After much thought and discussion, we’ve decided on having the ceremony at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, in Webster Groves. This is my church, and has been for nearly ten years. Matt also loves his church–right up the street–and we first struggled to visualize our wedding in both spaces, and to try to articulate what they meant to us.
The Episcopal service goes by the Book of Common prayer. I have been worshiping with this liturgy since I was seventeen. One of the wonderful things about it is its constancy: I can go to an Episcopal or Anglican church anywhere in the world, and immediately fall into the familiar liturgy and cadences of the prayers and patterns I recognize. Once, I was in a church in Prague–I knew none of the words, but followed along in my own way. Suddenly, during Communion, the liturgy was sung in the exact same tune as the tune used for Communion when I was a freshman at University of Illinois. I hadn’t heard it in years, but it suddenly came rushing back to me–a flood of familiarity in the most of foreign of places.
Emmanuel in particular is a huge part of my life. My college is across the street, and I walked across the church lawn countless times, on my way to class. I sang in the choir, and rehearsed every Wednesday night with years. I taught Sunday school, and then was head of Parish Family Life–planning parish-wide events throughout the year. In the year before I left for New York, I trained new acolytes. It gives me joy and pride to imagine that some of the kids I trained will get to by acolytes at my own wedding. Finally, some of my most dearly beloved friends are there. That church community has supported me in so many ways, and I grew as a person and came into myself there. I still miss it, many a Sunday.
When we were just beginning to date, Matt came to Emmanuel to hear me sing. I was the cantor for a small, formal evening service: Evensong. I was the cantor, accompanied by the organ. I was very nervous: all of my roommates, as well as my dad and another colleague, had come to see the service and hear me, but I was most nervous because it was the first time Matt would hear me sing. In fact, afterwards, I wouldn’t let him say anything at all about the service, and could barely look at him.
As for the reception, it was relatively simple to choose the Tap Room, or Schlafly Brewery. Again, we have many, many good memories there. I often went there with my family, including my Grammy and my late Grandpa Hughes, and my dad loved to go there with me. I remember at least one Thanksgiving there with my dad and sister. Matt and all our community of friends went there often, and we have one hilarious story from our courtship that took place there (again, I was deeply embarrassed, and pacing outside with my roommates trying to discern whether Matt could tell if I liked him…while Matt cooly played pool and controlled the jukebox…)
Also, the food is great. So is the bar. And the upstairs room is lovely, and very St. Louis. I was tempted to have an outdoor reception, but once we moved it to summer, we wanted it inside, so people could dance and make merry comfortably.
We’ll post menu options from the Tap Room later, but hopefully, we’ll get to share some meals there with family friends before the end of the year…and decide in person which options are most delicious.