Love is sweet at any age and especially for Nanette and Loran. After finding each other later in life via an internet dating site and realizing that they wanted to be together always, they wed in October 2012 in front of 200 close friends and family in a ceremony and reception highlighting one of Nanette’s favorite flowers, the Chinese Lantern flower, Physalis alkekengi. Have a peek at this lovely fall wedding with photos captured by Artistic Soup Photography.
Tell us how you met…
Believe it or not we meet on an internet dating website! I know! You hear scary stories about such dating but I also have many girlfriends who have met wonderful men and have gotten married from dating websites. Loran and I were on one site and he winked at me. I did not respond at first and finally felt I needed to respond. So I let him know I was not interested! On this particular site once you say you are not interested you are blocked from each other. I realized I made a mistake as soon as I hit the enter key. We both joined a sister website and on this site they connect you with people who have similar answers in our personality profiles and were connected once again! I thought, here is my chance to make my move to let him know I WAS in fact interested. It was my time to send him opening questions. We spent a month emailing each other and then started talking on the phone. Loran lived two hours away from me in the state capitol, Jefferson City, and was doing business down in New Mexico and would travel through St. Louis once a month. So the next time Loran had a trip planned he asked if we could get together for lunch. I accepted and asked what kind of food he would like so I could pick a great place. Italian being his favorite, so we ended up going to the Italian section of town called The Hill. Our first lunch lasted eight hours! Two weeks later Loran came into town for a weekend and we have not been separated since.
Now for the proposal… details!
Loran here, we were traveling to Kansas City to visit family and we were talking about our future. As we got deeper into the subject it was clear to me we were on the road towards marriage and a proposal would be up coming. I was thrilled our relationship was heading in this direction and I made the mistake of asking while we were driving in the truck! I was not thinking it through I wish I had created a more memorable proposal for Nanette. I guess you could say I got caught up in the moment and just “popped” the question! She has always given me trouble about the proposal but it is something she will never forget! Nanette here: By the way, he still owes me a proper proposal. But I guess in a truck at 75miles an hour is not bad either!
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
Loran and I wanted a formal ceremony. So we did the traditional full communion service followed by a reception starting as soon as our guest arrived at the country club. I did not want a gap between the ceremony and the reception. So while we were taking photographs by the golf pro shop and golf course for an hour our guests were able to enjoy getting to know each other. And apparently everyone had a blast! The reception was held in a living room between the dining area and the dance area. The smaller dining room and was bright and lively and perfect for dinner. Following dinner we moved to another dining room for the live music. It was lighted in reds and purples and had plenty of lounge areas and tables for guest while they were not up dancing with the fantastic band! I think the guest really made the night too. Every guest we spoke to after the event said they could not believe how much fun they had at a wedding! Everyone said it was a breathtaking ceremony and reception with such an attention to details and so fantastic to meet so many great people that they talked to throughout the evening! Rather they were with a family of four or a senior couple or a single person, they said they had a blast and enjoyed everyone they met! Loran and I feel it is a testament to our family and friends not us!
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I was a little hesitant to wear a wedding gown. Being an artist and curator I wanted something a little different and special to me and my personality than the usual big white gown. Plus I was never a big fan of the wedding dress look. I began to look at nontraditional gowns. (I have two gowns hidden in my closet for art galas later on!) I started thinking what would I say to my children if Loran and I adopt, if they asked me why I did not wear a wedding dress so I decided maybe I was looking at this the wrong way and I did not want to regret any decision I made because of my preconceived ideas that I was not positive were a sure thing. After looking for a few weeks I decided to make an appointment with a local wedding gown store Ultimate Bride. I wanted something simple and a dress I felt beautiful while wearing. The first gown I tried on was the one I knew I would wear! It was easy with simple details. I wanted the Chinese lantern flowers in my bouquet to really stand out and pop as I walked down the aisle. And also the beautiful shawl. My sister wore a Smokey topaz colored halter top dress which had a beautiful ruffled collar. Her dress was chosen to highlight the color of the flowers and compliment the colors at the reception. Loran and his best man, Jake, wore a dark grey suits we found at Men’s Warehouse. The gentlemen at the store was a tremendous help in finding a wonderful suit and also the perfect tie and silk pocket square that matched the flower so well! I could not have been happier with our two clothing stores! Such an important aspect of the event, the dresses and suits, we were very lucky and found everything we wanted!
