The Kids Stole the Show at This Formal Micro Wedding in St. Louis
Francesca Vangel and Pat Maroon had known each other since they were teens growing up in St. Louis, but it wasn't until 2013 that sparks finally flew. The NHL hockey player was in Tennessee for an out-of-state match when he saw, via social media, that Francesca and a friend were also in town. "He invited us to his game, and that night, our relationship really blossomed," Francesca explains. "We have been together ever since!" A proposal followed four years later—and a three-year engagement ensued.
"Initially I thought we would do something big, and felt pressure to do so," says the bride of the early process. "Yet, every time I thought to start the planning, I felt instantly overwhelmed and it was easy to push it off." When her dear grandfather passed away in July 2020, Francesca was reminded that family was paramount. "We made that the focus moving forward and chose to start the celebration without another day to spare," she says.
Ultimately, though, this proved challenging: Planning a wedding during a pandemic forced the couple to understand that many of their loved ones would not be able to join them on the big day. However, once the couple moved past that fact, everything came together. "Coming from an Italian family, it was all about hospitality," says the bride of their final vision. "We wanted it to feel like an intimate personal space that was comforting and inviting." The Four Seasons Hotel, Saint Louis offered a reception site that beautifully fit the bill—and, better yet, the couple felt the venue best embodied their beloved hometown. "It had an amazing view of the skyline featuring the famous arch, and when we see those buildings and views, it just feels like home," Francesca explains. As for the ceremony locale? The bride's family has a deep history with St. Ambrose Catholic Church, so it made perfect sense for the couple to wed there. "My grandparents were married in the same church, and Msgr. Bommarito baptized me," says Francesca, who was thrilled to secure the priest as their wedding officiant.
The details of the small reception that followed were intentional: Butterflies, which hold meaning for the bride, were sprinkled throughout as a subtle motif. Family photographs were integrated into the décor, as well, and the phrase "Our Cup Runneth Over" was referenced as a nod to the groom's pair of Stanley Cup trophies. Above all, the couple embraced the intimacy of their event and recommend that other couples do the same. "Really do what you envision for yourself," encourages the bride. "Don't worry about the expectations of others or disappointing anyone else. Trust yourself and your team. It will end up working out in your favor."
Their stationery suite was created by Alicia Lantzy of On Three Designs; the set emphasized the duo's strong ties to their hometown and the bride's penchant for butterflies. The invitation itself was letterpress printed and featured a delicate critter motif, as well as a personalized gold wax seal with a modern monogram crest. A die-cut insert card in dusty rose displayed a custom sketch of the St. Louis arch.
Elegant with an Edge
The highlight of Francesca's custom Mira Zwillinger wedding dress was the fabric's stunning three-dimensional appliqués. A mostly open back added some edge. "I'm kind of a tomboy— I don't have a ton of dresses," says the bride. "Once I found my gown, I could envision myself in it and was really ready to get going!"
Crystals sparkled on the straps of Francesca's closed-toe Jimmy Choo heels.
A Little Assistance
Pat's son Anthony gave his father a sweet helping hand as the groom donned a classic, custom-made tuxedo.
A lush cascade of pristine white orchids and magnolia blossoms composed the bride's dramatic bouquet.
Pat took a moment before the ceremony to read a wedding-day message of love from his bride.
A trio of flower girls held pretty posies that matched their floral crowns; they led the way during the processional at St. Ambrose Catholic Church.
At First Glance
Pat and Anthony were equally emotional as they got their first look of Francesca walking down the aisle to "Can't Help Falling in Love," covered by Kinna Granas. "Walking down the aisle. Seeing each other for the first time. Being given away. These were some of the most memorable moments of the day," reflects the bride.
The church's spectacular sanctuary features soaring ceilings, marble columns, and magnificent stained-glass windows, so the duo "kept the ceremony décor quite simple, with only two arrangements at the altar," says the bride. "The church is beautiful, historic, and spoke for itself."
Francesca and Anthony were wed in a formal Catholic nuptial mass, exchanging traditional vows and taking part in time-honored matrimonial rites.
Sealed with a Kiss
At the end of the service, they sealed their union with a kiss.
Framed vintage photographs of past family weddings from both sides decorated bookshelves in the reception space. "This was a tribute to many of our loved ones who had passed away and those in the family that married before us," Francesca explains.
Fabulous Focal Point
"Given that the reception was small and intimate, we went all in on the table and focused on the gathering," says Francesca. Taper candles flickered among masses of blooms that topped creamy linens, and each chair featured a decadent throw blanket tied with silk ribbon.
The table's magnificent runner of color-blocked flowers draped dramatically to the floor on each side.
Precise Place Settings
China plates with a colorful butterfly motif were topped with personal notes from the couple; they were labeled on the front with the phrase "Our Cup Runneth Over." Menus were rolled into scrolls and accented with emerald ribbons.
Tiers of Joy
The couple's three-tiered wedding cake from The Cakery Bakery featured a cascade of fresh flowers dotted with delicate silk butterflies.
An impressive replica of the Stanley Cup—which Pat has the distinction of winning two years in a row on separate teams—served as the couple's groom's cake.
Taking a Twirl
Francesca and Pat took to the dance floor to a sentimental choice: "Rumor" by Florida Georgia Line. "The words to the song resonate with us," says Francesca. "Pat absolutely loves country, but this is a song we have always both loved."
Photography, Mike Cassimatis Photography
Ceremony Venue, Saint Ambrose Catholic Church
Reception Venue and Catering, Four Seasons Hotel, Saint Louis
Wedding Planning, Jill Perez and Kimmy Klipsch of Kate + Company
Event Design, Jill Perez of Kate + Company
Event Production, Kimmy Klipsch of Kate + Company
Flowers, Festive Couture Floral
Invitations and Stationery, On Three Designs
Officiant, Monsignor Bommarito
Bride's Gown and Veil, Mira Zwillinger
Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair and Makeup, DanielleStyle
Music, Charles Glenn Band (reception) of Contemporary Productions; Alex Ruwe (after-party) for Contemporary Productions
Cakes, The Cakery Bakery
Rentals, The Aries Company; BBJ Linen; Decorum Events
Transportation, JED Transportation