Handmade Wedding Straight from the Old West Delights Family and Friends
When Overland Park residents and artistic craftsmen Jacqueline Greene and David Buell decided to marry, they envisioned a different sort of celebration.
“We wanted it to be casual so our guests would have lots of fun, yet elegant and in keeping with my favorite mantra, ‘It has to be pretty’," says Greene. "We also wanted it to come from us.”
Greene, a floral and event designer, and Buell, an engineer with Burns & McDonnell, are both artistic, creative and swing a mean hammer. Not surprising since each grew up with very artistic mothers and inventive fathers who could build anything the artists dreamed up.
"I learned a lot of carpentry skills from my father and had just completed a remodeling project on my home when I met David,” explains Greene. “We were a perfect match. He was the first man I met that had as many tools as I did!”
Their wedding inspiration sparked when Greene noticed how well a piece of weathered wood went with some china and silver pieces that were sitting on her counter.
“Looking at those things together, the light bulb went off,” says Greene. “I envisioned rustic tables with elegant place settings in a casual, fun atmosphere. Our Kansas roots run deep so the idea of an old-fashioned western wedding sounded meaningful and fun.”
The couple looked at several possible wedding sites, but connected to the Alexander Majors Barn on State Line Road in Kansas City.
“It just felt right," says Greene. "The Majors Barn with its Conestoga wagon, saddles and history fit what we had in mind beautifully.”
What the couple had in mind was greeting their New Year’s Eve guests with a sparkling, wintry scene straight out of the old west. Guests walked into the lively, old-fashioned setting that included snow-covered trees covered with twinkling lights surrounding the Conestoga wagon.
“David went to recycling centers after Christmas and gathered up lots of used trees,” says Greene. “We added some split rail fences and a crescent moon and the effect was magical.”
The barn was further transformed into the colorful Red Dog Saloon with its handmade, rustic nine-foot bar and player piano that pounded out honky-tonk tunes all evening.
"I saw it at an estate sale and it just made me smile. I put a low bid in and couldn’t believe I got it," says Greene. "I soon found out why. The cost of moving the piano more than made up for its low price!”
The Red Dog’s sign bears the names of both the bride and groom’s late fathers as "proprietors" and hearkens back to David’s hometown of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, which transforms into a frontier town every five years when it hosts an American Indian Peace Treaty re-enactment. David’s grandfather and father drove wagons in the pageant for many years and were the bartenders at the festival's Red Dog Saloon.
Adjoining the saloon was an intimate dining area the couple created by building weathered, wall sections. Guests dined on rustic dinner tables built from reclaimed wood set with china plates on oversized chargers, etched, crystal stemware and vintage, silver-plate flatware. Centerpieces were collections of silver candlesticks along with a sea of white hydrangeas, ranunculus, roses and snowflake mums flowing out of vintage engraved silver ice buckets and vases, some which were family heirlooms.
The menu included grilled steaks branded with a “Rockin-B,” chicken grillers, jalapeno corn-bread baked in vintage pans and other chuck-wagon fare. Wedding cake, macaroons, rock candy and other sweets were served at “P.M. Johnson’s Cakes and Pies,” an area made to resemble the window of an old-time confectionery. Buell hand painted the sign which was a nod to Greene’s late grandmother, a wonderful pastry maker. The confectionery also offered a stack of powdered sugar donuts in honor of Buell’s late father who always had a stash of them in his truck.
The couple said their vows in the barn’s loft adorned with twinkling lights, trees and a stained glass window added by Greene’s mother. The bride, dressed in a tiered and ruffled skirt, lace top and bustle was escorted by her two daughters, Ashley Rettenmaier of New York City, and Chelsea Dean from Brookside, Missouri. The groom, dressed as a western gentleman in a long, frock coat stood with his brother Jack Buell, who traveled from California to attend. Buell’s daughter Madeline was also in attendance.
“The greatest fun of the evening was that all our guests dressed in western garb,” says Greene. “Our invitation specified the evening's dress as 'Old West Casual to Stagecoach Couture.' There were can-can girls, cowboys in spurs, rowdy gamblers and even Zorro.”
Guests marveled throughout the evening at the couple’s ingenuity and creativity but for the newly married Buells, it was business as usual.
“One of the many things David and I love about each other is that we work so well together,” says Greene. “We wanted a fun, memorable wedding and with the combination of our talents, it came together beautifully encompassing many things we love. Our dads would have been delighted.”