Jeffrey Swarts knew that when it came time to propose to his girlfriend, graphic designer Ellie Goedeker, the only way to her heart would be through art. After popping the question to a shocked Ellie in his home, he took her downstairs and revealed a secret “gallery” filled with artwork friends and family had made just for her. Included amongst the collection was a painting Jeff had created to commemorate their engagement, which portrayed him on bended knee presenting a ring to his sweetheart. “It was so special and I will never forget it,” Ellie gushes.

The bride lent her artistic eye to the décor of their ceremony and reception, held at their local church and a rustic lodge, respectively. A palette of coral, orange, green, and white followed her desire to prevent the hues from being too “matchy” or bold. “We also wanted a color scheme that would be appropriate for an early fall wedding, but not the traditional fall colors,” Ellie explains. 

With that in mind, bridesmaids in mismatched gowns carried posies of flowers and succulents in softer shades of the color scheme, and bunches of baby’s breath lined the aisle. Ellie accessorized her A-line illusion neckline gown with a handkerchief passed down from her great-grandmother to her mother, as well as a bracelet cherished by her grandmother. 

After the ceremony, attendees convened at a lodge that featured impressive wood-beamed high ceilings and a wall that was open to the forest air. The head table was designed to be a centerpiece in and of itself. Topped with grey-and-white striped linens sewed by the mother of the bride, the table was adorned with vibrant floral arrangements in milk glass and blue glass vases, surrounded by greenery. Similar bouquets graced guest tables, which were positioned in view of the dance floor and live band.

The newlyweds found joy in sharing a few of their favorite things with loved ones. Frozen custard from St. Louis was served as a “cool-down-from-the-dance-floor” treat, and each person received bags of Jeff’s mother’s popular cookies as they departed the reception. And instead of a traditional guest book, partygoers signed a ping-pong table, to honor the first activity Ellie and Jeff enjoyed together. “We’re still finding new messages on it that we hadn’t seen before – and they’re not all appropriate!” laughs the bride. 

Although Ellie acknowledges that it’s easy to become consumed by the details and decisions of wedding planning, she encourages others to keep things in perspective – advice she and Jeff both followed. “Your wedding is not about how perfect of a party you can throw,” Ellie cautions. “It’s about the love you share as a couple and making the most important commitment you can make to another person.”