Follow new bride Nikki Klapp in her planning, thoughts, and highs and lows leading up to her Big Day.
September 4, 2015
Josh and I, my boyfriend of 2 ½ years, left work early on a Friday to meet for a round of golf at Tappawingo Golf Club. We were planning (at least I was planning) on going to the Cardinals game after playing 18 holes. We were paired up to play with two other golfers that we didn’t know. It was a really hot day and I was ready to wrap up our time on the course. I went to retrieve my golf ball from the 18th hole, and there was a ring in it! A really pretty, sparkly one. I turned around and Josh was on one knee, and the two other golfers took pictures of the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it. We returned to the clubhouse and about 50 friends and family were there to surprise us. I was totally taken off guard and it was a great night celebrating with some of my favorite people. Let the wedding planning begin!
October 2, 2015
Where do I begin?
OK, I’m already overwhelmed. I’m looking for dates a year out, and lots of places are booked already, especially reception venues. Also, I didn’t realize how expensive everything was.
A few places I was interested in did not even call me back, so they’re off the list.
Also, I have so many opinions coming at me! On which vendors to use, what month to get married, people telling me to please not schedule the wedding during their vacations…you name it.
My Mom died suddenly when I was five years old, so I don’t have her to help and be with me during this process. But I’m really close to my Dad and older sister Kate and know they’ll give me lots of guidance and assistance.
Keep forging ahead….
October 29, 2015
Two Big Decisions Down
I’ve got the when and where–reception at the Saint Louis Zoo on September 24! My sister Kate had her reception at the Zoo under a tent on Historic Hill, and ours will be in the Lakeside Cafe. Josh is from Denver and we’ll have lots of out-of-towners, so it will be cool to host our day at an iconic St. Louis location. I feel a lot better having those two biggies confirmed.
Bump in the Road
One complication is that Josh was previously married briefly, and if we want to be married in a Catholic Church, he needs to get an annulment. This is often a pretty long process and I don’t know if we’ll get it in time.
We had a really disappointing meeting with the priest about getting Josh’s first marriage annulled in time for us to be married in the Catholic Church. It sounds like it isn’t likely. We definitely should have started the process sooner, but he made us feel really badly about the whole thing. That means we need to start looking at locations for the ceremony if the church doesn’t work out in time. Ugg…..maybe we’ll just have a penguin perform the ceremony. He’s already dressed nicely.
I’m wrestling with how many bridesmaids to have. I’ll be 33 at the time of the wedding and have been a bridesmaid at least 10 times, probably more like 15. My only sister is obviously my Matron of Honor, and I’m also including my cousin Cori that I’m really close to. Is 15 bridesmaids too many? Probably.
February 3, 2016
DJ it is
We decided on a DJ over a band. Some of the bands I wanted were already booked, and I don’t want to have a band just for the sake of having a band. A little disappointing, but I’ve been to lots of wedding where the DJ did a great job keeping the party going into the wee hours.
Yes to the Dress!
Tried on dresses….and I found one at the first place I went! We (me, my Dad, Kate, niece Georgia and Josh’s mom) went to Fleur de Lis Bridal Boutique in Clayton. We happened to be there during a trunk show for the designer Judd Waddell, an Illinois native. I fell in love with a dress unlike anything I thought I would pick for myself! I thought I wanted lace and form-fitting, and chose something completely different. I put it on and couldn’t stop smiling–it was lovely. It was also comfortable, fun and I thought it really stood out from other dresses. The designer was kind enough to sketch a drawing of me in the dress and sign it for me. Yay! Now I’m really starting to feel like a bride!
I have my photographer (Tom Eich, who was recommended to me by my recently-married cousin), venue, dress and DJ, but was curious about Bridal Shows. If I hadn’t had made those decisions, the bridal show might have been more helpful, but I’m glad I went. I ended up finding my florist there and getting some good ideas for table decorations, invitations and linens. And my Dad loved all the edible giveaways!
I am going with 10 bridesmaids and have decided to use Rent the Runway for the bridesmaid dresses. I found a black and white dress on the website that I think will fit all body types and be comfortable. The front hem line is curved, which will be more flexible for everyone’s varying heights. The dress also has pockets, which my girls are excited about! When you rent the dress, for about $100, they send each person two dresses and they can pick which fits best, since you aren’t allowed to alter them. I’m ordering one dress in advance to see it in person, just to make sure. I’m running with the Zoo/animal theme and letting each girl pick out their own animal print shoes.
March 2, 2016
It’s All Happening at the Zoo
The Zoo it is, for both the ceremony and the reception. The ceremony is at Peabody Hall. A Catholic priest who used to be at St. Stanislaus is coming in from Chicago to conduct the ceremony. Following that will be a Sea Lion Show, just for our guests, since the Zoo will be closed to the public by then. Then we walk a few steps to the reception at the Lakeside Café. It’s not what I had originally planned, but having everything so close and in a world-class facility is a pretty great plan, too!
March 9, 2016
Flora and Fauna
I found Tony Montano, with Buds, at the bridal show and he’s been great in helping me with my somewhat unique requests. I really want to have reusable flowers that the guests can take home, plant and/or keep. I am thinking about orchids and terrariums, which I think would be fitting at the Zoo. Tony is totally on-board and helping make my vision possible. He suggested bouquets surrounded by feathers for myself and my bridesmaids, which I think would be cool for our animal theme.
I need to book a block of room for our out of town guests, which is about 20% of our invite list…somewhere close to Forest Park.
Also need to figure out transportation and lots and lots of smaller details!
Still have to decide on invitations and really want to incorporate our location into them somehow.
April 7, 2016
Ready, set, register!
