I am a big believer in the idea that when it comes to the person you’re meant to be with, when you know, you know. Today’s beautiful bride and groom, Erica and Danny, are the perfect example of this. They met when they were kids, but they didn’t start their relationship till years later. When they finally got together, they both knew right away that they had found “the one” and committed wholeheartedly. I love how Erica described their first year together when she said, “We confidently jumped in head first and never once considered putting floaties on.” That takes courage, y’all, and as you can see here in their overflowing-with-love wedding pictures, it was completely worth it.
Thank you so much to Megan Thiele for sharing Erica and Danny’s wedding with us!
I put off wedding dress shopping for a year. I didn’t feel great about my body after being pregnant, but I was worried that if I waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to get the dress of my dreams in time for the big day. To my surprise, I loved almost every dress I tried on. I planned to buy one of the dresses from the first boutique I went to, but my mom convinced me to try one more place. At the Wedding Gallery in historic downtown St. Charles, I tried on three dresses and again, loved them all. The dresses were now starting to run together, so my mom suggested trying something different than the lace mermaid gowns I had been trying on, and I agreed. The wedding dress specialist asked me what I envisioned I would look like on my wedding day. I laughed and said, “A princess, of course!” I told her I loved beaded dresses but was afraid that with a rustic venue and wedding, I would look out of place. She said, “I think I have something” and brought out a beautiful Martina Liana beaded and lace dress. I thought the lace gave it the vintage, rustic look I was going for, but the beads gave it a glamorous look too. I had my mom wait outside the room until I had the belt and veil on too. When she walked in, she didn’t say a word. My mom is not a crier, so I knew I wasn’t going to get any tears out of her, but I thought she’d at least have something to say about it, so I asked “Well, aren’t you going to say something?” She replied, “You look like a princess.” Needless to say, that was the dress I wore on my wedding day.
Mismatched navy dresses, cowboy boots, and some seriously gorgeous bouquets? This bridal party has style in spades!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Danny and I have known one another since we were kids, but the stars just never quite aligned — that is, until New Year’s Eve 2010. I truly believe we were always meant to end up together, just not until then. I believe it takes heartache and mistakes to learn what you want in a relationship and who you want to be in a relationship. I also think it takes knowing what “wrong” feels like in order to know what “right” feels like. With that being said, when Danny and I had started dating, we both knew right away, this was right. This was it. We confidently jumped in head first and never once considered putting floaties on. Within the first year of our relationship, we moved in together, bought and built our first home, got engaged, and brought a beautiful baby boy into this world.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were two moments in particular that will most definitely stick with me forever. First was when Danny started to cry while reading his vows. In the many years I’ve known Danny and the three years we’ve been together, I have never seen him cry. I think everyone was shocked and it caused quite the chain reaction. The second one was when my dad said in his speech, which will make me cry writing this, “I love my daughter with all my heart and I know Danny does too, but nobody could possibly love her as much as that little blonde-haired, blue-eyed grandson of mine does.” Everyone knows how much I adore my little boy and Connor is most definitely a mama’s boy, but hearing my dad say that really tugged at my heart strings. I felt that my father was really proud of the person and mother I had become and that I was doing a good job as Connor’s mom.
If I had to choose one detail that was my most favorite, it would be the table design. I wouldn’t say it was one detail, but every part of it was so well thought out and detailed. We had navy linens on the guest tables, and on the head table, we used hemstitched tablecloths over navy linens. Each person had a chevron, polka dot, or stripe placemat with a rattan charger on top and a light blue linen napkin. Each place setting had a vintage mismatched flowered china plate, just like my grandma’s! The silverware was wrapped in twine and had a yellow billy ball and blue thistle tucked into it. My centerpieces were flowers in wood boxes or mason jars on top of wood slabs or wood pillars, and there were metallic candle holders all around them. Our guest sat in white chiavari chairs, and Danny and I each had an oversized wood chair with signs that said “Better” and “Together.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Susie G’s Bakery made us three simple but delicious wedding cakes. They were white cake with raspberry filling, covered with buttercream icing. Our dessert bar was much more elaborate. We had assorted cakes in mini mason jars and yummy chewies that were inspired by Danny’s love for turtles, provided by Susie G’s Bakery. We also had a variety of freshly baked cookies from Grandma’s Cookies, s’mores cupcakes from Sarah’s Cake Shop, and assorted fruit pies from Sugaree Bakery. At the end of the night, my wedding planner said she had never seen a dessert bar picked over as much as ours was. Both my family and Danny’s have a sweet tooth!
Tell us all about the proposal! Danny asked me to marry him on October 14, 2011. I was eight months pregnant and we had just built and moved in to our new home. I was a bit overwhelmed with everything, so although I knew a ring would eventually come, I definitely did not think it would come then. Danny and I were both born on the 13th and Connor was not only due on the 13th, but on my birthday. I had dropped a few hints that the 13th is a great day and it would be fun if all the important things in our lives happened on the 13th, hint hint. So, on October 13, Danny spent half the day trying to carve a pumpkin that said “will you marry me,” but since he couldn’t finish before I got home from work, he decided to throw the 13th idea out the window. On October 14, I came home from work to see the carved pumpkin surrounded by flowers and candy corn (great gesture for a pregnant woman). Like a gentleman, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. He said he didn’t just love me during our good times, but that he loved me all the time, even in the worst of times, and that he never wanted to see me sad or stressed. He said his goal in life was to always take care of our family, and promised that if I would be his wife, he would never stop working to make sure our family had everything they need.
