Joe & Leah: Engaged

Leah & Joe have been together almost three years and are so ready to tie the knot in November! Scroll to see their beautiful engagement photos (Illumen Photography) and read all about their love story:

L&J042

How did you meet?

We had both moved to St. Louis to work at Barnes Jewish Hospital. We met each other while working there, and were “work acquaintances” for a while, and occasionally hung out in group settings. We eventually started dating a little bit over a year later.

Share one of your favorite dates.

My first birthday as a couple, Joe brought over flowers and sushi to my apartment. We stayed home, ate sushi, and had a quiet, romantic night.

L&J084

When did you know he was the one?

After he said “I love you” for the first time

Was the proposal a surprise?

Yes! Deep down, I knew Joe and I would one day get married, but had no idea he was planning to propose. He researched about rings and diamonds, and then shopped for rings secretly. He enlisted my younger sister to help him figure out what style ring I wanted. The whole time, I was blissfully ignorant that all this was taking place! Then, after he had just gotten home from traveling for a week, we were alone in our kitchen and he popped the question. He had a sweet speech prepared and hugged me as he said it. I didn’t realize what was happening until the end of the speech when he held out the ring!

L&J093 (1)

What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

He is very kind and thoughtful, never making rash decision or actions.

How do you envision your wedding day?

Simple yet elegant with a giant party to follow

L&J068

How did you decide on your venue?

I honestly made an excel spreadsheet of tons of venues I found using weddingwire.com and theknot.com. We then toured the top 5 contenders, and settled on The McPherson as our favorite. It had the simple elegance I wanted without much need for extra decoration, and the bridal sweet to get ready in.

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

Finally being married to Joe!

L&J031

Stay tuned for their November 10th wedding!!

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!

a+c-119

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.

 

a+c-100

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.

 

a+c-175

 

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?

 

a+c-609

a+c-626

 

 

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.

a+c-243

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!)

Zach & Alexandra: Engaged

Zach & Alex will tie the knot on September 29th and we are so excited to help make their special day a dream! They’ve been together 7.5 years and are so ready to make it official! Scroll to read all about their love story and see their fun engagement pictures:

azengaged011

How did you meet?

Zach & I went to high school together, but didn’t start getting to know each other until our sophomore year. We had three classes together & always sat in the same vicinity as each other (since our last names are close & we had very small classes).

Share one of your favorite dates.

We brainstormed for awhile and realized that while we don’t have a “favorite” date, we do have a “most memorable” date–our first date! At the time, I was 15 and Zach was 16. We went to go see a movie, Season of the Witch (0/10, would not recommend to anyone). Not much was playing, so we chose what we thought would be a good movie. We were so wrong! It ended up being a somewhat-scary movie and Alex doesn’t like anything scary. Afterwards, we went to Taco Bell for dinner. Not a typical first date, but it’s such a perfect memory for us.

azengaged106

When did you know he/she was the one?

There wasn’t necessarily a specific moment for either of us when it hit that the other was “the one.” We became closer as a couple going through so many milestones together–graduating high school, going to college, graduating college, learning who we were as an individual. All of these helped us grow closer together and realize that we couldn’t imagine a future without the other one.

How did he pop the question?

Zach & I went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in Cape Girardeau, MO (where we were going to college at the time). After dinner, he drove us down to the River Campus that overlooks the Mississippi River. It was during the Super Moon & Zach knows I love the moon. We sat on a bench looking at the moon reflecting over the water & that’s when he asked.

Was the proposal a surprise?

Absolutely not LOL When he asked me to go to a nice dinner on a Wednesday, I knew something was up. I tried so hard to not get myself too excited just in case, but when he showed up wearing a button down and nice slacks, I knew something was going to happen.

azengaged076

What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Alex: My favorite thing about Zach is the perfect way we complement each other. He’s laid-back, driven, and smart. He makes me laugh every day! He has such a big heart and is so thoughtful. I know he’d do anything for me to make me smile. He’s my person.

Zach: My favorite thing about Alex is how caring and kind she is. She brings a smile to my face. She’s always there for her friends and the people closest to her. Something that I’ve always loved about her, and always will, is her smile. It lights up her face and can brighten a room.

How do you envision your wedding day?

What we both want from our wedding day is a classy, elegant event that’s also low-key lit. We want to celebrate with the people who are closest to us and who have been a part of our journey as a couple.

azengaged017

How did you decide on your venue?

Alex wanted something unique and different from weddings we had been to in the past. Our venue is relatively new in the area and neither of us had been to a wedding reception there before. The perfect spot!

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

Zach’s family has a song they request during every family wedding–John Deere Green.

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

That all the planning is finally over!! LOL! We’re both looking forward to being able to celebrate all the hard work that we’ve put into this wedding and finally begin our lives together.

azengaged143

Stay tuned to see sneak peeks of their wedding!

