Real Weddings: A Touch of Tradition

 In Culture, Feature

This St. Louis couple fused a traditional white-wedding style with contemporary elements to create a youthful, yet refined nuptials.


The Couple: Katie Lordo, 26, Key Leader at Lululemon and Saint Louis University Dance and Cheer Coach, and Mike Tobben, 30, Fixed Income Product Specialist

Introduced through a mutual friend while attending Saint Louis University, Katie Lordo and Mike Tobben immediately hit it off and embarked on what became a seven-year courtship. While still students at SLU, Katie made it a part of her daily routine to meet Mike in front of the Old Clock Tower on campus, the future location of Mike’s proposal. Just a few short years after graduation, Mike took Katie by surprise after a long night of dance practice and popped the question at
their special Clock Tower spot.

The Rings
As the daughter of the owner of Lordo’s Diamonds, Katie didn’t have to look far to find the perfect ring. “I had a setting that I really liked picked out. So when the time came, Mike called my dad, and my dad told him, ‘she already knows what she wants, just come in and get it,'” says Katie. Katie’s ring, a beautiful cushion-cut diamond set in a halo of white diamonds, is a reflection of her traditional style.

The Flowers
Taking a leap of faith, an indecisive Katie hired florist Tina Barrera of Special Events Florists (314.845.3362), to create her neutral-toned bouquet and floral arrangements. Not quite sure what look she wanted to achieve but keeping an open mind, Katie found herself drawn to white roses, hydrangeas and orchids, as well as purple calla lilies. She then left it in Barrera’s hands to design breathtaking
bouquets and floral arrangements. While Katie’s neutral centerpieces reflected her classic personal style, she still wanted to infuse a trendy feel into her floral displays. A mix of tall, medium and short vases held the varying floral arrangements, creating attention-grabbing centerpieces.

The Celebration
Growing up in an Irish-Italian family, Katie and her family are no strangers to throwing huge, blowout parties, and her wedding was no exception. With over 600 guests in attendance, Katie wanted to create a lively and welcoming atmosphere for her guests; a celebration where friends and family could let loose and party. After the ceremony at St. Francis Xavier College Church, Katie, Mike, their wedding party and a few close friends and relatives had an impromptu photo shoot that turned into a mini celebration in front of her father’s jewelry store. Recreating a photo from her parents’ wedding day, known as the “shotgun” wedding picture, the groomsman stood around a Rolls Royce with shotguns while Mike helped Katie out of the car; meant to be a mob-like homage to her Italian heritage.

Once at the Chase Park Plaza, Katie kicked off the festivities honoring her Italian heritage once again with an Italian Cookie March, a tradition where the wedding party marches around the guests during the reception with trays of Italian cookies. After wining and dining their guests, it wasn’t long before the dance floor was flooded with friends and family, creating the dance party Katie hoped to achieve on her special day.

The First Dance
Katie and Mike’s first song was a duet serenade to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” sung by her cousin and brother-in-law, both members of the wedding party. The serenade took everyone by surprise, leaving the room completely amazed by their heavenly vocals. “Only my husband knew that they were going to sing,” says Katie.

The Bridal Party
Having 11 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen, Katie and Mike had to accommodate many differing opinions and body types. When it came to finding the perfect bridesmaids dresses, Katie kept with a youthful aesthetic to reflect the style of her young bridesmaids. The plum, one-shoulder, knee-length Melissa Sweet dresses, purchased at Berrybridge Bridal, perfectly matched Katie’s self-proclaimed simple, elegant and pretty vibe. Infusing a bit of his own style into the wedding party attire, Mike’s groomsmen wore tuxedos inspired by the album cover of Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall.”

The Gown
When it came to her gown, Katie went with a mermaid-style Pronovias gown she found at Amore (636.536.0007) in the Chesterfield Valley. “A lot of the dresses I found were gaudy and big with sequins and again, that’s not my style,” says Katie. “It was kind of a hard choice, but the one I picked I fell in love with.”


1417_533.jpgKatie Lordo and Mike Tobben


Photo credit: Photos by Michelle Ross of Under Grace Photography

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