Wedding Bells: Music plays part in couple's lives, marriage
Libby Hanssen and Sam Wisman first met when they were students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. Not surprisingly, music plays a big part in their lives and their wedding reflected their creative spirit. Bells pealed when they got engaged; they were greeted with the sound of kazoos – used as wedding favors/seating cards – as they entered their reception; and instead of a guest book, they asked everyone to create a piece of art.
They got married during a First Friday weekend at the Arts Incubator in the Crossroads. Musicians Beau Bledsoe, Christine Brebes and Sait Arat played before and after the ceremony. Sam’s sister and brother-in-law sang one of their favorite songs, “Book of Love.” Sam, a 28-year-old freelance musician, put together playlists for dinner and for dancing.
“The thing we love about Kansas City is the vibrant creative talent, and we really wanted to showcase that,” says Libby, a 30-year-old freelance writer who also works at UMKC’s music/media library. With the help of their family and friends, they achieved the “elegant-but-not-stuffy” vibe of an artistic, crafty wedding
Wedding date: May 8, 2010
The proposal story:
While visiting Sam’s sister and brother-in-law in Belgium, they took a day trip to Bruges, a quaint Medieval town. Sam was subdued and nervous on the train. The first thing they did was get coffee from a restaurant in the town square, and there was the famous clock tower on the other side of the square. Libby suggested that they go up to the top of the tower. Once they got to the top, Sam proposed. He gave Libby a ring his grandmother had given his mother, who had in turn given to him. Just then the bells played “Danny Boy.”
The ring: A classic ring from Tiffany & Co., with a princess-cut diamond. She also wears the first ring he gave her – a band with three small diamonds set in gold.
Wedding and reception location: The Arts Incubator’s Event Space, 18th Street and Wyandotte, Kansas City, Mo.
The flowers: Monica Starr of 18Flowers. Libby’s bouquet included peonies, the flower of her home state of Indiana. Sam, a Topeka, Kan., native, wore a shock of wheat for his boutonniere.
The dress: A champagne-colored ball gown with beaded cap sleeves from the clearance rack of a bridal store in Lee’s Summit. Libby had the skirt tailored to tea length and the chiffon overlay train perma-bustled.
The jewelry/shoes/accessories: Libby wore a copper star-shaped necklace with a blue Swarovski crystal and tiny green pearls around it. She bought small hoop earrings in blue and green gems to match, and the couple based their color scheme off the necklace. Libby also wore blue peep-toe heels from Chinese Laundry and a peacock-shaped brooch from Etsy that she attached to a comb for her hair.
The cake: Café Europa in Crestwood.
The catering: Jerusalem Bakery.
The ceremony: Libby and Sam had two ceremonies. First, Rabbi Stiel of Temple Beth Sholom in Topeka officiated in a ketubah ceremony with their immediate families and two witnesses. Then they had a public Jewish/Christian mélange ceremony led by Sam’s uncle Jack.
The moments they’ll never forget: After the ceremony, they observed yichud, a private moment between the ceremony and the reception. Sam and Libby went back to the bride’s room while people found their tables and started drinking. They each had a glass of champagne and listened to the sounds friends and family talking, punctuated by the music – guitar, violin and darbuka.
“Having a relaxed, private moment just after the ceremony to reflect on being married was so much better than spending an hour taking pictures. It helped us enjoy the rest of the reception,” Sam says.
Any advice for KC brides? “Don’t do anything just because the wedding magazines suggest it,” Libby says. “Weddings are a huge expense and you should funnel your resources into the elements that are most important. I spent more money on the cakes than I did on my dress.”