Both born and raised in St. Louis, Emily Naegeli and Conner Keefe were introduced by Emily’s good friend from high school, Emily Kossman, who happened to be one of Conner’s neighbors from childhood. Both were headed to Indiana University and were lucky enough to begin their college career knowing they already had a friend on campus. They became close friends and, ultimately, a couple.

After college, Conner and Emily moved to Baltimore in April 2014, and one night, while out on a walk with their dog, Jameson, around picturesque Federal Hill Park, Conner got down on one knee next to Jameson and popped the big question. That night, the couple began talking about their wedding day, both immediately agreeing on a winter wedding. “I think ultimately the reason we both wanted winter is because it’s our dog’s favorite season – not surprising, as she looks like a polar bear,” Emily says. As it turns out, one of their favorite parts of their wedding day was taking pictures with Jameson in the snow on the golf course.

The couple did most of their planning while living in Baltimore, relying heavily on Cosmopolitan Events to bring their vision to life. Their families also collaborated with the couple heavily on the event. “One night, our family had a cake-tasting party for us and tried upwards of seven different cakes as a group and reported back!” Emily recalls.

For their big day in January 2016, the couple wanted a classic feel that was still unique to them – Emily was the fifth generation of her family to be married at St. Ambrose on the Hill in St. Louis, taking the same signature picture Emily’s grandparents and great-grandparents took in front of the church doors.

The bride wore a crew neck, double-faced silk gown with subtle cutouts by Rivini, which she happened upon during a trunk show at Fleur de Lis bridal boutique in Clayton. “One of my favorite accessories was my veil, which was cathedral length, with a blusher,” Emily recalls. “When I pulled the blusher down right before I walked down the aisle, I really felt like a bride.” The wedding party was a mix of high-school friends, college friends and family. Bridesmaids carried bright pink bouquets, a colorful contrast to their navy Alfred Sung gowns. “Finding bright pink flowers in January, especially peonies, was not easy and wouldn’t have been possible without Bloomin’ Buckets,” Emily says.

The groomsmen wore Ralph Lauren bow ties in tartan green – the groom’s favorite color – with navy suits and found themselves hitting a snag as they were preparing for the wedding. “Apparently, as they were getting dressed shortly before the wedding, they realized no one knew how to tie them,” Emily says. “After giving up on watching YouTube videos trying to learn, they ended up having to run across the street and have a bridesmaid’s dad, who happened to live across the street, tie them.”

The Landolfi Quartet provided both classic and modern music for the ceremony – the bridal party walked down the aisle to “Clair de Lune,” while the bride entered to “Yellow” by Coldplay. Their recessional was to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles – avid Beatles fans, the couple’s first dance was also a Fab Four hit, “Here, There and Everywhere.”

Conner grew up visiting Greenbriar Hills Country Club, which was the venue they chose for their reception. Conner wanted outside space, even with a winter wedding, so finding a way to have a tent and fireplace as part of the reception space was key; the reception was half inside, half outside on a sunny, 47-degree January day, so even with a layer of snow on the ground, the temperature was perfect. The groom works for a wine company, so serving wine that matched the event and paired well with the food was an important part of the evening. “We put a lot of time and thought into those selections and brought in some of our own wine so our guests could experience some of our favorites,” Emily says.

For the overall décor, the couple wanted an intimate, winter-lodge feel – a warm, roaring fire met guests as they entered the cocktail hour, and the reception space was candlelit. The head table, with navy- and white-striped tablecloths and bright pink bouquets, was adorned with custom china from St. Louis-based Sasha Nicholas and a porcelain ice bucket the couple had received as bridal shower gifts. “We also had these pieces inscribed with messages from loved ones, so it really meant a lot to have them at the head table,” Emily says.

The couple kept their winter theme and honeymooned at the Carriage House in Kohler, Wisconsin. Emily and Conner currently reside in Chicago.

THE DATE: Jan. 23, 2016

THE BRIDE: Emily Naegeli

THE GROOM: Conner Keefe

THE BRIDE’S PARENTS: Edward and Kelli Naegeli

THE BRIDE’S GRANDPARENTS: Donald and Louise Naegeli and Nolan and Bertha Wease

THE GROOM’S PARENTS: Michael and Karen Keefe

THE GROOM’S GRANDPARENTS: Richard and Patricia Keefe and Roy and Lois Rhoades

THE MATRON AND MAID OF HONOR: Megan Dixon and Angie Kling

THE BEST MAN: R.T. Jones

THE BRIDESMAIDS: Emily Kossman, Katie Eaton, Colleen Murphy, Shannon Sieck, Emily Nelson, Lauren Kaiser

THE GROOMSMEN: Tim Olivos, Aaron Phillips, Greg Stern, Chris Dixon, Luke Naegeli, Ryan Keefe, Corey Kossman

THE OFFICIANT: Rev. Ralph Siefert

THE CEREMONY: St. Ambrose on the Hill

THE RECEPTION: Greenbriar Hills Country Club

THE WEDDING DRESS: Rivini

THE MAKEUP: Danielle Erb, Danielle Style

THE HAIR: Danielle Erb, Danielle Style

THE BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Alfred Sung

THE RINGS: Tory Burch

THE FLORIST: Bloomin’ Buckets

THE CAKE: The Cakery, petits fours from Federhofer’s Bakery

THE BAND (MUSIC): Ceremony, Landolfi Quartet; reception, Rockstar DJs

THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Clary Pfeiffer Photography

THE INVITATIONS: All She Wrote

THE WEDDING PLANNER: Cosmopolitan Events

Denise is a contributing writer at Ladue News. She is a Chicago native, wife to Vince, mama to two and Chicago magazine dining team alum. She hopes to one day live in a world where semicolons are used responsibly.

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