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 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