Registered at Crate & Barrel. They have an app now that acts as a scanner-so cool! Also registered at Macy’s for some more traditional stuff. Josh and I have a house together, and I’m excited to have new stuff that is both of ours, from the beginning.
The guest list is quite stressful! Especially since having our ceremony at Peabody Hall means only about 175 will fit for the ceremony. We hope to have no more than 220 guests for the reception. I know that’s unusual-having more at the reception than the ceremony, but that’s the way it goes. My Dad is from a family of 11, and my Mom from a family of six. Unfortunately, that means no kids are invited except for my two nieces, who are the flower girls. I’m having to make some hard decisions about our work friends and my Dad’s friends. This means we’ll need two versions of the invitations-one for guests invited to both ceremony and reception, and one for those invited to the reception only.
We went with a shuttle bus to handle transporting guests to and from the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. The shuttle bus can carry more people and will be a good deal in the end.
A Bigger Bump in the Road
We just found out that my Dad has prostate cancer. We aren’t sure how serious it is or what this all means yet, but obviously we are all really concerned. Knowing this does make all our little wedding glitches seem pretty insignificant.
June 9, 2016
Still a Yes
My first fitting of my dress! Fleur de Lis referred me to a tailor and she’s great. Yep, I love the dress as much as when I first chose it-maybe more! I’ll do a second fitting, then take it with me after that.
Josh mainly wears Converse Chuck Taylor shoes, so our wedding day will be no different. He’ll wear his customary white ones with his tux, and he’s giving the groomsmen black Chuck Taylors. Two birds with one stone-their gift for being in the wedding and comfortable shoes to wear that day! Josh is also a huge fan of Lego, and we found some cufflinks that look like Lego pieces for all the guys-perfect!
June 29, 2016
Feeding Time at the Zoo
We did a food tasting at the Zoo and chose the steak and shrimp—yum! My Dad asked about doing a trio of entrée’s, adding the chicken picatta that he also liked. (A huge St. Louis Blues fan, my Dad suggested we call the three items on the plate the “hat trick”). But they said that would require a bigger plate, which means bigger tables, and leads to more spacing issues in the room. Glad we have the professionals to think of these things! Helping with the wedding has actually been a nice distraction for my Dad, and a break from all his doctor’s appointments and tests.
Somebody has to do the research!
We did an in-home cake tasting in May with three kinds of cakes and 10 kinds of filling. Today we met with the bakers at Sugaree Bakery to finalize the details of the cake. I found a cake with animal silhouettes on Pinterest that really went with the invitations we chose, and Sugaree was up for the challenge. We chose Florida pound cake with lemon icing and chocolate fudge cake with tiramisu and cappuccino filling. Those penguins may make an appearance yet…. I saw some penguin cake toppers on Pinterest that were wearing a top hat and a veil, which was pretty adorable. And it’s fitting, since penguins mate for life.
Another very enjoyable piece of research was candy tasting at Crown Candy Kitchen. My Dad has worked near Crown Candy for years and often goes there for lunch, and the owners are friends of his. So having a candy bar at the reception with Crown Candy was appropriate, and another cool St. Louis tradition to incorporate into our day. My Dad and his girlfriend Elaine chose chocolate-covered marshmallows on sticks, dark and milk chocolate non-pariels, malted milk balls, chocolate-covered caramels, fleur de lis chocolates, Swedish fish, and fruit sours. Also, in a nod to my Dad’s polish heritage, my aunt made kruschicki, a traditional Polish cookie.
My first shower!
It was with my Mom’s side of the family—her sisters, my cousins and my cousin’s wives. My aunt Linda gave me a cookie jar that my Mom painted a long time ago, and that was really special. It’s really hard not to have my Mom throughout all this, but it’s great to have this reminder of her.
Girls Gone Wild
My bachelorette party in Las Vegas! All but one of my bridesmaids was able to make it, so I felt really lucky to so many of my close girlfriends and family get a little crazy with me in Sin City. It was nice to get away before returning to the final phases of wedding planning.
My Dad’s family hosted a shower for me and I got a lot of awesome gifts for our house. One thing I’ve learned is that people love to buy the fun stuff, like the mustard spoons, tiki cups and the tortilla warmer. Which is great, because I’d probably never buy those kinds of things for myself. But I am glad I also registered for basics, like really good pots and pans, bakeware and a really good vacuum cleaner.
August 18, 2016
Five weeks to go!
I’m feeling pretty good about everything, as it gets closer. Throughout the day though, random things will pop in my head about details (like place cards, table numbers, bags for the candy at the candy bar) that need to be taken care of or finished. But there’s nothing keeping me up at night, and for that I am grateful. Elaine, my Dad’s girlfriend, has been a big help.
Not feeling like a beautiful bride!
I feel terrible! I have a huge cold, congestion and an overall yucky feeling. I’m glad I am ahead on all the wedding stuff, because all I can do is go to work and blow my nose every 30 seconds. I wish I had taken off at least three days of work before the wedding. I’ve been working late every night, which probably hasn’t helped my health. The doctor says it’s viral and there is not much I can do. The one thing that seems to be helping is Vicks nose spray…trying to think positive and get as much sleep as possible.
September 23, 2016
The Eve of the Big Day!
I’m not 100% health-wise, but much better. And so excited to see all my out-of-town family and friends! Meeting up with my bridesmaids for manis and pedis, then a Bridal Luncheon at my cousin Cori’s house. Then the rehearsal dinner at Hacienda, a longtime favorite restaurant of my family’s. We’ll have about 70 people there in the big back room, with all of our Mexican favorite foods and cocktails. So excited….I can’t believe it’s all finally here!
As told to Jennifer C. Frakes
Photo by Tom Eich