Wedding Planning

Mandy and Parker’s Charming St. Louis Real Wedding by Hawes Photography

Mandy wanted a wedding filled with an antique vibe. So she and Parker filled it with interesting details and chose a beautiful historic mansion for their venue.

Mandy wanted a wedding filled with an antique vibe. So she and Parker filled it with interesting details and chose a beautiful historic mansion for their venue. As you can see from these images by Hawes Photography, Mandy and Parker succeeded in their vision–which has an almost darkly Victorian appeal! Read Mandy’s thoughts below on her DIY projects and advice for newly engaged brides!

What was your vision for your wedding? Any DIY projects?


My vision for the day was to keep things personal.  The theme I immediately gravitated toward was antique, but not vintage or retro.  My husband and I both love cool old stuff (architecture, jewelry, books, everything!) so it represented both of us well.  From the look of the dress, the reception venue, the chapel, even the guestbook pencil, we were able to incorporate the antique vibe.


I had LOTS of DIY projects.  I love making things, and love making them personal.  Plus, I was trying to save where we could so we could spend our money in the places where we needed it.


I made the centerpieces using small treasure chest-like boxes from Hancock Fabrics. We only needed a few because of our venue choice, so we filled them with silk flowers.  We also made our own altar pieces for the ceremony. We used large vases and shopped at the end of summer, so the spring flowers were on clearance.  They looked great and blended perfectly with the Easter flowers that were already in the church.  After the ceremony, we used them on the bars at the reception.


I handmade the programs for the ceremony.  I used the same scrapbook paper that I had used for the Save the Dates.  I was able to fit all the info onto one sheet of paper (both sides), using a vertical fold, and my husband’s great design skills.  So I used the 12’x12′ scrapbook paper, folded in half, as a cover and tied a ribbon as a binding.  Each one of them was a little different because of the paper, which made it more fun and individual.


My mom made my garters.  She made one to throw and one to keep.  On the one to keep, she sewed a button that had been on her wedding dress.


I wrapped all of the favors.  We bought handmade turtles (chocolate, caramel and pecans.) I got tulle circles from Hobby Lobby and some ribbon.  I typed tiny ‘Thank You’ notes, with our new address on the back.  An evening of movies and wrapping took care of those pretty easily.



Did your wedding location hold a specific significance to you?


We got married at the Chapel where I attended weekly mass when I was a kid.  I went to school at that parish too.  Both my older sisters were married there, and my parents are still members of the parish.


What was the most meaningful part of your day?


Most meaningful: hearing Parker’s vows.  Even though I knew all of those things were true, hearing him say them during the ceremony was something out of this world.  Second best part of the day was dancing with my dad.  We took dance lessons for a few weeks to learn to waltz.  I knew it meant a lot to him, and it did for me too.


Did anything funny or out of the ordinary happen?


We woke up to rain, but not just normal rain.  It was an all out downpour that lasted the entire morning. With umbrellas in hand, we headed to the salon.  With an indoor venue, I wasn’t worried, but I was happy to see the skies clear up about an hour before the ceremony, so we still had time to get some outdoor photos.


I had my hair done in Illinois, just across the river.  It should’ve taken half an hour to get to the mansion for pictures, and I’d allotted an hour in the schedule for the drive. However, I was unaware that there was a Cardinals baseball game downtown, and it took us an hour and a half.  We were sitting in traffic, while I was in my dress, with hair and makeup done. And we were on a bridge, so there was no option, but to wait.  Everything worked out in the end, but it was a very frustrating hour.


Also, my husband works at a jewelry store. As a joke, he decided to bring with him that day a giant gold lion ring that had been at the store.  I decided we should have our rings on in the pictures, even though they were before the ceremony, and his best man pulled the lion ring out of his pocket.  It was so funny that he actually wore that one in the pictures. He did not actually use it in the ceremony though, even though he kind of wanted to.


Tell us details of the events surrounding the wedding as well.


We had some ‘out-of-towners’ to say the least.  Parker’s parents currently live in Thailand, the best man lives in Florida, the groomsman lived in Korea, and my matron of honor lives in North Dakota.  So just having everyone together for once was quite an event.  The rehearsal dinner was really special because it was all of our favorite people, gathered together.  His mom and aunt had handmade cookies for dessert, too.  Aunt Kathy makes desserts professionally, so they were no ordinary cookies!


The night before the wedding, we both went to visit his dad’s relatives from out of town. They’d rented a room in the hotel to have a party for the evening.  Since I hadn’t met most of them before, it was wonderful to be able to see them and spend time with them before the reception.  It really took the pressure off of remembering everyone by name and knowing who was who on our wedding day.  Plus, they’re great people and it was fun just to hang out with them for a while.


On top of that, Parker’s sister got married a week after we did.  Since his parents had traveled so far, it was great that we were able to have the ceremonies so close together. Our days were very different and neither felt like we were stealing the spotlight.  It was quite special to be able to have the experience together.


How did you know your partner was ‘the one’?

Parker and I had known each other for 9 years.  I knew he was the one for me because every other guy I met, I held to the standard he had set when we were friends.  And no one came close.


Any advice you’d give new brides who are just getting started?


1.) Don’t get stressed, get organized!  If you are not good at organization, find someone who is and have them help you. 2.) Make sure your day is what you want, but keep in mind, small details aren’t worth fighting over.  If your sister, mom, in-law, etc. wants something to happen, at least consider it.  Long-term relationships are more important than a few minutes on one day of your life.  So prioritize what is most important to you and stick with it, but be flexible with the rest.




Photographer: Hawes Photography and Design  I miraculously found them at a bridal convention, and it was such a blessing. A good photographer is well worth the investment.

Venue: Ceremony: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Dardenne, Missouri, Reception: Magic Chef Mansion, St. Louis Missouri.  The reception was about 45 minutes from the ceremony.  But both were so great that it was worth the drive.  And once our guests saw the mansion, I don’t think anyone minded the distance at all.

Dress: Casablanca, from Clarice’s Bridal, St. Louis

Hair and Makeup: Sizzor Shak Salon and Spa, Collinsville, Illinois

Accessories: Filipino pearl necklace and earrings, a gift from my mother-in-law.  In my hair, I wore an antique rosary.  It was a gift Parker had given to my sister for Christmas.  On my bouquet I had two broaches, each belonging to one of my grandmothers.

Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse, Converse shoes

Groomsmen’s Attire: Korean tailored suits and Men’s Warehouse shirts, Converse shoes

Catering: Two Mikes Catering, St. Louis

Flowers: Flowers to the People, St. Louis

DJ: DJ Uptown, St. Louis