazing to explore. There are doorways to nothing and paths to beautiful views. Let me tell you, the first time you step out on the edge of the city and see the city at it’s fullest, it does not disappoint. My whole life I had dreamed of the moment I would see it and both Conner and I were speechless.

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Cue endless pictures of this beautiful place.

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All the shop owners are so used to tourists that they take your camera and snap pictures of you.

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Another neat thing about Greece is that all the restaurants display their menus and prices outside of their doors. So you can look through all that they offer, pricing, and descriptions. I did have to Google a lot of things and had a cheat sheet for many of the common foods for quick reference.

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The best pizza of the trip was also consumed in Oia – with a breathtaking view of the city and unbelievably blue water. DSC_0110

We are so glad we went early because after just a few hours in Oia the streets were so flooded with people and tourists and cameras. Through the winding alleys and buildings we finally managed to find our ATV again and headed back out of Oia. We drove along the coastline all the way around the island. It only takes about 30 minutes to drive from the top to the bottom of the island! We ate gyros for dinner and drove the ATV the few miles to Imerovigli to watch the sunset.

Most people will tell you to view the sunset in Oia as it sits out on more of a cliff and has the unhindered view of the ocean – but after careful research and whispered secrets – we discovered people enjoy the view from Imerovigli even more. A big bonus is that there are very few people so you aren’t fighting for a spot and you get to enjoy the sunset in peace.

Conner also got bored during this sunset, “These last forever!” Cue the nap.

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After the sun (finally) set, we headed back to Karterados and walked until we found an ice cream shop. This was definitely a highlight for both of us (specifically Conner) because it cost only $1.60 for two large scoops of ice cream. Safe to say, we went back the next three days.

A few other food highlights from Santorini:

Our beloved ice cream shop also made waffle ice cream creations. They were amazing and still so cheap. Definitely recommend these! Another of my favorite things was the potato fries below – I wish I could have these at every meal.

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Our final day in Santorini we walked to Fira to explore the city, ate our final Greek pizza and salad with another great view, and view the old port / cable cars. Yes, there are still donkeys that transport people down the winding roads to the port. Cable cars or a donkey, that’s the only access they have down the mountain!

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We did not try these flavors, but how interesting what they choose to experiment with!

Our final part of the trip was to go back home. Even though we lost a day of adventure, we were both ready to come home and settle into newlywed life. At about 8 PM we took a shuttle to the Santorini airport to wait for our midnight flight back to Athens. As many tourists that go in and out of Santorini, their airport is by far the least conducive to travelers. So beware!

When we arrived in Athens, we found a spot amongst the other late night travelers and settled in for our six hour layover. Neither of us slept much so we ran on about 7 hours of sleep for the next 32 hours.

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The perk? Our tickets were again messed up from the first day in Chicago so we got bumped….to FIRST CLASS. It was a glorious moment and Conner cried.

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It was a pretty amazing experience and I won’t ever be able to fly cabin again. Not after the four course meal, special headphones, toiletry bag, and seat that turns bed. If you ask Conner, this was his favorite moment of the trip. I can’t really say I blame him.

So if you are planning on going to Greece anytime soon, just keep price watching those flights! We took AirItalia and their service was really great with no issues or delays! If you’re looking for any other tips or tricks, comment below!

Chris & Katie: Engaged

I think I’ve been waiting with eager anticipation for these two to get married for quite some time now! Katie met with me in October of last year and we have been planning the day of their dreams ever since. I’m so excited to finally be able to work at Silver Oaks Chateau alongside the lovely Courtney Smith Photography, Roses & Mint, and more. Katie & Chris are full of so much fun, laughter, and have been through it all together. Keep scrolling to see how amazingly photogenic they are and read all about their special day coming up on December 15th!

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How long have you been together?

We are from the same hometown in Marion, IL and started dating our Junior year of high school.  Life took us our separate ways for a little while in college but we ended up re-connecting towards the end of college and the rest is history 🙂

Share one of your favorite dates.

Every fall Chris and I go to Eckerts to pick pumpkins and apples then go to the Loading Dock in Alton, IL for dinner and drinks on their patio. It is something we started doing a few years ago that has become one of our favorite fall traditions!

