Before I get started with probably one of the longest reviews I have ever written please know two things – I would love for you to read everything below but if not you can go straight to the photo slideshow at www.stephenseward.net to access it, go to the wedding site - click on the proofing page - use "bogay" as the password.
Also you MUST check out this video from my friends and colleages at Switzer Film – it’s unbelievable!! I told Joe, while he and his team are amazing, I don’t deny that, something has to be said for how cool this wedding party was!! We couldn’t have hired actors and scripted a better video, they made it possible!!
But again….please read the review if for nothing more than the fact that it took me two hours to write it! :o)
Chasity contacted Proposing Dreams in March of 07 first with a concept of a surprise wedding. I was HOOKED! I love to do anything outside the norm. We later decided the logistics of getting out of town guest here for something they think is a party (even a monumental birthday) would make it harder to pull off having all the people they really wanted at the wedding.
So, we were on to selecting the date and location. Chasity & Courtney were interested in the Mahler Ballroom & UMSL Provincial House Chapel as her cousin had her wedding there the previous year and was very pleased. I met C&C at the Mahler for our first in person meeting and after we had lunch at St. Louis Bread Co down the street.
Chasity and I could have talked for hours about all the details but Courtney was quickly growing bored. He said “Baby, can you just pay her a deposit and do this another time?” It was cute. Chasity and Courtney currently live in Bloomington IL where he is an anesthesiologist and she is a speech language pathologist. We did meetings about once a month when the planning was busy and talked on the phone as needed but most of our communication was via email. I have 505 emails in Chasity’s folder.
When I asked Chasity how they choose the date this was her response “First weekend in 2008 in which the month does not have and “R”. Months that contain an “R” are unpredictable in regards to weather.” I didn’t realize this and it made me giggle….but you know what their day was GORGEOUS!!
At rehearsal while waiting for all the participants to arrive I realized everyone was calling Chasity something other than Chasity so I paid closer attention to figure out what it was. While standing with Chasity and Courtney and a few groomsmen she says to me “They call me ‘Chatty’ it’s my nickname”. I almost fell on the floor. I began to tell Courtney how sometimes I would have to analyze what I was doing at the time when I saw Chasity’s name on my called ID, or reschedule my day if I knew she wanted me to call her. Don’t get my wrong I LOVED talking with Chasity; she is funny, sweet and mostly because she listens to everything I say! However, I can completely understand how she earned the nickname Chatty. We once spent an hour on the phone talking about the color of napkins! I love you, Chatty! :o)
Rehearsal went….well….considering it started an hour and a half late. But everyone was on their game when we got started and I was tickled to meet them all, all 28+ of them. Their wedding party consisted of – 10 Bridesmaids, 10 Groomsmen, 2 Jr Bridesmaids, 2 Jr Groomsmen, a Flower Girl and Ring Bearer. Courtney’s Parents & Chasity’s Mom lead the processional and Chasity was honored to be escorted down the aisle by her uncle Rodney. After they all headed out for rehearsal dinner I took a deep breath and went home for a good nights sleep because it was going to be a busy day!
6:00 AM all the ladies filed into Diva Hair Salon on North 17th Street, owned by Chasity’s cousin. One after another they were set in rollers, curled, styled, and even one was cut. Yes, her cousin gave one bridesmaid a new cut that day and it looked fabulous! Even the flower girl was done while taking a nap!! I arrived at Diva at about 10:00 am to check the ladies (since rehearsal was an hour and a half late) happy to find them all well on their way! I got to exchange hellos with both Stephen Seward
and the Switzer Film Crew. I then left them to complete and to get make-up with Charlee Creason of MAC while I went to Mahler to start setting up.
At noon I arrived at the Mahler Ballroom to meet (fabulous new assistant Maureen) for the set-up of the ballroom. We unloaded the candy buffet (available for your event – just contact us), a couple extra centerpieces for the additional seating upstairs, the signature board, toasting flutes, tables numbers, etc. After some brief instructions to Maureen (hence the reason she’s fabulous) I was able to head back to Diva. They saw me coming! “Oh no her comes the hammer!” I was as sweet as possible but calling off the time to remind them all when we needed to head out the door. While we were loading in the limo (from A Perfect Touch Limos) about 15 min later than I hoped it still wasn’t too bad.
We arrived at UMSL Provincial House Chapel to finish prep and get dressed while the guys were picked up at the Renaissance Grand downtown. As each bridesmaid finished up and put on her gorgeous black bridesmaid dress they were each more stunning than before! Last but not least was Chasity – OMG!! Really just breathe taking!
When the guys had arrived and the photographers and videographers took turns taking in everything they could. This was a great group and extremely photogenic! I can’t help it I think Courtney looks like Usher – do you? The guys had fun razzing me now and then but were true gentleman and all took the time to thank me for my work through out the day. They thought it was halarious when I asked what to do if there was left over Patron....needless to say there wasn't any! The ring bearer was adorable and smiled non-stop.
