WEDDING VENDORS + DETAILS

All the (very specific) details of our wedding are coming at you! 

This post is really long, but I wanted to cover everything and have it in one spot for you all to reference.  I can personally relate to how hard it is to plan a wedding. I loved the process, but there’s no denying that it is a lot!  I know you all won’t want to do things just like us and you may not live in Lexington, but I still shared lots of detail and information into our journey with vendors in hopes that you can take something away that might help you.  Enjoy! 

Side Note: I will be sharing another wedding post in a week that will have a TON of photos included.  I just added a few into this one for reference as you all read.

 

  general wedding details  

DATE: November 10th

NUMBER OF PEOPLE: 196 invited, 159 attended, 82% attended

WEDDING PARTY: Our siblings 

Ethan has a sister and brother, Matt+ Emma, and I have a sister and brother, Leah + Michael.  We decided to stick with having just our siblings in our wedding party to keep things simple.  It made the planning process really easy.  I can’t imagine coordinating dresses for a whole line up of girls, ha!  The other main reason we did this was to make things easy for our friends.  We know that being in a wedding is a big financial commitment.  We decided to still involve our friends in all the fun things.  They came to the rehearsal dinner but not the rehearsal and they came to the wedding venue ahead of time but got to wear whatever they pleased and skip out on all  the duties of the wedding day.  If you are planning a wedding don’t be afraid to make your own “rules”!  

 

VENUE: Berry Hill Mansion 

Berry Mansion is a historic property in Frankfort, KY that was built in 1990.  Back in the day Ethan’s grandma worked at Berry Hill Mansion as a journalist and Ethan’s sister got married there a few years ago so it was already on our radar.  I attended Ethan’s sisters wedding as his date and ever since whenever we talked about getting married and having a wedding ourselves we would say, “let’s just do it at Berry Mansion just like Emma and Joel”.  We absolutely loved the venue for their wedding and did not want to make the search any more complicated than it needed to be for ours.  

You can read more about Berry Mansion and why we chose it HERE!

We absolutely loved having a location with so much charm and character.  We cleaned out all old furniture and antiques and were left with the gorgeous bones of an old mansion.  It created the perfect backdrop for us to build off of for our romantic, candlelit evening celebration! 

 

  photo + video  

PHOTOGRAPHER: Anna May Photography

One of the biggest and most important decisions to us was who to hire for the photography.  We came across a complete gem with Anna and I could not be more pleased with her work.  There will be more to come about our experience with her next week when I share oodles of her photos! 

In the meantime, you can read all about Anna HERE.  

I highlyyyyyy suggest booking with her if you are searching for a photographer.  I have nothing but glowing reviews to share.  Also feel free to message me if you are on the fence and want to chat more.  I am happy to answer any specific questions you may have about our experience.  Spoiler alert:  They will all be positive! 🙂

VIDEOGRAPHER: Bryan Starr Cinematography

We continue to remind ourselves how lucky we were to find Bryan and book with him for our wedding.  Satisfied does not even begin to describe how we feel about working with him.  For the full details about Bryan’s business take a look at this post HERE.

&& you can see our full wedding video HERE!!!

We are beyond happy with the outcome and are so thankful that we will have this for years to come.  If you are skipping a wedding videographer, I seriously urge you to reconsider.  I know the expenses pile up and I know it is a lot of money.  But having documentation of the evening is so valuable.  Cancel something else that you won’t notice not having 6 months after the wedding and add in a booking with Bryan. 🙂

 

   food + beverage  

 

 

WEDDING CATERING: Bayou Bluegrass Catering

They are wonderful and I would work with them again in a heartbeat!  Where do I start?  We chose them because I had such a positive first meeting with Erin. She was our only contact person with Bayou Bluegrass and is a brides DREAM!  After I talked with her and realized how hands on she was, we contracted!  Without even tasting the food, ha! Here were some of the perks that won us over..  

Erin was willing to go above and beyond for us and we could tell that based off of some of the things she offered to do during our first meeting.  We started talking general wedding details and wedding food.  I told Erin that even though we were having a evening wedding, we wanted to do hors d’oeuvres and we wanted them to be unique and not just typically southern items.  She was totally on board with this idea and said we could start with an appetizer package they have and customize it to be exactly what we wanted.  She also told us their chefs were very open to bringing any specific appetizer idea we had to life even if it was not listed on their available choices.

Next she told us that all our silverware, glassware, table clothes and napkins would be handled by her and added to our catering invoice.  SO helpful.  And she also offered to order any other rentals we needed, add then to her invoice and coordinate the delivery.  HUGE!

When I mentioned that we wanted outside dessert she was totally fine with it and offered to pick it up from the bakery that day in Lexington.  And when I told her I wanted pizza for late night food she assured me she would help us coordinate for it so we could make it happen.  She was also totally game to help us execute the champagne tower and manage it even though she had never done one before.

So, clearly she’s a rockstar.  But one of the biggest selling points for us was how full service the Bayou Bluegrass staff was.  They brought 6-7 of their servers to our event in addition to Erin, the manager, and the employees who were at the carving stations.  This was huge to us.  Erin said they would be professional and could pass wine and appetizers during cocktail hour and pick up empty plates, trash and glasses throughout the reception.  We loved the idea of having this much attention for our guests.  It eliminated the need for any trash cans and upped the level of our event.  And I have to tell you, after the fact–the staff was absolutely AMAZING, worked their butts off and won over all of my family by the end of the night with their hustle. 

