I Do! Gigi Esser & Peter Rager
wedding date | november 17, 2018
It didn’t take more than a couple of outings before Gigi Esser and Peter Rager realized they were an ideal match. “We went on our third date and talked so long that the restaurant had to kick us out at closing time,” Gigi says. “But we weren’t finished, so we sat on a bench at a nearby shopping mall. I felt a sense of peace and comfort that I’d never known with anyone else. We both went home and told our families, ‘This is the one.’”
That conversation was not the only time they sat on that bench. In October 2017, the couple returned to the spot, and Peter asked Gigi to be his wife. “I had no idea what was going on until I spotted someone with a camera nearby,” she recalls. “Peter got down on one knee and popped the question. I don’t know if I actually said yes, but I nodded my head—a lot!”
The church they originally chose fell through, but the Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton was available on the same day. Planner Simcha Lourie ironed out the details, and the couple ended up with a splendid ceremony and reception with old-fashioned flair. “We wanted the wedding to take our guests back to Belle Époque Paris,” Gigi notes. The bride wore a custom-designed, traditional gown with a fur cape, and the groom donned a coat and tails with gloves, ascot tie and top hat. Even their cake recalled yesteryear with its dozens of handmade sugar flowers.
Gigi’s eight attendants wore rich, red velvet and carried bouquets of cream roses, scarlet orchids and ivy. “One of the girls found out she was expecting right after the wedding, so we actually had a ninth bridesmaid at the ceremony and didn’t even know it,” she says.
The celebration took place on her parents’ 39th anniversary, and Gigi says she and her husband are looking forward to commemorating their first year and her parents’ 40th this November. She is a graduate of Whitfield School and Wake Forest University, and Peter attended St. Charles West High School and Westminster College. They recently bought a home in Wildwood and will honeymoon in Europe this summer.
ceremony| Church of St. Michael and St. George
reception | Missouri Athletic Club
gown | Daniel Faucher Couture
cake | Francie Valenta, Encore Bakery
florist | Festive Couture Floral
honeymoon | Italy, France and Spain
wedding party »
maid of honor | Cheryl Mathis
bridesmaids | Julia Talen, Chloe Colbert, Adrienne Randle, Olive Davis, Kate Miltenberger, Porscha Elton, Frannie Jackson
best man | Joe Hye
groomsmen | Theo Esser, Andy Esser, Renny Esser, Trent Miltenberger, Steve Glassner, Matt Kimball, Zack Markow
bride’s parents | Michael & Bettina Esser of Chesterfield
groom’s parents | Gary Rager and Helen Rager, both of St. Charles
Photos by Ashley Fisher Photography