Friends and family say that Megan McCarthy Strout and Ryan Emerson Maher were meant to be together—even if their paths often seemed to lead them apart.
The couple met during their senior year of high school, but attended different colleges; she went to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire while he chose Colby College in Maine. Romance blossomed despite the distance, which only strengthened their commitment to one another.
But after graduation, Megan headed to Columbus, Ohio, to begin her career at the corporate headquarters of Abercrombie & Fitch. Ryan, in the meantime, earned the rank of captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Before deploying to Afghanistan, he promised his grandmother that he would ask Megan to marry him upon his return.
Once safely home, it wasn’t long before he surprised Megan with a ring. The proposal took place on vacation to Naples, Fla., beneath the shady branches of an oak tree planted in memory of Ryan's grandfather.
It was a fitting location, since the oak is a universal symbol of strength and endurance—the very qualities that define the couple’s long (and sometimes long-distance) courtship. Consequently, the oak became a motif recurring in their invitations, decorations and guest programs.
Since she was a little girl, Megan dreamed of a fall wedding—and that dream came true on a balmy Oct. 6 at Our Lady of the Pillar Church. Fr. Gregory Mohrman of St. Louis Priory officiated with Megan’s uncle, Deacon Thomas McCarthy, administering the vows.
Megan’s bouquet included twigs from that highly significant Naples oak tree, and was wrapped in lace from her mother’s wedding gown. She also wore a necklace passed down through three generations of her family’s brides.
For her attendants, Megan chose a friend from each stage of her life: grade school and high school, college and post-college. Ryan's brother, Kevin Maher Jr., served as best man. The reception was held at Bellerive Country Club, where the couple entered under a canopy of military sabers and cut the first slice of wedding cake with Ryan’s Mameluke Marine Corps sword. The ceremony culminated in a stunning fireworks display—Ryan’s gift to Megan and their guests.
The newlyweds honeymooned at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, where their itinerary included scuba diving, golf and watching the sunrise atop a volcano. Ryan, who is well-versed in military history, served as Megan’s personal tour guide during a visit to Pearl Harbor.
Today, they are happy to be settled in their hometown of St. Louis, where Megan is a brand manager for Nature’s Variety pet food, and Ryan pursues an MBA at Washington University.
The Date – Oct. 6, 2012
The Bride – Megan McCarthy Strout
The Groom – Ryan Emerson Maher
The Bride’s Parents – Ann McCarthy & Joseph Strout
The Groom’s Parents – Mr. & Mrs. Kevin Maher Sr.
The Ceremony – Our Lady of the Pillar
The Reception – Bellerive Country Club
The Wedding Dress – Augusta Jones
The Rings – family heirlooms
The Florist – Ken Miesner
The Cake – Encore Baking
The Band – Groovethang
The Photographer – Josephine Havlak
The Transportation – Best Transportation, Tropiano Transportation, Vandalia Bus Lines
The Wedding Planner – Barbara Hoover