Guests were starting to file in and it was getting close to start time. Quartet Brioso was in place and the arrangments and personals from Sisters Flowers had all passed out and set-up. The flowers were a bold decision by Chasity but she decided to trust us when we suggested the purple and orange color scheme.
There we a few straggling guests that I gave directions too and once they arrived we were ready to rock in roll – only 15 mins late which I was pleased with considering rehearsal.
The chapel was perfect! The custom aisle runner looked great and the “C’s” on the door were a last minute rescue project I took on for Chasity. The music began the wedding party lined up perfectly. We sent them all down the aisle with of course Chasity and her uncle last. I was thrilled!
I think the ceremony was great. As you watch the video you can see their love and excitement for each other! The hand gesture is from his fraternity and all the groomsmen signaled back to Courtney when the ceremony was official. I even love that he kid about kissing her, it’s just how fun and cute they were. Officiated by Chasity’s Aunt, it was a very personal and wonderful ceremony.
After some posed formal photos at the church everyone was off to the celebration at the Mahler Ballroom.
While I was gone the finishing touches had been completed. Chair covers and some specialty linens from All Seasons Linen, gorgeous centerpieces from Sisters Flowers, the cake from McArthur’s, and the buffet from Hendri’s had all arrived and been set-up. The dj’s JM3DJ’s
were already playing music and ready to rock the house. The final and most amazing touch was the lighting from Exclusive Events, it really transformed the space. Allowing Chasity to have an event in the same location as her cousin but have a totally different feel.
The guests were pouring in, gathering their placecards, getting their first drink at the bar and making their way to their seats. I wrangled the wedding party in the front entry for their announcement. I had to stand on a chair to get their attention but they didn’t mind. They all told me all night how much they liked me, said I could control a group without being bossy or overwhelming. And I enjoyed them too! While trying to get Chasity’s attention she wasn’t listening so I called her “Chatty” and sure enough she perked right up!
The music started and it was time to bring in the wedding party. Couple by couple they danced their way into the room and took their seats. Next it was time for the new Mr. & Mrs. Leddell – well just watch the video – it was the best entrance EVER!!
Toasts, blessing and cake cutting continued our evening on to dinner. Which was fabulous!! Buffet style with Hand Carved Top Round of Beef, Stuffed Chicken w/ Cheeses, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, & Artichoke Hearts, Capri Medley of Vegetables (zuc., squash, carrots, green beans), Persillade New Potatoes, Capelli d'Angelo Pasta (thin pasta in a roasted garlic butter sauce w/ fresh vegetables) Dinner Salad w/ Vinaigrette. YUM!! There was some confusion with Hendri’s towards the end about the table linens we wanted. My personal evaluation is that they are very used to running the reception without the assistance of a coordinator or a bride with her own preference therefore when asking for some changes they were trying to save us money – which we appreciate – but we knew the additional costs and were ok with that. As with any vendor, if you are allowing a coordinator to speak for/with you please let them know that upfront so there is no confusion about final decisions.
The buffet was cleared from the dance floor and it was time for the first dance, father-daughter and mother-son. During the father-daughter Courtney joined with his daughter and jr bridesmaid Christian. Now it was time for the real dancing!! The floor was packed ALL NIGHT!! I did join them for a little cupid shuffle and really enjoyed watching the “Soul Train” line. I don’t think many slow songs were played because they were dancing fools – again watch the video!
As the night wore on it was getting time to say good bye. They Hendri’s staff were excellent with helping us collect our things and returns. Exclusive Events arrived right on time to pick up the lighting, perfect end to a perfect night. I also want to note the wonderful service from my friend and police officer James Boyd for general security outside the event. If you need security for your event please contact me for arrangements.
So bottom line – gorgeous event, gorgeous couple, gorgeous wedding party – dream team of vendors and I think Chasity & Courtney were very pleased!! If you have made it all the way to the bottom of this review and have not watched the video yet - well you have to be kidding me!?!
I want to thank them for the beautiful Tiffany necklace and sweet note, it really means a lot!
Big props to Maureen for her excellant work and for explaining to Jeff and I what it ment to "Chunkie Deez Deuces"! HA LOL!!! Sorry only a small group will get that, but it's a FUNNY story!
Big Day Vendor Line – Up Dream Team!!:
Stationary – Slice of Lime Design
Hair & Make-up – Diva Salon
Ceremony Location – UMSL Provincial House Chapel
Officiant – Brides Aunt – Theaha McClendon
Photographer – Stephen Seward
Videographer – Switzer Film
Ceremony Music – Quartet Brioso
Flowers – Sisters Flowers
Reception Location – Mahler Ballroom
Linens – All Seasons Linen
Favors – Candy Buffet by Proposing Dreams
Lighting – Exclusive Events
Reception Music - JM3DJ’s
Cater – Hendri’s
Transportation – A Perfect Touch Limos