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When did you know they were the one?

Katie: I knew Chris was the one when I moved to St. Louis after graduating from Nursing School to be closer to him while he was in dental school. It was a time full of a lot of changes and stress in my life with living in a new city and just starting out as a new nurse on night shift but through it all Chris was the one who made me feel the most comfortable and at ease. He could always comfort me and I knew that as long as we were together everything else would fall in place.

Chris: I think that part of me has always known since high school that Katie and I were meant to be together but we definitely took our time getting engaged. When I moved to Alton, IL for dental school, Katie and I had to hold a long distance relationship from Alton to Murray, KY. When we were apart for that year and a half it was hard, to say the least, but I think during that time I realized how much happier I was when Katie was with me. After she moved to STL I knew that she was the only person I could ever see myself spending the rest of my life with!

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How did he pop the question?

We have been engaged since July 15, 2017! Chris told me that he had planned a date for us for the day and then had made a dinner reservation for us that night so that I needed to be ready in the afternoon and to wear something nice. He took me to The Hill to eat for lunch (my favorite food of all time is pasta!) and then we went to the Botanical Gardens. We had never been to the Gardens before so we were just walking around looking at everything when he led me down a little path out of the way of everything. I kept telling him I didn’t understand why we were going down that way because there weren’t any flowers back there! To my surprise he took me under this gazebo with beautiful greenery all around and proposed! He had somebody there who was taking our picture the entire time and then we walked around the gardens and took a few more pictures! I was so surprised! He then told me he had one more thing for us to do and we drove to Ballpark Village. I was really confused at this point but when we walked in all of my family, his family, and our closest friends were there to celebrate! It was the perfect day!

Was the proposal a surprise?

Yes! It was a complete surprise! I thought we would get engaged after he had graduated Dental School the following May. 

What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Katie: My favorite thing about Chris is the way that he makes me laugh and can make me feel less stressed just by being around. His kindness and carefree personality make me a better person.

Chris: Definitely the way she scrunches her nose when she laughs. Just laughing with Katie in general is my favorite thing!

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How do you envision your wedding day?

We envision a very happy day surrounded by our closest family and our friends from all walks of life. We want our day to be all about the love that we share and a celebration of our new life together.

How did you decide on your venue?

We wanted a venue that felt small and intimate while being able to accommodate our large guest list and when we found Silver Oaks it was that and more! It felt very cozy and warm while also being elegant. We immediately knew this is where we wanted to get married! The only date they had available for the 2018 year was December 15th so we went with it

 

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Are there any special or family traditions you’ll be incorporating?

Yes! Chris’s family always sings the song, “My Girl” to the bride at every family wedding.  Katie is already sweating thinking about it.

What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?

Katie: I’m looking forward to spending the day surrounded by all the love of our family and friends and the Hot Chocolate Bar 🙂

Chris: Making Katie feel awkward by trying to dance with her all night. I also am just really looking forward to having both of our families in one place to celebrate!

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Stay tuned for December 15th for all the fun and celebration!

PC: Courtney Smith Photography

Matthew & Lauren: Engaged

These two are actually getting hitched this Saturday! They are full of fun, unique ideas, and I’m so excited for their starry night wedding. Read below for all the details of their love story and what they’re most excited for on Saturday! Photography by Brad Bierman Photography.

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How did you meet?

Ha! I was actually Matthew’s boss at the Kemper Art Museum. We were just friends and co-workers at first, but we found out we had so much in common and that we really loved hanging out together. Once we realized that we wanted to have a relationship, Matthew selflessly decided to find a job elsewhere so that we could feel comfortable dating.

How long have you been together?

We count our first date at July 4, 2013, so just about five and a half years. Having a dating anniversary on the 4th of July is great because there is always a big party and magical fireworks!

Share one of your favorite dates. 

I think some of our most memorable times together are when we are travelling. Exploring new cities, states, and countries is one of our favorite things to do and we have created innumerable memories while travelling the world. Two things we always try to do when we go to a new place is to visit their art museums and their craft breweries. I think that these two venues provide the perfect opportunity to explore a place in different ways: through culture and through socialization (and beer). For both of us, these “dates” give us the chance to delve into a new experience in a way that both of us find interesting and meaningful, and allows us to connect through our curiosity of new places.

