I imagine many Southern belles can relate to Rachel and Brett’s story–they met at an SEC school, and years later, couldn’t imagine tying the knot anywhere but their beloved alma mater! Just like that, these two decided to host a destination wedding at their old stomping grounds of Mizzou, complete with football field portraits, a visit from Truman the Tiger, and a performance by the marching band. As well as showcasing their college pride, Rachel and Brett were also sure to tie in plenty of other nods to their sweet relationship, from playing their favorite song for their walk up the aisle as husband and wife, to the bacon bar Rachel surprised Brett with. Yum!
Thanks so much to Scott Patrick Myers for sharing this fun day with us!
I had so much fun trying on dresses that I was a little sad once I had found “the dress!” I knew that it was 100 percent the dress for me when months later, my mom and I were at the dress store for a fitting and I pulled a dress from a rack and said, “Oh Mom, if I hadn’t already found a dress, this would be the one.” I took a closer look, and turns out, it was my dress! I did make a few alterations to the dress to make it truly mine. I added pearl buttons all the way down the train and had Swarovski crystals sewed into some of the lace flowers on the back. I also wore a fuller slip to give the skirt more volume and added a bow to the front. The bow was by far my favorite part of the dress!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Although we kept our ceremony very traditional, we walked back up the aisle after being introduced as husband and wife to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” This is one of our favorite songs, and we couldn’t think of a better song to celebrate becoming husband and wife.
We chose to get married at our alma mater, the University of Missouri, because not only was it the place where we met, it also holds so many special memories for both of us. Because this was a destination wedding for most of our family and friends, we loved planning a weekend of events that showed off the spirit of Mizzou. Although we were planning a destination wedding, it was important to us to still have someone with a personal connection marry us. Brett’s fraternity chaplain is now a priest in a city close to Columbia, and he agreed to officiate the wedding.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Although we live in Chicago, Missouri is technically a Southern state and we did want to incorporate a few Southern touches. We both love BBQ and Brett does a great job of finding BBQ restaurants for us to try whenever we are traveling. As favors for our guests, we gave out jars of BBQ rub from the restaurant Brett worked at growing up. As an SEC school, football is a big part of Mizzou, so once we decided to get married on campus, Brett knew he wanted to take photos on the football field. I also had the robes I gave my wedding party monogrammed.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We wanted to plan a few surprises for our guests throughout the day, one of which was having the mascot, Truman the Tiger, and Marching Mizzou show up and play at our cocktail hour. When they played the fight song and alma mater, it was so much fun to see our Mizzou friends alongside our other guests, all singing along together.
We had a small cutting cake and a dessert bar with all our favorites desserts, including doughnuts, chocolate-covered strawberries, rice krispie treats, and gooey butter cake, a St. Louis specialty. We also had chocolate chip cookies delivered to our guests’ hotel rooms the night of the wedding with cards that said “Sweet dreams from the bride and groom.” I wanted to plan something special for Brett on our wedding day, and anyone who knows him knows how much he loves bacon. I worked with our caterers to surprise him with a bacon bar that opened up after dinner. We had three different kinds of bacon along with dipping sauces, plus bacon-flavored popcorn. Our guests loved it!
Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! Absolutely! This was very important to us because we wanted our wedding to represent who we are as a couple. Our welcome bags included treats from Chicago and St. Louis, as well as homemade coconut macaroons, one of our favorite desserts, which we made together the week before the wedding. The doughnuts on the dessert bar were inspired by the doughnuts from our favorite bakery, Firecakes, in Chicago–we often end up there after date nights. The marching band represented all of the fun at football games we’ve had over the years. In our welcome bags, in addition to including treats from our hometowns, we also included a handwritten note to each guest. We were so excited to have our guests be a part of the day, and we wanted them to know how much we appreciated them making the trip.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brett and I met in college at the University of Missouri in fall 2006. We were introduced through mutual friends and our paths continue to cross over the next few years. When Brett accepted a job in Chicago in 2012, he got in touch. We spent that fall getting to know each other again, and by the end of the year, we knew we were meant to be together.
Tell us all about the proposal! Brett and I had planned a trip to Jamaica for his 30th birthday in February 2014. Our trip started off a little rocky when we found out the night before we were to leave that the hotel had overbooked and moved us to a different resort in a different city. I was so upset that our trip wasn’t going according to plan, but Brett was as calm as could be. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more upset! When we got to our hotel and settled in, Brett told me he had planned to have a photographer take some photos for me to use on my blog. Once we got down to the beach, he gave the photographer a nod, got down on one knee, and proposed. He told me he’d been so calm despite our travel mishaps because he knew that at the end of the day, he would be asking me to spend the rest of our lives together. It was so special to have a few days together to celebrate our engagement before we went home to share the news with our family and friends.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. It was important to both of us that we saw each other for the first time when the church doors opened before my walk down the aisle. Our hotel rooms were on the same floor the morning of the wedding, and I was so worried we would accidentally bump into each other! Thankfully, our photographers and wedding party did a great job of keeping track of both of us.
Describe your wedding flowers. We kept our flowers very simple. I knew I didn’t want anything too elaborate, so we ordered hundreds of white roses in bulk and then had a friend who does floral design arrange them. This saved us a ton of money without sacrificing on quality. Since we were married on Derby Day, we used mint julep cups as vases on the food and drink tables.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding in a city you don’t live in is always a challenge, but we did our best to make the most of our limited time each time we visited Columbia. I can’t imagine having our wedding any place other than Mizzou though, so it was all worth it!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Brett: Watching my niece walk down the aisle carrying a sign that said “Uncle Brett Here Comes Your Bride,” and then seeing the doors open to Rachel. From Rachel: A piece of advice my mom gave us before the wedding was to make sure we took some time to ourselves after the ceremony. We went up to the choir loft for a few private moments and we were able to look down at all our closest friends and family who had just witnessed us becoming husband and wife. I’ll always remember how happy I felt in that moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are hoping to buy a home within the next year so that we can start making memories in a place we can call our own. We also plan to keep traveling and exploring new cities and countries together.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? When we decided on a campus wedding, the stage where we held the cocktail hour had not been built. We got to be the first wedding to be held on Traditions Plaza, and we have a brick on the plaza with our names and wedding date engraved on it. Brett’s parents also met at Mizzou, so they have a brick right next to ours with their wedding date. I can’t wait to one day bring our children to campus and show the bricks to them!
Photographer: Scott Patrick Myers Photography / Videographer: Big Day Productions / Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Catholic Church / Reception Venue: University of Missouri / Floral Design and Day-of Coordinator: Alissa Hagan / Cake Baker: Harold’s Doughnuts / Caterer: University Club of MU / Rentals: A1 Party Rental / Music: Lifetime Entertainment / Paper Products: http://www.sarahjulton.com/ / Bride’s Gown: “Style 2716” by Allure Bridal / Bride’s Accessories: Nordstrom / Hair and Makeup: The Clip Joint / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Polka Dot Jacquard Fit & Flare Dress” by Eliza J from Nordstrom / Menswear: Savvi Formalwear / BBQ Rub: Charlotte’s Rib
Rachel’s Blog: An Eventful Life