Ryan & Laura: Married

Ryan & Laura tied the knot at the St Louis Zoo, a first for us to have a wedding there! It was full of cute animal-themed centerpieces, beautiful weather (minus a quick, freak thunderstorm), and the sound of sea lions. It was an iconic St Louis event even though they both traveled from Chicago to get married here! Scroll on down to see their pictures captured by Pinxit Photo.

299A0066.jpg299A0109.jpg299A0226.jpg299A0248.jpg299A0364.jpg2Q2A1235.jpg2Q2A1397.jpg2Q2A1546.jpg_20A8383.jpg

IMG_59432Q2A08302Q2A0053299A04512Q2A0919_20A8116299A06732Q2A1974IMG_6333

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Piantanida! We wish you a lifetime of happiness!

299A0660.jpg

Photography: Pinxit Photo // Bridal Gown: White Traditions Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: Rent the Runway // Cake: Sugaree Baking Company // Florist: Serendipity Floral Events // Suits: Men’s Wearhouse // Hotel: Magnolia Hotel // Venue: St Louis Zoo

Todd & Julie: Engaged

Todd & Julie are getting ready to tie the knot at The McPherson on September 15th. They have been together for over five years now and excited for all the years ahead of them! I have so enjoyed getting to know these two and they were part of a wedding I coordinated back in May! Lots of love for these two and their special day! Scroll down to read more about their love story and see their fall engagement pictures.

30713706_10215371313417708_8542300398210252800_n

How did you meet?

We met through mutual friends. Todd used to work with a friend that he went to college with. It didn’t work out at Todd’s company, but we always joke because that led to the friend going to work for another company where he met my friend which eventually led to Todd and I being introduced.

Share one of your favorite dates.

I’m not sure I could say just one. Todd is my best friend and we have a blast whether we are hunting for hidden treasures at Goodwill or exploring Europe together. We are big fans of themes. Any event that requires dressing up in something ridiculous…we are there!

30710553_10215371302857444_6591452559318188032_n

When did you know they were the one?

I knew Todd was the one even before we started dating. We were friends first and I remember one time he told me that things weren’t working out with someone he was dating at the time and I remember thinking how lucky anyone would be to get to be with him and how incredible I thought he was. I remember that moment vividly as a turning point in my mind knowing that I had strong feelings for him. It wasn’t too long after that we were together and have hardly spent a day apart since.

30740695_10215371306177527_2357148639832309760_n

How did he pop the question?

We used to live in Soulard and is where we fell in love. Mardi Gras will always have a special significance in our relationship. It was a Friday…we had plans to go to dinner at Peacemaker but I went to a quick happy hour with my friend before hand (the same friend who introduced us ironically). I laugh now because I invited her to join us for dinner but she already had plans. We went to dinner, everything seemed relatively normal in my mind and then we decided to go grab a drink at iTap in Soulard afterwards. As usual, it was crowded and we were looking for a place to park. Todd said “I’m going to park by the apartment” which I thought was weird because it was a couple blocks away from the bar. We parked and were walking along the street where we once lived and Todd was talking about the first Mardi Gras we ever attended together and how he was waiting for me to meet over at his place so the fun could begin. He was starting to describe the anticipation he felt as he waited to see me come walking around the corner and at this point I jumped in to make some type of silly comment about the day and he said ‘Julie…I’m trying to tell you something here” and as I turned to look at him he was getting down on one knee and said “…and that was the moment I knew I wanted to marry you” and he proposed right there in front of the door of our old apartment.

Was the proposal a surprise?

It was a total surprise. I knew we were going to get married but I had no clue he was planning to propose. He said that surprising me was his main goal so he didn’t want to do anything that would tip me off.

pic 1

What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Todd is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met. I constantly find myself being wowed by small things he does that shows he cares about me. One example would be that a baby bird fell out of a nest near our house. I’m an animal fanatic but was out of town at the time. Knowing this, he put the bird in a box and attempted to nurse it back to health. So sweet!

How do you envision your wedding day?

I just want everyone to have a good time! It is such a special day for us to be able to have everyone we love all in one room.

30705436_10215371314617738_7320880483129098240_n

How did you decide on your venue?

It was love at first sight! I really liked that it had indoor and outdoor spaces and the wood beams inside the chapel really won me over.

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

Seeing Todd for the first time. I think that then it will feel “real”. We are doing a first look and reading personal vows to each other prior to the actual ceremony and I think that will be a really special moment that only we will share.

30741458_10215371310657639_5392811497212608512_n

Stay tuned for their special day, sneak peeks, and wedding blog to follow!