Lastly, every meeting or phone call I had with Erin made me feel a million times better and less stressed.  Girls got talent. We will use them again, even if only for catering small get togethers.

DESSERT: Nothing Bundt Cakes 

When Ethan and I started the wedding planning process we agreed to skip anything that we or our parents did not feel strongly about.  We didn’t want to feel obligated to do something just because it was assumed that you “had to” because it was a wedding.  Neither of us ever end up eating cake at a wedding so we decided not to have one at ours.  Wedding cakes are so expensive and I know my personality.  If we had decided to have one anyway I would have spent way too much time and money on it.

But we did want to be able to offer our guests a sweet treat for after dinner.  That is how we landed on Nothing Bundt Cakes!

They are a bakery chain that specializes in bundt cakes. (Hence, the name!)  It is the only thing they offer.  And the only thing that need to offer because they are ahh-mazing.  The cakes come in several different flavors (my fave is the chocolate chip), they are all topped with delicious cream cheese icing and they offer multiple sizes.  If you are local, there is a bakery on Nicholasville Rd beside Gatti Town.

The smallest size is called a bundtini and these are just a few bites.  The perfect size to have at a social event–they allow you to feel like you have had dessert without requiring a ton of attention or time to eat.  I have been to multiple wedding and baby showers where these are offered and they always go over well.  And one of our friends brought a box of them to our engagement celebration.  It was a get together with our friends at a bar on Friday night–a time when you would usually be hard pressed to get people to put down their cocktail and have a sweet treat.  The box was empty in a matter of minutes though.

So, point being.. they are huge crowd pleasers!  That thought is what prompted us to serve them at the wedding.  After looking into it, it turned out to be a great idea too.  You purchase these by the dozen and they come out to be SO much more affordable than any cake you could ever order if you put the word “wedding” in front of it.  And the planning and execution part of it is really simple.  The owners of the bakery told me how many bundtinis we would need based on our number of guests, we picked three flavors to serve (choc, vanilla + white choc raspberry), they could be picked up the morning of the wedding bright and early and they weren’t much trouble for the catering staff to put out.  We served ours on a acrylic tiered display and added a full size bundt cake on the top tier with a cake topper.  Win, win! 

I know I shouldn’t admit this, but…oh well.  We packed up the top full size bundt cake, brought it home and put it in our freezer with the intention of saving it for our one year anniversary.  BUT I couldn’t resist it!  They really are so good, haha!  I started sneaking pieces after dinner and within a few weeks the cake was gone.  Oops!

Needless to say, we will be making a trip back to Nothing Bundt Cakes this November to buy another cake to celebrate with. 🙂

CAKE STAND: 5 Tier Acrylic Display

We ordered this display to serve our bundtinis on. It was simple to put together and plenty sturdy.   We placed it on a table that was the same width as a cocktail table, but not as high.  The size worked perfectly and allowed room for us to add some of our custom napkins, small plates and forks on the side.

CAKE TOPPER: Black Acrylic Silhouette

Believe it or not, it is so hard to find a cake topper!  We ended up settling on this one because we wanted something that was “wedding + cheeky”.  The goal with all our other decor was the opposite of this, so we felt like the dessert any easy place to have a little fun.

LATE NIGHT FOOD: Goodfellas Pizza

Late night bites have become quite common at the end of a reception and it was a trend we definitely wanted to follow.  I think guests are so happy to have something to grab to eat after several glasses of champagne!

For us the decision was easy.. PIZZA!  And to be specific?  Goodfellas pizza!  Goodfella’s is hands down the best pizza in Lex and our go-to for late night food.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have demanded we head to Goodfellas and stand in line for a slice before we go home on after a night out.  My friends and Ethan can confirm!

The only thing that was a bit tricky was the execution of this.  However, the Goodfellas team was great to work with and made all our dreams come true!  They helped us decide on how many pies to order, placed our order (that included sides of marinara + ranch, of course) and made sure they arrived to us on time.  

I was adamant on having individual pizza boxes to serve the slices in.  This is a personal sized box that they use to serve a single slice in when you stand in line and order a piece at one of their pizzerias.  We wanted our guests to be able to grab a box as they walked out the door leaving our reception and take it with them.  So, the Goodfellas team delivered the individual boxes to us ahead of time. We put them together and had them ready and waiting at the venue.  When the large pies were delivered out catering staff put one piece in each box and sat them out for our guests at the very end of the night. 

It worked out perfectly and was a big hit!  If you are local, contact the Goodfellas corporate office.  They will be happy to help you with your large order.

 

  decor  

 

NAPKINS: Custom Designs printed by Totally Promotional 

We were set on designing our napkins for the wedding from scratch.  We wanted them to be cohesive with the rest of our wedding so we just created the designs in Photoshop and used the fonts we had already purchased for the invitations and signage.  We decided to do text only and print two designs on black napkins and two on white napkins.  Our catering manager advised us to purchase a total of 500 napkins.  We used them for passed trays of appetizers, at both bars and with the cake.  We did have extras but I was thankful we did not run out! I searched around a lot and ended up going with this site to print them because it seemed like the best value for money and it was an option to upload our totally custom design.  Some sites only offer very thin napkins and some sites only allow you to customize their templates rather than allowing for a custom upload.  Their customer service team was also easy to work with! 

