A Formal, Tennis-Themed Wedding in St. Louis
Lydia and Barritt
Sometimes even the most fervent of suitors needs a a little encouragement: Immediately after spotting Lydia St. Eve in class at Dallas's Southern Methodist University in August 2010, Barritt Peterson leaned over and whispered to her friend that he was interested, but he was too shy to say anything to Lydia. When he found himself on the same flight as his crush a few months later, he started telling everyone—from close friends to random classmates—that he'd marry her one day. The one person he didn't inform of his plans? Lydia. "I kept thinking, 'He's going around saying he wants to marry me, so why won't he make a move?'" she recalls.
Sensing that the ball was in her court, the aspiring personal trainer launched the first serve, challenging Barritt to a game of tennis more than a year after he noticed her in class that summer day. His outsize response? "I was so excited, I showed up with, like, a dozen refreshments for her—water, Gatorade, energy drinks," says Barritt, who now manages a few rental-car locations in Dallas. His gesture won her over. (She also won the match.)
Having A Ball
Just five months after that first game, Barritt popped the question on the very same court by tossing Lydia two tennis balls inscribed with "Will You" and "Marry Me?" When it came time to plan, it seemed only natural to celebrate this love match with a tennis-themed blowout. The next spring, on May 24, 2013, the two exchanged vows in a Catholic church in Lydia's Missouri hometown. Afterward, the newlyweds' 240 guests headed to her family's home for a one-of-a-kind reception.
The couple's custom crest by adorned their stationery, signage, and even keepsake tennis balls at their St. Louis celebration. Stationer Cheree Berry crafted the day's designs and much of the custom details.
A Winning Suite
"We wanted the suite to be beautiful and elegant, but fun, too," says Lydia of their letterpressed and foil-stamped invitations, which included a mad Libs–style reply card and a tiny banner that spelled out "love."
The Home Team
Bridal Party Mailings
In a nod to Barritt's unconventional marriage proposal, Lydia mailed each of her bridesmaids a can of tennis balls requesting their participation in the event.
The Welcome Basket
Out-of-town guests were treated to gift baskets packed with made-in-St. Louis specialties—locally brewed Fitz's Root Beer, handmade Billy Goat potato chips, Switzer's licorice, chocolate tennis rackets from Missouri confectioner Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company, and scented candles from K. Hall Designs.
The bride, holding a bouquet of white peonies wrapped with Midori ivory dupioni silk, gathered with her family at her parents' home.
A boxwood wreath, flower garland, and banner adorned Our Lady of the Pillar church, where the ceremony was held.
The silk-ribbon-bound programs proclaimed "A Love Match in May" on the front and provided an explanation of the tennis term "love" on the back.
Made With Love
Lydia spent a month making the needlepoint ring pillow.
A flower girl was charged with informing the crowd of the bride's impending arrival for the ceremony.
A Bit Teary
"I was thinking how excited I was to live my life with her," Barritt says of the emotional moment when he first saw Lydia walking down the aisle.
During the recessional, the flower girl flipped the double-sided card-stock sign to inform guests it was officially time to celebrate.
A Reception At Home
An oil painting by a local artist immortalized the moment Barritt proposed—and decorated the hallway at the St. Eve home, the site of the reception.
Fun and Games
Guests signed tennis balls with permanent markers and put them in vessels etched with the letters L-O-V-E near the entrance to the reception, while a tall gold trophy (inscribed "Best Love match") subbed for a vase.
The Seating Chart
The tournament-bracket seating chart, printed on vinyl and hung from a pipe-and-drape frame, asked guests to "please be 'seeded.'"
A make-your-own mimosa cart dressed up with navy-and-white ribbons offered guests a chance to refresh themselves during the cocktail hour.
Lollipop-like topiaries, made from Yoko Ono mums, brightened up tables along with bunches of peonies, roses, and ranunculus. At the head table, engraved miniature trophies at each place setting welcomed the wedding party.
