Get the Look
Photographer: Kinsey Mhire Photography Ceremony & Reception Venue: Santa Fe Commons Park Wedding Coordinator: Grace Swanson Gown: David’s Bridal Menswear: H&M & ASOS Hair: Beauty Brands Makeup: Lisa Wiles Catering: Salt Catering Strings: Innocenti Strings DJ: Brian Rogers DJ Cake: Heather Nolan Invitations: Hammerpress Rentals: All Seasons Event Rental
Parker & Alexa’s Love Story
Our story could have begun the first day of kindergarten when we officially met, but Parker stayed far too busy during the following 17 years building potato cannons, and my nose was too stuck in a book to see three feet in front of me. Instead we had our first real conversation when we ran into each other at our home church in Kansas City. Parker was just moving home from Barcelona, and I was living in Chicago finishing my last semester of undergrad.
During the next visit, we grabbed a drink. I learned all about this passionate, soccer playing, Spanish-speaking, preschool teacher who is unafraid to grow and change. At that point we had a conversation about seriously pursuing a long-distance relationship, but we were taking a gamble as I was planning for a year in Peru just a few short months away.
I didn’t get on the plane to Peru. I rebooked my ticket a handful of times, finding reason after reason to stay stateside longer. Parker and I flew/drove/bussed/train-ed back and forth every few weeks to see each other and spent the most sleep-deprived season of our lives talking on the phone until 4:00 am. Ten months had passed since that summer. I was sulky that Parker had been acting so strangely over the past two weeks. I recounted my woes to a good friend as we walked around the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago. As she consoled me about my phone-flaky boyfriend, she turned me down a stone path by the lily pond. There stood my boyfriend at the top of the steps, grinning slyly with his hand hidden behind his back. I forgot my friend was there as I walked up the stone stairs. I said yes.
I truly thought that we were the only ones in the park until I heard cheering coming from the bushes. One by one, my mom, sister, pastor, roommates, and friends shook off the leaves and came out to hug me as I let mascara run down my face on the 90-degree Chicago day. It was June 28th, 2014, when Parker slipped his great grandmother’s engagement ring on my finger.
The following week I moved back to Kansas City. The 14 weeks between the proposal and our wedding were incredibly hectic and fun. We wanted our wedding to represent what we value in our marriage, not just a beautiful party. It had to communicate that we see our marriage as truly ordained by God, and that we are here to love and affirm others, even on our day. We would not succumb to materialism in the name of elegance; instead, we would choose décor to create a warm, cheery atmosphere during our breezy evening wedding in a public park. We would go local on everything possible. We would consider what our parents preferred, but ultimately the celebration of our marriage would look like us.
When the big day came, we hung lanterns from a tree and set up simple wooden chairs. Friends coordinated a vintage leather-bound notebook with signatures and Polaroids of our guests as they arrived. I walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of “Amsterdam” by Gregory Alan Isakov simply because it is lovely. A close friend officiated our ceremony, and two friends hummed a cappella “Amsterdam” as we exchanged vows.
The reception dinner tables were situated as a box around the dance floor to make everyone an insider. On top of the tables set unique floral arrangements that Parker’s mother and aunt had created in their family living room, and the vases lined on top beautiful reclaimed wood runners.
Our family surprised us with Shatto milk in glass bottles to accompany the cake, and we surprised everyone with a Spanish-hit bachata number as our first dance under the swinging lights.
The Groom’s Favorite Part of the Day
Parker pauses every time someone asks about his favorite part of the day. “Everything” is the usual answer, since isolating one wedding moment is akin to eating only one layer out of piece of tiramisu; it has no special flavor out of context. Instead, he says that his favorite part is that we experienced the entire day together. From our “first look” photos to the sparkler sendoff that night, we only spent the half hour before the ceremony apart. There was no built-up nervousness because we had quiet conversations throughout the day and stayed in the moment together. The day is a shared memory of being by each other’s side.
The Bride’s Favorite Part of the Day
The sweetest moment, which was a favorite moment for the both of us, was the toasts. It was the first time either of us fell to tears that day, simply hearing the encouragement and support of family and friends. It was a beautiful night to celebrate love and commitment and the support of a community.