Todd & Anna: Engaged

Todd & Anna went on their first date on July 4, 2016 and have been going strong ever since! Their relationship has included long distance from Alaska to Florida, deployments, and very very long road trips. They are so excited not only to be together come September but to celebrate their marriage with their closest friends and family. Read more about their love story below and see their sweet engagement pictures!

IMG_ (64)

How did you meet?

Todd and I are both in the military and we were each assigned to Alaska.  I was reluctant to move to Alaska because it was so far away from my family, and I did not know anyone there.  I signed up for E-Harmony to try and re-energize my dating life in my new location. It was not long before I was matched with Todd.  I could tell he was a pilot and he seemed to have an interesting story. Rather than starting the E-Harmony conversation process, I sent him a “wink” to gauge his interest.  When I did not get a response, I cancelled my online subscription at the earliest opportunity, threw myself into work, and tried to establish my own circle of friends. I did not realize my E-Harmony profile was still visible to other people, and Todd happened to see it on a free communication weekend and sent me a message one year later.

Share one of your favorite dates.

We had not been dating long before we realized there was an Air Show nearby, and Todd asked if I wanted to go.  I couldn’t remember the last time I went to an Air Show, but I knew I was fascinated with his crazy pilot world and I enjoyed hearing his flying stories.  We went to the show, and I was practically like a kid at a carnival—I insisted that we stay for the entire show, and I wanted to see everything from all the static displays to the flying maneuvers of each jet.  Todd was wonderful and took time to explain everything. I remember being even more impressed with his abilities to articulate complex concepts of his awesome job, and yet he remained so very humble about it all.

When did you know he was the one?

We had been dating for several months when Todd had to go Guam for 3-4 weeks of training and we were not sure how well we could communicate while he was gone.  He always volunteered to fly a jet to the training location, so this meant he would be flying over the ocean up to 10 hours before stopping. That morning, I parked outside the front gate of the Air Force base to watch them depart.  I saw each jet take off and disappear into the sky. I am not an emotional person, so it was my own surprise when I immediately started to cry and prayed for his safety. In that moment, I realized how much I loved him and wanted him to stay a part of my life.

IMG_ (14)

 

 

How did he pop the question?

Todd learned his squadron would be doing about six weeks of training in Australia.  I thought that sounded amazing, and announced to him, “I would love to meet you there when your TDY ends.”  He eventually agreed and I booked my trip.  Neither of us were expecting him to get new assignment orders to Florida in the next few months.  When reality hit, I became rather emotional and concerned about the prospect of maintaining a distance relationship between Alaska and Florida.   

We had a wonderful week exploring Sydney.  On one of our last nights there, we got dressed up and he took me on a Sydney Harbor Dinner Cruise.  Under the guise of ordering cocktails from the bar, Todd laid out his proposal plan to the cruise staff.  No, he did not make arrangements with the cruise director.  No, he was not interested in having the lounge singer call me up on stage for a proposal in a room of strangers.  I was beginning to wonder if my martini order was too complicated…  He brought over the drinks and our dinner was served.  Our waitress offered to take our picture on the boat deck with a perfect view of the Sydney Opera House.  We do not dress up often, so naturally I jumped out of my seat at that brilliant idea, and she took a few pictures of us.  As I turned to walk inside, Todd took out an engagement ring, got on one knee, and proposed.  It all happened so fast, yet our waitress captured the entire sweet scene in series of pictures.  Todd told me later that his entire squadron knew about his plan long before they left for Australia.     

Was the proposal a surprise?

Absolutely!  While I thought he would propose eventually, I was more focused on maximizing our quality time together before our long-distance separation.  We had no serious discussions about getting married prior to our Australia trip.

IMG_ (5)

What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

I love the fact that Todd is a very skilled and talented pilot (and really anything he does), yet he remains humble about his abilities and achievements.  While he maintains a stoic exterior, he is surprisingly very thoughtful and romantic as well.    

How do you envision your wedding day?

Our wedding will be a classic celebration and one of the few times we can bring together all the friends and family that have meant so much to us over the years.  We will have a Catholic ceremony and I believe the reading and music selections by our friends and family will add our personal context to the ceremony. The reception will feature an elegant dinner and fun dancing in a historic St. Louis landmark.

How did you decide on your venue?

We knew we wanted a Catholic wedding ceremony and I previously graduated from Saint Louis University.  St. Francis Xavier College Church is gorgeous and also the place where the university conducted my graduation.  We were very excited when it was available on our wedding date. For the reception venue, we knew we wanted a historic structure in St. Louis.  We selected St. Louis Union station for the beautiful Grand Hall, as well as the fact it has the hotel attached and would be very convenient for our mostly out-of-town guests.

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

We look forward to officially becoming a married couple.  We cannot wait to see our family and friends come together for the occasion.

IMG_ (72)

Stay tuned for their wedding and our kick-off to fall wedding season on September 8th!