Nathan and I met during our freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis. We quickly became close friends, and a romantic relationship followed soon after. We have been best friends ever since.
We were lucky to have incredibly supportive friends and family members throughout the planning process. Manyof them kept telling us, “Do what you want because it’s your wedding!” Both sets of parents were great about sharing their opinions when asked but not trying to enforce any ideas on us.
We have so much fun together. No matter what we are doing, we can always make each other laugh and smile. Being together makes even simple things like grocery shopping fun.
We really wanted our personalities and our relationship to shine through in our decor. This is why we wanted to include some homemade, personal touches for our reception. For example, since our wedding was a cross-cultural one, we made a Finnish and American flag for our cake topper. Our color scheme was inspired by the location of our ceremony. We wanted a natural, soft color scheme that would complement the surroundings of the park beautifully. The combination of peach and sage felt right–soft, romantic, and light.
As an engaged couple, you will get a lot of advice from all kinds of people about what kind of wedding you should have, and certain people will be very opinionated. The best thing we did was to stick to what felt right to us as a couple. We chose everything for our wedding–from our reception venue to our decor–based on what we thought best represented us and our relationship. It made us so excited to see all the little elements that we chose come together, and the whole day felt so “us”.
What were some challenges you faced planning your wedding & what would you have done differently to avoid them?
We were married in St. Louis, Missouri although we live in Austin, Texas. Planning long distance was a challenge, and we needed to visit St. Louis a few times for planning trips and to meet with vendors. If we could do it again, we would still have our wedding in St. Louis, but we would be more realistic about how many times we’d need to visit to get all the details in place.
Before we started planning, we made a rough budget of what we wanted to spend on each item. We discussed what was most important to us, and both agreed on certain things (like photography) that we wanted to prioritize in our budget. It can be very difficult not to go crazy with all the “extras” .. there are so many things you can add on to your wedding that often don’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. The budget we had set kept us realistic about what we could really spend on these “surprise costs” without overdoing it.
Can you share some tips or tricks that you learned along the way leading up to the wedding or after?
I really recommend keeping the bridal party small! We had 3 attendants on each side, and it made it so easy to coordinate with just a few people instead of 20! We also got to spend quality time with these treasured friends, which was very special and meaningful to us both. Getting ready before the wedding was enjoyable and relaxing. I think with too many people there, it could have easily been an overwhelming experience.
We took a weeklong honeymoon in Costa Rica, starting 2 days after our wedding. It was so nice to have that time to decompress and enjoy time together as newlyweds before returning to real life! We had an awesome time, and did a lot: ziplining, horseback riding, a catamaran cruise, and we even got in some beach time! It was a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation.
We are excited to share a lifetime of adventures together! Traveling, moving to new cities, buying a home, Nathan earning his PhD, changing jobs…these are all in our near future, and we can’t wait to share these experiences as husband and wife.
We invited around 100 guests and had 75 attending.
We had a cello and violin duet play during our ceremony, which turned out beautifully. Our two favorites that they played were “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis for the bride’s entrance and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” for the recessional.
One of the highlights from the day was our first look before the ceremony. We had our first look at our alma mater, Washington University. We were both so nervous leading up to this moment, but as soon as we saw each other, all of the nerves melted away. We were both so happy and emotional seeing each other for the first time, and it was truly a memorable moment.
- We purchased DIY program kits from Michael’s and printed and assembled our programs. This was a lot cheaper than ordering printed programs!
- We painted heart shaped cake toppers to represent each of our home countries, Finland and the United States.
- We purchased black lanterns from IKEA to use in our centerpieces. To match our color scheme, we spray painted the lanterns sage and used white pillar candles inside.
- We purchased DIY favor kits, also from Michael’s. These were a bit difficult to assemble (luckily we had help from Nathan’s family!) but turned out really cute. We put Finnish chocolates inside the little boxes and gave them out as favors.
- Nathan’s grandfather helped us make a wooden wine box for our ceremony. We used house numbers from Lowe’s to display our wedding date on the top, and now we have the box on display in our home. On our 5 year anniversary, we will open it, drink the wine, and read the letters we wrote to each other on our wedding day.
- We purchased wooden “A & N” signs and covered them in scrapbook paper matching our color scheme. These letters were used as part of our cupcake display.
- We DIY’d our seating chart using a 10-photo picture frame purchased from Target. We included a few pictures from our engagement session, and printed the seating chart on paper matching our color scheme.
During the ceremony, I had trouble getting Nathan’s ring on his finger. Rather than being awkward, it was a funny moment that made everybody laugh and made me feel instantly more at ease. My favorite moment from the reception was our last song, “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey. All of our guests made a circle around us and swayed as Nathan and I danced in the middle. We felt so happy and loved to be surrounded by the people that mean the most to us!
Photographer: Feels Like Today Photography
Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Indochino
Dress Store: J. Crew
Dress Designer: Sottero & Midgley
Caterer: Sqwires Annex
Reception Venue: Sqwires Annex
Hair Stylist: STLooks Salon & Spa
Cake Designer: The Cakery Bakery
Floral Designer: The Crimson Petal