Andrew from AJ Photography shares with us this sweet and delightfully charming small wedding in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Andrew tells us how this wondrous day came together!
Rachel emailed me about six weeks before their wedding date asking if I had an opening for a really small 2 hour wedding. I happened to have the evening open and shot them my pricing and information. Rachel and Micheal reached out again and booked me thanking me over and over again for taking their wedding.
When I met them a week before the wedding, Michael immediately informed me that he was a minimalist and this was going to be very small budget, very small attended wedding. In fact, I kept feeling that this was a test somehow that he was not sure if I really wanted to take on the wedding. I informed him that I shoot a wide variety of weddings from large budget weddings to very small intimate weddings such as theirs. Michael informed me that he was a Sgt. in the Marine Corps and was awaiting a commission as an officer and that Rachel had just finished her degree and was looking for a job and that they didn't have a lot of money. I kept looking around as if someone was going to jump out and say I passed the test. I searched around my brain for a way to put Michael's mind at ease. I once again explained everything and as the conversation went on, it seemed like Michael was started to warm up to me a little. By the end of the conversation, I wanted to believe I had won Michael over.
On the day of the wedding, I arrived at Winslow's Home and was escorted to where the ceremony and reception was going to be. Michael was there upon my arrival and said, "Thank you for showing up." I once again looked around for someone to jump out and say surprise. Instead of trying to put his mind at ease again, I answered sarcastically, "Well, I couldn't find a good enough reason to call in sick." Michael looked at me and just started to laugh.
As the night went on, Michael came up to me and thanked me for being there and thanked me for taking the wedding on even though they didn't have a lot money. I told him that everyone deserves a great photographer no matter the budget. He smiled, shook my hand, and walked away. I left that night knowing that I had won over someone who didn't even want to pay a photographer in the first place.
Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A: We honestly went in blind with a lot of the planning! My fiancé and I began by agreeing that we wanted a very small celebration with our dearest family and friends, which meant finding a venue that was able to accommodate us. My brother discovered Winslow’s Home a few months back when he moved to University City and when we discovered they had a private cellar space we were sold! Considering the time of year I suppose our theme was focused mainly around springtime
Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: The few touches of decor we added were the topper for the cake and a beautiful wedding ornament that was gifted to us by my parents on the dessert bar. The cellar at Winslow’s is already so mellow and eclectic we really didn’t have to add much other than the flowers!
Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A: Since it was a tricky time of year for fresh flowers we decided to incorporate a lot of greenery with a few anemones, snapdragons, and ranunculus added in throughout. Our invitations and cake topper had wreaths of greenery on each and the florist Kasey put gorgeous arrangements together based off of those. There were two floor arrangements and a mantle display to accent the corner where we exchanged our vows
Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: The playlist was my favorite personal touch! I spent a few months putting together what I thought was the perfect mix of old and new songs that reflected our time together as well as some of my family’s favorite love songs. I’m confident Michael’s favorite part was the passed hors d’oeuvres we got to choose from Winslow’s expansive list.
Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A: I knew I wanted to wear something simple from the get-go, as I was never a girl to swoon over dramatic floor length gowns. My dress came from Kate Spade and had a full, A-line, knee length skirt. I was also excited that it had wonderful deep pockets to hold my lipstick and phone! The jewelry was from Madewell and had gold flower buds to mix in with the theme of springtime. I chose my ‘something blue’ in the form of dark navy Sam Edelman flats and I wore baby’s breath in my hair as an homage to my mom on her wedding day. Michael and I easily agreed on a charcoal gray suit that came from Men’s wearhouse which he wore with a classic white button down shirt and a deep purple tie.
Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A: The two of us grew up about 15 miles apart in the suburbs of St. Louis, but we never met until 2017. I had come into town for a birthday party for my best friend’s son and Michael was visiting with her older brother-in-law when we all ended up at the same house by chance. Once we started talking we realized we had been running almost parallel lives, hanging out with the same group of people and going to concerts at the same venues downtown but he had been moving around with the Marine Corps for the past few years. The proposal was very simple and impromptu and actually happened in our apartment! We had been talking openly about marriage for a few months and during one conversation Michael looked at me and said “why wait anymore?” and got down on one knee right in our living room
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: I think the most special moment to us was having my mom as our wedding officiant. She was so nervous but did such a beautiful job reading out our vows and presenting us as man and wife for the first time, it meant the world to me.
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: If you don’t hire a professional wedding planner, I highly suggest buying a binder or planner to write down everything as you go! There are so many checklists and notes to yourself that you’ll compile it’s so handy to have it all in one place that’s not just in the note section of your phone. Also if you have pets, see if someone in your family or one of your friends will store your dress and accessories. There’s nothing scarier than having your dog attempt to rub up against you while you’re trying everything on before the big day!
Photographer: AJ Photography
Restaurant: Winslow's Home
Happy Wedding Planning!