Real Wedding: Katie Lombardi and Chris Markham

 In Feature

These high school sweethearts exchanged vows in a celebratory ceremony filled with love, laughter, family and friends.

Katie Lombardi and Chris Markham knew one another since the two attended middle school together, but it wasn’t until their freshman year of high school did a romance blossom when Chris asked Katie out over the phone. The couple moved from the San Francisco area to attend college at Washington University, and after graduation, Katie and Chris made a home in the Central West End. The couple had talked about marriage, but it wasn’t until an unassuming Tuesday evening after Katie returned home from work that Chris popped the question. Chris had spent months training the couple’s dog, Penny, to retrieve a ring box and bring it to Katie on cue.

The Planning: Katie, a self-proclaimed organizer, was excited to plan her big day, but because her family could not be involved due to geographic limitations, Katie turned to Ellen Gutierrez of Bride’s Vision (314.580.2381, to help. “My mother was across the country, but Ellen was like a St. Louis mom to me,” says Katie.

The Vows: The couple exchanged vows before 125 guests on September 19 at Washington University’s Graham Chapel ( in a music-filled ceremony where an organist, a trumpet player and a 40-person gospel choir performed songs like “All You Need is Love” and “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” When the couple exited the chapel as husband and wife, the choir sang the Stevie Wonder classic, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered…I’m Yours.”

The Theme: Exclusive Events (314.995.7282, helped add warmth to the reception venue, Kemoll’s Top of the Met (314.421.0555,, with sophisticated colors of black, white and hints of deep red. Parts of the room were draped in chic ivory fabric and 8-foot “candle walls” filled with glowing tealights, votives and pillars in all sizes and heights gracefully illuminated the space. In front of Kemoll’s floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city, the couple nestled a black sectional couch for guests to lounge and enjoy city lights.

The Fare: Kemoll’s served a delicious Italian menu of calzones, house-made Italian meatballs, toasted ravioli and crab cakes and a dual main course of Veal Francesco and Chicken Agro Dolce with a side of alfredo pasta.

The Sweets: Instead of the traditional tiered wedding cake, Katie and Chris offered guests a dessert bar of cannoli, tiramisu, Italian cream cake and Katie’s aunt’s famous biscotti.

The Favors: In lieu of favors, the couple donated money to five organizations in honor of Chris’ brother, Jeremy, who died of Muscular Dystrophy in 2007. “We wanted the guests to feel actively involved in the donation, so we let them choose which organization they’d like us to contribute to on their behalf,” says Katie.

The Gown: Katie found her stunning dress at Simply Elegant Bridal (314.241.8201, simplyelegant The beautiful off-white La Sposa gown featured elegant draping, a row of buttons down the back and a dramatic train, and was the perfect marriage of classic and modern styles that Katie envisioned.

Photos By Wagner Photography

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