Happy Friday Wedding Babes!
I am looking forward to this weekend and so far I’ve had a great week. I’m already looking forward to next week since I am some very exciting things in the works! I’m soooo excited to share Mike & Jennifer’s wedding with you all. With the bride wearing a vintage fur belonging to her great-grandmother and with some fun wine-inspired reception details, how can I not be excited?!
Jennifer and Mike were married on December 28th, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was the perfect stylish Winter wedding! Now from our bride….
How did you two meet?
Mike and I started dating our sophomore year of high school. We sat next to each other in our social studies class. It all started with typical awkward 15 year old flirting, Mike teased me and used to put his feet on the back of my chair – I would respond by tying his shoes to the desk. We became friends that semester and went on our first date in January 2002. We continued to date for the next four years from high school and into college. We both attended Lawrence University, a small (1400 students) undergraduate liberal arts college where everyone lived on campus (i.e., everyone knew each other). We parted ways sophomore year at LU, but continued to be friends throughout. We both realized at that time we needed space to explore and grow as individuals. Mike went on to finish his second degree in engineering at the University of MN so we didn’t see each other too much, but we would run into each other through friend functions. We began talking on the phone more frequently after being apart five years and went on our second “first date” Memorial Day weekend 2010. Since that weekend, we’ve never looked back. Mike was still in MN and I was working in Chicago having graduated two years earlier from LU so we started out again with a long distance relationship. We continued dating long distance for the next year and a half until Mike got relocated to St. Louis. I then somewhat relocated down to St. Louis since my job allowed me to be remote part of the time. Since then I’ve split my time between Chicago and St. Louis but have considered St. Louis my new home since that’s where Mike and I decided to put some roots down.
How did he propose?
Mike proposed on New Year’s Eve 2012. We decided to stay home and celebrate in our new home in St. Louis. We both LOVE to cook and even more eat delicious food so we decided to cook a huge multi-course dinner that night. Mike was in charge of the main course (Indian Eggplant Curry). I made a mushroom barley soup as a starter and then my great grandmother’s famous Lemon Cake for dessert (it’s a family favorite)! I was downing my second helping of dessert (no one can simply stop at one serving of this lemon cake) when Mike began discussing the importance of spending time together, how he loves that we cook together and how he envisioned our future family cooking and having meals together as a family. I thought Mike was getting up to get his second serving of dessert (I was already almost finished with my second serving of cake) when he came up next to me, got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. It took me a minute to realize what was happening and then I of course said YES! That was the first time I had made the famous lemon cake for Mike and since then we always make it when we have special guests coming over and for birthdays. In fact, our wedding cake was lemon cake! It wasn’t my great grandmother’s recipe but was equally as DELICIOUS and had a raspberry filling.
Tell us about your wedding day experience.
It was such as special and surprising day (in so many ways). We could not have asked for better weather – it was such a surprise to have 60 degree temps on December 28th. Overall I think the most special thing was just having everyone we loved all together in one place. We were the only people from St. Louis (with the exception of our pastor Ronnie and his wife). Everyone else was from far away – we counted and had at least 15 states represented. It was a full weekend event! Because everyone was from out of town we invited everyone to the rehearsal dinner. We had 60+ people at rehearsal on Friday which was at an amazing venue in downtown St. Louis called the Malt House Cellar. We had the whole downstairs rented out and they had shuffle board, pool, darts, etc. Then we got to celebrate again Saturday with 100+ people. Because everyone was from out of town we provided transportation on Friday and Saturday evening so it was great that our guests were also able to really engage with one another and make new friends. Everything felt very intimate and we got to spend quality time with everyone throughout the weekend. On our honeymoon Mike and I were looking back and that was really the most special part. We couldn’t believe how many people we were able to get together in one place to celebrate. We just kept reliving all the special moments we were able to share with each other and our friends/family throughout that weekend. To continue with surprises we had a wonderful surprise fireworks show towards the end of the evening. It was such a wonderfully emotional day. I can’t imagine changing a thing.
Tell us about some of the details.
Mike and I have very similar styles and objectives. When we started planning our wedding we both wanted a really unique wedding venue, good food, to throw a good party for our friends and family and for everything to have a purpose and meaning. Those things were most important to us and everything else came second. Pinterest was very handy in deciding our decor (and for budgeting purposes). We wanted a very natural and romantic environment, and we wanted everything to tie together and have a purpose. We (and many of our friends) collected wine bottles over the course of 2013. We had over a couple hundred bottles of wine and corks by the end of the year. Mike gets all credit for the bottle-turned-candle-holders because he created all of them. His engineering degree definitely came in handy at times. Over the course of a few weekends mike cut and grinded all the wine bottles. We thought the wine bottle candle holders were very appropriate for the theme and also made it feel very romantic with all the lighting. I took two Champagne corks to make them into our bride and groom cake toppers.
Family is really important to us so we wanted to make sure to honor them as best we could. My paternal grandparents couldn’t be at the wedding, but I inherited my great-grandmother’s fur which I wore. It was the perfect accessory for a winter wedding! My something old was actually my mother’s veil…my parents got married on Mother’s Day in 1980 so it is 33+ years old. My something borrowed was actually the garter I wore (it’s Mike’s). I gave Mike that garter for our junior year prom – that was the thing to do at our school (why, I don’t know). The garter actually has a charm on it that says Mike & Jenni on the front. On the back it says Prom 2003. My something blue was having my bridesmaids write special notes on the bottom of my wedding shoes in blue permanent marker. And my something new was of course my dress, which I got with my mom and one of my mom’s best friends Sandi (who was our other pastor who co-officiated the wedding and has known me since I was five) when I went down to visit both of them in FL last spring. We also opted to have a dessert table, paying tribute to my mother’s family who are Italian.
Everything down to each music selection was very important to us. Mike worked with our DJ for the reception and party music. Many people probably didn’t notice the music but we put a lot of thought into it and it was really special for us. We wanted our bridal party to walk into “Home” by Philip Phillips because having everyone we loved at our wedding truly made it home when we were all together. The song I walked into “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris was SO emotional for both Mike and I that it was impossible for us to not cry. It starts out with “from the first time I saw you, I knew you’d be mine”. We also strategically had me enter after the line “You were the girl I was waiting for, that I would ask to marry me.” Even though Mike and I saw each other before the wedding for “first look pictures” and were able to get some jitters and happy tears out, it was impossible (as much as I tried) to keep it together and not cry while I walked in and saw him at the front. For the ceremony we didn’t want to do the traditional unity candle or sand ceremony. Keeping with the nature theme and our love of nature, we did a tree planting ceremony which symbolized the putting down of roots and starting our family together.
So romantic. So beauitful. Sp perfect.
Huge congrats to Jennifer and Mike!
Photographer: Christa Donald Photography || Floral Designer: Buse’s Flower and Gift Shop || Reception Venue: Chandler Hill Vineyards || Dress Store: David’s Bridal – Vera Wang Collection || Bakery: J. Noto Italian Bakery and Confections || Hair Stylist: Mantra Salon and Spa || Thank you to Two Bright Lights