fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

Things to Do in St. Louis: Cahokia Mounds October 5, 2008

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These days, and for the past two centuries or so, the center of “civilization” in the area around the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers is on the Missouri shore. To the credulous visitor to St. Louis, the East Side can seem like a wasteland of chemical plants and strip clubs. Uncle Tupelo, an alt-country band that formed on the East Side, wrote song called “Sauget Wind”: “They’re poisoning the air/ for personal wealth./ It’s a long way to heaven,/ it’s a short way to hell./ I don’t know what I’m breathing for,/ ’cause the air around here ain’t so good anymore.” And it is true that the East Side has been an unloved stepchild for as long as Europeans have lived across the river. But that is not all the history of the East Side. Once, it was great. Once, it was Cahokia.

“When I reached the foot of the principal mound, I was struck with a degree of astonishment, not unlike that which is experienced in contemplating the Egyptian pyramids.” This was the statement of an American traveler in the early 1800s. As Charles Mann explains in his book 1491, Cahokia was impressive enough that Americans couldn’t believe it had been made by Native Americans. It was a complex of mounds, rough stepped pyramids, which had once been the largest city north of Mexico in the Americas. Now, Cahokia Mounds is not nearly so grand, but it is still compelling. Stephanie and I once spent an early evening walking around the grounds, and climbing to the top of Monks’ Mound. I struggle to find words to describe the feelings you get climbing on a near-forgotten monument in the midst of Collinsville, Illinois. The world is a much more mysterious place than we often realize. The monument marking the high point of a superseded civilization seems to be as good a place as any to think about this.


The flowers! September 30, 2008

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I am full of delicious sighs for these images.  Oh, the organic feel of the wrappings that surround these bouquets!  Oh, the lushness!  Maybe I should just carry a bouquet every day, and get it out of my system…

What _is_ this whirliwind wooden bark that makes up the container?  It looks Elven…


Artichokes!  Inventive and appealing.


These are the flowers I dream about. Half-awake I only remember pink and wild green.  Finally someone has captured them…


_Woven_ ribbons and rags. How Medieval and other-worldly is this?  


All images from Style Me Pretty, designed by Laura Dowling of Interieurs et Fleurs.


Things to do in St. Louis: The Zoo

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“St. Louis has a wonderful Zoo, and it is free!” Really, that should be enough, I would think. But there is so much more. That Zoo has so many memories for me. Along with Union Station, Busch Stadium and the Arch, it was one of the places actually in St. Louis, where my family would go when we came to visit my grandparents in St. Charles. I remember the big concrete block “ZOO” sign at the entrance, and all of the pictures we took there. When you went in, you could always hear the raucous sea lions in the long pool down the middle of the zoo. The smells of the reptile house, the long loops around the antelope enclosures, running hither and yon… you couldn’t pick too many places in St. Louis now as redolent in happy memories as the Zoo. And it’s free. Check it out.


More rehearsal dinner! September 28, 2008

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So, once I get started thinking, I get started looking for images, photographs, and ideas to inspire me.  I can’t remember how Matt and I started talking about the rehearsal dinner this weekend…but once we got going, the ideas happily flew.

Of course I returned to Style Me Pretty, but in the meantime I’ve also discovered Hostess with the Mostess, who has darling themed party ideas.   This first inspiration board is from a “real wedding” from SMP–obviously very different, as they are on a beach, but I like the details.

I especially like her dress, and the fancy soda.  Somehow things like fancy soda, or special candies, always make parties more festive.

Hostess with Mostess put together a theme of “Double Happiness.”  I know a lot of couples use this for weddings, or showers.  I love the paper lanterns and bright colors.  We have a great idea already for centerpieces…but we can’t tell, because it will be a surprise for our guests.  

Imagine little colored take-out containers, for the actual take-out and for the treats for our guests…  I even have a darling handbag that is shaped like a Chinese take-out container, but with gold and gilded fabric.

Now, some images from Pho Grand, and India’s Rasoi–two or our most favorite St. Louis restaurants.

Here’s a pretty photo of an “informal” rehearsal dinner buffet.

Finally, I can describe Emmanuel’s parish hall.  (I’ll have to check with the office this week to see if this is even possible.)  It’s a large room, with a commercial kitchen off to the side, and the kitchen has a long window that opens to a counter.  There is a small stage at the front, that small children love to climb upon.  Matt and I were thinking of projecting a series of photographs from my laptop to the wall throughout the dinner, and having music.

We would also have readings.  The BCP does not allow for secular readings, and some of my favorites are from poems and novels.  I definitely want to include this sort of reading, and allow friends and family to participate in this way.  I know that Matt and I will also take this opportunity to toast our families and friends, and perhaps receive toasts.

Logistically, we can have gotten and placed wine, beer, and soft drinks in the kitchen ahead of time, and can send uncle-type people, or friends not involved in the rehearsal itself, but coming to the dinner, around to pick up the food from the restaurants.  Matt’s mom suggested Panera, which I think is an excellent addition, especially for the kiddos.

And, with potentially seventy or more guests at this little shindig, it might turn out to be a mini-reception.  But I’m still not going to be a “two dress bride.”


The Rehearsal Dinner September 27, 2008

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Stephanie and I were talking today about what to do about the rehearsal dinner. We have so many people coming in from out of town, and it looks like we will have such a large wedding party. We could have 60 people just for the rehearsal dinner. We want to give everyone a good time, and thank everyone for coming in to see our wedding, and for making the wedding possible. But, we are not rich.

The idea was: we could have the wedding at the church’s reception hall, and just get takeout from a few of our favorite restaurants. We could bring in beer and wine (but no hard liquor), and appetizer platters, and get some food from Pho Grand, Blackthorn Pizza, and Rasoi (just to name a few options). We could do the serving, perhaps with the help of our wedding party. I really like the possibilities…


Things to do in St. Louis: City Museum

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I have been to City Museum three or four times now. It really is an amazing place. First off: get the word “museum” out of your head. It is more a menagerie than a staid “museum.” Strange modern art installations double as jungle gyms, strange jungle gyms double as modern art installations, trippy tile mosaics, plaster gargoyles and icons, and gunite grottos litter the first few floors. Upstairs, there are various exhibits of curiosities of St. Louis history, including things pulled out of old-fashioned privies, photos and relics of demolished buildings, and whatever memorabilia the owners collected. There is also a circus, of course. If you have elementary-aged children, especially, this is a fun thing to go and do-the jungle gyms are amazing.


Oh, loveliness September 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 8:04 pm
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As I’ve written before, my ideas for wedding flowers, decorations, and general sensibilities lean toward the overblown and old-fashioned.  My anti-bouquet would be a tightly packed sphere of single-colored gerbera daisies.  Too modern, too simple, too monochromatic.


(a little inspiration board I just whipped up)

in contrast with this:

(Pretty, but not me.)



Well–happy day for me when I found Seeking Everyday Beauty and her corresponding shop, One Hundred Wishes.  Smitten!  

Here is ribbon I could use to wrap the bridesmaids’ bouquets:

Here are velveteen flowers I could add anywhere (hair, bouquets, guestbook, attached to old-fashioned pocketbooks…)

Here is a bracelet that could re-inspire my whole idea of dress, hair, and accessories:

I mean–this shop includes an ENTIRE category called “Cupcake Trinkets,” with darlings such as:

I’m in loveliness overload.  Vintage china, old jewelry, refashioned pincushions, patterns in pastel, glitter, finery.  I love all of it.  So, while places like the Knot might feature monochromatic weddings, preppy weddings, and modern looks for modern brides, I’ll be returning to Seeking Everyday Beauty for fruit for my brainstorming.