A Whimsical, Shabby-Chic Wedding at Paola Town Square in Paola, Kansas


                    Alexis Wheeler (25 and a director of operations for author Cliff Graham) and Andrew Potter (28 and the owner of RoKC) were all a

Alexis Wheeler (25 and a director of operations for author Cliff Graham) and Andrew Potter (28 and the owner of RoKC) were all about keeping things fun and non-fussy when it came to planning their wedding. Wanting a venue with a shabby-chic vibe, the couple thought a barn originally would be the ideal fit. But the logistics associated with planning an event at such a venue proved to be complicated and the couple quickly put the idea on the back burner. Luckily, a close friend recommended Paola Town Square in Paola, Kansas, and after just one visit, they were won over by the space’s quaint exposed brick walls, elegant chandeliers, vintage tin ceiling and Michelle Kaiser, the property’s owner and event-planning whiz. “Michelle was a saint,” Alexis says. “She took on the role of wedding planner, decorator, chef, florist and all-out wedding genius. I would recommend her to anyone and everyone.” Playing off the venue’s rustic, old-world charm, Alexis and Andrew worked with Michelle to bring their playful, shabby-chic vision to life. The tables were decorated with fresh bunches of full, pastel blooms and gilded candelabras dripping in crystals, while chalkboard signs, lanterns and shimmery linens infused the room with a subtle vintage-meets-glam touch. “The colors, style and entire feel of the wedding fit our style perfectly,” Alexis says. “It was funny because my husband joked that our wedding colors are how I decorated our house.” Guests having a good time was high on the couple’s priority list and they put extra thought into the evening’s schedule of events to ensure that there would never be a dull moment. They took all their photos before the ceremony, treated guests to drinks and snacks as they arrived and had dinner, drinks and a photo booth ready to go right after the ceremony so they wasted no time starting the celebration. A few tips from Alexis: “Do what makes you happy. It's your special day and if you do exactly what you want, it will be stress free! Do a list of the top three things you and your fiance want to spend money on. For me, the dress was incredibly important. For him, he wanted glow sticks. That way, you each get exactly what you want and you can compromise on everything else. And let other people help you. Don't try to do everything on your own. Learn to delegate.”

Gray J.Crew Slim-Fit Suit
Andrew never lets a night go by without a big show and his wedding was no exception. Since Andrew was an Army ranger, he had many other ranger and Special Forces friends at the wedding. “All of a sudden, the DJ calls ‘all unarmed men’ to the dance floor to catch the garter,” Alexis says. “I thought that was weird, but sat down on a chair on the dance floor. Then, out of nowhere, Andrew and four other guys come storming in with airsoft guns. They did a standard room clearing like they would do in the military. They even had a firecracker for when they acted like they were knocking down a door!” Andrew acted like Alexis’s dress was a potential bomb and they were unarming it. “It sounds silly but everyone loved it and thought it was hysterical,” Alexis says.
Lace San Patrick Wedding Dress
“Since we were married in April, I wanted everything to be bright and light,” Alexis says. “I wanted the bouquets to feel loose and like someone went out and picked them from a garden, not like a stuffy arrangement.” Paola Town Square's owner, Michelle, went above and beyond to bring Alexis’s vision to life, creating full, romantic bouquets of peonies, roses, lamb’s ear, anemones and dahlias in soft pastel hues.
Knowing that her bridesmaids were comfortable and happy with what they wore on her wedding day was important to Alexis. She had the girls choose their own dresses, each in a shade of blush or mint. “My mom suggested that the girls wear both mint and blush,” Alexis says, “and I thought she was crazy because the thought of mismatched dresses with multiple shades of two colors sounded like a disaster.  Luckily, it came out beautifully.”
Casual J.Crew Groomsmen Attire
To ensure guests were able to truly enjoy themselves all evening, Alexis and Andrew carefully planned every moment of their wedding to a T. The couple did a first look and took all their photos before the ceremony and provided guests with snacks and drinks as they arrived, since many came directly to the wedding from work. “It was important to us for the guests always to have something to do,” Alexis says. “All too often there is an hour period where guests are stuck in this lull, while the wedding party is off doing things. We didn't want that.” As soon as the couple exchanged vows, everyone headed downstairs to the reception, where they found food stations and a bar ready and raring to go. “We also didn't want to have ‘obligation after obligation’ like cutting the cake,” Alexis says, “because we wanted to be able to enjoy the night as well, instead of feeling like we were being dragged in 100 directions. We had guests rave about our schedule and how smoothly things transitioned—they loved it.”
Romantic, Whimsical Wedding Arch
Rose Petal and Lantern-Lined Aisle
Handcrafted Wooden Guest Book
Traditional Paola Town Square Ceremony Processional
“The colors, style, and entire feel of the wedding fit our style perfectly,” Alexis says. “It was funny because my husband joked that our wedding colors are how I decorated our house. Our officiant was actually my boss, Cliff Graham, who knows Andrew and me very closely, so he was able to make the ceremony perfectly personal.”
When it came to her bridal look, Alexis went for all-out classic romance. “I wanted something that I felt beautiful in and that I would look back on in 20 years and still think was beautiful,” Alexis says. She headed to the San Patrick boutique in Atlanta to find the perfect gown and instantly fell in love with a strapless lace number with a figure-flattering mermaid-style silhouette. She had her seamstress sew Andrew’s nametape from his military uniform inside the gown as a nod to the six-month period when Andrew was deployed to Afghanistan. “Even though Andrew wasn't wearing his dress blues, we felt it was important to remember the six months when he was deployed and how much we had grown as a couple,” Alexis says.
While Alexis and Andrew were originally hoping to wed in a barn, the logistics proved to be more complicated than they imagined. Luckily, Paola Town Square had the quaint, shabby-chic feel they were after with its exposed brick walls, elegant chandeliers and vintage furnishings. “When I was explaining my vision, Michelle grasped it immediately and she had just about every little piece of decor I could have possibly wanted—gold candelabras, chalkboards, mercury glass and more,” Alexis says.
Gilded Candelabra Centerpieces
Shabby-Chic 'Mr.' and 'Mrs.' Signs
Michelle of Paola Town Square in Paola, Kansas, whipped up an inspired spread for the reception. Dinner was served station style to create a relaxed, interactive environment, with everything from barbecue sliders to macaroni and cheese and even pizza on offer. A popcorn bar was another big hit, as was the selection of the couple’s favorite craft beers.
Assorted Homemade Mini Cupcakes
For dessert, Alexis and Andrew wanted to go beyond the standard wedding cake. To fit with dinner’s relaxed and interactive vibe, the couple served dessert buffet style, inviting guests to indulge in several delicious sweet treats. In addition to a two-tier buttercream-frosted cake, there were also three flavors of mini cupcakes, five homemade pies, brownies, fruit crisps, candy and many of the couple’s favorite sweets.
Whimsical Two-Tier Buttercream Cake
When guests needed a break from the dance floor, they headed to Alexis and Andrew’s Polaroid photo booth. For their guestbook, the newlyweds’ families and friends took a photo of themselves with silly props, then put it in the provided guest book, decorated the page and personalized it with a message.
Paola Town Square Sparkler Exit