A Red and White Wedding at the Four Seasons in St. Louis, Missouri

Nicole Shen (28 and an internal medicine resident physician) and Dan Mills (31 and a director of new business) met through a common friend on the July

Nicole Shen (28 and an internal medicine resident physician) and Dan Mills (31 and a director of new business) met through a common friend on the July 4, and it was obvious pretty quickly that there was a connecdtion. Dan had just moved from Cincinnati to St. Louis, and Nicole was home for the summer before her first year of medical school. Not surprisingly, July 4 had a special meaning in their relationship. So when they got engaged, a wedding on the holiday seemed like a natural choice. The couple got married at St. Anselm Parish in St. Louis, Missouri, the church of Nicole’s youth and where her parents were married. “The design is stunning,” Dan says. After the ceremony, guests were shuttled to the Four Seasons in St. Louis—so guests could enjoy a fireworks show from a balcony overlooking the St. Louis Arch, complete with a private terrace. “The hotel is spectacular,” Nicole says. Guests gathered in the foyer of the ballroom for the red signature drink, the Mills Masterpiece (rum, sweet and sour, grenadine, triple sec and cherry garnish), then moved to the ballroom—complete with elaborate centerpieces of red roses, a custom red dance floor, red lighting—for a three-course meal, including a seven-tier cake, and dancing. At the end of the evening, the wedding planner surprised Nicole and Dan with sparklers, and the couple surprised guests with a fireworks display. Nicole recommends that couples unwind with a massage before the wedding day, then on the day, spend time taking it all in. “There is a lot of love all around you that day,” she says. —Chrissy Sorenson

When meeting with the invitation designer, Nicole and Dan expressed their love of architecture and art deco, and Ceci New York ran with it. The invitation became one of the foundational design elements used by the planner in creating their overall wedding vision. According to Dan, “The graphic that was created had the St. Louis Arch in such a subtle way that it looked very much like just an art deco design. This graphic was then carried throughout—first to the cake, then to the lighting, the menus and the dance floor.”
When Nicole looked at flower options, she didn’t feel excited until she stumbled across a sparkly brooch bouquet on Etsy. “It was full of sparkle and old jewels,” Nicole says. “I immediately knew it was the one.”
The matron of honor’s mother gave Nicole solid advice before she went dress shopping: Go through wedding magazines and decide your style before trying on dresses. That way, you'll know beforehand what you like and won't get lost in others' opinions.
The groomsmen wore dark gray suits, red ties, pocket squares and tie clips. Nicole gifted the groom black velvet slippers as well.
In China, the bride traditionally wears red. Nicole tried to incorporate the color in other ways, including silk robes from China as bridesmaid gifts and red bridesmaid dresses. The color “symbolizes good luck, love, prosperity and happiness,” she says.
With eight bridesmaids in all shapes and sizes, it was important to Nicole to find a  dress style that flattered everyone. After looking at two boutiques in New York, the maid of honor discovered the perfect dress at David’s Bridal. The bridesmaids carried white bouquets of hydrangeas, dahlias and roses.
The couple got married at St. Anselm Parish in St. Louis, Missouri, where Nicole's parents were married. “The design is stunning,” Dan says.
Guests found their table assignments at a glamorous round table, complete with a sparkly silver linen and vertical arrangement of red roses.
A custom red dance floor was installed to elevate the use of red throughout the room at the Four Seasons in St. Louis, Missouri.  Additionally, mirrors and candles were incorporated.
Neutral linens helped emphasize the red floral centerpieces, displayed in boxes.
Centerpieces consisted of red hanging amaranthus, red roses, red spray roses, red leucodendron, red cymbid orchids, red makara orchids and more.
Getting married on the July 4 gave Nicole and Dan the perfect excuse to surprise their guests with a fireworks display.
Nicole wanted a big cake. The couple served a beautiful seven-tier creation with a custom design inspired by the stationery.
Nicole and Dan’s first dance was to Sam Smith’s acoustic version of “Latch.” “The timelessness of the lyrics and the elegance of the composition are a perfect balance,” Nicole says. “Reflective of perpetual union.”