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When did you know he/she was the one?

Lauren: I wouldn’t say there was one moment when I knew. I am just so lucky that I feel completely comfortable around him and that I get to be my true self. Even when I act like a total weirdo, he doesn’t judge me or make me feel kooky. Sometimes he will even do my macaroni dance with me 🙂

Matthew: I don’t know if there was a single moment, but really a collection or sequence of moments. We were lucky (in a weird way) to work together and develop a friendship before getting together. This has helped us to be totally real with each other, especially when it comes to being a little silly. We joke and laugh a lot, and that’s probably more indicative of us than any moment by itself.

How did he pop the question?

Lauren: I thought I was being tricky at Christmas of 2016 when I surprised him with a trip to Iceland for a gift. Little did I know that once he got that gift, he started planning a surprise of his own… The night after we landed in Iceland, and it was time for bed, Matthew couldn’t sleep. I figured he had jet lag, so I went to bed since we were going to wake up early (and I mean real early) in the morning so we could go hunt for the Northern Lights. We left the house around 5am while it was still dark to try and find a remote area to see the auroras. On the side of the road in Iceland, with no one around (except a chirping frog?) and all bundled up in coats and scarves and mittens, Matthew proposed. I think I must of blacked out because I cannot remember almost anything that he said to me. But I remember him bringing out the ring and I definitely remember saying yes. I proceeded to take off the wrong glove because I was so nervous. And then he told me not to cry, because my tears would freeze. It was perfect and unforgettable and since it happened so early in the trip, we got the pleasure of being newly engaged without all of the necessary noise of everyday life following us around. We got to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Iceland and giggle like little excited kids for a week!

Was the proposal a surprise?

Totally! We love to travel, so being somewhere besides home isn’t terribly unusual. So just because we were in Iceland didn’t make me think something big was going to happen. Especially since I had planned the trip myself. But I always knew we would get married, I just didn’t know that he would be such an expert at planning a proposal and designing a ring!

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What is your favorite thing about your fiance?

Lauren: Matthew is so many great things all rolled into one. I don’t know if I have one thing that I love the most, because different things are important at different times. But I have always appreciated his curiosity. He is so smart and has a depth and breadth of knowledge that astounds me. And despite that immense knowledge, he always wants to learn more. He dives into facts and subjects and topics in a way that is inspiring and makes me want to learn more. He talks passionately about his interests and he makes you want to take a deep dive into learning in a way I have never experienced before.

Matthew: Lauren combines two of the traits I admire most in people: curiosity and empathy. Lauren is one of the smartest people I know, and in a variety of subjects. It’s crazy! What’s more, she’s constantly learning about more things, reading, listening to podcasts, etc. Lauren combines this curiosity with her incredible capacity for caring. Lauren is always looking after others, taking care of people, and trying to help others feel better. She inspires me to think more about others and to consider friends and family more in my everyday life and has really helped me to learn how to be a more empathetic person through her example.

How do you envision your wedding day?

Well, when we first started planning the wedding, we wrote down a mission statement – a guiding principle so that we could try and make our decisions based on this idea. We literally wrote down that we wanted to host a “dope-ass party that celebrates our marriage and is as anxiety-free as possible.” That is definitely true, but as we have gone through some of the pre-wedding events like the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the bridal shower, and other get-togethers, I think we just want an event where we get to spend time with the people we love the most and that we don’t let the day rush by us without taking the time to appreciate the moments and the people.

How did you decide on your venue?

We technically have two venues – Joule for the ceremony and Willow for the reception. We booked Willow first, and would it be crazy to say we booked them because of their chairs? They have great chairs. And those chandeliers! But, of course, Bailey’s food group (who runs Willow) has an outstanding reputation in St. Louis and we were happy to have them on our team. Joule really matches the feel and ambiance of Willow well, allowing us to host an event in two different spaces that still has continuity in the atmosphere.

Fish Eye Fun
Fish Eye Fun

Are there any special or family traditions you’ll be incorporating?

