landlocked bride® | midwest + mountain west wedding inspiration

plan a modern wedding in the middle of the country

Sweet and pure.

Melissa McCrotty Photography

I do not apologize for this beautiful photo overload from We Are the Parsons. Nor, will I apologize for the wonderful wedding story written by the bride, Kelly.

These are the types of weddings I live for. Literally. They make my heart melt and cause the biggest smile. Weddings like this inspire my business through and through.

We Are the Parsons

From the Bride:
We are a very hands-on, DIY obsessed couple, so we knew right from the beginning we would make this wedding our own. Our main goal was to plan something unique to us, we kept referring to it as out of the box, but not foreign. It needed to have a very modern and casual vibe that represented what we wanted and not what we had heard and seen done before. The idea was to do make it different, yet still incorporate enough tradition so our guests could relate to it, and manage everything on a very modest budget.

I have to give my husband major props because in the beginning, he made a massive spreadsheet of all of our to-do’s and all the projects we planned to build/create. Once it was complete, he divided it right down the center and we each took on half of the planning. It was a total team effort and I couldn’t have done it without him.

We decided we didn’t want a traditional wedding party so we selected a group of our friends and family who were extra special to us, asked them to dress in our color theme (black/white/gray) and stand near us during the ceremony. It was very “come as you are and be who you are” type of thing. Since I have one sister and Evan has one brother, we selected them as Matron of Honor and the Best Man. My daughter was the flower girl/ribbon bearer.

We decided to get married over Fourth of July weekend because we wanted everyone to be able to relax and spend an extra day with us. Our ceremony was on Sunday night, July 3rd, which we timed in line with the big Kansas City Riverfest fireworks display; happening just outside our venue. Having it on Sunday also allowed us to get our venue at less than half the price it would be for a Friday or Saturday night event. With Monday being the 4th, it worked out great because everyone had the day off and we could celebrate again the next day.

We planned an entire weekend of events beginning on Friday afternoon when several of my aunts and friends joined me to begin arranging the bulk hydrangeas I ordered online. Friday night we continued the fun a wine tasting and dinner to coincide with First Fridays in the Crossroads Art district of Kansas City, MO. Very casual and very fun. Because we wanted the wedding to really reflect who we are as a couple, we planned all the activities around meaningful places to us and things we like to do.

One thing that is really special to us is our home. The year before the wedding we bought and personally renovated a 100 year old house in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, Mo. You can see all or DIY renos here: www.twosixe.blogspot.com. With all of our family coming from out of town, most of which had never been to our home, we knew we wanted it to be a central location so we planned everything in and around our neighborhood near the Country Club Plaza and downtown. This was amazing because we had a house full of people coming and going all weekend and that’s exactly what we wanted.

We decided to host our own rehearsal dinner at home and we actually we called our “Rehearsal-Less Dinner” because we didn’t really have a need for a rehearsal. On Saturday our kitchen was filled with all of my female relatives who prepared a traditional Lebanese feast for our rehearsal-less dinner that night. Having both families and all of our friends in our home was literally a dream come true for us and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We had a fully stocked bar, tons of great food and everyone we loved chilling in our house and backyard. It was so cool.

Finally on Sunday our wedding day arrived and we met a small group of family and friends in the morning, at our venue to decorate and set up. Everyone kept telling us to go home, relax – we shouldn’t be decorating our own wedding, but it was exactly where we wanted to be. Because we had a hand in every detail, we wanted to be there to bring it all to life and we wouldn’t have missed seeing our vision unfold.

Looking back now, one of the most incredible memories that we have from our wedding day was witnessing that small group of people set things up before the event and clean things up with us after. It’s a feeling I really can’t describe. It gave us a real sense of how lucky we are and how many people really are a part of our lives and it was very, very moving for us to experience.

Because we were trying to think outside the box as far as the ceremony was concerned, we opted to host a cocktail hour before the actual ceremony. Create a laid back mood and get everyone ready to party! When guests arrived at the venue they were greeted by our parents along with signature cocktails that we had selected. We went with Blue Curacao margaritas (because we were planning to honeymoon in Curacao) and a champagne cocktail called a “Firecracker” for obvious reasons. While our guests were served passed appetizers and drinks below, we gathered in a loft space just above the actual event space, with our wedding crew. This was a time for us to come together with our closest friends privately and just relax and reflect.

