Fantasy Team

A Rams linebacker and his college sweetheart take their vows where it all began

 

The Bride
Shelly Williams
24, Health Care Professional

The Groom
James Laurinaitis
26, Linebacker for the St. Louis Rams

Their Story James Laurinaitis and Shelly Williams met as undergrads at Ohio State University, and went on their first date at the campus Panera Bread Co. Shelly says that she knew he was the one when, during the first few months of their relationship, he brought hand-drawn plans for their future dream home to her parents’ house. Five years later, the now NFL football player proposed to his college sweetheart privately, at home. Not wanting to share too many details, Shelly says it was personal, loving and sweet—a perfect fit for their relationship.

 

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NECESSARY NEUTRALS When it came time to choose colors for the wedding, Shelly admits that her love of the word “neutral” frustrated her wedding planner at times. They settled on ivory linens with pops of black and a glittery gold to complement the venue’s dark wood floors, exposed black ceiling and elegant chandeliers. They chose to keep the flowers simple and tasteful‰ÛÓa mix of white and blush peonies, hydrangeas and dahlias‰ÛÓ but arranged them in tall, overflowing centerpieces to create a dramatic effect. For her gown, Shelly chose an ivory-colored mermaid shape with a sweetheart neckline from Brides By Demetrios. The bridesmaids stood by her side in floor-length slate gowns. James’ groomsmen donned black tuxedos, setting off James’ light gray tuxedo by Astor and Black.

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PERSONAL TOUCH More than anything, Shelly and James wanted their day to be personal and memorable. They asked James’ chaplain from Ohio State to officiate the ceremony, and brought in their St. Louis pastor to bless the meal. For their first dance, the newlyweds chose Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us,” a song hearkening back to when they first met and a sentimental reminder of why they fell in love in the first place. It was sung by one of Shelly’s close college friends, accompanied by The Shaw Brothers, a Mumford and Sons-esque folk duo that also played during the ceremony and cocktail hour. For the reception, they enlisted a DJ to play a little bit of everything to get friends and family out on the dance floor.

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EXCESSIVE CELEBRATION To help capture fun memories of the evening for the couple and guests, the event planner set up a photo couch complete with a backdrop and props. Friends from Shelly’s childhood neighborhood enjoyed it so much that when they all tried to get onto the couch at once for a group shot, they ended up splitting the legs!

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PERSONAL TOUCH More than anything, Shelly and James wanted their day to be personal and memorable. They asked James’ chaplain from Ohio State to officiate the ceremony, and brought in their St. Louis pastor to bless the meal. For their first dance, the newlyweds chose Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us,” a song hearkening back to when they first met and a sentimental reminder of why they fell in love in the first place. It was sung by one of Shelly’s close college friends, accompanied by The Shaw Brothers, a Mumford and Sons-esque folk duo that also played during the ceremony and cocktail hour. For the reception, they enlisted a DJ to play a little bit of everything to get friends and family out on the dance floor.

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FEED GOAL James and Shelly are both self-described foodies, so the menu was an important aspect of their special day‰ÛÓso much so that they pushed back tastings until after the NFL season was over so James wouldn’t miss out. Guests were presented with three options for dinner: steak and lobster tart, sea bass or vegetarian cannelloni. Later, they were treated to a midnight snack of mini Korean tacos and sliders.

The five-layer cake was decorated with gold and light pink icing and was suspended from the ceiling’s open beams. Though this arrangement caused the bride a little anxiety, the floating pastry served as a gorgeous focal point in the event space. James’ groom’s cake paid homage to his career, a football field with the St. Louis Rams in one end zone and Ohio State in the other. The couple also created personalized drinks for the cocktail hour, dubbed the Shelly Temple, Lemonaitis and Ramtini, complete with a lemon peel garnish made to look like a ram’s horn.

 

Photo credit: Henry Photography

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