Can you give us an overview of the event?
Loran and I found each other later in life. Having done so and having decided to spend the rest of our lives together we spent some time talking about what was important to us and what we wanted to bring to this special occasion to make it memorable for both us and also our guest. First was family. We wanted to make sure the entire family was with us on our day. Young and old. Then it was special friends who had changed or shared in our lives. We wanted a smaller wedding so we ended with 100 guests. Second, we wanted to have a formal wedding. We decided on a full communion ceremony in my family’s church. The Church of St. Michaels and St. George was special to my family as many important events occurred there from family memorial services to baptism and even my older sister’s wedding. And third but not last, Loran and I wanted to have a fun and energetic reception! So the hunt was on for a dance band and as these things work, we found the band the first night out listening to local groups!
Was there a specific theme or style?
Once the date was set, the church and country club booked, the developing of the event and evening began. I sought to bring a special aspect of my life to my new husband and also my guest at the wedding. I wanted to inter-mingle this special part of me, my love of Seattle culture and my fond memories of my childhood in Seattle, with the more traditional Midwestern life style Loran and I now share. I wanted to bring Seattle to St. Louis. One cultural aspect influencing how I understood the world around me was the beautiful traditions of the Japanese and Chinese culture. These special heritages have infused themselves on the daily culture of the Pacific Northwest. I used this to help describe what I was going for to my vendors and more importantly selection of a signature flower which became the coordinating theme for the event. The Chinese lantern or Physalis alkekengi, a favorite flower of mine, became what I worked with my floral designer Tim Moore, Wildflowers, LLC, to create ikebana inspired floral center pieces. I wanted to highlight and carry the Physalis alkekengi flower and the idea of a lantern through the entire event.
What inspired the theme or style?
The Chinese lantern or Physalis alkekengi has always been a favorite flower of mine. And I wanted to highlight this unusual yet strikingly beautiful flower. The bell shape, bright orange and reddish flower’s textures is as delicate as tissue paper, flowering and budding in the winter and drying in the spring by fall showing its gleaming red seed suspended in the center of the delicate dried lattice petals that shimmers in the sun. I was lucky enough to find Christina and Robert Fisher from Echo Letterpress who had developed an invitation based on the Chinese lantern for their sister’s wedding. They were such a delight to work with! The flower carried throughout the event. Chinese paper lanterns were also installed, lighting the patio the reception area opened up onto and over looked the polo field. And sophisticatedly decorating the tables and floor surrounding and on the dance area.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
Cupcakes for the dance portion of the night. I had cupcakes with the team logos of my husband’s favorite sports teams, The New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs. He was surprised! And of course being in St. Louis there were a few comments about the Cubs cupcakes! Also the colors of the orange and red in the flowers and paper lanterns placed throughout the wedding but none more prominently displayed than the shawl I wore by New York Designer Mina Mann. A delicate wrap made of silk was orange and red. And once our first dance was over the shawl was danced with by all!
Did you DIY any of the details?