NEON SIGN: Neon Poodle

During the wedding planning process, I mentioned to Ethan that I was not satisfied with our main bar area.  The idea did not seem finished to me.  We had decided to have two bars–one inside and one outside.  The outside one was in a covered gazebo that was attached to the room where our reception was.  We planned to hang globe string lights vertically between the columns on the round gazebo and build a custom bar for the bartender.  We also planned to have a few cocktail tables out in the area for people to congregate at.  I was struggling with what type of decor to out behind the bar to make it seem like a polished area though.. That is when Ethan suggested a neon sign.  He said we could look into getting a custom one with our last name on it.  I was OBSESSED with this idea!  The rest of our wedding was very classic and romantic–an ornate room with wood paneling detail and stained glass windows, lots of all white flowers and more candles that you can even imagine.  In contrast, we wanted the bars to have a fun element.  Something that was still very true to our style, but a bit more current. 

Neon Poodle helped us achieve this PERFECTLY.  I came across them while searching on Instagram.  You can see their page and get tons of inspiration HERE.  They are based out of Australia but were happy to ship to the US.  Their customer service was absolutely top notch. They were happy to help us design our custom sign via email.  I gave them an idea of what we were thinking and their team sent me back a several mock up options to pick from.  We chose one that in a modern script font that we felt like fit our style and chose to do it in a warm white light with a acrylic background cut out right around the lettering.  FYI–They offer lots of colors including a cool white, but we felt the warm white fit the best with our decor and candles and they also offer signs with a rectangular acrylic background.  Once we had chosen everything they made the sign and sent us a photo of it to sign off on.  We paid via their online portal (pricing is done by the letter and size) and then sign arrived on time, fully protected in packaging. It even came with the everything we needed to hang it and a remote that offers a dimming option.  

We plan to hang the sign in our house!  How fun, right?? 

RENTALS: Bryant’s Rent-All

Again, thankfully Erin with our catering company Bayou Bluegrass handled all of this for us.  She took down what we needed and called Bryant’s to reserve this for us.  Everything was added to our catering invoice so payment was concise and easy!  We ended up getting the following from Bryants: cocktail tables, black bar stools (4 for each cocktail table), matte black silverware, a 6ft bar with two tiers for our inside bar, and a round table for our champagne tower and dessert.  Our catering manager coordinated with Bryant’s on when they could deliver to our venue and arranged for pick up after.

COCKTAIL TABLE SASHES: White Sashes 

We found a photo on Pinterest with a cocktail table covered in a black tablecloth that had a white sash of fabric tied around the middle of the base of the table.  We loved it and felt like it gave the tables a much more finished, polished and upscale look.  These were not available to rent in our area so we searched around online and bought one for each of our cocktail tables.  These also helped pull the fabric of the tablecloth in so the bar stools fit underneath easily.  We lined the hallway with the indoor bar and the entry way with these. 

The table you see above was the only cocktail table included in this main room (where our reception was).  The other tables were all 10-top round.  It was set up as our table so we had a place to grab food when we had a break.  For this table we used two ghost acrylic bar stools we had already from our house.  All the other cocktail tables throughout the venue had 4 black bar stools as mentioned previously.

CHAIR COVERS: Black Spandex Covers

Thankfully our venue had chairs that we could use for the ceremony seating and with the round tables for the reception seating.  They were gold and had cream or red cushions on them for the seat.  Since these did not fit with our design, we decided to buy black covers.  I did a lot of research and ended up finding these spandex covers as an option.  They fit MUCH nicer over a chair and stay tight.  Many of the other cloth covers looked ill fitting in most all photos I saw.  These worked great and the all black look totally helped to modernize the wood filled room! Bonus–they were much cheaper than renting black chairs.

 

CANDLES: Quick Candles 

We wanted candles EVERYWHERE.  Or venue was an old historic house with a ton of charm and we thought if we added tons of candles to the space it would transform the venue into the perfect location for a romantic evening affair.  Specifically, we wanted tall white pillar candles in varying size heights in round glass cylinder holders.  This was our main decor and completely set the tone of our event so we needed to nail this aspect so we got the desired dramatic effect. 

We debated on renting these from a local wholesale flower shop, but it was going to be almost as expensive so we decided to just order exactly what we wanted.  After a lot of research by my mom, we landed on this site.  We ordered groups of candles in the following sizes: 6, 7.5, 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 inches. (A piece of advice–order as many as you want the first time around so you don’t have to pay the hefty shipping charges more than once!) 

The finished product was exactly what we wanted.  We were able to have both our ceremony and reception lit by candlelight alone! For the ceremony we had clusters of candles at the end of each aisle and on either sides of the alter.  For the reception we had them filling the middle of the tables.  They were also filling every window sill in the house–in the hallway where the cocktail tables and indoor bar were, in the dining room where the food buffets were, in the bathroom and under the stain-glass windows that lined the stairs from the hallway to the reception room.  (The house was old so the window sills were over a foot deep!!)  They filled up every inch of space on the mantles above the fireplaces in the hallway and dining room.  We also had clusters of them on the end of both the outdoor and indoor bar, on each step outside leading up to the venue, on the guestbook table and tons on the floor under our welcome sign.  

FYI–some of the candles did melt completely in the holders.  But, they burned for 8 hours so we were still happy with the quality!  

CANDLE HOLDERS: Quick Candles + Dollar Tree

We were able to find boxes of the 7.5 and 9 inch glass cylinder holders from the Dollar Store online.  This was great becuase they were SO much cheaper.  The other coordinating sizes we ordered from the same site as the candles.

ps–These are gorgeous around your house after the fact.  Especially around the holidays!

