Kaitlin Rhea says she and her fiancé, David Haenni, got engaged last March despite some unexpected interference from Mother Nature. “Dave planned to surprise me with a proposal in Denver, where we live, but a late-season blizzard came up suddenly and shut everything down,” explains Kaitlin, who first met Dave at a mutual friend’s July 4th party in 2012. “He had to change the plan!” The couple already intended to return to St. Louis for a family baptism, so Dave decided to switch the proposal to coincide with that trip. He popped the question at Barrister’s Restaurant in Clayton, where they had their first date.
“Dave and my mom planned for a group of us to go to lunch, and he asked me to marry him outside the restaurant,” Kaitlin says. “I was really surprised. It was so sweet and thoughtful.” She loved that the unexpected change in plans resulted in the proposal happening at a spot that meant so much to them.
She says Dave had another surprise up his sleeve, too. Working secretly with her mother, he had a diamond from her late grandmother’s wedding ring placed into the one he presented to her. “My grandmother and I were very close, so that was extra meaningful for me,” she says.
The couple will marry at the parish where Kaitlin attended grade school. She’s a graduate of Villa Duchesne and the University of Missouri-Columbia. The groom attended St. Louis University High School and Miami University of Ohio. She works in data analysis for Nestlé Purina PetCare, and he is a sales specialist with Shoco Oil.
“We’re keeping everything pretty traditional,” Kaitlin says of their big day. “We’ll have a cocktail hour before dinner, and music and dancing after.” They both liked the idea of a late spring wedding, when things would be green and flowering for outdoor photos. They plan to have pictures taken at Villa Duchesne.
“The way Dave and I got together was pretty natural and organic,” Kaitlin explains. “When you meet someone who’s already a close friend of your friends, you tend to get a good feeling about it.”
ceremony | Ste. Genevieve du Bois Catholic Church
reception | Algonquin Golf Club
gown | Anne Barge
florist | Schnucks
band | Dirty Muggs
honeymoon | Maui, Hawaii
maid of honor | Amy Horan
bridesmaids | Marguerite Shields, Sara Price, Brooke Sturgeon, Kayla McMahill, Chelsea Nolen, Becky Haenni, Beth Hartbeck
best man | C.J. Baricevic
groomsmen | Paul George, Ryan Blechle, Michael Galinski, Drew Jesse, Derek Gnade
flower girls | Kinsley Rhea, Lily Teadt
bride’s parents | Dr. Jim & Tracey Rhea of Warson Woods
groom’s parents | Michael & Judy Haenni of St. Peters
wedding date: May 27, 2017
Photo: Josephine Havlak Photography