St. Louis Wedding Celebrant: Autumn 2014

“And the seasons they go round and round.” – Joni Mitchell

Another wedding season winds down into a slower, late autumn rhythm.  This year the St. Louis area has seen more rain than most, but none of my outdoor wedding ceremonies were seriously compromised by rain. Wind? Yes. Cold? You betcha. But rain, cold, sunshine, or wind, all went forward, couples got married, and life goes on.

Couples who plan outdoor weddings at any time of year are taking a chance that the weather will turn against them. Of course, it does not actually turn against them. No need to take it personally. Weather is just doing what it does; that is, it changes and cannot be relied upon to be what you hope it might be for your plans on your big day. Of course, it might do exactly what you want. It could actually be gorgeous, just the right temperature, with a slightly warm breeze and the sun at just the right angle. But you cannot know for sure when you choose your date, place, and time. (For the record, one of my October 2014 couples, both of whom are meteorologists, chose to have their ceremony indoors.)

So, it’s not a great stretch to see a metaphor for married life here. Not only do long-term relationships go through many seasons together, but no matter how well we may make plans for life to go one way, something often comes along to send us in a different direction. Perhaps Wendell Berry had that in mind when he wrote the following:

“The meaning of marriage begins in the giving of words. We cannot join ourselves to one another without giving our word. And this must be an unconditional giving, for in joining ourselves to one another we join ourselves to the unknown.”

Joanna and Ryan, after their October ceremony at Overlook Farm, Clarksville

The unknown, indeed! Congratulations to my autumn couples, as you navigate the unknown together!

Married in St. Louis: Tower Grove Park

In 1868, Henry Shaw gifted land to the city of St. Louis which eventually became the 289 acre park we know as Tower Grove Park. Located on the near south side, it is home to over one million visitors a year who meet there for picnics, to play sports, to walk pets, to listen to concerts, and to shop at the Saturday farmers’ market. Oh yeah, you can get married there, too!

The favorite sites for weddings are The Music Stand, Piper Palm House, Stupp Center, and the Pool Pavilion. Occasionally, couples will use a smaller pavilion to have an informal ceremony and picnic reception. If you are looking for charm, history, character, and a unique setting for your wedding, check out the possibilities at one of my favorites, Tower Grove Park.

Thanks to Donnell Probst Photography for the great shot!

Rachel and Chris, wed on The Music Stand during a rainstorm

Married in St. Louis: Forest Park

Covering  1,371 acres of prime city real estate,  Forest Park is known as the “heart of St. Louis.”   And how could it not be?  Opened in 1876 and host to both the 1904 World’s Fair and some 1904 Olympic events, this jewel of a park contains something for everyone, including  The Missouri History Museum, The St. Louis Art Museum, the world class St. Louis Zoo, the Muny Opera, the St. Louis Science Center, and so much more.  One could easily spend a week’s vacation there taking advantage of its many attractions.

Whitney & Scott, with World's Fair Pavilion in background
For couples getting married, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.  Lots of St. Louis couples go to the park to pose for engagement and wedding photos.  But have you considered actually having your ceremony in the park?  It seems that every year since I began officiating at weddings in 2007, I hear from couples who have selected yet another exciting location at which to be married in Forest Park: The Jewel Box, the Zoo, the Muny, the Grand Basin, the World’s Fair Pavilion, the Visitors’ Center, Cabanne House, the Golf Course, etc.  So if you want the heart of your wedding day to take place in the heart of St. Louis, head on out to Forest Park!
(Thanks, AMKAR Photography, for the great shot!) 


Married in St. Louis: Carondelet Park

When it comes to performing wedding ceremonies, I will go almost anywhere in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. But I have to admit a certain ease with and even a preference for venues in the city. I suppose it has everything to do with the fact that, although I am not currently a resident of the city of St. Louis, I grew up in south city and I have spent most of my adult life as a resident. Today I want introduce you to Carondelet Park.
Located in the southernmost reaches of the city and containing nearly 180 acres, Carondelet Park is bound on the north by Holly Hills, south by Loughborough, east by I55, and west by Leona. The third largest park in the city of St. Louis, Carondelet Park has a long and rich history dating back to its founding in 1875. For those scouting for an outdoor wedding location, be sure to check out the Boathouse Pavilion overlooking Boat Lake. I have officiated at a number of ceremonies there and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience each time.

Graham Chapel Wedding: Allison & Christopher

They returned to where it all began. Allison and Chris chose to celebrate their marriage commitment to each other in the magnificent setting of Graham Chapel, on the Washington University campus where they met as undergrads.

Check it out: Allison is wearing a family heirloom wedding dress, originally created for her great-great Grandmother Nellie Campbell Shellito in 1884. She is the 5th bride in her family to wear Nellie’s wedding dress. May the good fortune and happiness of the preceding four marriages in which the dress was worn be bestowed upon Allison and Chris!

Butterfly House Wedding: Trisha & Justin

They found me on while looking for an officiant who would work with them in creating a ceremony that’s “…fun and represents who we are,” said Trisha when we first spoke. Her background is Catholic; his is Jewish, while both share an interest in Buddhist practices. I thoroughly enjoyed creating their ceremony with them and celebrating the joy they have found in one another with all who gathered yesterday morning outside the Butterfly House.

Congratulations, Justin and Trisha!

Winter Wedding: Jamie & Dan

Today’s crazy winter weather reminds me of Jamie and Dan’s recent wedding at The Conservatory in St. Charles
. We had freezing rain the night of the rehearsal, causing some members of the bridal party to take rooms nearby, rather than risk the slippery trip home. But on the night of their wedding, it was 20 something degrees outside, clear and cold. Inside the beautiful and heated tropical glass gardenhouse, all were warm and aglow with the joy and love of the newlyweds, captured so beautifully by Ryan Gladstone Photography

Congratulations, Jamie & Dan!

A Garden Wedding in Winter

If you want to have a lovely garden wedding in the St. Louis area any time of year, one of your best options can be found at The Conservatory in the Historic District on Main Street in St. Charles. The staff is friendly, courteous, and professional. And the surroundings are simply gorgeous! It is especially lovely to be warm and cozy inside surrounded by lush greenery, while the weather outside is doing its cold, wintry thing.

I took this picture just before a ceremony this past Saturday. For more photos and information on this charming wedding venue, see

Take Me Out to the … Wedding?

Recently I had the opportunity to officiate at a wedding at home plate in Busch Stadium. Now, it might not be the first place most people think of when considering options for wedding venues. But for two die-hard Cardinal fans, it can be the perfect place. The staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. And Fredbird even dressed for the occasion in a white jacket!

For more information, go to
Scroll down the page and click on “nonbaseball events,” then click on “weddings.”

Now, that’s a winner!

Tower Grove Park Wedding: Emily & Edis

I met Emily and Edis in late August after their original church wedding plans had fallen through. They were a little concerned, with less than two months to go, that everything could still come together for their October 2 wedding. But with a lot of hard work on everyone’s part, their ceremony at Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park was just beautiful.
As you check out the photo from that day, notice the most nontraditional aspect of their wedding: no bridesmaids!

Congratulations, Emily & Edis!

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