GLOBE STRING LIGHTS: 10 Socket String Lights

We hung globe string lights vertically in between the columns on the gazebo on the outside bar.  I loved how it framed out the space at night!

CHAMPAGNE TOWER

Ethan and I weren’t big on having a wedding cake or doing a photo-op with us taking a bite or cake.  So we didn’t.  However, we are big on champagne and I have always wanted to do a champagne tower so we used this as the opportunity to do one!  It worked great for photos too!

I know the execution of this can seem overwhelming.  Here is what we did to make it manageable. (And ease the minds of my mom and our catering manager who were so nervous that it was doing to be a disaster.  Rightfully so too.  I get it. haha)

We googled to find out how much champagne different sized towers would take and what the measurements of a general champagne coupe are.  You have to use the short coupe glasses rather than the tall flute glasses.

Based on this we decided to try to make the bottom level of our tower a 5×5.  We called the rental company we were working with for our other rentals and placed an order for a one day rental on 55 champagne coupes.  We brought them home and tested the tower on our kitchen table.  We circled the outside of the tower with towels and poured water instead of champs.  After that little experiment we devised a plan.

It was messy and the outside glasses on the bottom couple layers did not end up very full.  We realized this was because some of the coupe glasses we used in the top couple layers were not exactly the same height.  They varied just enough to make the water filter more to one side as it overflowed and started to trickle down.  We also realized how time consuming it is to pour all that liquid.  

We wanted to skip the mess and time constraint and still achieve the visual element of the fountain, so we compromised.  We had the tower set up on a table in front of the stained glass windows in the nook of the room during our ceremony.  They were empty but it was still such a pretty touch!  During the time when the staff flipped our room for the reception, the catering manager filled the bottom three layers of glasses with champagne.  She replaced the glasses for the top two layers but left them empty.  After our first dances, we made our way over to the tower and poured one bottle into the top two layers.  It worked out perfectly!!  I can tell you, we wouldn’t have wanted to spend any more time fooling with it during the actual wedding than we did, so we were happy to only have one bottle to pour.  

The glasses that you actually pour from the overflow will be wet/sticky.  If you plan to hand those out to guests immediately following you may want to have someone there to wipe them off as they are given out.  We just grabbed a couple ourselves and then let the rest be taken throughout the night as people pleased.

We also had some really nice crystal champagne flutes that my Granny and Pappyo toasted with at their 50th anniversary party that we wanted to incorporate in our night. We did not let the tower stop that.  We had the nice flutes sitting right by the tower so we could do a photo and toast with them as well during that time!

ACRYLIC SIGN: Sketch + Etch 

If you all are in the middle of planning a wedding, then you will know what I am talking about.  When you are searching around on the internet and Pinterest for inspiration you start to see so many things that look the same.  So when I came across Sketch + Etch on Instagram, it was a breath of fresh air.  You can browse their feed HERE.

I was so impressed with all their products and designs that they have available to customize an event.  They were unique, on trend and current.

Since Ethan and I were already designing and printing all of our own signage, invitations and programs we didn’t have a need for several of the items they offer.  But we were still in need for a focal point for our indoor bar.  

Sketch + Etch offers customized cut out lettering signs.  We loved them!  We designed a white one with our first names.  The team was great to work with.  They helped me choose the overall size of the sign and allowed me to email them our font file that we had purchased to use in Photoshop for our invitations and signage.  This made it cohesive with the rest of our decor.  It was also easy to hang since it was so lightweight (the acrylic is thin).  We just added velcro stickys to the back of the sign and to the wooden door behind our bar.  The next day we quickly took it down without damaging the venue.

The bar at an event is a great place to add branding.  If you plan to have something custom done for yours it will make it seem like that much more of a special occasion when your guests are ordering cocktails and celebrating!

 

  details  

 

INVITATIONS: Custom designed by us

Ethan and I are both incredibly picky and wanted to have complete control over the design process for all our signage so we decided to do it ourselves.  We searched long and hard and finally landed on a couple of fonts we liked.  We bought those and designed everything with them in Photoshop.

You can see them HERE.

We uploaded our files to CatPrint and ordered them from there.

PROGRAMS: Custom designed by us

Again, we used the same fonts as we did for the invites and designed these in Photoshop.  They were also printed by CatPrint.  We just googled programs to get an idea of what to list then customized it to our liking.

GUESTBOOK: The Greatest Weddings of All Time photo book

I hadn’t seen anything that I liked or related to for a guestbook idea.  And then one day I just randomly thought of the idea to have people sign a coffee table book.  We love coffee table books and use them to decorate and style throughout our home.  I thought it would be so ideal if there was a book of celebrity weddings.  How fun?? Well, when I did some digging around on google I found out that one of those actually existed.  I was pumped!  I ordered a used copy of one from a library for $2.99.  When it came in it was exactly what I had imagined and even better in person!  It included a write up about each couple and also had several royal weddings in it! 

I did a full review of the book on my IG story and it is saved to my wedding highlights tab that you can view HERE.

I suggest finding a book that you relate to to use.  It could be any sort of coffee table book!  FYI–having guests sign with metallic sharpies worked well since our book did not have much white space.  It showed up well over the photos and text.  These are the ones we bought.

WELCOME SIGN

We designed ours in photoshop and printed it out as a poster size print and then framed it with a poster frame.  We did this because we did not think the black easel we had would hold much weight.  Turned out that there was a glare on it that we didn’t think looked great.  If we had it to do over again, I think we would print our design on a foam board from the FedEx site and try that.  

