Three First Dates and a Wedding Later …

By Grace Bueckendorf
In Culture

THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM First dates. You’re trying to impress the person across the table in the most nerve-racking of circumstances. This might include (if you’re like me) attempting not to drop stray red-sauce-coated noodles onto your white blouse while noshing on the spaghetti you shouldn’t have ordered and (hopefully) not drawing attention as you wipe your palm sweat off onto your too-tight jeans.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, you only get one chance to impress. That is, unless you’re like St. Louis natives Erin and Keith. “On our first first date, we actually went to a wedding,” Erin said. That’s right—her first first date. They had three.

Their first first date: a long, exciting wedding road trip to Kentucky, where they meandered around, hand in hand. Their second first date: throwing a frisbee around in the park, but unwilling to end the date, they went to a short film at Webster University. Their third first date: getting together for morning coffee, followed by an obligatory jaunt to the St. Louis Art Museum while they were both in St. Louis for Christmas. “I feel like all of our first dates kind of [are] these long, random, meandering dates,” Erin said.

Erin Meyer and Keith Huffmeier's wedding ceremony was off-beat and fun. The third first date proved to be the charm as they promised each other forever this June. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland).

Erin Meyer and Keith Huffmeier’s wedding ceremony was off-beat and fun. The third first date proved to be the charm as they promised each other forever this June. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland).

The pair met in a time before unlimited texting (can you imagine?) and cited the cost-per-doting-message as a key reason why their young relationship fizzled when they both moved to different parts of the country for their careers. “As most young, fresh-out-of-college relationships do, they just fade. Quickly,” Erin said. “And it wasn’t like now where you can just text message people.”

While they might have been young, and the first two goes at a relationship may have fallen through, the third first date proved to be the charm. They both traveled to St. Louis for the Christmas holiday in the cold of winter, and reconnected over hot coffee. By the time the weather warmed and spring arrived, they were back together, and this time, it was for real. “And we decided that … we know what we want,” Erin said. “You’re it. Let’s just do this.”

Keith, eager to see his new-old girlfriend again, traveled to visit Erin at her then-home in New Orleans for the city’s famous Mardi Gras festivities. “We ended up making plans during that trip that I would move up to Chicago that August,” Erin said. “And I did.”

Eight months later, Keith moved Erin’s boxes into a one-bedroom apartment in Uptown Chicago. A year and a half later, they moved to a larger, two-bedroom apartment in McKinley Park. Three years later, and they promised each other forever in the heat of St. Louis summer, in the same city Erin had given Keith her number on a cocktail napkin at The Way Out Club nearly 10 years ago.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Read more about their unorthodox love story below. First, the fine print:

The couple/ Erin Meyer + Keith Hueffmeier
Current age/ Erin—32; Keith—36
Occupations/ Erin—National Director of Marketing at the American Lung Association; Keith—freelance camera assistant for film/television
Engagement date/ April 2015
Wedding date/ June 11, 2016
Ceremony + Reception venue/ Jefferson Underground

THE WRITING ON THE WALL Erin knew Keith was going to propose, but she said it really wasn’t all that important to her. “We were already partners in a lot of ways,” she said. “Getting married was just kind of a fun, exciting thing, and very helpful for legal reasons.”

The couple took a series of photos after their non-traditional ceremony at The Jefferson Underground. Their vows were personalized for each other, receiving high praise from the guests. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland)

The couple took a series of photos after their non-traditional ceremony at The Jefferson Underground. Their vows were personalized for each other, receiving high praise from the guests. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland)

 

Although she wasn’t counting down the days until he proposed, she did enjoy his proposal. They had planned to paint their two-bedroom apartment in south Chicago, but Keith had gotten a head start. Before Erin came into the room, he had painted, surrounded by a huge heart, “Will you marry me?” on the wall. “So I painted back, ‘Sure,’” Erin said.

And that ‘Sure’ sealed the deal. Not falling victim to a third breakup, the couple started planning for forever.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS The couple didn’t really have a ‘vibe’ they were aiming for, unless you count “Having a huge party where all your friends and family have a really good time” as a vibe.

