I'm so excited to be sharing our wedding day today! August 26 was my favorite day ever and reliving it via this post is making my heart all kinds of happy. If you're getting married in St. Louis, make sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post for our vendor list! Note: As much as I want to share every single photo and detail of our day, I'm limiting the number of photos I share publicly to respect our privacy and the privacy of our family and friends. Rest assured, I've cultivated a selection of our favorites to share, so you're not missing out on the feel of the day!
The morning of our wedding day, I woke up to bridesmaids in my room and the smell of coffee - pretty much the best way to wake up! I felt like I should have more to do, but we'd taken care of so much during the week that all I did was brush my teeth, grab my purse, and head out the door! I left Erin and Lauren to get themselves ready at my house, picked up my friend Miriam, and we met Drew's sister Shayla at Blown Away Blow Dry Bar to get our hair done.
We sipped mimosas and laughed and I got about 5 gallons of hairspray put on me, then we met up with the rest of the girls at the church for makeup. Sweet Audrey put my eye makeup and lashes on, then I did my own foundation and details. We primped and chatted and steamed dresses (this was the best purchase ever) while the boys changed upstairs and across the church from us. I later found out that they were locked in an intense 2-hour round of Jenga to kill time, since we budgeted in so much extra time for emergencies that thankfully didn't happen. The boys came down to the fellowship hall near us to eat (we reheated extra barbecue from our rehearsal) while I stayed hidden in a side room with my girls and a bag of salt + vinegar chips. We kicked them out so we could eat, then I brushed my teeth and it was time for the gown!
Thank God my mom is a patient woman. This was actually the only time in the day I experienced any anxiety, and it was because I had to stand still through 35-40 buttons that had bra hook closures under them - so, 70-80ish closures in all. I was fidgeting and nervous, but she calmed me down like moms do.
Because of the floor plan, to have my "reveal" with my bridesmaids we had to have them led past me in a train with their eyes closed - which quickly erased any of my anxiety because I was too busy laughing at them!
After my girls saw me, it was my dad's turn! He was also a ball of emotions that day and texted me about a million times asking where he should be and where he was/was not allowed to go (we didn't want him to run into me before our first look) so I ended up sending Miriam (far left) to find him and keep him company until it was go time!
For context: My dad was not a church-goer until moving to St. Louis for college, which is where he found our church. He was baptized here in his 20's, my parents were married here, my brother and I were baptized here and had our first communions and confirmations here, and my dad helps lead the worship band and volunteers a lot of his time to this church. So, when Amanda asked where I wanted this first look, I immediately knew I needed it to be in the sanctuary, lighting conditions be damned (sorry Manda!)
And right after this sweet moment, Amanda rushed outside to capture one of my other special requests - a first look with Drew and his mom!
I'm so glad we caught this on camera! The pictures of this moment make me cry just as much as the ones with my dad! And with two first looks down, it was time for the big one - me and Drew! But not before a quick bump in the road, of course...
While Drew and his mom had their moment, I was on the the phone hidden away in a side room because our bus didn't show up! We had plans to hop in the bus while Amanda packed up camera equipment and Drew and met us in Forest Park for more photos... which was hard to do without the bus! Especially because the parking lot for our church is tiny and we'd had all of our friends carpool and get dropped off to save spots.
Father-in-law to the rescue! We hopped in cars and headed over to the park, and one of the groomsmen even remembered to grab the cooler he was in charge of so we could all sip on a drink between photos.
Here I am, excited for Drew to see my dress and also praying I didn't trip and fall into the water.
Here is Drew, excited about seeing my dress and also also praying I didn't trip and fall in the water.
Aaaaand here's the whole gang. Amanda had about a million tricks up her sleeve to get us to look natural, and I don't want to give up too many secrets but this photo involved us loudly singing a certain Sir-Mix-A-Lot song. ;) The 4 other wedding parties around were definitely jealous of us. Or scared of us? Either way, I love these photos.
After a bunch more wedding party photos, it was time to head back to the church! I honestly don't quite remember what happened between Forest Park in the ceremony, but I remember hiding in the corner so our guests wouldn't see me while the girls processed in, and whisper-yelling to our ushers to come give me a hug since it was the first time I'd seen them that weekend.
And I'm not sharing photos of our ring bearer and flower girls for privacy's sake, but know that they were not only adorable but kept things entertaining! Henry was super nervous about his trip down the aisle and made a sprint for his mama (all I heard was laughing), then Eloise and Athena forgot to toss flower petals until the very last pews. To be fair, the one time I was a flower girl I didn't toss any petals because I didn't want to get in trouble for making a mess, so...I get it, girls!
