fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

More location photos September 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 10:04 pm
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While last in St. Louis, I had the opportunity to take lots of photos of both Emmanuel and the Tap Room. Now, I can officially begin making decisions about decorations!  Flowers along the aisle?  Emmanuel has a very, very long nave, and is dark, with dark wood and green carpet.  One idea would be to have flowers or greenery with ribbon along some of the pews, but there are so many pews!  The only other place we are allowed to put flowers is up on the altar, in the official altar guild vases.  But maybe with a bride, groom, 16 attendants, a ring bearer and a flower girl, there will be enough human decoration.

I didn’t have time to take interior shots at church, but took one from my friend Jodie’s blog from her wedding (she is an _incredible_ photographer, by the way.)

(So exciting to see Emmanuel during a wedding!)

Exterior of Emmanuel:

The outside of the front door.  To the right is Jones Lawn, which is really quite large and filled with huge shade trees.  We are thinking of having lemonade and sparkling water on the lawn, directly after the ceremony and receiving line.  We could have a clown making balloon animals for the children, and maybe some live music…  While the bridal party and families are being photographed, people can mingle, have something to drink, and relax a bit before the reception.  This could also prevent a long lag at the reception, while people wait for the bridal party to arrive.

This is the memorial garden, to the left of the main entrance.  There is also a side entrance to the Chapel here, and up along the path on the left is the door into the parish hall.

(The church was built by a family from “back East,” and Mrs. Lockwood used memories and sketches of her own home church to influence the architects.  The cross on the steeple is exactly the height of the little Lockwood girl when it was built.)

The Tap Room–I love, love, love the hardwood floors, exposed bricks, tall windows, views of the city–I can’t wait to dance the night away with my love and everyone we love.

The first thing to consider: head tables.  Do we have our spouses and dates of our attendants at the head tables with them?  My first instinct is to say yes, because it seems odd to have people separated just because that’s the way it’s usually done.  I would never do that at a dinner party.  But we have 16 people. Maybe two head tables, at opposite ends or something?

Matt and I are thinking doing a writer as a theme for each table.  So instead of “Table 5,” you might have “the Whitman table.”  I’m thinking of doing tablescapes of old books and many, many candles as centerpieces at each table.

The bar.  They also have tiny white lights strung all around the wooden pillars and windows.

The outside patio for the upper room where our reception will be held.  I suppose people can mingle out here as well.  Candles out here, as well.


Things to do in St. Louis: Crown Candy Kitchen

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 3:22 pm
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We have chosen to have our wedding in St. Louis. It is the city where we fell in love, and it is a city of deep meaning for both of us. We both have family in the St. Louis area, and we both have dear friends who still live there. But, a large chunk of the people we are inviting will be coming from out of town. So, we want to make sure we can show off some of what makes the city special for us. In picking Emmanuel Episcopal Church for the ceremony, and the Schlafly Tap Room for the reception, we have already highlighted a couple of our favorite places. In this series of posts, which will be intermittent from now until July, we’ll highlight some others.

The first place I thought of, when I thought of this list, was Crown Candy Kitchen. Our wedding will be in July, and July in St. Louis is hot and sticky. For many people, the place to go to get something cold in St. Louis in the summer is Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard. That’s the most famous one. Shamefully enough, though, I never made it to Ted Drewe’s in my years in St. Louis. The Crown Candy Kitchen, though, is an even older landmark, and you actually can get in out of the heat and sit and enjoy their confections. They have wonderful ice cream, malts, and chocolate candies, and they serve cheap diner-type lunch and dinner. The neighborhood isn’t the greatest, but the food can’t be recommended strongly enough.


Wedding Scouting Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 12:40 pm

I was at my cousin Marilea’s wedding last weekend outside of Cleveland. That was my last wedding before my own. Just a few weeks before that, we were both in St. Louis for my cousin Tom’s wedding. Following Stephanie’s post about Wedding Hits and Flops, and thinking about those last two weddings, I have some thoughts.

1) Definitely, we will want to do assigned seating. For us, with our large wedding party, we will be doing some serious spatial thinking to figure out where we’ll want to put everyone. Also, we are going to be inviting people from all over for the wedding, and most of them will only know a limited number of other people. But we are both teachers, so seating charts aren’t a new challenge for us.

2) We have a lot of good ideas for favors, and we have a lot of people we’re going to be asking for toasts, but having some sort of toast from us is an appealing idea to me.

3) Vows — I would probably have them memorized. They’ll be straight out of the Book of Common Prayer, and I already have a copy of the service downloaded. I really like the language of it, and I’ll be making myself comfortable with it between now and July 11.

4) Timing issues — both of the two weddings I went to recently had timing issues. Much of this was because of complications because of having outdoor plans with dodgy weather, but I think having a clear and transparent schedule would help. We’ll have to think about that. You don’t want to have too many things to deal with all at once.

5) Greeting everyone — This is hard. We don’t want to have an overwhelming sense of obligation and stress, but we will want to have some interaction with as many people as possible. So, we don’t know what we’ll do with this. Part of why I am perfectly happy to use the Book of Common Prayer ceremony is that the wedding isn’t really just all about us. We are joining a whole wider communion with people who have used the same ceremony and received the same sacrament, and we are having a very public wedding because it is very important that we are sharing our celebration with our friends and family. This attitude somehow will be reflected in what we do and how we act on our wedding day.

6) MC/DJ/music — I was definitely underwhelmed with the obnoxious MC and DJ that came with Tom & Mya’s reception room. We will not be doing anything similar. On the other hand, at Marilea’s wedding, there was no one really coordinating everything and moving things along. I really, really like my idea of using a laptop or iPod to play the music, and we will probably take a page from Andrew & Lynette’s wedding by having someone, or some people, from the wedding party to MC things and help make sure everything is flowing smoothly. We want everyone to have a good time and to know what is going on.

