Ellen and Tom planned an incredibly elegant wedding in their local hometown of St. Louis Missouri, using their chapel venue as inspiration for the entire wedding. We absolutely love how Ellen tied as many meaningful elements into their special day as possible! Read her story with us, alongside the gorgeous images by Jordan Brittley!
Tell us about finding your gown!
I had the hardest time committing to a dress. I tried on about 150 dresses at 12 different shops in 3 different cities. I knew I didn’t want to look like every other bride I had seen but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that I wanted to look like. The whole process seemed like such an important and expensive commitment and I was terrified to make the wrong choice. I couldn’t settle on a budget, style, or designer. It wasn’t until I let myself give in to what I really wanted and let go of everyone else’s ideas and opinions that I found my dress. After I purchased the dress I still did have one person’s opinion nagging in the back of my mind. From the beginning, my mother was insistent that I not have a strapless dress. After accompanying me on my many attempts to find a dress she reached a point where she was ready for the experience to be over and a realization that salons didn’t offer a great selection of dresses beyond strapless. I met with my seamstress before the dress even arrived and we drew up a sketch for a jacket to go over the dress for the ceremony. The jacket became the key piece to the dress that made it truly one of a kind. I was able to surprise my mom with it during the second fitting and surprised Tom as well with a mini wardrobe change from the first look to the walk down the aisle. I loved being able to change up my look without completely changing my dress. It brought a timeless elegance to my bridal ensemble while still allowing me to dance the night away without being restricted.
Tell us about what made your day special and unique!
We loved the significance of getting married at Washington University, where Tom is currently a graduate student, and of course the beauty of the campus and chapel made for a lovely start to the evening. Long before we were actually engaged we agreed that our reception would have to be at the Racquet Club. Having enjoyed many date nights and parties at the Racquet Club we knew that not only was the location gorgeous but the service, food, and atmosphere are unparalleled. We actually decided on the venue first and then planned the rest wedding around it. Our inspiration really came from the venue. We used the stain glass windows to determine our color palette, the old world charm inspired tuxedos and cigars, and the dark wood and stone fireplaces led us to choose an autumn evening for the date. I poured through wedding blogs and magazines but really tried to find inspiration around me so that our wedding was really a reflection of who we are.
We really wanted to include our dog, Rocky, in our wedding but were not quite sure how since neither venue is pet friendly. We debated bringing him for pictures but the logistics and timing were not working out and I finally had to be the person to say, “it just won’t work.” I knew that Tom was heartbroken that Rocky wouldn’t be there. I gave him the cufflinks as a way to have his best friend with him as he walked down the aisle.
Handkerchiefs have a big significance in our family. Not only were several passed down, including the one I carried from my great grandmother, but we also all received handkerchiefs when we were younger. My family is full of criers and we wanted to make sure everyone could look a bit more elegant while shedding happy tears and have a beautiful memento to remember the day.
Since the reception was at a men’s club we wanted to make sure the ladies room well attended to. I gathered a few of my favorite toiletries and found a beautiful tray at an antique store. We included a few essentials such as extra hair bands and bobby pins to keep everyone looking their best. It’s so easy to get swept up in planning and lose your mind a little bit.
Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?
Focus on details that have significance to your relationship and will be unique to your day, not the latest trend on Pinterest. On the day of, slow down and take the time to appreciate all your hard work. The best part of the day was being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Noel at the reception. We walked in to a beautiful roomed filled with our favorite people and I have never heard a round of applause more genuine and filled with excitement. I felt amazing to know that everyone was so ecstatic to be there celebrating our relationship.
Vendors: Photographer: Jordan Brittley // Event Venue: Graham Chapel // Getting Ready Venue: The Chase Park Plaza // Bathroom Soap/Lotion: K. Hall // Bathroom Tray: Antique Store // Pie Tags and Cocktail Napkins: For Your Party // Monogrammed Soap: Carved Solutions // Custom Pillows: CKD Originals // Transportation: Best Transportation // Mocha Heart Cookies: DIY // Mini Pies and Cake: Sugaree // Makeup: Blown Away St. Louis // Hair: Maren Keen // Ring Bearer’s Outfits: Women’s Exchange // Flower Girl Dress: Laura Ashley // Bow Ties: Brooks Brothers // Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell // Jewelry: Genovese // Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Jacket: R&M Designs // Veil and Dress: Vera Wang // Calligraphy: Barbara Winnerman // Paper Products: Service Bureau // Reception Band: Mirage // Ceremony Music: Rosewood Ensemble // Florist: Ken Meisner // Reception Venue: Racquet Club