After getting engaged, Anne Elise and Nick knew exactly where they wanted to celebrate their wedding day. With frequent cocktails after work, Union Station’s Grand Hall in downtown St Louis was a place that had grown special to them during their time dating. So when their dream venue only had one fall date available, Halloween was it! With Anne Elise’s big sister acting as creative director, they designed a dramatic wedding with a rich cranberry-color palette and sweet family details. Among my favorites: Anne Elis’e heirloom veil. Originally worn by her mother 30 years prior, then by her sister five years before, the chapel-length veil adorned with pearls and a cloche headpiece was the perfect something borrowed! Of course, with a wedding date of Halloween, they couldn’t forgot to add a little fun! Anne Elise and Nick not only added a trick-or-treat candy table, but the nightly laser light show on the ceiling of the Grand Hall served as fabulous surprise for their out-of -town guests.
Thanks to Charis Rowland for sharing Anne Elise + Nick’s wedding with us!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I moved to Terre Haute, Indiana right out of college for my first job. I was 7 1/2 hours from home in a new region where I knew no one. I spent three years in this tight-knit community, while my future husband and in-laws were across town, and yet, our paths never crossed. As I was getting ready to move to St. Louis for my next job, a Terre Haute family I had become friends with reached out to tell me about this guy named Nick who had just recently moved to St. Louis from Terre Haute as well. They asked if they could pass my number along since neither of us knew anyone, and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Wow! I hardly have the words to accurately describe that magical day. I’m a broadcast meteorologist in St. Louis, Missouri. On this particular Friday in March, my assignment editor informed me of a story that the station had already lined up for me. I was going to interview the manager of a local restaurant, The Boathouse, in the city’s popular park, Forest Park. (Side note: This was where Nick took me for an impromptu dinner the first night we met.) I arrived at The Boathouse that afternoon and asked for the manager. She greeted me at the hostess desk and led me down the dock along the water to an intimate table, where she says we’d do the interview once my photographer showed up. On this table was the most beautiful flower arrangement, candles, and a manila envelope with my initials written on the front. My mind started racing as I tried to talk myself out of thinking the obvious. As I opened the envelope, I immediately recognized Nick’s handwriting on the four handwritten pages. On these pages, Nick summarized our love story, titling each chapter. On the last page, his last line said, “I need your help writing the rest of the story. Meet me at the front of The Boathouse.” Hands shaking and smile plastered on my face, I walk back up to the front of the pier and found my handsome best friend standing there. He grabbed my hand and walked me to the edge of the dock along the lake. He got on one knee and said the most beautiful and meaningful words I’ve ever heard. Needless to say, I said “yes!”
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015. It was the one fall date that our dream venue was available, so Halloween it was!
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’ve never been the girl who had every detail of her wedding mapped out from early on, but I’ve always loved looking at wedding dresses in bridal magazines, and the one thing I did know was that I wanted a dress with sleeves and lace. My mom and mother-in-law joined me on Easter weekend in St. Louis. Our first stop showed some promising dresses, including a long-sleeve, lace, off-the-shoulder dress. It was all that I wanted on the hanger, but I didn’t love the fit once I got it on. Fast forward to the next store and I saw the same dress, and I tried it on again. Once the consultant pulled it tight and gave me a true impression of what it would fit like once it was sized for me, I fell in love! My mom, mother-in-law, consultant, and other customers nearby were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over it with me. We all knew it was the one!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes. I always thought that I’d be a traditional bride who waited until I was walking down the aisle, but after talking with many friends and family members, the consensus was that a first look makes for a more pleasant experience after the ceremony. I was also told that it’s really special because it’s your moment with your groom to express that first reaction, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Our photographer captured it so well. There was laughter, giddiness, awe, and lots of hugging and kissing. I’m so thankful we had time for the two of us.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony was at our church, Central Presbyterian Church. This was special because being new in a city together, we were able to hunt for a church together. We landed at Central and even got to go through the New Member training class together as a dating couple. It was super special to share that journey and then say our vows in this beautiful, historic church that had become so sentimental to us. Our reception was in Union Station’s Grand Hall. It is simply stunning! During our dating time, I lived in a loft near Union Station in downtown St. Louis, and we would often get cocktails in the Grand Hall. When we got engaged, it was the first place we thought of, and after checking various venues, nothing even came close to Union Station in our book!
Did you write your own vows? We did not. We chose traditional, yet beautiful and intentional, vows that we discussed with our pastor during premarital counseling.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Processional and Maria” (Rodgers and Hammerstein). My favorite movie has always been The Sound of Music. There’s something so majestic and beautiful about Maria’s march down the aisle to this song, and I could think of no more wonderful song to meet my groom to! All our ceremony music involved the church’s incredible organ. “Toccata” (Bach) was the perfect song of celebration and joy for our recessional–it fit the way Nick and I felt walking away from the ceremony as husband and wife.
