ALIVE Bride: The Offbeat Bride

 In Feature, Style

Todays weddings are all about making the day your own. For two local couples, the idea of big-day bliss meant seeking out unique local vendors and personalizing their wedding down to every last detail. They turned to Lucky You Productions, a coordinator and full-service floral studio known for weddings of all kindsfrom green to traditional to indie.



The Bride: Alissa Nelson, 29, full-time Washington University graduate student
The Groom: Eric Ryszkiewicz, 31, air-monitoring supervisor, St. Louis County Health Department

Alissa and Eric first met in college, and a string of chance encounters shortly after sparked a courtship. On a road trip together to South Dakota’s Badlands, Alissa seized the right moment to make the then-long-term relationship more official. Midway through a 14-mile hike, she asked Eric if he wanted to get married. He said “yes.” a unique venue The artful environs of the City Museum’s Vault Room proved the perfect spot for this ultra-creative couple to tie the knot April 25, 2009. Susan Talve of the Central Reform Congregation officiated a traditional Jewish ceremony the opera-poster adorned St. George’s Chamber. A five-foot canopy atop a chuppah featured hand-sewn patches from Alissa, an avid knitter, and close friends and family.

A Different Take on Décor: The Vault Room’s already stunning architecture left little need for embellishment, except for one thing the couple wanted to enhance: the lighting. Months before the big day, they picked up Christmas trees at a Carondelet Park drop off, cut off the limbs, painted the trunks white and wrapped around white lights. Alissa transplanted seedlings from her garden into large glass jars she bought from a woman in Troy, MO, through Craigslist to serve as organic centerpieces.

Foodie’s Fare: The couple pulled out all the stops with the desserts—enlisting Kakao Chocolate (314.771.2310) for specialty, hand-dipped and sweet-and-sour pates de fruit made with real fruit puree. Pi‘s executive pastry chef Matthew Rice concocted an exquisite three-tier, buttercream cake with rhubarb jam. For the main fare, instead of relegating the many vegetarian and vegan guests to a pasta dish for dinner, the couple made the entire meal meat free by Patty Long Catering (314.621.9598).

Ditching the Formal Attire:
Alissa scored a gorgeous pleated, strapless silk gown with a sweeping sash at the most unlikely of places: the BCBGMAXAZRIA store at Plaza Frontenac. She added pops of color with a yellow quail feather headpiece and green Bettye Muller shoes. Eric looked dashing in a gray-pinstripe, charcoal Banana Republic suit and cream-colored silk tie.

The Tunes: A guitar player and two fiddlers from St. Louis-based The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra performed traditional Yiddish music during the ceremony and Mangia DJ Matt Harnish switched up punk and soul music to keep the dance floor packed after dinner.

Big-Day Details

The Blooms: Full-service floral designer Lucky You Productions bundled up fiddle fern (a must on Alissa’s list), hypericum berries, light purple roses and orange and purple orchids for breathtaking bouquets.

The Stationery: Alissa and Eric headed the “not another wedding” reaction off at the pass with whimsical poster-sized save-the-dates that The Firecracker Press (314.776.7271) created to reflect their personalities and play off the wedding venue.

The Rings:
Modeled after a blade of grass, the couple’s matching his-and-hers gold wedding bands from Adam Foster Fine Art Jewelry (314.771.3390) made a stunningly unique statement

Photo by Sarah Cross.


The Bride: Sara Arnold, 27, freelance photographer
The Groom: Dustin Keller, 27, lead web designer at SteadyRain

Dustin had admired Sara from afar in an art history course they took together at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, but he didn’t get the chance to introduce himself until he spotted her outside of class at the Creepy Crawl and eventually gave her his number. After dinner at Brandt’s Café, it didn’t take long for them to become a couple, and three years later during a vacation at the family cottage in Quebec, Dustin popped the question.

Eco-Friendly Invites: The Bungaloo transformed the save-the dates into an artful poster-sized illustration that Sara and Dustin mailed to guests white tubes. To conserve paper, they requested RSVPs on their wedding website in lieu of reply cards.

Vintage Style: Sara turned to Clarice’s Bridal Fashions (314.351.2499) for a custom-made ivory Casablanca gown that pulled simple yet stunning details (a pleated, V-neck champagne bodice and corset back) from three different dresses. She scored a $20 veil on eBay, and a friend’s mother made a headband with champagne and ivory pearls and crystals.

Outside-the-Box Tunes: Dustin and Sara enlisted their musically inclined friends for the ceremony music, with a guitarist strumming “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips for the bride’s processional. Later in the evening, Millennium Music (314.918.9335) accommodated all of the couples while keeping everyone moving on the dance floor.

A Fresh Take on the Flowers: A clutch bouquet of hearty, bright orange dahlias and cockscomb designed by the day-of coordinator, Lucky You Productions, played up the big-day accent color.

A Personal Touch: While the couple chose a traditional dinner—by Russo’s Gourmet Catering—with tournedos of beef tenderloin with duxelle and Pinot Noir sauce, grilled vegetables, twice-baked Duchess potato and vegetable Wellington for vegetarians, they went a different route for dessert. In lieu of a cake, a dessert bar served up all kinds of tasty treats, including fruit tartlets, mini gooey butter cakes and cheese quake brownie squares. Dustin made sure his favorite local beer—Schlafly—was available at the bar. Sara and Dustin made buttons that finished off the phrase “I love you more than…” with some of their personal interests (“Family Guy,” full moons, cotton candy) for each place setting.

Big Day Details

The Rings: Filigree and sapphires decorate Sara’s wedding ring from Summit Jewelers, the same place Dustin got his band.

The Favors: Sara’s love for photography made selecting the keepsakes—traditional black-and-white prints from a photo booth—a cinch.

The Venue: The historic Rialto Ballroom in Grand Center doubled as the ceremony and reception site for the October 3, 2009, affair. The couple exchanged vows on outdoor patio with a spectacular view of Downtown St. Louis and then moved the celebration inside the architecturally stunning ballroom.

Photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller.


880_404.jpgNewlyweds Sara and Dustin (photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller)



Photo credit: Photos by Sarah Cross and Kevin Martini-Fuller

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