The evening ended with a gift for each invited guest. The specialized gifts contained personalized golf balls, a symbol of Loran’s enthusiasm of golf which he is sharing with his love of his life. Printed on the golf balls were statements of love, “Nanette loves Loran” on one and on another, “Loran loves Nanette” and of course the date of the wedding. Also included were delightful Japanese gummy candies and blissful dark and milk chocolate covered caramels with sea salt made by a local chocolatier KaKoa. Topping off the gift I placed packets of seeds of two my favorite plants, the Chinese lantern Physalis alkekengi and also the silver dollar plant or honesty plant the Lunaria annua, both plants reminiscent of Nanette’s childhood and honesty being one of Nanette and Loran’s core foundations for their marriage. The gift finished with a small four inch red Chinese paper lantern. The gift items were placed in a bio degradable box sealed with a thank you note from Loran and I for sharing our special day. Finally, the gifts were wrapped in hand selected materials by me and cut and sewn with a rolled edged hem by Loran’s older sister Dianne. Once I selected a person I would choose a material just for them and hand wrap the gift using the traditional Japanese Furoshiki gift wrapping in the flower technique. A gift containing symbols of our love and memories of our past, both of which make us who are today and what we will share in our future as a couple.
What was the most memorable moment?
I am going to pass this question off to Loran to answer. Loran here, the most memorable moment for me during the wedding was seeing Nanette for the first time coming down the aisle. It sounds like a cliché but this was the moment when I realized I couldn’t live without her. Nanette has a smile that just lights up a room and on our wedding day she was definitely glowing. When we first locked eyes, she made me feel as if I was the only person in the church. All my nervous energy was gone and I was completely at ease which made the rest of the ceremony and reception much more enjoyable and fun. She has always been able to make me feel like the most important person in the room and my wish is to make her feel this important every day of our life together as a couple.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
Prior to dinner we had butler passed hors d’oeuvres of parmesan cheese puffs a country club special treat, shrimp cocktail on toast and bacon wrapped water chestnuts. All were oldies but goodies! The second course was a salad at the table, Loran’s favorite, a wedge salad with dried cranberries and candied walnuts and blue cheese crumbles. Entrée our guest had a choice between Grilled Prime Tenderloin Steak with Béarnaise Sauce or Loch Duart Salmon Fillet with Lemon Herb Butter with Green Asparagus and Gratin Dauphinoise Potatoes. The wedding cake was a red velvet cake which my soon to be husband had never tried before and he fell in love as we shared a piece at the café in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York while we were on a trip to see the Armory Show. Sarah’s Cake Shop makes the best red velvet cake in St. Louis! I also surprised my new husband with a table full of cupcakes decorated his favorite sports teams logos, The New York Giants and The Chicago Cubs. We served cupcakes, popcorn, mixed nuts and potato chips during the dance section of the night, turning a dining room in the country club into “loungy” after party! We even had a second guest list for this special section of the night! I called it our VIP invite!
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
We wanted hi energy and fun dance music and were so very fortunate to find Vote 4 Pedro a St. Louis Premiere Dance Band! The band even learned our first dance song by U2. Our first dance was to the 1988 U2 song written by Bono for his wife Ali, “All I Want Is You.” Not only was it our first dance as a married couple but it was our first dance ever!
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
We would have a videographer for the toast or someone to record them so we could transcribe them later for the wedding album.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
Just enjoy it because it goes fast. And hire the best vendors you can, from your florist, to your wedding coordinator, your printer, baker and most important you photographer. As the years go by, having a wonderful photo album to remember the day by will be a special treasure. And if I was to give some wedding advice is hire a wedding coordinator. Allison McDonald, owner of Flourish Events and Concierge was my new best friend! She helped with make sure I was on schedule and all the details were completed prior to the busy weekend. Once the weekend arrives it is nice to know you have someone on your team working hard to make everything run smoothly while you are enjoying the special day with your new husband.
Ceremony Venue: The Church of St. Michaels and St. George | Photographer: Artistic Soup Photography | Wedding Coordinator: Flourish Events and Concierge | Flowers: Wildflowers, LLC | Dresses: The Ultimate Bride | Suits/Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse, Brentwood | Music, Lighting and Staging: Contemporary Productions, LLC | Band: Vote 4 Pedro | Cake and Cupcakes: Sarah’s Cake Shop | Stationery: Echo Letterpress | Chocolatier: Kakao Chocolate | Hotel and Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Moonrise Hotel