We will be doing a handfasting ceremony. While not a family tradition, we wanted to find something to include that felt symbolic and ritualistic. Our ceremony is secular, so we did some research to try and find something that would fit our personalities. Handfasting – where the phrase “tying the knot” comes from – just felt right for us.

I am also excited to wear a necklace that was given to me when I was 4 years old. Have you ever seen the movie Annie? That was my absolute favorite movie when I was a little girl and I watched it on repeat MANY times (sorry mom and dad). In the movie, Daddy Warbucks gives Annie an engraved heart-shaped necklace. My parents gave me one that is engraved with my name and birthday. I have a tiny photo of my family from 1992 inside and it is my most favorite treasure. I am so thrilled to wear it with my wedding dress!

What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?

Lauren: Can I say all of the things? I am excited for everything. But I think I am most excited to be surrounded by all the people that mean the most to me. People who have traveled thousands of miles to see us. People who I haven’t seen in years. People who have supported both Matthew and I in countless ways. All of them will be with us on this most important of days and I look forward to sharing more memories with the people I love.

Matthew: One way to look at a wedding day is as the culmination of lots of things: the build up of a relationship, all the planning, the anticipation, etc. That’s somewhat true for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all the things we’ve planned come together, how our family and friends interact, and how the day itself is (weather in November is a gamble!). I’m also looking at the day as a start to our married life, so I’m looking forward to starting something new as well, and surrounded by people we love and having a big party to start on the right foot.

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Stay tuned for all the beauty on the 3rd!

Trevor & Hannah: Engaged

I am so excited to help these two get married! I’ve been waiting with eager anticipation since the day they booked me – knowing it was going to be beyond special, intimate, and a whole lot of fun. These two are such gracious and loving people and the way they interact with each other is so sweet. Enough about how I adore these two – just read along and look at their sweet pictures taken by Elise Abigail and you’ll understand!

Elise Abigail Photo
Elise Abigail Photo

How did you meet?

We met in college after a mutual friend introduced us. Considering that Hannah kicked me out of her party that night, I don’t think it was love at first sight. But, our paths crossed enough that we developed a really strong friendship that turned into a relationship!

How long have you been together?

We’ve been together for over 5 years now – long enough to have accidentally forgotten our anniversary once!

Elise Abigail Photo
Elise Abigail Photo

Share one of your favorite dates.

We’re both pretty simple – an awesome date doesn’t have to be extravagant for either of us. We really love getting away together. We spent one weekend camping in northwest Arkansas – just hiking and eating sandwiches and drinking lukewarm beer. It was all really uncomplicated, but we got to spend it together, and that meant everything to us. All in all, it might not sound like much, but that’s one of our favorite getaways together!

When did you know he/she was the one?

Long answer: There was never really a moment for either of us where our whole perspective changed. From day one our relationship always had no pressure – and every major turn in our lives that we came to ended up eventually going in the same direction. Eventually, I think we woke up one day and had become so intertwined with each other that we knew we couldn’t spend our lives apart. We were both each others best friends and everything grew out of that. [*excuse me as I use a whole box of tissues*]

Trevor: Short answer: One year for my birthday, she took me to a bunch of local breweries, and I thought, “Hey, this chick is pretty cool.”

Elise Abigail Photo
Elise Abigail Photo

How did he pop the question?

Trevor: I had been gone for 6 weeks on a work trip, and my family had picked me up from the end of it to take me to Asheville, NC for a vacation. Hannah flew into Charlotte and I drove the 2-ish hours to pick her up. She thought we were going straight back to our mountain cabin, but I had rented an AirBnB off one of the lakes around Charlotte so we could get some alone time for the proposal. It turned what she thought would be a 2-hour drive back to Asheville on an interstate highway into a thirty minute one through residential areas – when Hannah asked how the drive went by so fast I said “I took a shortcut.” I even told her the cars parked out front were my parents – and that they had both bought new ones –  to keep the surprise going! Luckily, we were both so happy to be back together that she bought the white lies, no questions asked.

Eventually, I took her out to the patio overlooking the lake where I had strung up some lights and a hammock. I asked her there and she said yes – then we celebrated with Yuengling in champagne glasses.

