Wish Upon a Swing

photos by Schaefer Photography

It was a thoroughly pre-vetted blind date that matched Kari Schaal and Glenn Vogt in January 2013. A coworker at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) thought Kari and a sales rep who frequented the hospital would get along. Kari accepted but — nervous what her father, MOI’s executive director, might make of her dating someone with hospital connections — she checked with him first. There was only one person he said he’d be okay with: Glenn. Meanwhile, Glenn had asked the father’s permission to date Kari prior to their first meeting.

Though they quickly became a couple and often talked about a future together, they never discussed marriage specifically. Then, one Friday in July 2015, Kari’s parents invited the couple over for a drink. After welcoming them in, Kari’s mother directed them to join Kari’s father in the backyard. As Kari opened the back door, she saw rose petals on the ground and both families beaming at her from off to the side. She followed the petal pathway toward a swing that Glenn had built, engraved and hung with a rope he’d braided himself.

“I love swings,” Kari says. “When Glenn and I first started dating we went to the park a lot and would swing together.” This swing was covered in white daisies and engraved with these words: “Kari Lynn, you are my best friend and the love of my life. I promise to love you forever, if you will be my wife.” When she turned around, Glenn was on one knee, asking her to marry him.

The couple was married May 21 at the Community of Christ Church. The bride’s grandfather, the Rev. Everett Graffeo, officiated. The couple wrote their own vows and “tied the knot” during their expression of unity, braiding together three strands in a God’s Knot that Glenn had hand made and woven. During the ceremony, they stood under a pergola with the swing framed behind them, decked in white daisies just like the night of the proposal. The same pianist who played at Kari’s parents’ wedding 32 years ago played at Kari and Glenn’s, offering a beautiful rendition of “A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes” from “Cinderella,” among Kari’s many Disney favorites. Kari’s boss Polly Reynolds also sang at the ceremony in the church decorated with white daisies, peonies and roses, accented with Gerber daisies in cherry red, Kari’s favorite color.

The bride wore a vintage style, lace-trimmed Tara Keely dress with a high halter neckline with a unique bow detailing in the back and a low plunging back. The slim fitted dress had a delicate tulle overlay. Kari wore her hair up and carried a bouquet of red Gerber daisies and white roses and peonies. Her bridesmaids wore short red lace dresses and carried all-white bouquets of peonies, roses and hydrangeas.

Glenn wore a gray suit with a red tie and a single white rose accented by red berries for his boutonniere. His groomsmen wore the same attire with a single white rose.

The reception at Stephens College’s Kimball Ballroom carried on the rustic theme, highlighting Glenn’s wood-working skills honed in his own Saw Dust Co. side business. The centerpieces featured two to three stacked disks that Glenn and his father cut from an oak tree in their yard. Candles, a variety of bottles and votive holders topped this foundation. Wine bottles wrapped in burlap, some with red ribbon, completed the festive look — each table featuring its unique combination of these elements.

Toward evening’s end, Glenn and Kari showered their guests with lightweight Styrofoam glow sticks from the ballroom balcony.

“Glenn and I had two goals for our wedding: one, make our ceremony about God and us, and, two, enjoy ourselves. My favorite part about the whole celebration was that we accomplished both of those things,” Kari says.

The couple honeymooned at Maroma Beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico, before returning home to Columbia where Kari works as an account administrator at The Trust Company and Glenn works as a Realty relations coordinator at Veterans United.

Kari is the daughter of Bob and Angie Schaal of Columbia. Glenn’s parents are Glenn and Janet Vogt of Rolla.