The Place Settings
Lydia and Barritt’s wedding monogram, an ornate "P" surrounded by a laurel wreath, elevated the paper chargers at the post-ceremony feast, while alternating lengths of checkered and solid grosgrain ribbons jazzed up the table.
The First Course
The first course of the couple's seated dinner: Wedge salad with crispy bacon, peas, diced tomatoes and egg, Parmesan cheese, and peppercorn-ranch dressing. Gold flatware and gilt-edged plates amped up the table setting's glamour.
Navy-and-white trifold menus, accented with gold-foil tennis ball motifs, sat on the bread plates at the reception dinner. The message on the front? "Dinner is served." (They just couldn’t resist the pun.) Courses took another witty turn, instead dubbed "Set 1," "Set 2," and "Set 3."
Powder Room Flair
Fun, whimsical details like this faux-lipstick mirror message—actually a vinyl transfer ordered from a local sign company—appeared throughout the St. Eve home. Each little made-you-look moment gave the space a more festive air, while also tempering the formality of the occasion.
During dinner, Lydia's dad unveiled his gift to the couple: an hour-long set by the bride’s all-time favorite musician, country singer Pat Green, who crooned "Crazy" for the pair's first dance, which took place on a checkered dance floor. "The night flew by," remembers Lydia. "Before we knew it, I was throwing my bouquet, and then we were leaving!"
A Winning Cake
Topped with mini rackets, the four-tiered red-velvet cake was iced with fondant that was hand-embossed to resemble a tennis net.
In an homage to Wimbledon's signature snack (served since the 1870s), the tennis-loving duo offered cups of strawberries and cream.
A Sweet Set
Monogram-adorned cookies and flower-topped petits fours accompanied piles of candy in the blue-and-white striped dessert tent. "Our dessert tent was pretty much the most amazing tent ever," says Lydia.
The couple rented a photo booth so guests could take home mementos of the happy day. A few tennis-themed props, like sweatbands, were on hand to get in the spirit of the game.
At 11 P.M., a course of biscuit-and-egg breakfast sandwiches, served on gold confetti plates from Kate Spade, provided revelers with the fuel for a few more turns on the dance floor. "I really wanted the whole night to be food-filled and fun-filled," Lydia says.
Goodies to Go
Everyone walked away a winner, with favor packets of Sugarpova gumballs and a deck of racket-adorned playing cards.
But that's not quite the end of the story for this win-win courtship. Team Lydia and Barritt, having made the leap from singles to doubles, welcomed a new player the following spring—a baby girl, born in March ("a little honeymoon surprise," as Lydia calls her). The final score: Love, all.
Location: Our Lady of the Pillar
Event Planning: Cosmopolitan Events
Catering: Ces & Judy's
Flowers: Bloomin' Buckets
Photography: Stephen Seebeck Photography
Videography: Copy Cat Video
Stationery and Event Design: Cheree Berry Paper
Calligraphy: John DeCollibus
Cake: Simone Faure of Chouquette
Music: [ceremony vocals] Concert Choir ensemble of the St. Louis Children's Choirs; [string quartet] Landolfi Quartet; [trumpeter] Mary Weber of Clarion Brass; [reception band] Motown Revue
Rentals and Tent: Belmont Rentals
Hair & Makeup: Daniellestyle
Bride's Gown: Vera Wang
Accessories: [belt] Anne Barge; [veil] Claire Ann Bridal Veils; [pearl and diamond earrings and bracelets] Assael; [bracelet] Cartier
Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Sung
Groom's tuxedo: Jean Yves
Menswear: Stallone's Formal Wear
Accessories: [custom cummerbunds and bowties for groom and groomsmen] Salvatore Ferragamo; [groom's watch] Omega
Ring bearer's outfit: Florence Eiseman
Transportation: Best Transportation
Valet: August Evenings
Photobooth: Photobooth STL
Cake Topper: TexasArtCraft
Custom scalloped table linens: Chelsea Marketplace
Dinner napkins: Mark and Graham
Oil painting: Mary Elliott O’Reilly