Real Weddings: A Perfect Union
This cool couple celebrated their big day with unique touches of the untraditional.
Shelly Gruszka, 29,Financial Consultant at Wells Fargo, and Michael Schroeder, 32, law student at Saint Louis University
Shelly Gruszka and Michael Schroeder met through strategic planning by their mutual friends. Shelly’s friend and her friend’s boyfriend, who was best friends with Mike, had long been trying to set them up on a date, but getting the two of them in the same room just never seemed to work out. “They eventually coordinated for us to meet at a happy hour—unbeknownst to us—and we hit it off,” says Shelly. Two weeks later, at the
matchmaker-couple’s wedding, Shelly and Mike spent the evening getting to know one another more, and started dating from that night on. “We’re grateful to have dear friends who were convinced we were a perfect match,” says Shelly. “We should’ve listened to them a long time before.”
In the summer of 2009, Shelly, who was earning her MBA at Washington University, and Mike, who was in law school at SLU, spent a lot of time studying and relaxing in Forest Park. Every weekend, the couple would play Frisbee and hit the books at the same place near the Jewel Box. One particular Saturday, nothing seemed out of the ordinary until an hour into the outing when Mike got down on one knee and proposed. “I was absolutely shocked and totally caught off guard,” says Shelly. After she accepted, the couple headed to Shelly’s parents to celebrate the good news.
With Shelly’s mom acting as wedding planner, Shelly and Mike’s vision for their wedding was to create an intimate and memorable celebration to share with friends and family. The couple held their ceremony at St. Clement of Rome in Des Peres, Shelly’s childhood parish and the place she attended grade school.
“Everything was covered in white and light-green flowers,” says Shelly. To complement the décor at the ceremony and reception, Shelly and her bridesmaids carried bouquets from Bloomin’ Buckets that featured white and light-green hydrangeas, peonies, dahlias
Shelly found her gown two years before her big day when her sister was shopping for her own wedding gown at Town & Country Bridal. While Shelly’s sister was trying on dresses, Shelly says a dress in the shop caught her eye. “I absolutely fell in love with that dress and swore it would be my wedding dress,” says Shelly. “Two years later, we went back and the dress was still there…and I was still in love.” The simple yet elegant strapless, fitted ivory dress with embroidered detailing paired perfectly with the statement-making, 40-yearvintage, cathedral-length Priscilla of Boston veil Shelly’s aunt let her borrow for the big day.
Shelly’s bridesmaids wore cocktail-length dresses in Shelly’s favorite hue, cherry red. Each bridesmaid chose her favorite style of the dress, which allowed each to show off her individual personality and sense of style. Mike’s groomsmen wore tan Brooks Brothers suits, crisp white shirts and red-and-blue striped ties that coordinated with the bridesmaids’ dresses. The groom wore the same suit with a blue shirt.
The couple held their reception at Deer Creek Club. “We just loved the quaint, intimate atmosphere and awesome location,” says Shelly. “Deer Creek was our favorite detail of the wedding.” Continuing their theme of nontraditional touches, Shelly and Mike decided to forego a sit-down dinner in favor of a variety of fun passed foods including shrimp, mini burgers, toasted ravioli and stuffed mushrooms—guests even enjoyed McDonald’s cheeseburgers as a late-night snack. Shelly notes that DJ Chris Johnson’s handiwork kept the dance floor packed until 1am, a highlight of the memorable night. To add even more fun to the reception, Shelly and Mike brought out Deer Creek’s wooden, one-story slide for guests to enjoy. “It was absolutely hilarious,” Shelly says. “Everyone of all ages took turns down the slide as the rest of the guests danced and cheered them on.”
The Couple: Shelly Gruszka and Michael Schroeder
…and they lived happily ever after.
The happy couple with the wedding party
…and they lived happily ever after.
Photo credit: Photos by Andrew R. Newman Photography