Was the proposal a surprise?

Trevor: Absolutely. Hannah had no clue what was coming… her first words (after she picked her jaw up off the floor) were: “We’re not in Asheville?!?”

Elise Abigail Photo
Elise Abigail Photo

How do you envision your wedding day?

We both want it to be a party… the most important thing is that everybody gets to celebrate together!

How did you decide on your venue?

We live in Soulard and love our neighborhood: the walk-able streets, the live music and the old brick, historic houses. When we found our venue there it was really hard to say no.

What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?

We both are just really excited to call each other husband/wife. Besides that – getting to celebrate with family and friends from all over the world will be a once in a lifetime event!

Elise Abigail Photo
Elise Abigail Photo

Stay tuned for October 13th to see all the magic happen!

Conner & Allyssa: Married

WE ARE MARRIED! We returned from our breathtaking and amazing honeymoon in Greece (holler if you want a blog post on our adventures)! Our wedding weekend was truly wonderful and filled with so much family, friends, and celebrations that my introverted soul needed the ten days vacation. But it was perfect and the best result: I married my best friend. Perk: he’s super handsome.

Courtney Smith Photography was with us all day long and perfectly captured everything we had planned. Keep scrolling to see the beautiful photos, my notes, and what I took away from the day!

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We were both able to start the morning relaxed, with our best friends and some family too. My girls brought in giant BRIDE balloons to fill the hotel room, ordered Bread Co, brought Starbucks, and it was perfectly low-key.

 

I had a custom bracelet made from Etsy with our wedding date. When we bought his wedding band, we got it engraved to match. VIII.IV.XVIII.

Yes, I’m handing my mother a crochet hook. Because every planner knows it helps button those buttons. (Especially when your mom is so teary-eyed that she can’t see straight.)

 

After we were all ready, we checked the weather again (it was hot at 92 but much better than we had been expecting). Courtney found a shady and cool spot in Benton Park for our first look. [We had to put my dress bag around the windows of the car so Conner didn’t sneak a peek and MOH Dani was working up a sweat coordinating it.] Well worth it.

 

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A lot of brides ask me about first look versus not. I’ve always been a traditionalist and thought I would never do a first look. But the planner in me has come to love the perks of a first look. [Hint: Photographers love them too!]

I left the decision up to Conner and a few months before the wedding, he changed his mind and decided he wanted a first look. I am extremely happy we ended up doing it – it gave us more time together, got all our pictures out of the way, and was truly more relaxing. Plus they are some of my favorite pictures from the day. And yes, his reaction when I walked down the aisle was still awesome because the moment of getting married is still real and emotional. But go with your gut! The timeline will always work out.

 

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Quick moment to say our friend Ashley NAILED the hair game. All the girls looked amazing and she took my super complicated style (and heavy hair piece) and made it look effortless.

 

The look that says, “You can’t stop being a wedding planner, can you?”…. Also, I hear a joke at every.single.wedding about not sticking someone with a pin. Our wedding was not an exception.

 

After we regained composure our crazy wedding party joined us.

 

We were told to, “do the Janice laugh from FRIENDS.”

 

a+c-288a+c-208a+c-224These pictures were a lot of fun and another shout-out to Dani for bringing a confetti popper – my ALL TIME favorite picture came from that moment and I’m impatiently waiting for my large print of it to come in the mail.

a+c-238Client Q: How did you make sure to stay in the moment and enjoy yourself?

A: I had a day of coordinator 😉 But really, when you’re next to your best friend and surrounded by family – it’s so much easier than you think! Nobody believed I would be able to stop being a planner and be a bride and I think I did okay. I didn’t end up checking the timeline or running around like I thought. I let go and let my vendors do exactly what I had hired them to do. I felt relaxed and all that really mattered at the end of it all was that we were laughing, having fun, and getting married.

 

Okay….. so when I said I “let go” – some of these pictures don’t reveal that. Yes, I had my Panic Packs on hand; yes, I pinned the boutonniere on my man; yes, I checked the timeline once or twice. But I also think those were special moments for me – the collision of what I love to do with my favorite day. See, look how happy I am!

