fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

This Magic Moment: Recap 1 February 23, 2010

We need to begin some sort of recap. We have so much to say!  We also want to post our wedding play list, our budget, and other behinds the scenes details– the sorts of helpful details I scoured wedding blogs for, in ideas for ours.  But first, we have to recap it!


Where to begin?  When I think back, I remember being in St. Louis the week before, with friends and family.  Some snapshots:


1. Staying the night with Amy, while Mike went to the bachelor party.  We had Mexican food, went to Target, and watched girly movies while finishing up bridespeople gifts.  Too fun.


I was too excited to sleep, even though we went to bed late. I got up and kept writing notes to the bridespeople, and was awake when Mike stumbled in at around two o’clock in the morning.  He had some funny stories, or the beginnings of stories, to share, and then he went to bed.  Then, I went for a walk.  And got lost!  In Affton!  But the roads are so curvy!  While I walked, I prayed a little, especially praying that I would be able to stay present for all of the beautiful parts, and that the wedding day wouldn’t go by too quickly.


When I got back to the house, darling Buttons the dog pictured me as an intruder–everyone else was asleep!–and growled at me, and wouldn’t let me past the dining room. So I lay on the couch until he went away. And then fell asleep, finally, at 6AM, in Maeve’s sweet pink butterflied bedroom.


I woke up a little before 10AM. Nick was supposed to come grab me for brunch, but he–shall we say– had had a long night at the bachelor party.  So I hung out until Matt could come get me–we had a noon meeting with the photographers. Who we hadn’t even met yet, incredibly!


2. The photographers. Amazing, and so meant to be.  Our previous photographers had fallen through, and I had been a fan of Jodie and Kim for as long as I’d known about their photographs online.  The week before we left for St. Louis, I e-mailed Jodie– hoping that they might do weddings. I was beginning to think I’d have to fly someone down from NYC!


The initial meeting with them was beyond, beyond. Our energies met and took off immediately, and they were really excited by my “vision.” I told them about the Green World, and all of my beloved friends, and how I love old photographs, and the Edwardians, and the Victorians… I said, “I want it to be like we’re in the middle of a grand dinner party. It’s the middle of a great war, in England perhaps, and everything is rationed. No butter, no sugar, no candles. But we’re pulling everything together, for one brave and merry night. We’ve gone up to the attic, and dragged down everything fine: candlesticks, mirrors, furniture. We’re dressed, and candle-lit, and having a time.”


Their creative minds were amazing to see in process, thinking out loud, and throwing back and forth ideas, and immediately making calls to see how we could get props and make this happen.  You’ve seen the result.  Breath-taking.  Kim said, of those sneak peeks, “Those pictures came right out of your brilliant head.”  Not my head– the hearts of me, our loved ones, and Kim and Jodie.  But yes: they seem unreal.


Then!  After our lunch meeting, we ran across the street to my beloved Pearson House, to take some “engagement” shots. We had been disappointed by the ones we had taken here, and Jodie and Kim wanted to make that up to us. We had thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes, and it was very cold!  We waltzed, and laughed, and shouted across the lawn at one another. And, another testament to their genius, those results are also incredible.


Then, Matt headed to the hotel, to meet up with the Varnons (at large), and check-in.  I met four of the bridespeople for nails– and saw Jodut for the first time in a while, as well as Jennifer and Erin.  That’s when I started to get the sensation of, “Oh my goodness– my friends, my best friends, the women I love… they’re here in this salon, with _me_.”  It was strange, like Christmas or a birthday…but more.  I kept shrieking, “Jodut!” “Erin!” “Jennifer, you’re here!”  Oh, the goodness.


Then, Eric and Tom came to pick me and Jodut up, and take us to the hotel. I walked into the lobby, and started seeing Varnons.  So happy!  We had dinner in the restaurant at the hotel.  While we were eating, I got a text, “Is this Stephanie H.?”  I texted back, “Yes…”  The reply: “Do you recognize the man in a Yankees cap sitting in front of you?” I looked, and saw, John T.!  A boy I went to eleven years of school with, first through twelve grades, and was close friends with–a pack of us–in high school.