 

  bride  

DRESS: Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Bridal

My wedding dress shopping tip is to not overthink it.  Just jump right in.  The weekend after we got engaged we went to see our venue (we knew it was what we wanted ahead of time) and we booked it with the manager after the tour and picked a date.  We were on a roll so after we walked outside I looked at my mom and sister and said “let’s go buy a wedding dress, let’s just do it”.  I had not looked at any dresses online or pinned  any.  We just found whatever place was open on that rainy Saturday via google and my sister called ahead to see if they could take us while we were on the way there.  We didn’t leave with a dress that day but it did start the process for us and I came home and made a few appointments on my computer around midnight that night for some better places the next day.  When we got in the car on Sunday I said, “ok, goal is to pick a dress from our first stop and cancel the other appointments”.  And that is just what we did!

Here are my big take aways–

Trust yourself.  You don’t need a specific photo of a dress you like when you start shopping.  You just need to give them a general feel for your style and then start trying on.  Looking back, I said no to the dress I ended up buying when my mom held it up to ask me if we should pull it.  However, I knew I wanted a plain satin skirt that was not poofy.  They pulled what ended up being my dress so I could just see the skirt on.  Once it was pinned on me I said, “actually I like this entire dress”!  

It also helped me to only have my sister and mom there.  I did not need it to be a big production and I knew I wanted to give my honest opinion to people I did not have to sugar coat things to.

My last tip would be to be prepared to throw out a budget number and stick to it.  When I went to the first place they tried to tell me my selection would be really small within my budget and I might not find what I was looking for.  I stuck to my guns and you know what?  There were several options and some that I even liked.  Point is, you may end up spending more than you initially want but don’t let the sales staff push you into that when you walk in the door.  Buying a wedding dress can be like stepping into a car dealership haha!  

I will say that I really liked Fabulous Bridal and had a good experience there.  They were not pushy or rude. Now, they are still there to sell you a dress–but I would recommend going there to anyone who is in the area.

My dress was a Stella York and it was style 6508.  You can see it on the website HERE.  I did make some changes to mine though..  I had them take out all the layers under the skirt that they could.  I was against a poofy skirt.  I also had them remove the large cups they sew into the inside of the chest of the dress.  I much preferred my natural silhouette.  And lastly I had them change the neckline.  This was a pretty dramatic change.  I knew I planned to do this when I bought the dress.  I wanted a much more dramatic and deep v shape in contrast to the sweetheart v it was designed with.  I felt this modernized the dress and made it more me.  We cut into the dress and then I helped pick some pieces to add back on to the edges to make it flow.  They wanted to add mesh inside the deep v but I asked them to try it without and it much to my happiness it ended up working.  Oh, I guess I also had it hemmed and the straps taken up–haha!  Mine was ordered in the ivory, unlined bodice option.

You can read a full recount of my fitting and buying process HERE!

ALTERATIONS:  Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Bridal

See above for details of the changes I made to the dress.  I do suggest keeping your alterations in-house if you purchase your dress from here.  Their team was fabulous.  I don’t have anything to go on to tell you if it was a good deal price wise or not, but I can tell you that they have very talented and experienced people working there.  I dealt with two of their employees and both were super patient with me and super accommodating.

ps–the alterations do add up (especially if you are making changes to the dress like I did) so it is something you might want to be aware of during your buying process.

SHOES: Manolo Blahnik Hangisi in Black Satin 

I knew I wanted to wear these shoes before I even began to think about what kind of dress I was going to have!  They had been my dream shoe for about a year and I thought the wedding would be the perfect occasion for them.  I love how they have crystals on the toe.  They take the pump to such an elevated level in terms of style.  The satin body and pointed toe keep the shoe classic.  Once I imagined them as a wedding shoe, I immediately thought of doing them in black.  I felt like it was SO ME and added a touch of something unexpected to the outfit as a whole.  Before I ordered these, I searched around to see if I could fit a photo or example of a bride who wore them.  I came across some people who wore the same shoe in blue but none in black.  So, I just ordered them to try out my idea in person.  I got both the 75mm and 105mm heel height to try.  Once they came in I fell in love and knew they were winners.  I ended up keeping the 105mm heel because I couldn’t tell much different in comfort and I knew I would be happier with the higher and more traditional heel height when I wore them in the future.  

I was so happy with the way they paired with the lace, beading and satin on my dress.  It was a contrast but one that worked and seemed intentional.  The black satin and dark crystals were just the thing that I needed to make the look feel current and uniquely me.

I intend to wear these shoes rather than let them sit on a shelf in my closet and be pretty (well they do that too)! I have already worn them 3-4 times in the 2 months that followed the wedding and I plan to take them on our honeymoon too.  I love that they work for anything from a black tie evening dress to jeans and a band tee and blazer! 

I wear a size 7.5US and my Manolos are a size 38EU.

VEIL: none!

I debated on wearing a veil or not for months but in the end, the decision was easy.  I didn’t want one, didn’t feel like myself in one, and didn’t think I would miss not having one.  Looking back, I am so glad I didn’t wear one!  I love them on other people but for me personally I would have felt like I was playing dress up rather than just being Lindsey.  If you are on the fence with anything like this, my advice is to just take a step back and think of your style when you are not in “wedding mode” then do whatever you feel like is most true to yourself.  If you do, then you will not end up regretting it

HAIR: Rosa Plage from Simply Blue Salon 

Rosa has been my hair girl for years!  If you are local and in search of someone talented I would suggest her in a second.  She owns her own salon, Simply Blue Salon,  here in Lexington in the Chevy Chase area right down from the Starbucks.  I thought it was crucial to work with someone I trusted and I knew Rosa would listen and understand my wants.

