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plan a modern wedding in the middle of the country

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


  1. What an amazing couple, and such beautiful photography. The Parsons are some of the best storytellers out there, I think.

  2. Stunning photos. The emotions captured are incredible and I love all the getting ready shots. It’s so real. What a beautiful couple–and family! Can their daughter be any cuter?!

  3. naomi
    2:57 pm on January 29th, 2012

    I loved these pictures and a few of them got me all teary eyed. It’s amazing how an image can cause you to feel exactly what the person felt just. There is an image with the bride’s hand on the back of her husbands head…I think every bride knows that feeling.