When it was time for the ceremony to begin, everyone was seated and our good friend Isaac Hodges sang our song, “I’m Yours”. Our large group of friends descended from the loft and very casually walked together in a large group and gathered just behind where we would be standing. Our sister and brother went next and took their place near our officiant. My daughter Alex walked out just before us, holding two black satin ribbons which she presented to our moms, who were seated up front. Evan and I decided we wanted to walk out together instead of all the focus being just on the bride, so once everyone had gone out and all our guests stood, we descended together and made our way to the front, hand in hand, listening to our song.

We wrote the majority of the ceremony to be sure it really represented all that we were thinking and feeling. We wanted to be sure to include special recognition for the family that was being formed with my daughter and for the unique circumstances that brought us together. We incorporated a hand fasting ritual, which involved both moms presenting the ribbons they received and tying them together around our joined hands. We did this to represent the joining of families and to symbolize an old Italian and Polish tradition of “tying the knot”. This was done in place of a unity candle and along with a beautiful poem that was read during it.

We wrote our own vows and had my brother read a poem called “Destiny” in place of traditional readings. This was such a touching moment during the ceremony because this poem alone summed up everything we wanted to say. As we exchanged rings and were finally announced as husband and wife, our wedding party showered us with hundreds of rose petals and we were embraced by all of our friends and family. Everyone stood up and joined in on a massive group hug, and we just let it flow as our DJ kicked on some tunes. Because we opted to do pictures earlier in the day, the ceremony moved right into the party!

Having the wedding over Fourth of July gave us the idea to keep our food more relaxed and much like a cook-out, so guests dined on mini-sliders, salads and an incredible mashed and sweet potato buffet. For dessert we served ice cream sundaes and cake pops – keeping the mood light and fun.

We asked our brother and sister to make a toast and then allowed anyone else in our wedding crew to say a few words. This was awesome. The toasts concluded with my dad, who recited the lyrics from Bob Dylan’s, Forever Young then played guitar while singing to us for our first dance.

In the week leading up to our wedding we orchestrated a last second flash mob tutorial video and sent it out to about 40 people. We had no idea if anyone watched it or practiced it, but just following our first dance, the song came on and a flash mob was in effect!

Our DJ was beyond words. My advice to any couples who are looking to hire a DJ is go with a club DJ over a traditional wedding DJ especially if dancing is your thing. You won’t regret it. We couldn’t bear the thought of hearing all the same songs you hear at every wedding, so we looked for a DJ who could mix and create a club-like vibe and that is exactly what we got. We had new songs, old songs, songs you never hear at weddings and it all flowed perfectly together. Over 6 months later people are still telling us how much they loved our DJ and how they had never been to a wedding like ours – our dance floor was packed for 4 hours straight only emptying for the fireworks display and when the venue kicked us out.

All in all we both credit our wedding day with being the most fun we have ever had in a single weekend. We 100% believe that taking a more casual approach to everything is what it all boils down to. There was no pressure on us to fall in line with tradition and while we got funny looks and nervous laughs from our parents and friends along the way, in the end everyone saw and understood our vision and agreed with us that chilling out and thinking outside the box was the way to go. We knew all along what we wanted and by keeping the focus on our love and personalities, we had the best wedding possible.

In the end I give my amazing husband so much credit. From the very beginning he was a part of the planning and he wanted me to know we were in this together — even with all my crazy ideas and plans. Along with the dress, the food, flowers and everything in between, I walked into the process with a true partner and as we go forward in life, I have realized that is the most important detail of all. Looking back through our incredible photos, what sticks with us is how naturally everything evolved and how incredibly relaxed and happy we were that day.

Ceremony / Reception Venue: River Market Event Place | Pre-ceremony Catering: Deco Catering | Photographer: We Are the Parsons | Cake Pops: Chips Chocolate Factory | Florist + Event Design: Two Six East Flowers | DJ: Craig Loftis, Elite Sounds | Bartenders: Grand Slam Liquors

I love a well-designed paper save the date. But, I love when a couple gets a little creative and thinks outside the box. Kelly + Evan created a fun save the date video to share with family and friends full of quirky + fun photos.