We began brainstorming styles during my next appointment after I got engaged.  We planned to do my hair down with really full body, soft waves and some pulled back on each side to give it some shape.  Rosa told me I would need to add extensions to achieve the level of fullness I was wanting.  I had never worn any sort of hair piece before so I was hesitant but I trusted her.  

We scheduled a trial and came up with an exact game plan.  I HIGHLY suggest all brides do this (my mom even did one too) to ensure that you end up with a style you are totally happy with on your wedding day.  During my trial we played around with the style we were planning on doing and came up with something we liked a lot.  We were able to see a few changes that needed to be made too.  We used clip in extensions and at first we had a lot of them clipped in the back.  After some talking Rosa picked up on how I felt more comfortable with more hair surrounding my face so she suggested we concentrate the clip-ins more on the sides of my head to achieve that look.  Once she made that change I was much happier.  Rosa also pointed out that for the look I was wanting to flow, I needed to cut in some layers to frame my face.  I am so glad she suggested that because I never would have noticed it or asked for it and looking back they made a huge difference. For the better!  I also wasn’t 100% in love with the way my hair curled with a straightener so we decided to use a curling iron on the day of.  

Rosa had me come back one week before the wedding for a color touch up and tone.  I like a very cool toned blonde and my hair turns brassy very quickly.  This was also when we cut the layers so they were fresh.  I suggest doing a last minute appointment just like this.  You want a touch up close to your wedding but you still need a few days between that and your event to let your hair “settle”.  

On the day of the wedding I washed and dried my hair messy and put a ton of product in it.  I would not suggest this to everyone.  The care the day of depends TOTALLY on your hair type.  My hair is not thick but I do have a lot of it.  In order to get it to be big, full and take hot styling I have to add in a bunch of hair spray as I dry it and finish it off with some dry shampoo, volume blast spray and more hair spray after. I need a ton of texture added then you can tame it and shape it easily.  If I were to have given myself a blow out with a round brush that morning my hair would have been slicky and limp.  Not desirable haha.  My advice is to just create a routine for yourself for the morning of that you know will work with your own hair!

Rosa arrived on time to the venue and had everything she needed with her to do hair.  She did my moms, my sisters and mine.  She even texted us and offered to bring Starbucks! On the day of, I didn’t have to communicate a thing to Rosa.  I let her do her thing and I concentrated on getting updates from my best friend who was running back and forth between upstairs and downstairs to give me exciting progress updates.  THAT is why you need a trial and a talented hair artist, ladies.  I looked at my hair once quickly after Rosa finished, was thrilled with it and moved on! 🙂

Overall my advice is to wear your hair however you feel the most comfortable.  You do not have to wear it up if that is not your style.  You want to feel like an A+ version of YOURSELF on the day of your wedding.  Not like you are in a costume. 

MAKEUP: Caroline Lee Makeup

If you need your makeup done in the future.. for anything.. Caroline is your girl!  Seriously. 

I struggled with finding and booking a makeup artist for the wedding.  I knew I wanted a professional doing my makeup but I also knew I wanted it to look like me.  Once I started searching around I realized there is a typical “bridal” look and 99% of brides end up with it on their wedding day.  And you know what?  That is totally fine because it is exactly what they asked for and they were very happy with it.  I just knew I wanted a makeup artist that was not only talented but was also someone who would really listen to me and work with me to create a look I was both 100% comfortable with and also excited about.  

Let’s just start from the beginning with Caroline.  I came across her page on Instagram and contacted her.  She was super fast getting back to me and was willing to chat.  This was not something that I got out of other potential makeup artists so this was a great first step.  Most people just want to throw their calendar and rates at you via email and then ask if you want to book.  Caroline took the time to talk with me about the process, explain the different between airbrush and traditional makeup to me and chat about some of her favorite makeup.  This allowed me to see how caring and personable she was and based on that alone I knew I wanted a trial with her.  I asked her if we could also schedule a trial for my mom at the same time since she was nervous about having her makeup done professionally for the first time for such a big day.  She was happy to book that as well.  

She met us in Versailles on a Sunday afternoon at my mom’s house.  I was really thankful that she didn’t mind at all to come to us.  That meant my sister and granny were able to be there to take in the experience as well.

I told Caroline I was interested in doing either a warm/orange/copper or pink lid and that I was not into heavy liner or a smoky outer corner or crease.  I think she actually started jumping up and down a little when I told her this.  (She’s adorable you all.)  She said she was super excited to try something different like this and was totally open to playing around with both colors.  I was relieved that she was on board.  We ended up doing something she said she had never done before.  We did one eye in the copper shade and one in the pinky shade.  I am so happy she suggested this and was open to it because seeing both on myself really helped me to pick the winner.  If we hadn’t done it like that that day, I would have been left wondering if I made the right decision.  I tell you all this just to let you see how open Caroline is to customization.  After we finished she asked me if there was anything I wanted to change.  I told her I wanted my brows more brushed out and the shade to be more towards the blonde side and that I was not comfortable with the eyeliner on me (I had happily agreed to try a thin liner just to test the waters).

Before Caroline left we booked with her.  We knew she was a personality we wanted around us on wedding day (if you meet her you will just know) and we were impressed with her skill!