With a location chosen—St. Louis—all they had left was an entire wedding to plan. Luckily, their STL friends and family came to the rescue, providing assistance with everything from the flowers to the catering.

Erin’s sister and maid of honor, Carly, took care of the flowers. A Flowers & Weeds employee, she and Jessica Douglas put together the bouquets and corsages and even garnished Erin’s hair with flowers. Carly also introduced the couple to Charis Rowland, who took photos of the big day. Carly, a contender for Bridesmaid of the Year award, also connected Erin with Local Harvest Cafe catering. Keeping up the trend of local eats, Pappy’s and Pie Oh My were also provided (Erin isn’t a huge fan of cake).

 

The flowers were provided by Erin's sister, an employee of Flowers & Weeds. Erin and Keith received a lot of support from their friends and family with wedding planning. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland)

The flowers were provided by Erin’s sister, an employee of Flowers & Weeds. Erin and Keith received a lot of support from their friends and family with wedding planning. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland)

 

Keith’s friends also stepped up—RØB Severson, one-man vaudevillian Googolplexia, was the officiant of the day. Providing his own accordion and winning sense of humor, he ended up being a crowd favorite. And, their friend Cat McMillan from The Done Department both designed and printed their wedding invitations.

Erin’s mom proved to be a valuable companion, helping her choose a wedding dress from BHLDN in a record-breaking time of 30 minutes, 24 seconds. “I knew I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on it,” Erin said. “We just kind of picked up a bunch and tried them on and one looked good.”

BREAKING WITH TRADITION “We pretty much broke from all traditions,” Erin said. “Except my dad did walk me down an aisle.”

Erin and Keith took an unorthodox approach to dating, and that carried through to the ceremony. The whole shindig began with a low-key cocktail hour, complete an appearance by the couple of the hour, before the ceremony.

The space, complete with outdoor and indoor sections, was decorated subtly with flowers and garlands and artfully displayed pies and barbecue. Guests gathered and chit-chatted, seemingly only vaguely aware of the official pretext of the event. Then, to the tune of “The Greatest Wedding of All Time,” which Rob personalized to their story, Erin walked through a path cleared in the crowd toward the love of her life.

Erin, an outgoing and a prolifically talkative person, got through her vows without a hitch. Well, maybe one. “I said I would be nice to him for a long time,” Erin said.

Opposites attract, and Erin and Keith are no exception. Overcome with emotion, Keith had a harder time getting through his vows. He is a relatively quiet person, and overwhelmingly sincere. As such, looking into the eyes of the woman he loved, he eventually articulated how much he loved Erin to the tune of “You can do its” billowing from within the crowd. “When Keith says something, he means it,” Erin said. “It was just very heartfelt.”

The wedding was characterized by a lot of dancing and a lot of love. The couple didn't choose the typical wedding tunes, choosing to dance to the beat of Keith's handpicked playlist. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland)

The wedding was characterized by a lot of dancing and a lot of love. The couple didn’t choose the typical wedding tunes, choosing to dance to the beat of Keith’s handpicked playlist. (Photo courtesy of Charis Rowland) 

 

After the ceremony was over, and guests circled through the informal dinner, the real party began. Everything from Stevie Wonder to Rihanna started playing, and Erin and Keith’s friends made use of the open bar and Keith’s hand-picked playlist to have a wonderful time.

WHEN THE CLOCK STRUCK MIDNIGHT The space was only booked until midnight, and as it neared, guests started packing their bags and finishing their drinks. The couple hadn’t cleared the dance floor at all throughout the night—not for their first dance nor for the father-daughter or mother-daughter dance. So, with the dance floor cleared at midnight, they enjoyed a dance together. Keith held his love close, and swayed to the music. “We had one last dance just the two of us, which was a really nice end cap to the evening,” Erin said.

This isn’t a Cinderella story, though, and so the party didn’t really stop at midnight. In fact, it went full circle. The couple and their guests ran across the street to The Way Out Club, where Erin had first given Keith her number so many years ago.

 

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