Their video was a true indication of the fun they had in store for their big day last summer. Stay tuned for their wedding later this morning…

This wedding is fun. Just pure fun.

Nicole + Jonathan | OTPC from One Tree Photography on Vimeo.
One Tree Photo+Cinema

m three studio

I love featuring photos from the wedding ceremony. Sure, the details are pretty and important, too, but the ceremony is where all the action is. And, Meghan and Michael’s ceremony had so many emotions and moments of love. One shot in particular shows their wedding party circled close behind them with their hands around / over them during a prayer. Truly beautiful.

Photography by David E. Jackson

From the Bride:
When Michael and I began planning our Wisconsin wedding, we knew that we wanted our day to be focused around our creativity, love for fun, and our faith. Rustic, intimate, and fun were three words we kept coming back too. Homestead Meadows was the perfect farm to hold our wedding and reception- especially since we had the entire farm from early morning through the whole night! This made planning and designing so much more fun- playing off the transitions that all the guests would make between the wedding, dinner and then the dance.

As an interior design student at Madison, I loved every moment of planning the design. I drew my inspirations from etsy, knot.com, Anthropologie and designsponge, along with many other design blogs. Once the farm was chosen, rustic-thrifty pieces quickly feel into place: old bell jars wrapped in twine for centerpieces, gerbera daisies for decoration and floral arrangements, tissue paper pom-poms in the trees, and recycled wood signs to direct guests around the farm. We spent hours wrapping the jars in twine, but the most time consuming design feature was the party favor name card. Using recycled brown-paper bags, we constructed little seed packets (all farm flowers and veggies, of coarse) that were hand stamped with the guests’ name and table number.

Following the country-rustic theme, our reception was catered by Van Abel’s, which provided the most delicious and classy country-style buffet I have ever had! Food ranged from premium burgers, to grilled chicken breast sandwiches with homemade beans, coleslaw, and kettle chips. All the meat and bread were from local sources, which made this Wisconsin wedding even more perfect!

While designing your own wedding definitely brings unique challenges, I would have never traded all the special touches we were able to place on our day! Our wedding was hands-down the most fun and beautiful day we had ever shared together. From our best man forgetting his pants, to Michael and his mom breaking into “Rock Lobster” during their dance, our rustic-Wisconsin wedding was perfect.

Ceremony / Reception Venue: Homestead Meadows Farm | Caterer: Van Abels | Photographer: David E Jackson | Event Design: Meghan Ann Carey | Wedding Gown / Bridesmaids Dresses: Veras Bridals | Grooms Attire: Banana Republic | Florist: Sterling Gardens

This engagement session has style, attitude and fun. And, because the bride-to-be is an actress, the couple chose to snap some of their photos at the Orpheum Theatre. Quite fitting, if you ask me. Plus, I can’t help but love that last photo of Tara and Dennis.

Jaclyn Marie Photography

From Jaclyn, the photographer:
Tara and Dennis are planning a stylish, modern 2012 wedding, and they wanted their engagement session to reflect the same style. They split their session into two halves. Off-camera lighting was used for both shoots to create drama and and to add bright pops of color and texture. Part one took place on Commerce Street, an arts district in Wichita, Kansas. Part two was shot inside the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Wichita. Since Tara is an actress at the Mosley Street Melodrama in town, shooting inside the old theatre felt appropriate.

This wedding is full of sweet and simple. One of my favorite combinations. The bride, Lauren, made sure to use her mom and future mother-in-law for help to create the romantic and personal feel. Including family members is a way to not only take some stress off of you, but bring your family closer together as you merge two families.

Jaclyn Marie Photography

From the Couple:
Bret and I had lots of time to plan our special day, as we were engaged for almost two years before we tied the knot. It was so nice to have time to research vendors and get all the details ironed out. Besides, I loved being engaged because it was such a fun time! I also really enjoyed the planning process and used The Knot for ideas and organization. For us, we tried to create a classic, warm, romantic wedding with a touch of vintage that could be done on a budget. Bret and I were both blessed with super organized moms that love to plan, so they were a huge help in the planning process as well. Photography was the most important to us because after the day was over, we wanted to have beautiful pictures to look back on. Jaclyn did not disappoint! Family and friends were also a huge part of our wedding! They all played such an important role, whether it was helping with planning and set-up, taking part in the ceremony, or being in the wedding party. We were so grateful to all of them!