Now this is how you know Caroline is top notch.. On the day of the wedding she arrived ready to go.  She had notes of what I wanted to change and had gone out and bought a new eyebrow pencil that was exactly the color I had in mind.  She listened to me about the eyeliner and came prepared with an idea that would both satisfy me and still make the look seem finished. (I LOVE it when people think ahead and you don’t even have to ask or prompt them to!!!)  She suggested we bring a little of the lid color down on my bottom lash line.  I loved it.  She also said she had been rethinking my blush.  She said she had noticed how I really liked a bronzy cheek and suggested we just do that so it did not compete with my eyes too much and kept the face more simple.  I was so impressed that she had done her homework and noticed my makeup preferences by looking at my IG.  

Anyway, all that to say that she goes above and beyond to please, is talented and a joy to be around and deserves all the praise! 

I hope knowing all these details will help you in some way if you are struggling through the wedding makeup process.  It can be a tricky one to navigate!  

SOMETHING OLD: The diamonds in my engagement ring + wedding band

We were so fortunate to have the diamonds from Ethan’s grandmas wedding rings to reset and use for mine.  It is something I will treasure until the end of time and feel so honored to have.  You can see the original ring and read more about that HERE.

ps–We wanted to make sure we kept track of the family diamonds in my wedding band (we added matching diamonds to the ring in order to have enough to go all the way around the band) and our jeweler told us he could mark the original diamonds inside the band with a small “x” mark in the gold.  I didn’t know that was possible so I wanted to share in case that helps any of you all in the future! 

SOMETHING NEW: My dress! 

SOMETHING BORROWED: My mom’s ring

I borrowed one of the rings of my mom’s that my stepdad gave her.  I wasn’t planning to wear anything on my wedding day except my wedding rings and diamond stud earrings so I had this borrowed item in my pocket.  Yes, my wedding dress had pockets!  My aunt had a large safety pin that she let me borrow.  I hooked the ring on that and pinned it in my pocket for safe keeping.

+ SOMETHING BLUE: A piece of one of my Pappyo’s blue ties

It was incredibly important to me to have a piece of my Pappyo with me on my wedding day.  I had so many stressful and funny dreams leading up to my wedding where the craziest things would go wrong.  Oddly enough, my Pappyo made in appearance in every. single. one.  I actually looked forward to them for that reason.  Yes, it was worrisome when things happened like me forgetting to alter or try on my dress (eek) but it was also comforting to hear my Pappyo’s voice saying “oh, SMILE Lindsey”.  He even called me Brat in one of them, which was always his nickname for me haha!  Sometimes it was a younger version of him in them with bright red hair and other times he was older but regardless every time I woke up I liked feeling like he was with me on this wedding journey. 

My Granny chose one of his ties that she still had that was blue and cut off a small piece of it for me.  I also added this to the safety pin and carried it in my pocket. 


WEDDING DAY GIFTS

And then there were some very special gifts that I received from my best friend and his boyfriend that I will hold near and dear to my heart for years to come.  I got a custom made sweatshirt with my new last name on the front (OBSESSED).  I wore it after the wedding back at the hotel!  I also got a luxe bottle of perfume and gorge bracelet.  Greg was so sweet to plan ahead and got me a bottle of my favorite Ralph Lauren fragrance with my new initials engraved on it and a very simple and dainty Tiffanys silver bracelet with the wedding date and my new initials engraved on it as well!    I wear both daily! They are so me.  These were such thoughtful things to receive so if you are looking for a gift for a bride, these ideas would be perfect!

 

  mother of the bride  

DRESS: Tahari Metallic Foil Ruched Gown 

We searched long and hard for just the right dress for my mom.  I think we found a gem.  It was PERFECTION on her.  So many of the mother-of-the bride dresses out there are just awful.  We wanted my mom to have a dress that gave her a presence but not one that was expected for her role.  A simple black dress wouldn’t do either.  So we looked for dresses that were formal and not too over the top.  The metallic fabric and slightly full skirt on this one MADE it!  And we loved the way it draped across the back since her hair was short enough to show it off.  I thought it was super flattering on her too! It was a stand out dress that was just as elegant and it was celebratory! 

SHOES: Gold Block Heel Pump

The hardest part was finding shoes to go with her dress.  She wanted something comfortable but formal and the dress changed colors depending on what light you saw it in or what colors you paired it with.  Sometimes it looked silver and sometimes it looked gold.  She landed on a muted metallic soft gold pump with a chunky heel.

 

  bridesmaids  

 

BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Custom dresses thanks to Ethan’s mom

The idea of a long black velvet dress popped into my head one day when I was thinking of bridesmaid options.  We only had our siblings in the wedding (Ethan and I each have a brother and sister) so I thought finding a dress would be relatively easy.  However, once I had this idea in my head I couldn’t shake it and I couldn’t find anything like it online.  I wanted a long sleeve, off the shoulder, black velvet dress that was a-line and floor length without a train.  Specific I know, haha.  I mentioned this to Jan (Ethan’s mom) and she SO generously offered to give making them a whirl!  She ordered three different dress patterns and combined them all to achieve the exact dress I had dreamed up in my head.  It worked out great because she was able to custom fit them to my sister and Ethan’s sister.  Ethan’s sister was 8 months pregnant at the time so I was happy this plan worked out.  They both looked so good in the dress!  I swear they could have been in a magazine–so glam!  And I am forever thankful to Jan for taking on the task and executing it so well.  

Moral of the story?  If you don’t find something you like available, look into getting it custom made by a seamstress.  It might be the option that makes you the happiest in the end and who doesn’t love a fully custom dress??

