Couple's St. Louis-Themed Wedding Showcases Love For Their City and Each Other

By Grace Bueckendorf
In Culture

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT On a steamy November day in 2012, University of Missouri — St. Louis Honors College recruiter Ashley Budde, 29, was so focused on the heat that she didn’t notice UMSL psychology professor Matt Taylor, 42, gazing at her from across the room at UMSL Day, a day for talking to prospective students.

Although Ashley’s recollection of the event is a little hazy, she says she remembers talking to Matt, and the first thing she said was, “My thighs are so sweaty, I think it’s going to look like I peed myself.”

Matt couldn’t get this quirky girl out of his mind, and Ashley, a planner, did some recon with one of her student interns who had Taylor as a professor to get a feel for who he was. Their courtship was a whirlwind. An email conversation, a couple dates and a month and a half later, they were engaged.

Matt and Taylor stand at the altar with officiant Jennifer Siciliani. Jennifer, a friend of the couple, was at UMSL Day event where matt and Ashley met. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

Matt and Ashley stand at the altar with officiant Jennifer Siciliani. Jennifer, a friend of the couple, was at UMSL Day event where Matt and Ashley met. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

 

THE PROPOSAL Matt proposed at Ashley’s favorite event of the year, her family’s holiday progressive dinner, called the “Holiday Hop.” Ashley’s family owned several houses in Lafayette Square and would “hop” from one house to another to enjoy each course.

This was difficult, of course, because Matt had never met Ashley’s family until a secret lunch before the Hop, where he asked Ashley’s siblings to weigh in on how to carry out the proposal. They gave their blessing. But, alas, that wasn’t the only hurdle.

Before the “Hop,” Ashley admits she didn’t even want to shower. Matt had to prompt her to primp with a lie that the family had been taking bets about whether Ashley would look “bummy.” (Ashley had told Matt that she wanted to look dressed up if he were to propose.)

A professor that is animated and funny, Matt wanted to “give away” his proposal by asking Ashley to grab something out of the car for the dinner and catch her off guard when she felt a ring box in his pocket with the keys.

Ashley, not one to be had, stole his joke, asking, “You aren’t going to do this here, are you?” Matt was caught off guard. With the punchline stolen from him, Matt dejectedly dropped to one knee and asked the question Ashley already knew he was going to ask.

“That was etched in his memory,” Ashley says. “He thinks he did a horrible job. But I don’t.”

The wedding party, including Matt's "best girls," his daughters Marley and Maya, and Ashley's maid and man of honor, AJ Miller and Carson Budde. Although not a traditional wedding party, Ashley says she was glad that she and Matt did what they wanted with their wedding, regardless of tradition. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

The wedding party, including Matt’s “best girls,” his daughters Marley and Maya, and Ashley’s maid and man of honor, AJ Miller and Carson Budde. Although not a traditional wedding party, Ashley says she was glad that she and Matt did what they wanted with their wedding, regardless of tradition. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

KEEPING IT LOCAL Ashley and Matt, Michigan and Pittsburgh natives respectively, fell in love with St. Louis at the same time they fell in love with each other. With the wedding set for May 25, 2014, Ashley says she wanted to give their families a glimpse into the city where they were starting their lives together.

Everything in the wedding was locally sourced. From the McArthur’s cake to the Simons wedding bands to The Valerie Brown and Looks By Lisa hair and makeup, everything hailed from the 314. Except, Ashley jokingly admits, Matt’s Men’s Warehouse suit.

However, Ashley’s dress was true to theme. She booked initial appointments at various St. Louis boutiques, which Matt attended, but once her choices narrowed, she stuck to tradition and excluded her husband-to-be from the shopping process, showing off her short list to her mom and sister only.

She had her eye on several dresses at The Ultimate Bride on Big Bend, but purchased her gown from Simply Elegant Downtown.

Ashley’s sister, Bethany Budde-Cohen, was hugely helpful in the planning process. Bethany owns SqWires, the venue for both the wedding and reception. Bethany also offered assistance with catering, flowers and recommending DJ Tom Rogers.

Matt and Ashley smile in their wedding get-up. The couple met at an event for prospective UMSL students, the college where they both worked at the time. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

Matt and Ashley smile in their wedding get-up. The couple met at an event for prospective UMSL students, the college where they both worked at the time. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

THE BIG DAY Ashley says by the time Memorial Day 2014 weekend arrived and the planning was over, she was just excited to start her life with Matt.

While she was a little behind schedule after hair and makeup, Ashley says her photographer, Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures, was great about coordinating where they should be and keeping the stress to a minimum.

The families and wedding parties gathered in Lafayette Park before the wedding for photos and the first look. Lafayette Park was perfect because she was able to walk from her sister’s house, where everyone was getting ready, to the bridge where they started the photos.

The ceremony took place in SqWires’ private event space, The Annex. Ashley walked down the aisle behind her non-traditional wedding party composed of Ashley’s maid of honor, her friend and niece, AJ Miller and the man of honor, her little brother, Carson Budde, and Matt’s “best girls,” his two daughters, Marley and Maya Taylor.

Ashley reads her wedding vows out of her Ryan Gosling 'Hey Girl' diary. She says she feels the vows were her favorite part of the wedding because they showed how well they knew each other.

Ashley reads her wedding vows out of her Ryan Gosling ‘Hey Girl’ diary. She says she feels the vows were her favorite part of the wedding because they showed how well they knew each other. (Photo by Abbie Rudolph with Abbie Takes Pictures)

The vows were the most poignant part of the day for Ashley. What sticks out in her mind is how their vows embodied each other. Ashley, who tends toward the serious side, took on a funny vibe for her vows — she read her vows out of a diary with a Ryan Gosling ‘Hey Girl’ meme on the front cover — which matched Matt’s fun-loving personality. Matt, usually a man with a stand-up comic’s sense of humor, toned the humor down, even tearing up during his vows. To Ashley, this showed how well they knew each other.

After the serious stuff was over, the real party began, as Ashley and Matt danced intoSqWires to the tune of “Turn Down for What.”

Attendees noshed on miniature grilled cheeses and White Castle sliders—Ashley really likes miniature things. Following the snack offerings, traditional cake and—of course—mini pies were offered to the guests. But the only thing Ashley and Matt ate? The White Castle sliders.

In the end, Ashley and Matt’s STL-themed wedding left a lasting impression on the attendees.

“People are still talking about it,” Ashley says. “It was worth having the things that we wanted … and for it to be in a place that we love so much.”

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