Then… up to the hotel suite, the Sky Cove, as we called it.  Posh!  Spacious (bigger than our NYC apartment)! Amazing view!  A platter of treats waiting for us.  I don’t know how I slept at all in that beautiful room, with all of the exciting thing going on around me.


This must have been New Year’s Eve, because there was a big party going on in the hotel that night, and Mike and Amy came downtown to it. So I joined them for a while, and drank wine and danced with Amy. And looked at all of the crazy dresses people had on, and met some DJs.


And then, I finally went to sleep, in the Sky Cove bed– so big that Matt and I could barely find each other in it. When we would awake, it’d be the day of the rehearsal.


Stephanie’s Bridal Shower October 31, 2009

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Where to begin?!  I was overwhelmed with joy, happiness, surprise, and gratitude the entire day.  My girlfriends (with some behind the scenes management from Nick, I suspect) are amazing.  It is an incredible, light-filled experience to walk into a room surrounded by beautiful women of all ages, and to feel their love directed at you.


The beautiful dining room, decorated and laid out with delicacies. And Jennifer, not sure if she wants to be in the photo or not.


I obviously hadn’t expected a cake. And look a bit crazed with enthusiasm for it.

shower 4

shower 3


shower 2


Wish this wasn’t fuzzy– this is an old friend and teaching mentor, Jan.  We have in common Oxford, women of faith, hagiography, teaching…


Okay, I kind of forgot that I had registered for things, and so many times I was completely delighted and surprised. I’d say, “We WANTED this coffee pot!”  And everyone would laugh, as in: “Um we know.”


shower 1

From Matt’s family in Price’s Branch, Great Aunt Dorothy and Great Aunt Imogene (Matt’s Grandfather’s sisters.)


Janet and Nedra–Nedra is Amy’s mom, and a great woman I’ve been blessed to know for years.


My Mom, Vickie, with Matt’s paternal Grandma.


Forgive the fuzziness!  This is Mya, Matt’s cousin-in-law and the most glamourous pregnant lady I know, and her daughter Gaby, and her mother-in-law (Matt’s father’s sister) Aunt Diana.


Another photo of me shocked and delighted by something I apparently registered for and then received.



Mmm, plush new towels.


My Mom, Vickie.



Erin, in front of the cutest pumpkin welcome sign possible.


Erin graced me with a vintage parasol.  LOVE.




Me with Amy, cutting the cake.


Janet, Erin, Amy, and me.


Gaby, me, and my Mom.


Jennifer, Janet, me, Erin, and Amy.



A splash of color from St. Charles– it was a perfect, perfect day.

Later that evening, I went to another party at Amy’s home– it was for couples, and we were joined by her husband, Janet and her husband, Erin and her husband, and my cousin and groomfolk Larry and his wife.  We had wine and delicious food, and told stories that made my sides hurt from laughing.

wine party 1

wine party 2

wine party 3

The day was so much more than I could have imagined, and I will never forget how happy and blessed I felt all day.


Pretty, pretty things May 8, 2008

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An Inspiration Board is a collection of images, photographs, colors, or icons that are meant to inspire and set a theme for the entire wedding.  I love images and photographs, so I am sort of addicted to these Boards.  Style Me Pretty is full of them; both the editor of the blog and her readers create them to share and inspire.  I think I will eventually make my own, but for now, here are a few of my favorites.







Tara Guerard


Green is in the air–the ring, our love of Farmers’ Markets, Matt’s veggie-ism, branches, cottonwood, fireflies…these seem to surround the idea of our wedding with natural things. 

One of my most enduring ideas from undergrad is, also, the Green World.  It is the place in comedy where things can be transformed.  Picture the forest in _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_–it is in the forest, away from Athens (the world of reason, order, and law) that magic happens, wishes can be discovered, loves and lives transformed.  All can be made new again.  In every comedy, a Green World exists.  I used to joke with my English major classmates that we, studying literature in an old house and garden on campus, were living in a Green World ourselves.  It’s no coincidence, of course, that weddings also frequent comedies.

(All Boards from Style Me Pretty.  Names indicate the names of the boards, sometimes tied to the women who created them or for whom they were created.)