Kelsey Cook and Andy Strubel met his first night in the dormitory at the University of Missouri. She was just starting her senior year of high school and was visiting a mutual friend. Kelsey and Andy hung out with the same group of friends that year, and Andy ended up growing close to Kelsey’s family, particularly her father, who took Andy hunting.
No romance sparked between Andy and Kelsey, even when she joined him at MU. There were other relationships in the way, and the couple’s personalities didn’t always mesh. Andy is animated and extroverted, while Kelsey is much more reserved.
“He was a lot for me to handle,” Kelsey says.
Andy moved to St. Louis after graduation. He and Kelsey kept in touch over the phone. A year and a half later in May, he returned to Columbia, and the two began seeing each other daily. Finally, one snowy day in December, Andy admitted that the last six months had changed his feelings for Kelsey.
The romance was easy then, Kelsey says. “He instantly became my best friend.”
Andy proposed in July 2011 as he and Kelsey admired a sunset at Les Bourgeois Vineyards. They had been a couple less than a year, “but it felt like forever since we had known each other for six years,” Kelsey says.
Kelsey and Andy married on June 23, 2012, at First Christian Church in Columbia. The Rev. Dennis Harper of Midway Locust Grove United Methodist Church officiated.
Purple flowers and candles were placed at the front of the church in remembrance of family members, along with two silver candelabras entwined with purple ribbon and ivory magnolias. Down the aisle, ivory and purple bows graced the pews.
Kelsey wore a vintage-inspired gown covered with ivory lace. The strapless gown featured a sweetheart bodice and trumpet fit. A narrow band of Swarovski crystals accented the waist, and more Swarovski crystals sparkled across the neckline and sprinkled throughout the lace. Kelsey wore her hair up in pinned curls with a Swarovski crystal headpiece and a cathedral-length tulle veil edged with seed pearls. She further accessorized with a delicate pearl bracelet and pearl drop earrings; she also wore her grandmother’s simple gold wedding band, which Andy had had restored. Her carried a large bouquet of ivory roses with deep purple calla lilies, and wore purple heels.
The bridesmaids wore purple strapless, knee-length dresses with sweetheart necklines and purple belts. The women accessorized with pearl necklaces, and a gray flower accent at their waists. The accent flower coordinated with the men’s tuxedos. The bridesmaids also wore gray pumps and carried bouquets of green hydrangeas and purple calla lilies.
Andy wore a charcoal gray tuxedo with a purple vest and a purple paisley tie, a gift from Kelsey. On the back of the tie was a fabric heart Kelsey had stitched there with the message: “I’ll love you always 6-23-12.” Andy’s boutonniere was a purple calla lily, and he wore purple socks to match Kelsey’s purple shoes.
The groomsmen wore tuxes that matched Andy’s but with solid purple ties and ivory rose boutonnieres.
Andy and Kelsey remained hidden from each other’s view until the ceremony. Close family friends provided the ceremony music, which included a piano version of John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” for Kelsey’s entrance and a piano/organ duet of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” for the recessional. The service was a Christian service with traditional vows, and at the end, an exuberant Andy surprised Kelsey by dipping her for their first kiss; when he brought her back up, she was afraid for a moment that she had lost her dress!
The reception took place at Columbia’s Elks Lodge. A country chic theme brought in lace, burlap, tin, wood, glass bottles, jars and an abundance of candlelight. The centerpieces also featured curly willow stems, dogwood sprigs, ivory wisteria, green hydrangeas and ivory peonies. Behind the head table, a banner of burlap pennants spelled out: Mr. & Mrs. Strubel.
Sadly, the best man, Andy’s brother, was unable to attend the wedding because he had come down with the flu. Andy had called Kelsey with the news that morning.
“So our day started out pretty hectic, but Andy’s groomsmen shifted roles and helped plan a best man speech for us,” Kelsey says.
When it came time for the garter toss, the crowd had a fun surprise as Andy kept finding garter after garter — 10 in all — under Kelsey’s dress. Later, Andy was the one surprised when his enthusiastic dancing ended up splitting the back of his pants!
“He’s still a lot to handle!” Kelsey says.
Rather than a traditional wedding cake, Andy and Kelsey opted for cupcakes, decorated with ivory icing, candy ivory pearls and purple rosebuds. The top of the cupcake stand held a matching small cake for Kelsey and Andy to cut. The topper was a Willow Tree figurine, a gift from Kelsey’s parents.
Kelsey and Andy honeymooned for one week in the Bahamas and today make their home in Columbia. Kelsey, the daughter of Jill and Billy Cook of Columbia, is a second-grade teacher at Hallsville Elementary School. Andy, the son of Dolores and Bill Strubel of Manchester, is a loan officer for Veterans United Home Loans.
The Businesses That Helped Make The Day Special
Brides by Demetrios, St. Louis
Brides by Demetrios, St. Louis
Billy Williams V.I.P. Limousine Service
Complete Music, St. Louis
Abazias Diamonds, Gainesville, Fla.
Kohl’s; Macy’s; Pottery Barn; Target
Jim and Glenna Johnson