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did. Our ceremony didn’t start until 5 p.m. and I just didn’t think it made sense to be apart from my best friend for most of the day on one of the most important days of our lives.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, Danny’s vows were amazing from top to bottom, but my favorite part was when he said, “I am a major believer that everything that happens in life happens for a reason, and for some reason, the man upstairs has blessed me with a beautiful angel and the sweetest baby boy a father could ever ask for.” Danny’s favorite part of my vows was, “You and Connor are what make my heart beat and one lifetime with you could never be enough”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our good friends, Jamie and Andy Pusateri, each wrote an original reading for our wedding. We honestly couldn’t have asked two better people. Jamie wrote and read “Love Through the Eyes of Little Ones,” which was beautiful and extremely appropriate, as she knows exactly the love we have for our child. Andy wrote and read “Love Defined.” He memorized it completely and it was honestly the best reading we have ever heard at any wedding. We told him he really needs to consider having it published!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to the keyboardist and violinist playing David Grey’s “This Year’s Love.” The first time we heard it, it gave me chills. Danny and I had our first dance to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” This song is the anthem to our relationship. I even based my vows around the quote “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread” and ended them saying “but I just couldn’t help falling in love with you.” My dad and I danced to “My Girl,” by The Temptations. My favorite movie growing up was My Girl and I always told my friends that that would be the song I would dance with my dad to on my wedding day. It was a really hard song to slow dance to, but my dad and I took a dance lesson and practiced every morning in my living room until my wedding. Connor and I heard it on the radio the other day and he immediately started humming and dancing—he knew it was baba (what Connor calls my dad) and mama’s song!
Describe your wedding flowers. Tina Barrera did an unbelievable job on our flowers. I knew I wanted them to have a lot of pink and I wanted a rustic look, but without too much greenery or too many berries. The bridal bouquet consisted of coral peonies, white astilbe, hot pink ranunculus, ivory peonies, magenta stock, blue thistle, yellow billy balls and silver brunei berries hand-tied with lace. The bridesmaids’ flowers were the same as the bridal bouquet, except they had less white throughout and were wrapped in burlap instead of lace. All of the men in the wedding wore coral spray roses, hot pink ranunculus, billy ball and thistle boutonnieres. At our ceremony, we hung mason jars down the aisle filled with hot pink stock, coral roses, blue thistle, silver brunei, pink garden roses, yellow billy balls and white hydrangeas, which were also placed on wooden pillars of various heights on the head table. Throughout the reception venue, we used wood box centerpieces, mason jars on wood slabs, tin cans, and birch vases, filled with the same flowers that were spread throughout the venue. Upstairs, where we held cocktail hour, we had small clusters of all-white hydrangeas, stock and roses in small mason jars.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Everything! I may be from the city but I am a country girl at heart, and Danny is most definitely a country boy! For attire, Danny and the groomsmen all wore bow ties and vests and had matching navy and light blue striped socks. The bridesmaids and I wore cowboy boots. The ceremony was at a winery and took place outdoors near a pond, and the reception was in a big red barn. At the ceremony, they handed out signature wine slushies with monogramed straws. We had a lemonade and tea station, hay barrels with quilts around the dance floor, and a bonfire. We had an H monogrammed on the dance floor in chalk. Our ring bearers and flower girl came out in an old western wagon with tin cans attached and rustic signs that said “Here Comes the Bride” and “My Mommy and Daddy are Getting Married.” At our dessert station, we had tons of wicker monogrammed E+D and H signs, as well as burlap and quilt banners with cute sayings on them. Also, we were in the country, so the scenery was high grass, grape vines and corn fields. On the way there, you passed sheep and cows and other farm animals. And of course, we had mason jars galore, tin cans, wood slabs, birch vases and old wood boxes all over the venue.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blues were my necklace and earrings. I wore Danny’s birthstone, aquamarine. My something old was my grandmother’s ring. It was passed down to her from her Grandmother and she passed it down to me! My something new was an earring of mine and Connor’s birthstone, from one of my maids of honor. I borrowed one of my mom’s rings, that included Danny’s birthstone, which I wrapped with twine around my bouquet.
What is the one details or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Katie Fogerty, owner of Kate & Co would be first. My wedding wouldn’t have been what it was without Katie. I am a complete perfectionist, and get anxiety about the smallest things not being perfect. Anything Katie and her crew were responsible for was perfect, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I also have to say my seamstress, Connie Simpson, owner of R & M Design. When I bought my wedding dress, I was still trying to get baby weight off and was also still nursing my son. By the time the dress arrived, I had lost all the baby weight, and then some. It didn’t even look like the same dress. Connie took it in six times and miraculously made me have some curves again (in the places I wanted them)! When I had my final fitting, I fell in love with the dress all over again. Also, my wedding photographer—she didn’t miss a detail and I can keep reliving the day over and over. Plus, she saved the day and drove the hubby and me to our ceremony when our trolley broke down!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Raising a baby while planning a wedding. I felt guilty focusing on the wedding and not giving Connor my 100 percent undivided attention. I didn’t think it was fair to him, so I did the timely stuff after he fell asleep or super early in the morning before he woke up. Anything that needed to be done during business hours, I did at nap time. I can’t even tell you how many of my vendors probably got emails from me at midnight.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To do a same-day edit film, especially if you are doing pictures before the ceremony. It was extremely important to me that since we weren’t going to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle that everyone would be able to see our first look at the reception. It was the most beautiful short film I’ve ever seen and I’m not exaggerating when I say there was not a dry eye in the entire place. The staff was even tearing up! It started the night off just right, and those five minutes were worth every penny!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Expanding our little family. Connor is such a miracle and I hope God blesses us with more little miracles.