It was 2004, at Christmastime, and Cheree had flown from New York to visit her parents in the small town outside of St. Louis where she grew up. A mutual friend had suggested that she meet Jeff, an attorney. She agreed but didn't imagine that anything would come of it. To her amazement, "we clicked immediately," says Cheree. She and Jeff spent the rest of the holidays together, and a year later, she moved back to St. Louis, happy to have found a great guy (who lived near her family, to boot) and ready to start her own business. Here, Jeff and Cheree share a sweet treat after the ceremony.
Laughter is something that comes naturally to Cheree. As owner of Cheree Berry Paper, a stationery and graphic-design company, her goal, she says, is always "to evoke a big smile." And that's surely the reaction Cheree and Jeff's wedding guests had when they opened their mailboxes to find thick, creamy envelopes addressed in swirls of red calligraphy, with the words love mail printed in the corner -- all designed, of course, by the bride herself. Different printing techniques (including engraving and letterpress), unexpected touches (the origami chart of St. Louis attractions), and fanciful details (the bee on the reply card) give a richly layered feel. Cheree, deeming a palette of reds, oranges, and pinks "too perfect," laced it with robin's egg blue.
Cheree wears a Carolina Hererra lace gown and carries a bouquet of red, pink, and orange ranunculus with a single tiny golden bee -- one of the motifs she often uses in her work as a stationer -- perched among the flowers. The embroidered hankie, her something blue, is a gift from Martha Stewart Weddings editorial director Darcy Miller.
Everything to do with their September 13 wedding bore Cheree's creative imprint, from the jaw-dropping invitation suite to the charming paper "chargers" on the tables to the nostalgic touches that punctuated the event. Cheree created light-pink card-stock "chargers" printed with their names and wedding date. The trumpeter on the place card (which doubles as a menu) hints at Jeff's love of music. A card invites guests to save room for dessert. Just behind it is a port glass with a chocolate and a monogrammed tag balanced on top. For the centerpiece, dahlias, zinnias, and roses form a neat dome.
A layered buttercream-frosted cake is decorated with lengths of ribbon; paper artist Denise Sharp transformed parts of the couple's stationery suite into the cake topper and paper swags. Slices of red velvet cake wrapped in papers stand in for the groom's cake. The bride crafted the crimson garlands in the background by spray painting foam balls and stringing them on fishing line.
"I wanted to bring memories from childhood as I went into married life," says Cheree. And in what may be the ultimate symbol of the way the bride looks at life -- with joyful, childlike wonder and a deep appreciation for the unexpected -- guests were sent home with grab bags filled with vintage dime-store finds, like whoopee cushions, googly-eye glasses, and Slinkys.
A magical moment in a stylish setting. To make the loft-style reception site "really feel like us," says Cheree, she and Jeff hung several 16-by-12-foot vinyl banners printed with Cheree's designs. This "Just Married" banner makes a fitting backdrop for the newlyweds' kiss. .
Ceremony Location: Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis
Reception Location: Lumen
Event Planning: Rebecca Boillat of St. Louis Wedding Design
Flowers: Bloomin' Buckets
Cake: Mathew Rice of Niche Restaurant
Stationery: Cheree Berry Paper
Calligraphy: Cheryl Tefft of Calligraphics
Music: The Ultraviolets
Wedding Photography: Susan Jackson
Gown: Carolina Herrera
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Siri
Groom's Suit: Jos. A. Bank
Tie: Murano from Dillard's
Hair: Jennifer Jones of Jones & Co. Hair Salon
Makeup: Suzy Bacino