Nothing Can Rain On This Bride’s Parade
COME RAIN OR SHINE Every bride’s nightmare: it was raining on the day of Brad and Erin Whitcomb’s outdoor wedding. The backyard outdoor wedding turned into an indoors affair. The weather waffled between rain and sunshine, but when it came time to walk from the reception at Blueberry Hill to the Moonrise Hotel for the after-party, it was pouring.
Even though it was only half a mile, the wedding party, huddling under the safety of the shopfront awnings along Delmar, decided to call an Uber. Meanwhile, the bride, in full wedding regalia—hair, makeup, dress—marched confidently out from under the rain cover and toward the hotel without so much as an umbrella.
At this point, the wedding party put away their phones, realizing that if it was okay for the star of the show to arrive wet and weathered, that they had no excuse not to brave the elements as well. “I just kind of said, ‘Screw it,’” Erin McHugh Whitcomb said. “We had a whole army of people just walking in the rain.”
Everyone arrived back at the hotel soaked, but in good spirits, ready to continue the party. The theme of the wedding? Laid-back. And laid-back it was. From proposing to planning to pillaging the bar, this couple knows how to have a good time without breaking the bank. Learn more about the Whitcombs’ big day, but first, here’s some background info on the couple:
The couple/ Brad and Erin McHugh Whitcomb Current age/ Brad—26; Erin—34 Occupations/ Brad—Manager of Data Analytics at Mortgage Returns by Ellie Mae; Erin—Success Manager at Yellow Pages
Engagement date/ July 2015
Wedding date/ April 30, 2016
Ceremony site/ Erin’s parent’s Florissant residence
Reception venue/ Blueberry Hill
FROM FRIEND TO FIANCE It wasn’t exactly love at first sight for the Whitcombs, who met when they both worked at Mortgage Returns in St. Louis. They did, however, become friends fast. Their shared love for the Mizzou Tigers and drinking casually meant lots of time spent watching games at bars together. “We started hanging out more and more and then after awhile, we kind of started to admit we had feelings for each other and went from there,” Brad said.
But they danced around each other for ten months before they finally started dating—they were reluctant to open the can of worms that comes along with office romance. Nevertheless, they were really good friends. The kind of friends who asked each other for dating advice. Erin said because she never considered the possibility of them dating, she confided in him completely. “It was nice to have a male perspective on things,” Erin said of their friendship. “But it just grew into the most important friendship of my life.”
About a year and a half into dating, Brad knew Erin was the one. Desperate to propose, he planned everything perfectly to propose the night before a date day the couple was having. He had a hunch Erin knew, so he wanted to trick her and truly make the proposal a surprise.
He had to postpone his planning, though, because Erin got into a very bad car accident several days before the planned proposal. He put off popping the question, and took care of Erin during her weeks of recovery. When she started to feel better, he began to plan again.
When Erin woke up from a nap, Brad asked her how she was feeling. And she said that she was feeling okay, but that she was hungry. Brad got really excited, taking Erin downstairs where he had recreated their first date, planting candles everywhere. “He told me all of the reasons he loved me and got down on one knee and I was crying and he asked me,” Erin said. “[The home proposal] was just so perfect because it’s so us.”
Erin, of course, said yes to forever with her best friend.
PLANNING, PURE AND SIMPLE Brad and Erin only wanted one thing out of their big day: renting out a bar for their friends and family and having a party. “If we were looking for a vibe, it was really just having fun,” Brad said.
As with most couples, however, they got talked into going the whole nine yards: photographer, wedding dress, ceremony, dessert. But they still stuck to their guns and kept everything low-key and simple. “We didn’t really hire any vendors. The only vendor we hired was a photographer and we didn’t even want to hire a photographer,” Erin said. “His parents actually hired one and gave it to us as a wedding gift.”
Beyond that, though, they kept it in the family. Erin’s mom was the florist. Her cousin was the DJ. And friends and family made all the sweets—cheesecake, brownies, cookies—that formed the dessert bar. “It was really just a ceremony and then a big party at Blueberry Hill,” Erin said.
Blueberry Hill, they stressed, was a perfect fit for their venue. They allowed the couple to choose the beers on tap, catered the type of comfort food they love, and they even allowed Erin’s dad in to see the Duck Room when the restaurant was officially closed. “They were insanely accommodating,” Erin said.
RIGHT AS RAIN When the big day arrived, the couple woke at the Moonrise Hotel and then had to go to Erin’s parent’s house to get ready. For Erin, that meant doing her own makeup and putting her hair in flowy curls. For Brad, that meant drinking beers in the basement with his best man.
Contrary to the theme, the couple actually got pretty nervous in the hours before the wedding. It wasn’t so much the pressure of promising forever to each other—that, they were absolutely sure about. It was more the stress of the day that got to them.
Whatever stress they felt, though, washed away with the rain as Erin walked down the aisle in her White Traditions gown on her father’s arm to the tune of ‘I’m Gonna Crawl’ by Led Zeppelin.
And by the time the couple got to the reception, they were ready to get down to ‘Zombies’ by The Cranberries. (Erin’s mom later said she had the song stuck in her head for days after the wedding). “Not normal wedding songs at all,” Erin quipped. “That was a lot of fun for me.”
Despite their initial reluctance to hire a photographer, Brad said they loved the photos Manda Renee Photography sent back. He said their family and friends took full advantage of the open bar and when the photos came in, their relatives looked like they were in a beer commercial. Speaking of which, this is the night Brad became forever known as ‘Five Beer Brad’. Apparently, when the bar was about to close, Brad asked the bartender how many beers he could get, and was told he could have as many as he wanted. He asked for five. “Are you sure you don’t just want a pitcher?” the bartender asked, incredulous.
“I want five,” Brad insisted.
When Erin’s dad picked them up from the honeymoon, he gave Brad four Guinesses.
“Sorry, Brad. They only come in packs of four,” he said.