7) Photographs — Stephanie definitely will be more on top of this than me. She knows what she wants, I expect, and has already had a conversation with the photographer. We want to make sure that we have some good photos, but we also don’t want to be absenting ourselves from the gathering for too terribly long. We’ll have to figure out how to do this well.

8 ) Guest book — I don’t even know if Marilea had a guestbook. I remember signing the guestbook for our friends Jeremy and Sara Jane’s wedding, and for Tom and Mya’s. We’ll want to give everyone a good opportunity to write in ours, as well.

That’s all of the thoughts I have just now.


Wedding hits and flops September 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 9:31 am
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The fabulous Indiebride has a message board called Kvetch, where women and some men can share ideas and give advice on countless topics.  In the thread “Suggestion Box,” one popular thread is called, “What was a hit? What was a flop?”  Genius.

After their weddings, brides will come back to the forum and report what went well at their wedding, and what (often surprisingly) did not.  For example, often brides will report that no one had heard their vows, and they wished they had used microphones.  Or they will be surprised that no one used the guestbook.  Obviously, for anyone planning a wedding, this is a goldmine of ideas, things to consider, and advice.  Here’s an example:

“I’ve been to about a million weddings and here are some memorable hits and flops from those I’ve been to:

–Assigned seating. Especially when I don’t know many people, I hate the awkward hunt for seats. This is especially true if they haven’t given me a plus one and I’m there alone. 

–Something to drink as guests were coming in before the ceremony. I’ve had lemonade and cocktails and both were nice. 

–Doing something unexpected. Favorites: groom’s cake in shape of beer stein (he was of German heritage); bagpipes; homemade strawberry jam from bride’s dad as favors; unusual readings.

–A heartfelt thank-you toast by the couple. More meaningful than any favor.

–Couples who memorize or at least write on cards the main part of their vows so the officiant’s prompting isn’t breaking up the flow every three words.

–Failures of coordination on timing issues. A) last of guests still standing in line at buffet when cake cutting started; B) caterers still setting up when guests began arriving; C) long lag times between ceremony and reception at a location where many guests had driven and had nothing to do in between; D) waiting around forever (going on two hours) at cocktails waiting for pictures to be done.

–Not enough quantity of passed appetizers, so guests are stalking waiters coming out near the kitchen doors.

–Bride and groom not making it around to speak with everyone personally. At one wedding, I left without ever meeting the groom. I get he was busy, but how about a two minute, “Oh, I’ve heard so much about you, thanks for coming”?

–Bride and groom leaving too early. Why leave at 9:30 when your band keeps playing til 11? The party is over when the couple leaves, so it feels kind of lame after they’re gone. After I got all dressed up and traveled for these events, I was disappointed that things ended so soon.

–Music too loud during dinner.”

I think the best thing about the thread is that while I personally might get caught up in the things _I’m_ most interested in (readings, colors, food, ceremony) it might not naturally occur to me to think about things like timing, sound, flow of food…  It’s so helpful!  So, on that note: what are some hits and flops you’ve seen at weddings, including your own?  Or, things you wish a bride and groom would consider for guests?  Please advise.


Save the Dates September 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 1:14 pm

We’ve been enjoying a quiet weekend together. We had some notion we would go to the 9am service at St John the Divine this morning, but when I didn’t roll out of bed until 8, that clearly went by the board. Once we actually got up and moving, we decided what sort-of productive things we would do today. I asked Stephanie to give me some examples of Save the Date cards, so I could play around with our engagement photos and make some card “sketches” for us to look at. Here are the five I have come up with so far:


Let us know your thoughts!


My little sister’s wedding! September 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 10:44 am
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Oh, oh, oh!  The most amazing photos.  Isn’t she gorgeous?  Aren’t they beautiful together?  And isn’t the setting dreamy-strange-amazing?

During the ceremony.  I love that someone built an all-white Chapel, with pillows and natural light, in the middle of the desert.


The minister is the Reverend Ludo, a Celtic officiant.


With Katherine and Paul, their witnesses, a lovely couple from the UK.



How beautiful and unique.  I know many, many couples talk about eloping, but I have to say: Jamie and Jeremiah did it right–she has a dress, and it took money to pay for gas to drive to Nevada, but once they were there…it was organic, spontaneous, and true.  The photographs weren’t done by a professional, but they couldn’t be more amazing, and the setting is just unreal.

I’m so proud of her, and thrilled for them.  I can’t wait to see them in person.  Congratulations, Jeremiah and Jamie!


Oh, the gowns September 1, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 7:32 pm

My friends are beautiful.  

And I love, love, love these dresses. If my back hadn’t been hurting, I would have been trying them on, too.  


Last week, I met with three of my ten bridespeople to try on gowns.  The three dresses we chose, in the two colors, are in the previous post.  One dress has simple straps, and ruching around the bodice.  The skirt is narrow, but still flattering.  We thought we should have one option that wasn’t strapless.  The second dress was the first we noticed (in olive) and tried on (in brown).  It has a fuller skirt, and splits at the chest to reveal a small frontispiece with embroidery and beadwork.  This detail, and the fullness of the skirt, make it a really beautiful gown.  The third dress is also full-length, and relatively simple.  The fabric sweeps to one side in a curve that ends at the foot of the gown; to one side, the fabric is pinned with a vintage-inspired brooch.

The dress on the left, in Watermelon, is one of our final picks.  We considered the pink and grey combination for a while, but later realized that ivory didn’t go with grey.

My three dear friends–and they happen to be in the three dress styles that we ended up choosing.

On the tuffets.

We haven’t gotten to shoes yet…