When working with brides- and grooms-to-be, Kate Turner, founder of Kate & Company, says her first priority is to give each couple a wedding that reflects their taste and personality. “The places that we work out of are often quintessential hotels, but we don’t want the guests to walk in and say, This is really pretty…but it’s just like the last time I was here,” she says. “We want it to be reflective of who they are.”
And it’s possible to do that without being kitschy or cheesy, Turner notes. A formal affair can include personalized or whimsical touches just as easily as a more casual reception. For example, Turner’s own wedding took place over Thanksgiving weekend last year; and while it was a black-tie event, small touches incorporated the season’s spirit, along with the couple’s love for baseball. “We mailed foam fingers as our save-the-dates; and our invitation was really formal, but we used a small gold-foil turkey to bring in the fact that it was Thanksgiving,” she says. To tie in the baseball theme at the event, all of the guests waved rally towels to welcome the wedding party at the reception, she adds.
Turner sees more couples gravitating toward formal affairs in late 2014 and coming up in 2015, as opposed to the more casual winery-based receptions that were popular in 2013. “That doesn’t mean you have to be formal and stuffy,” she notes. “You can be elegant, while having playful, whimsical pops that are relatable to the guests and unique to the bride and groom.”
To bring in touches that really reflect the couple, Turner and her staff spend a lot of time getting to know them and going over planning questionnaires, she says. “The more time you spend with someone—whether it’s family or friends, or in this case our clients—the more you get to know the little things.” She adds, “Anyone on my staff could tell you where any of our clients met, their favorite colors, their favorite foods and a number of other things, because all of us spend a significant amount of time getting to know those things to make them a part of the couple’s big day.”
One recent wedding the team worked on was for a couple who were both marine biologists. “They were very green-friendly, and challenged us with a very modern venue,” Turner says. “Our design team worked on something that was a mix of formal and rustic, incorporating navy and green, because of the family’s Irish heritage, which is very near and dear to their heart.” The place settings included placemats with a modern feel, layered with rustic patterns, and centerpieces made from 4-foot birch logs with the couple’s initials carved in them. Items from the linens to the food were locally sourced to reduce the event’s carbon footprint, she adds. The chef incorporated spices and vegetables from the brother-of-the-bride’s farm. The invitations also had a personal touch, as they were made from a unique artwork created by the bride’s brother, Turner says.
On the other end of the spectrum, a late-spring wedding Kate & Company is working on will take place at Busch Stadium, Turner says. The couple wanted to incorporate baseball elements, without being too overtly Cardinals-themed, she says. The bridesmaids will carry colorful 14-inch pinwheels instead of flowers, while the groomsmen will wear pinwheel boutonnieres. The theme will be carried over to the reception with pinwheels of varying sizes in the centerpieces, which will tie into other vintage memorabilia that the couple enjoys.
“My philosophy is, It’s not our wedding—it’s yours,” Turner says. “The best advice I can give a bride is, if you hire a professional, really trust them. Just because I had a formal wedding doesn’t mean I necessarily want you to have a formal wedding. We want to understand the bride and groom—and the things they love—to design a day that is theirs.”
On the Cover: Kate & Company designs weddings, events and proposals. For more information, call 909-9996 or visit kateancollc.com. Cover photo by Amy Meyerott Photography.