A Sophisticated Glam Wedding at The Grand Hall at Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri

Amanda Caracci (24 and a graphic designer) and Joseph (Joe) Starke (24 and an accountant) met in high school science class during their freshmen year.

Amanda Caracci (24 and a graphic designer) and Joseph (Joe) Starke (24 and an accountant) met in high school science class during their freshmen year. They realized they had chemistry and started dating their sophomore year. Amanda admits she’d been thinking about her wedding day since she was a little girl, and over the years, the basic vision stayed the same. She wanted to get married at the open-air World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. “It has some of the most incredible views,” she says, adding that she liked the location close to downtown St. Louis, which made it convenient for out-of-town guests. Amanda designed the wedding invitations herself, setting the tone for a “garden glam” theme at the pavilion. Ceremony elements included flowing white and sheer fabric as decor, flowing pink bridesmaid dresses, Amanda in a layered princess-style gown, a sparkly chandelier at the altar, and a local quartet performing the couple’s favorite Broadway hits. Instead of having a unity ceremony with sand or a candle, Amanda and Joe mixed colorful glass pieces together, which was later melted down into a sculpture and Christmas ornament. “It was really cool and different—just what we were looking for,” Amanda says. The glam garden feel of the ceremony was carried into the site of the reception, the Grand Hall at Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri, through white, blush, dusty rose, burgundy, gold and a touch of silver. “We used a lot of the more vibrant colors at the reception,” Amanda says. “In the end, I could not have been any happier with the result.” A secondary theme of the celebration was food, evident in the five passed appetizers during the cocktail hour (guests raved about the candied bacon on a stick),   late-night snacks of Lombardo’s toasted ravioli (Amanda’s favorite), Gus’s Pretzels (Joe’s favorite), White Castle sliders and favors of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Oberweis milk. “It was important to us that everyone tasted a little bit of our favorite things,” Amanda says. The local band Lost Wax added a fun element to the celebration. “They truly made our reception complete.” Another thing that made their wedding complete was Amanda’s outlook: She let go of her “total perfectionist” tendencies and didn’t sweat the small stuff. “The only thing that mattered that day was that I was getting married to my best friend, and we were surrounded by those that love us.” —Chrissy Sorenson

Amanda chose the halo style from one ring and band from the other, then went to the Diamond Shop, where they created a custom cushion-cut diamond ring.
Amanda, a graphic designer by trade, designed their invitation suite, incorporating her own hand lettering on the printed pieces. “It was so fun to add my personal touch to the day and see my vision come to life,” she says.
Upon checking into the hotel, out-of-town guests were welcomed with a St. Louis-themed goodie bag including a thank-you note, two bottles of Fitz’s soda, a slice of Ann & Allen Gooey Butter Cake, a bag of Billy Goat Chips, St. Louis skyline chocolates from Dad’s Cookie Company and travel guides.
Amanda designed fun “shh” door hangers for out-of-town guests staying overnight at hotels, “just in case they partied into the wee hours of the morning,” she says.
The florist had creative freedom to work her magic. The result? A pretty, soft, romantic bouquet of summer blooms in pink, white and red shades.
“As soon as I put on that dress, I knew it was the one,” Amanda says. She describes the ivory princess gown with a horsehair braid skirt and layers of tulle as “a piece of art in itself.” She customized the look with a belt, coordinated the veil and shoes with the skirt and kept her jewelry minimal and simple.
Amanda wanted her eight bridesmaids to look similar yet different. She selected a dress with a convertible top, so they could choose how to wear it. “They all have their own personalities," she says. "I wanted that to be reflected.” The 10 groomsmen, two ushers, fathers and Amanda's grandfather all wore a dark charcoal suit. “The suit we found was on sale for less than it was to rent a suit or a tux. It was a no-brainer,” Amanda says. “We wanted them to get more use out of it than just one day.”
A DIY guest book included a wooden cutout of "06.11.16" for guests to sign before the ceremony. There were also wooden fans and water bottles set out for guests. “Of course, it just happened to be the hottest day of the year for our outdoor ceremony,” Amanda says.
With the pavilion at the top of a hill, Amanda hoped a slight breeze would “react beautifully” with the white and sheer fabric decorating the ceremony space at the World’s Fair Pavilion in St. Louis, Missouri.
The ring bearer wore a sign reading, “Don't worry, ladies. I'm still single.”
The glam aspect of the day shined through at the Grand Hall at Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri, with a sweeping archway and 65-foot ceiling, fresco and gold-leaf details, mosaics and art glass windows. Square tables were decorated with textured, shimmery linens, and the centerpieces were of varying sizes and styles.
Tablescapes varied between large floral arrangements, several smaller floral arrangements and a gorgeous crystal candelabra, and staggering crystal candleholders with a single small floral arrangement. Menu cards were placed on gold chargers, and table numbers were set on small mirrors.
“To tie in the garden part of the theme, we completed each setting with a piece of greenery and a gold-painted wooden laser-cut name for each guest to take home,” Amanda says.
When Amanda and Joe tried the cake at the tasting, they couldn’t narrow the choices to one or two flavors, so they chose six: peanut buttercup, caramel banana, lemon, strawberry shortcake, salted caramel vanilla, and cookies and cream. “Since we had so many flavors, we needed multiple cakes, which worked perfectly since I couldn’t decide on a single cake design. There were different sizes and heights,” Amanda says. “I was so incredibly happy with our display. Sometimes I think my mom likes the picture of our cakes more than any other picture.”
Before Amanda flew to Italy for a study-abroad program–the longest amount of time the couple had ever been apart—Joe told her to listen to Brantley Gilbert’s “My Kind of Crazy,” saying it perfectly summed up their relationship. “Once I listened to it, I was a crying and laughing mess on the plane,” Amanda says. “It really did seem like the song was written for us.” It seemed only fitting that it would be the first song they danced to as a married couple.