When I look back on our wedding day, it really was the best day of my life! If I could relive our wedding day everyday, I absolutely would. It was filled with such warm and loving moments and lots of laughter. When I look back now and think of our day, it immediately puts a smile on my face. Everything worked out perfectly and it exceeded my expectations. I know that our fairytale was possible due to our wonderful family, friends, and vendors! We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Ceremony Venue: Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church | Reception Venue: The Boathouse | Catering: Corporate Caterer’s of Wichita | Photography: Jaclyn Marie Photography | Florist: Flower Factory | Wedding Rings: Carolyn Sayre’s Fine Jewelry | Cakes: W.O.W. Cakes | Wedding Gown: Mon Cheri Bridal via “I Do” Bridal and Tux | Bridesmaids dresses: WToo via “I Do” Bridal and Tux | Tuxes: Jim’s Formalwear via “I Do” Bridal and Tux | Flowergirl Dresses: Fairy Wonderful | Jr. Bridesmaids dresses: Dillards | Hair/Makeup: MacKenzie Kuehn | Invites: Wedding Paper Divas | DJ: Makin’ Music

Gina holds a soft spot in my heart. I met this good soul of a person in December 2010 at the Making Things Happen workshop at Watercolor. Besides that workshop being one of my greatest experiences of 2010, it was also a spot where I met so many wonderful people. People who share the same feelings as I about weddings and marriage. Which should be not surprise as to why I love Gina so much.

And, she just so happens to be holding a fun giveaway, what she calls her “You + Me Giveaway.” In other words, a lifestyle shoot giveaway.

So, what’s this giveaway involve? Take it away, Gina:

You and Me can represent so many different types of relationships. You and your husband, your child, your puppy, your best friend, etc. The real authenticity of the plain words “You and Me” really make me happy, so what if I give away a session that captures just that…your version of You and Me.

Like I have mentioned before, it is so important to me to have a connection with who I photograph, so I want to get to know what your “You and Me” is all about. Tell me your “You and Me” story. I want you to explain what you think is important about your “you and me”? What do you cherish? What is unique? What do you and your “me” do for fun? It doesn’t have to be a novel, just tell me your story. Get creative. Have fun with it. Again, your “you and me” could be a number of things.

What do you need to do to enter the giveaway?:

  1. Your “You & Me” story. Emailed to Gina at gina at ginazeidler.com, please title “You and Me_(put your name here)”
  2. Along with a photo of your “You & Me” in the same email.
  3. Share this post at least once either with your friends via Facebook (Be sure and link to Gina Zeidler so that she can see your post! Like the page and Comment on her giveaway blog post to let me know you’ve posted) or on Twitter (again Be sure and link to this blog post and mention @GinaZeidler) Or both if you are that awesome.

The winner will receive a lifestyle session shot by Gina based on their “You and Me” story. She would love to shoot on Valentine’s day somehow, although it’s not a must (but it could totes be a fun date or gift to give someone). The deadline is January 21, 2012.

The Rules:

  1. Contestants must live in or travel to Minneapolis/St.Paul for the photo shoot OR if out of the area/state the winner would be responsible for travel.
  2. Event photography, Extended families, and large groups are excluded from this giveaway.
  3. All entries must be received by January 21st, 2012 at midnight.
  4. The session will be shot before May 1st, per the photographer’s schedule.
  5. The prize is non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash.
  6. This does not apply to a session that is already booked with Gina Zeidler.

I cannot help but love the balance of the majolica blue against the softer hues of the peach and burlap. Those secondary colors really help to warm up the blue.  Plus these colors are a great foundation for the addition of some sage greens or soft yellows.

row 1: White Loft Studio / Poppy Love Weddings via Wedding Chicks; Kate McPherson via Style Me PrettyBrea McDonald / Maine Seasons Events via Style Me Pretty; Punch Portland; Memento Designs via Intimate Weddings
row 2: The Nichols; True & Wesson; Jose Villa / Flowerwild Events & Weddings via Style Me Pretty; Kate Osborne via Style Me Pretty
row 3: Etsy; Martha Stewart Weddings; White Loft Studio / Poppy Love Weddings via Wedding Chicks; Google; Adrienne Maples via Style Me Pretty