A Road Trip to Remember
A romantic wedding on a historic farm blends traditions and families.
Eight hours in a car together has been the undoing of many couples, but for Clare and Dan, it was the spark that ignited a romance. They’d worked at U.S. Bank together for a year and a half, enjoying a few happy hours along the way. But after swapping weekend plans one day, they realized they would both be in Indianapolis visiting friends. Carpooling was suddenly on the table, and the two rearranged their plans to make it happen. Far from experiencing a “When Harry Met Sally” situation, “we talked the whole time,” says Clare. “For both of us, it was the best eight-hour road trip either had ever taken and just the beginning of our journey together.”
A movie date led to a blossoming relationship and, eventually, serious talks about marriage. About two years into the romance, the pair went to Mexico for a long weekend. Although Dan made it pretty clear
that he wouldn’t be proposing in Mexico, Clare says she “was sure he was just trying to throw me off the
scent of a beach proposal. When, true to his word, he didn’t propose, I have to admit I was a little let down.”
As it turns out, she didn’t have to wait long. Within 12 hours of the couple’s return, Dan sneaked out to pick up a ring he’d purchased the week before while Clare was out on a walk through Tower Grove Park. As the couple got ready for a formal fundraiser for City Garden Montessori School later that evening, Clare couldn’t decide between pieces of jewelry. “How about this?” Dan said behind her. She turned around to see him down on one knee, ring in hand.
The couple’s wedding took place at Kuhs Estate and Farm in Spanish Lake, a historic property set in a scenic landscape overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. More than anything, Dan and Clare wanted their families to be involved in their wedding. But a traditional ceremony wasn’t ever in the cards for the two: Rather, it was about taking the strengths of diverse traditions and weaving them together to create a significant day. “I’m Jewish and she’s Catholic, and we’re both not practicing but we wanted a sense of the traditions and spirituality, so we decided to put it in neutral territory,” Dan says. “We tried to draw on both traditions a little bit.”
For the big day, the couple turned to the ketubah, an “ornate Jewish wedding contract that outlines the obligations of husband and wife,” says Dan. They had Firecracker Press create a bespoke one for the wedding, using it not as a list of duties but as a way to display the vows they made to each other. One of the most special moments of the day, Dan remembers, was having both mothers sign the document.
The flowers for the occasion, designed by Bridget Weible, owner of Flowers to the People, reflected the cheerful, romantic day the couple wished to have. Lush, loose floral arrangements in peach, yellow and ivory with pops of plum and coral were each comprised of nearly a dozen flowers, succulents and other elements. But as sunny as they were, the weather threatened otherwise, and Clare wondered about rain as her bridesmaids put on their Weddington Way dresses, colored in rich jewel tones of sapphire and amethyst.
Dan sported a Hugo Boss suit as his grandmother took him down the aisle, and Clare’s mom and dad walked her down a gentle hill to the grassy meadow where the guests waited. Her tiered lace Claire Pettibone dress, vintage and romantic, fit the day perfectly. Clare's dad married the two under the sweeping branches of an ancient oak tree.
After a bout of rain during the cocktail hour sent guests briefly scurrying for shelter, Maker’s Mark old fashioneds and Local Harvest Cafe cucumber-basil gin gimlets in hand, the night turned cool and summery. In keeping with the family-centric day, the Local Harvest dinner was served family-style, followed by a dessert bar of gooey butter cake bars, sea-salt-and-caramel brownies, and strawberry-
rhubarb and carrot cake cupcakes.
The newlyweds danced to Dan Auerbach’s “Goin’ Home,” and then the dance floor filled up with guests—until, as Clare put it, Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” “rocked so hard that it killed our rented generator about five songs into the reception.” Luckily, it couldn’t have come at a better time: The break gave guests a chance to top off drinks, check out the gorgeous venue—it featured Native American
mounds and sunken gardens—and mingle with others.
“When the music came back on, everyone who had been dancing before got right back out there—just like Hall & Oates would’ve wanted,” Dan says.
Photo credit: j. Elizabeth Photography