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…

Mood Board

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


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


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

Beauty Rest is Real

Courtney Smith Photography

Here’s how to get it for your wedding:

The most important day of your life to be your best you is your wedding day, and to be your most beautiful self. The best way to get there is to get a good nights sleep for the weeks and days leading up to it so that you are the most beautiful you can be.

You may think that beauty rest is a myth, but it’s actually a reality, at least when it comes to how other people perceive you. And you have to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – of which there will be many on your wedding day.

A study, commissioned by makeup company Esteé Lauder, found that you actually look younger when you’re well rested.

“Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure,” said Dr. Elma Baron, Director of the Skin Study Center at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Those signs include increased signs of fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity in the skin of their faces.

Another 2010 study in The BMJ Journal found that people who were sleep deprived were “less healthy, less attractive, and more tired” than when they’d had a full night’s sleep.

You’ll want to build yourself a routine to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. It’s recommended that you get 7 to 8 hours every night, so you need to find ways to help your body prepare to sleep.

The best thing you can do is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Before bed, you should build an hour into your evening to help yourself destress from your day. In that hour, you can try doing yoga or meditating, or journaling about the things you’re excited about for the next day.

Yoga and meditation have been found to help reduce work stress and help you sleep through the night. It also helps to improve practitioners’ mental health in the short and long-term. Building it into your regular bedtime routine has been found to be very helpful.

You should also make sure that your sleeping environment is comfortable – starting with a comfortable mattress. You should replace your mattress every 5 to 10 years to make sure that it’s as comfortable and supportive as it can be. It’s also best to sleep between 59 to 62.6 degrees Farenheit, with constant fresh air flowing through the room.

As you’re counting down the days until your wedding day, you want to keep that routine as close to the same as possible, even when you’re having your bachelorette party, and even on your big day. Figure out what works best for you, and keep up with it. You’ll be the prettiest version of yourself that you can be, and the happiest.

Guest Post by Tuck

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.

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!


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


Cue endless pictures of this beautiful place.

DSC_0022DSC_0019DSC_0092DSC_0095 2DSC_0129DSC_0116

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

DSC_0075DSC_0071DSC_0180 2

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.


DSC_0021DSC_0042 2DSC_0120DSC_0165DSC_0172DSC_0100DSC_0151 2

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.

DSC_0042 320180812_194335DSC_0085 2DSC_0125DSC_0131 2

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.


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!

DSC_0036 3DSC_0056 2DSC_0074DSC_0030

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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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!


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



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!


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

PC: Courtney Smith Photography

Jake & Sarah: Engaged

Sarah & Jake will be tying the knot on November 17th at The McPherson venue in the Central West End. These two have been together for four years as of September 17th and they are excited for the next chapter and celebrating with family & friends! Read below for their story and pictures taken by Michelle Marie Photographie.


How did you meet?

We met online on OkCupid. After several messages back & forth we agreed to meet in person at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. We enjoyed a night of each other’s company with the Cardinals playing in the background & sipping on pumpkin beer.

Share one of your favorite dates.

Honestly any time that I spend with Jake is my favorite – from a night in cooking dinner then cuddling on the couch to watching a movie to fancy events out on the town. My favorite date probably includes our first visit to Eckert’s during the fall. See the response below but on the way home that’s when I started picturing our future together.


When did you know he/she was the one?

On our way back from one of my favorite fall activities of visiting Eckert’s- he was driving I looked over at him with the sun shining, windows down, music up on the radio (perfect fall day) & realized I finally had someone to do everything & nothing with all at the same time.

How did he pop the question?

I’ve always said 11:11 make a wish and knew 11.11.17 fell on a Saturday but when Jake hadn’t proposed, I knew that date had come and gone for our wedding. We had multiple events planned that Saturday- his brothers birthday, my cousins kids birthday, and then trivia with his friends. He got me to his family farm by saying it was a birthday party for his brother. He had gotten out of the car to close the gate to the farm and he came around to the passenger side of the car. He asked if I trusted him and then surprised me by blindfolding me at the base of the farm. He led me to the front of the barn, got down on one knee, and asked. He had a sign and pumpkins and someone taking pictures. All my favorite things! My parents and some of his family were at the top of the farm to celebrate and then had the whole day of events to tell people in person.

Was the proposal a surprise?

We had looked at rings months prior so I knew & was hoping it would happen sooner rather than later. With the significance of the date I had a slight suspicion but it was a surprise!


What is your favorite thing about your fiancé?

Jake says my good-natured heart is his favorite thing about me. For me, I have several things that I love about Jake. His willingness to help those closest to him in times of need, the love he has for his family, & that he’s a jack of all trades (chef, woodworking, cars, even piecing together parts from dryers to make a working one) are just some of the many reasons I love him.


How did you decide on your venue?

After visiting several venues, we toured the McPherson and it checked off most items on my spreadsheet. With it being a newer venue I liked that none of our friends/ family had weddings there before & every detail was thought of in planning. I loved the convenience for guests, including the location in the Central West End. It had the simple but elegant vibe I wanted without much need for decoration and the bridal suite to get ready in that morning won me over.

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

We are both excited to call each other husband & wife, finally! Soaking in all the special moments celebrating with our friends & family.


Stay tuned for next Saturday’s big event!

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.


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.


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!


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.


Stay tuned for all the beauty on the 3rd!

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:


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.


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


How did you decide on your venue?

I honestly made an excel spreadsheet of tons of venues I found using and 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!


Stay tuned for their November 10th wedding!!