And I know I’ve said it a lot, but the picture below is one of my favorites. I texted Courtney the other day and said that, “it perfectly encompasses us.” Him at the piano and me writing notes on a timeline.a+c-315Recommend: private vows. Highly recommend: let the bride go first. This was the part of the day I was looking forward to most. He volunteered to go first and I didn’t realize it was the wrong choice until my makeup was smeared and I couldn’t stop tearing up. But it was so special and we will have memories of this moment together for the rest of our lives. (Shout-out to Courtney Smith again for the custom vow book!)

 

a+c-410I only had one photo request for the day: to have a ring shot on the piano. I can’t wait to blow this up and hang it above his piano in our house someday. Our second shooter Molly killed it!

a+c-358After all of this, it was time to actually get married. We had a prayer circle with our wedding party and parents right before we went down the aisle and then we were cued by some pretty awesome music.

a+c-587a+c-426a+c-428a+c-429Groom’s Entrance: Taking Care of Business by BTO (Conner’s pick)

Parents & Wedding Party: How Would You Feel by Ed Sheeran (this song played in the background as Conner proposed to me)

a+c-443a+c-445a+c-444Bride’s Entrance: my favorite version of Canon in D by Trans Siberian Orchestra

For the first time I was at the whole ceremony and present instead of in the back looking through my binder and calling vendors and keeping track of the timeline.

a+c-498a+c-505Recessional: I Choose You by Sara Bareilles

Now THAT is the kind of reaction you want!

a+c-509Okay, on to my personal Instagram favorites: detail and setup shots. I was able to go to the venue all Friday to setup and it was truly special for me. To be able to do for myself what I do for all my clients was actually a lot of fun. Call me crazy, but it was a huge reason I chose the venue that I did. I used it as a time to unwind, focus, and make our wedding exactly what we wanted it to be. Thank you to friends and family that helped us that day!

All vendor love is at the bottom, but I’ll spread some here too. Karen with Serendipity Floral Events went ABOVE & BEYOND what we asked. She added in peonies and ranunculus making my bouquet a combination of my three favorite flowers.

Jody and An Affair to Remember’s team helped narrow down my options for linens and they were my favorite part of setup. We had ivory satin, champagne sequins, and ivory rosette linens. It was the perfect combination of beauty, fun, and flair.

 

 

The centerpieces, cake stands, and decor all come from my personal inventory. So brides, future clients, if you see something you love – you know where to find me!

 

I also painted this canvas as an anniversary present for Conner a year or so ago. Not knowing that it would combine our proposal song and first dance song. Coincidence or perfect planning?

 

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Oh, the cheesecake cutting. I had to carve out time during our wedding week to make his favorite, home-made cheesecake. I also bought a can of whipped cream (one of his life staples) and stashed it under the table.

 

 

The photo sequence of this event is pretty awesome, I think. Except the part where I didn’t actually get to taste cheesecake.

 

Conner had three requests for the wedding: his own ceremony walk-out song, cheesecake, and the shoe game. He got all three (and me) so it was a pretty good day for him 😉 Also, pretty sure this was the moment of our first marital spat.

 

First Dance: Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

 

Does anybody ever wonder what the bride and groom talk about when they’re on the dance floor during their first dance? Well Conner and I talked about…Actually, neither of us can remember.a+c-692Father/Daughter Dance: Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle

Mother/Son Dance: Handful of Weeds by Sheri Easter

The rest of the night was spent with our family and friends – who traveled so far to celebrate with us – dancing, laughing, and catching up.

 

Thank you to everyone – vendors, wedding party, family & friends – for making our day so special. So beyond what we imagined or could ask for. You are really the ones that made it truly fantastic. I’ll stop talking now.

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Photography: Courtney Smith Photography // Bridal Gown: Cleo Bridal / Designer: Stella York // Florist: Serendipity Floral Events // Caterer: Pasta House Co // Suits: The Black Tux // Rentals: An Affair to Remember // Donuts: Tony’s Donuts // Cupcakes: Custom Cakes by Kindra // Hair: Ashley Akins (contact me if you want her info!)