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To call Courtney Callahan and Michael Myers’s love story the stuff of movies wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Take the starry night of their first encounter at an elaborate, exotic party at Chicago’s Shanghai Terrace restaurant. Surrounded by towering geisha girls on stilts, with the pulsing beat of live taiko drummers in the background, the two spotted each other across a crowded patio. Within moments, Courtney, who owns a paper-design studio, introduced herself to Michael, a vice president of sales for a marketing firm. “It was as close to ‘love at first sight’ as it gets,” remembers Michael. “I knew that my world would never be the same, and I said as much in a note I wrote to her in my journal that night, just in case I turned out to be right one day.”
Michael’s prediction: crystal-ball accurate. Two years of dating later, he orchestrated an equally dreamy proposal at the same rooftop restaurant where they had first locked eyes. As waiters brought out post-lunch glasses of bubbly, Michael asked Courtney to marry him, presenting her with not only a diamond ring, but also the journal he had been keeping since the night they met. Written inside were letters to Courtney chronicling the milestones and special moments of their relationship. Also tucked into its pages: two tickets for a celebratory trip to San Francisco and Napa.
Exactly one year from the day Michael proposed, on May 31, 2014, about 120 guests witnessed the Catholic ceremony at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish near Saint Louis, where Courtney grew up. Then everyone drove to the Missouri Botanical Garden and entered a grassy enclave with reflecting lily ponds. While a pianist played, the party kicked off as Michael used a saber to pop open the Chartogne-Taillet Champagne that the couple had scored on their engagement trip.
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Courtney designed the stationery, foil-stamping select pieces in gold.
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Welcome totes held sweet and salty snacks, refreshments, and a trifold map of local sights.
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The bride posed with three of her eight Amsale-outfitted bridesmaids.
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Bridesmaids were given custom lace handkerchiefs with their monograms embroidered in gold.
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Gifts for the Guys
Gift boxes for the groomsmen included a tuxedo shirt, bow tie, cuff links, collar stays, and pocket squares, along with a card (created by Courtney) instructing how to tie a bow tie and this Oscar Wilde quote: “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
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The Little Ones
The bride’s nephews were presented with handmade puzzles, which, when put together, asked, “Will you be our ring bearer?” Her niece received the same kind of request to be the flower girl.
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Two green lemon-leaf wreaths hung on the doors of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, welcoming guests to the ceremony. A few blush-colored peonies were tucked into the base of the wreaths, along with striped trailing ribbons.
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The Garden Party
A large placard adorned with floral swag marked the way to the outdoor cocktail hour in the grassy garden.
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An Outfit Change
The couple stole a kiss in the garden—after Michael had changed into a J.Crew dinner jacket for the reception.
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Cocktail Hour Fare
Duck confit on crostini were passed during the cocktail hour, alongside napkins foil-stamped with poignant phrases.
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Passed hors d’oeuvres included maple-glazed scallops wrapped in bacon and more quote-worthy napkins.
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Waiters passed glasses of sparkling wine and cocktail napkins emblazoned with the couple’s monogram and an apropos saying.
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The Escort Cards
Guests plucked calligraphed escort cards on gilded stakes from moss-filled boxes holding colorful blooms.
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His and Hers
Hanging from the doors of the restrooms: gold-framed vinyl silhouettes of the bride and groom.
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The Reception Room
Guests moved to the Spink Pavillion at the Missouri Botanical Garden for dinner, where tables were set with verdant centerpieces.
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The Reception Tables
Clusters of peonies, roses, tulips, scabiosas, anemones, lisianthus, and ranunculus brightened up the gold-accented tables.
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The bride designed foil-stamped round menus to fit neatly in every plate; ivory napkins were embroidered with a gold vine pattern and an “M” for Myers.
A feast of beef short ribs, grilled salmon, and tomato risotto was served for dinner.
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The buttercream-frosted yellow cake featured fresh peonies, clematis, and trailing vines. Courtney and Michael cut the first piece with the knife the bride’s parents used at their own wedding.
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The First Dance
The newlyweds twirled in the moonlight to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.”
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Courtney and Michael’s wedding logo was enlarged to create a vinyl drumhead cover for the seven-piece Motown band, which kept the floor packed after their first dance. That is, until a surprise grilled-cheese food truck rolled up to replenish revelers—and send the bride and groom off well-fed and ready to live happily ever after.
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Event Design and Stationery: Courtney Callahan Paper
Event Coordination: Kate & Company
Catering: Catering St. Louis
Flowers: Hello Darling
Photography: Heather Roth
Videography: Lovebird Studios
Officiant: Father Richard Quirk
Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Cristine
Cake: Knodel’s Bakery
Hair: Bonnie Boze
Makeup: Makeup by She
Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss
Transportation: Best Transportation
Cake Stand: Nimble Well
Late-Night Food Truck: The Meltdown
Guest Accommodations: The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis
Ribbon on Bouquet: Frou Frou Chic
Tailoring: R&M Designs