A Black and Gold Wedding at the Caramel Room at Bissinger's in St. Louis, Missouri

When Whitley Lukes (27 and a customer service associate) and Carlo DiCarlo (28 and an aircraft dispatcher) changed their wedding vision from gray and

When Whitley Lukes (27 and a customer service associate) and Carlo DiCarlo (28 and an aircraft dispatcher) changed their wedding vision from gray and coral to black and gold, everything fell into place. “It was just the touch I was looking for,” Whitley says of the new color scheme. They found the Caramel Room at Bissinger's in St. Louis, Missouri, for their reception. Whitely started visiting Hobby Lobby regularly for wedding decor (anything gold and pretty that was on sale). She purchased gold vases, Eiffel Tower figurines (they got engaged in Paris), metal letters and signs, then trusted her family to execute her vision. The morning of the wedding, Whitley and Carlo got ready at hotels in downtown St. Louis without a first look. Whitley was walking down the aisle at St. Cecilia Catholic Church (the same church where Carlo's parents were married), which was decorated in simple black lanterns and two all-white floral arrangements. After a full Catholic Mass, the newly married couple moved to the Caramel Room at Bissinger's for a classy black and gold reception, complete with gold sequin (for the couple) and black (for the guests) tablecloths, gold vases and white flowers. Because the reception was at a candy factory, guests also enjoy chocolate-infused martinis. Whitley and Carlo served antipasto, mushrooms with truffle mayonnaise, and peppered beef bites for hors d’oeuvres; salad, pasta, bread, provolone-stuffed chicken, roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables for dinner; and handmade Italian cookies baked by Carlo's aunt and cake with red velvet and cream cheese icing and butter cake with raspberry jam and buttercream icing for dessert. “It was an amazing dinner,” Whitley says. During the first dances, all the women in Carlo’s family surrounded him and his mom, finishing the dance with them. At the end of the evening, after a massive dance party, the couple posed for photos on the rooftop, next to the Bissinger’s sign. Whitley's advice for other couples is to invest in areas that mean the most to you. It might mean working overtime or skimping in other ways, but sometimes you have to be “brave enough to bite the bullet” and say yes to the things you really want. With help from family, some creative budgeting and a few DIY projects, “we had a dream wedding,” she says. “I’m so happy we made the choices we did.” —Chrissy Sorenson

Whitley, who has a degree in graphic design, created the simple and sophisticated invitation suite.
The bridesmaids found their gold gowns at the same bridal boutique that had been so successful for Whitley. The groomsmen wore black tuxes, white shirts and slim ties from Men’s Wearhouse. The groom wore a black bow tie to stand out from the groomsmen.
For the ceremony decor at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in St. Louis, Missouri, Whitley and Carlo added only black lanterns on both sides of the aisle, a gold welcome sign and two floral arrangements outside.
The ceremony site, St. Cecilia Catholic Church, was the same church Carlo’s parents (and a few aunts and uncles) were married. “There was never any question” that they’d tie the knot there too, Whitley says.
Whitley walked down the aisle to the traditional “Canon in D Major” for the full Catholic Mass ceremony.
Whitley went with all-white flowers with a touch of greenery for the centerpieces at the Caramel Room at Bissinger's in St. Louis, Missouri. “I was open to any suggestions," she says. "I didn’t care what type of flower was used as long as it was white.” The result? A mix of peonies, roses, hydrangeas, ranunculus, baby’s breath and lisianthus. She gave her florist creative freedom, and “I was blown away by how beautiful the floral arrangements turned out.”
Whitley started with Pinterest before dress shopping, pinning styles she thought she’d like, then tracking down the shops where she could find those gowns. After trying on the type of dress she thought she’d love (but didn’t), her consultant asked if she could make a suggestion. “I was happy to oblige,” Whitley says. “She left and came back with my dress. It fit me perfectly. I was done looking.” It was a white strapless fit-and-flare with a sweetheart neckline and subtle sparkle. The consultant helped her select a beaded belt and a beautiful veil, and she later found a pair of gold sparkly flats to complete her look.
When shopping for venues, Whitley and Carlo wanted a reception hall with a large enough space for a sit-down meal, an elaborate bar and a classy, elegant feel. “The Caramel Room was the last venue we toured,” Whitley says. “As soon as we walked in, we were in love.” They were impressed with the granite bar, outdoor rooftop area and glamorous chandeliers.
Three floral arrangements in different sizes created the reception centerpieces. Certain vases were spray-painted in gold to match the color scheme.
One way the couple personalized their celebration was through koozies and bar napkins. They also gave out Italian bombonieres, with five Jordan almonds ("confetti" in Italian): symbolizing health, wealth, happiness, fertility and a long life.
The three-tier cake was decorated in vanilla buttercream rosettes, ribbons, candy pearls and 24K gold leafing. Whitley and Carlo saved money by ordering a smaller-tier main wedding cake and serving guests sheet cake. As a fun element, the platter the cake was on was suspended from the ceiling.
Whitley and Carlo’s first dance was to “A Thousand Years, Pt. 2” by Christina Perri and Steve Kazee.