Describe your wedding flowers. Exquisite! My amazingly talented big sister, Sara Beth, went above and beyond in her matron of honor role. She was the true creative director behind our wedding. From designing our wedding programs, invitations, save the dates, and all other print work, to designing and making my bridal bouquet, I still can’t find the words for what she did. My bouquet was super full, vibrant, and earthy, with various hues of cranberry (the wedding’s main color). It was composed of dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, hellebores, spray roses, parrot tulips, protea, astilbe, pepper berry, dusty miller, eucalyptus, Italian ruscus, ivy, and foliage. The bouquet was wrapped in silk ribbons and a piece of lace from my mother’s wedding gown. It also included a gold jewel from an arrangement at one of my bridal showers.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a round, five-tiered, French vanilla cake covered with delicious buttercream icing, imprinted with a scattered lace design, and accented with ivory fondant flowers edged in gold. The largest layer was covered in fondant ruffles with buttercream pearls. A gold “P” monogram, placed on the side of the center layer, was a focal point, and a surprise red velvet layer (my favorite flavor!) was enjoyed by not only my groom and me, but by several other guests as well. I worked with the Cakery to design our cake, and it was truly the prettiest (and tastiest) cake I’ve ever seen.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The light show at our wedding reception was one of our favorite details. Union Station in St. Louis does a variety of beautiful laser light shows on the ceiling of Grand Hall each evening. Our guests (who were mainly from out of town) had no idea to expect it, so it was a fun surprise. Guests attended a cocktail hour in one portion of Union Station following our wedding ceremony before being led into the reception in Grand Hall where a light show was beginning. The laser light show has coordinating music and imagery on the ceiling, creating a musical movie of sorts. It feels like you’re at Disney World! Another detail we loved was the trick-or-treat station at our reception. My mother-in-law took our vision for a trick-or-treat stand and ran with it. Some of our favorite candies (in mainly gold, white, and cranberry tones) filled various tall glass containers on a table next to the photo booth. Guests could go at any time during the reception to pick up a treat bag and fill it as they pleased!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a family veil, first worn by my mother 30 years ago and then by my sister five years ago. The chapel-length veil is adorned with pearls and attached to a pearl cloche headpiece. My garter was wrapped in light blue ribbon, and my something old was lace from my mother’s dress, wrapped around my bridal bouquet. My lace Casablanca wedding gown was new!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Southern touches could be found all throughout our wedding. The wedding party was large (and all Midwestern friends thought we were crazy, ha!). With 12 bridesmaids, 12 groomsmen, four honorary bridesmaids, two registry attendants, two junior bridesmaids, two ushers, and a flower girl and ring bearer, the party filled in fast. Sweet tea was a beverage of choice at all wedding festivities. We exited the wedding reception to a popular and frequently played song during Mississippi State football games (as the cowbells clang): Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We took part in premarital counseling with our church’s pastor. We would meet once every few weeks for the three months prior to the wedding. We started our sessions by taking an intensive test that analyzed our personalities and how we handle others/relationships. We discussed the test results with our pastor and talked about possible conflicts/victories that may result from our two types. We loved every minute of these special sessions with our wise pastor, and only wished it never had to end! In the hustle and bustle of planning, this was a serene time that helped us gain focus and perspective. We also made a point to have date nights where we weren’t allowed to talk about the wedding, which I highly recommend!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I am blessed to have creative family members. My sister saved us so many costs by cutting any design charges from our wedding invites, paper goods, etc. She only charged us for the materials, which was a huge help. My childhood babysitter (and our family’s dear friend) volunteered to be our wedding day coordinator so that we could enjoy the day and not worry about all of the details lining up. For the ceremony, we used a lot of greenery and candles for the front of the church, instead of large floral arrangements. Central Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary has massive, colorfu,l stained-glass windows throughout and lots of natural light, vaulted ceilings, and large lanterns; it’s a beautiful place and didn’t need much extra.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Decide what’s right for you! A wedding is a small glimpse into the soul of a couple. Whatever style fits you, go for it and don’t look back. Weddings of all kinds are a lot of work, but I don’t regret one ounce of time we spent pouring into this most memorable day of becoming one with my husband. It’s one of the only days in your life when you’re truly surrounded by your very favorite and most loved people. Be in the moment and celebrate such a joyous and monumental occasion with no regrets!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just bought our first home in our favorite neighborhood in the city! Our golden doodle, Murphy, loves having a backyard and room to play. We look forward to having friends over for house parties. Up next for our family…we’d like to plan a trip to Europe next year. Italy, perhaps? We shall see!
Photographer: Charis Rowland Photography | Videographer: LEAP Weddings | Planners: Beth Parks and Sara Beth Cobb | Ceremony Venue: Central Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: St. Louis Union Station | Florist: Les Bouquets | Wedding Cake: The Cakery Bakery | Band: PowerPlay | Special Details and Paper Products: Nimblee | Bride’s Gown: “Style 2169” by Casablanca | Hair and Makeup: Emily Miller | Bride’s Shoes: “Lois Glittery Mesh Kitten Heel” by Adrianna Papell | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 6705” in Venetian Gold by After Six | Menswear: Joseph Abboud | Photo Booth: 2 Chics and a Photobooth | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: City Cottage on Chouteau