We used an outline from our pastor to design our ceremony, and took out some items to keep it a little shorter. When it was all said and done, we had two readings, a chanted psalmody, one hymn, and a sermon - the perfect length at about 30 minutes. We didn't want a super fast ceremony, but we didn't want a full service either. It was important to me that we mix in parts of a religious ceremony, though - so that was our meet-in-the-middle solution!
This is probably the best photo of me walking down the aisle, because it turns out I look mad when trying not to cry! I opted to have both my parents walk me down the aisle, which was the best decision ever. God knows I love my dad, but if we're being real my mom is our rock during emotional times and we both needed her there. Although she also ended up crying her way down the aisle with me so really, it was just a parade of happy tears.
Both of our readers turned toward us instead of the congregation to read, and I had to fight hard to not cry more because I could feel the love from them washing over us. Instead of a recited reading, it truly felt like God was speaking to us through them and what I expected to be a quick part of our ceremony was one of the most meaningful parts.
Our pastor, the same one who married my parents, spoke a gorgeous and funny sermon that fit us perfectly - we received several compliments from guests to pass on to him! And we wrote our own vows, which was my favorite touch of the whole ceremony.
Our vows ended up fitting together so well that it couldn't have gone better if we had written them like that on purpose! I swear, they were a surprise on the day of! Drew promised to let me take a bunch of food photos, even in public at restaurants when it's embarrassing, and I promised to always let him be my recipe taste tester.
You may notice my veil made a break for it about 0.01 seconds into the ceremony - it fell off when I hugged my mom at the end of the aisle, she stuck it back on, and I watched my MOH Lauren's eyes get bigger and bigger throughout the ceremony as it worked its way back out of my hair - so I whispered to her to take it and we just played on through! Between the veil, the vows, and the fact that we weren't ever told to kiss so I had to ask if we could, our ceremony was perfectly imperfect and full of laughter.
And just like that, we were married! We opted to have a receiving line after the ceremony, which I would highly recommend because it took some pressure off of us to get around to everybody at the reception! We still made a good effort during dinner, but the reception felt like the fastest hours of my life and there just wasn't time!
Clearly Drew takes cake-cutting more seriously than I do. (cake topper is Lauren Heim Studio - more on details later!)
And yes, we went for the cake smash (well, I did and Drew got revenge). Before Drew's sister got married, his dad promised $50 to whichever of the four of us smashed cake at our weddings. He has since conveniently forgotten this promise and we are still waiting on our money.
My parents welcomed everybody to the reception with a quick and perfect speech! When I lived with our ring bearer, Henry, and his family during my dietetic internship, we had to try to explain what a wedding was to prepare him - and he has since referred to it as "Amy and Drew's Big Party!" so that's what my parents called it! As a side note - Henry refers to me as "My Amy", which melts my heart, and he had only seen Drew on Facetime until our wedding weekend - so he hated hearing people talk about "Drew and Amy", not "Henry and Amy!" He has since adjusted and we've Facetimed a ton since I moved, but that was not his favorite night.
We limited the number of toasts to our best man, maid of honor, and dads, but all four were perfect. Like, the funniest toasts I've ever heard, and so well written. This was about the time that Drew's dad brought up the ONLY time we ever got in trouble as teenagers (we were high school sweethearts and started dating at 17), hence our laughing faces.
Our first dance was a cover of "Die a Happy Man." Find it here!
Before our father-daughter dance, I gifted my dad a kukui nut lei that I'd handwritten a little note on (stay tuned for my post on details!). We danced to Over the Rainbow, which about broke my heart in the best way because my dad has played in a Hawaiian band for as long as I can remember. I grew up listening to him and his bandmates playing this song (fun fact: they surprised us with a mini-concert at our rehearsal!) and to dance with him to it was perfect.
Drew and his mama danced to "Never Alone" by Jim Brickman feat. Lady Antebellum, which I admittedly chose but we agreed had the perfect meaning for a mom whose son moved across the country:
"Wherever you fly, this isn't goodbye - my love will follow you, stay with you, baby, you're never alone."
I snuck little Henry off for a ring bearer-bride dance in the corner during this song and it was one of my favorite moments of the day. Having that sweet little boy rest his head on my shoulder while we swayed was just the best.
Then we danced the night away with our sweet friends! It was really and truly the best day. Stay tuned for a post about details, how we made the wedding ours, and how we saved money! Oh, and the food - which of course, has its own post!
OUR SWEET VENDORS
PHOTOGRAPHY | Manda Renee Photography RECEPTION + CATERING | Windows on Washington FLORAL | SS Wedding Designs BRIDAL GOWN | Gracie's Bridal SUITS | Men's Wearhouse BRIDESMAIDS' DRESSES | Union Station DESSERT | McArthur's Bakery DONUTS | Strange Donuts CAKE TOPPER + CUSTOM HAND LETTERING | Lauren Heim Studio