BRIDESMAID EARRINGS: Pavé Octagon Earrings

I got these earrings for my sister to wear and a similar pair for Ethan’s sister that were the same crystals but large ovals.  They both have dark hair and these showed up great!  The dress needed a touch of sparkle to make the evening look pop.  If you are looking for formal statement earrings make sure you look around in every day stores for them too.  I never thought I would find these in J.Crew but I ended up loving them!

 

   groom   

SUIT: Custom from Stuart Mercer

Ethan had an idea of what he wanted to wear in his head straight away.  He envisioned a velvet fitted evening jacket with a satin lapel, a white shirt, slim black suit pants without a satin side stripe and a velvet bow tie.  In the beginning he was interested in the jacket being navy but by the time the wedding got closer he had decided on all black. 

Ethan is a huge fan of Stuart Mercer.  It is a gentlemen’s shoppe here in Lexington and they do great custom work and tailoring.  We made an appointment with Stuart, Ethan told them what he was thinking and we started on the design process.  There are so many decisions that go into custom menswear so if you are beginning on the journey, I highly suggest going to someone you trust the opinion of.  Ethan picked everything from the velvet fabric (there were three similar ones to choose from) to the type of buttons and lining fabric.  

I did not go with Ethan to his fitting appointments after the design was settled.  He wanted it to be a surprise to me on the day of the wedding!  

I could not have loved the end result any more.  I think he looked so handsome and I am thrilled that he will have those custom items for the rest of time.  My favorite part is his name stitched in script inside his jacket! 

SHOES: Steve Madden Velvet Smoking Slippers

Ethan had landed on a pair of velvet smoking slippers that were upwards of $300 and when we randomly came across this pair we decided it was worth a shot to try them first since they were at a much better price point.  They turned out to be great!  His brother ended up ordering the same pair and loved them too.

BOW TIE: Black Velvet

Ethan found these bow ties online and we ended up being so impressed with them!  The quality is amazing and you cannot beat the price for value.  He got one for himself and my bother and his brother.  They are self tie, thick material, quality velvet and size adjustable in the back.  And fun fact, they are made in some small town in Italy.  We had fun watching the shipping tracking as they made it across the world to us!

WATCH: Ethan’s Grandfathers with black watch strap

One of Ethan’s most special possessions is his watch he has that was his grandfathers.  He wanted to wear it for our wedding weekend so we got him a new black leather strap to make it a bit more formal.  I love that he was able to tie a piece of his grandfather into our celebration.

This is the watch strap he ordered to swap out the brown leather one with for the weekend.  FYI–these are tricky to replace (just be patient, it will hook in eventually) but it ended up working perfectly.

 

  ceremony  

PIANIST: Daniel Porter

DP is one of my dear friends from college and I was honored he was open to playing in our wedding.  He is insanely talented and easy to work with.  I encourage you to incorporate someone close to you into your ceremony if you have the opportunity.  It makes it that much more special! 

VOCALIST: Eric Poore

So the person we booked with to sing in our ceremony cancelled on us a couple hours before our rehearsal was supposed to start.  Yea.. not ideal.

Thank gosh our friend DP was able to help.  He coordinated a replacement vocalist and offered to take time Saturday before the ceremony to rehearse with him.

The name in our program did not match the vocalist but that was the only thing that went wrong from that point forward.  Eric jumped in and not only saved us but also sang beautifully.  The ceremony would not have been the same without him.  Part way through he sang the Lord’s Prayer (it was so moving to hear that with all the candles and loved ones in the room) and as we all walked out he sang “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder (which was super fun and kicked off the night right)!

 

COORDINATOR: Jennifer Fister

Jennifer is my cousin and we could not have gotten through the day without her help.  She showed up just in time to help with EVERYTHING.  At first I didn’t know if we needed someone else to coordinate for us but I am really glad we ended up asking for help. 

Among the other million things Jennifer did for us before, during and after our ceremony she also was a very important factor during our photos.  We were trying to take photos in the house and out back before the ceremony and guests were starting to arrive in the house.  Things get very hectic quickly and Jennifer helped guide everyone so we could snag the rest of our photos.  I would have been so sad if we were forced to stop early. 

I was also very thankful to have her around right before our first look and ceremony.  I got VERY nervous before both and it made me feel comforted to have her there with me.  Just seeing her there and knowing she was in control made me feel relieved so I could stand there and just worry about quietly calming myself haha! At one point I started to silently lose it.  Jennifer noticed and just said, “Linds, what can I do”.  All I could manage was to put my finger up to my mouth in a shhhh sign.  And she just nodded and stopped the chatter around me from the other employees.  I can’t describe why but for some reason I just NEEDED quiet and deep slow breaths.  Moments after I walked down the stairs and out to see Ethan and everything seemed better! That is until it was time to walk down the aisle and then it all started again.  Thankfully by that time I was on my dad and step dad’s arms and I knew that they had me.  I could do it as long as they were there.  

Long story short?  If you can get a coordinator, do it.  And if you are nervous just take it one step at a time and find a moment to just breathe.  You can get through it! 

 

  reception  

BAR TENDERS: Acquaintances of friends that we hired for the evening

Our bartenders did just fine, but I do suggest hiring from a reputable company if you are planning an event.  We had a few hiccups with ours.  Nothing major but things I would have liked to avoid for our guests sake.  They were giving out beer cans (everything was supposed to be put in the appropriate glass), telling people we were out of certain kinds of wine (when we had plenty) and eating plates of food while on the job.  If you have the option, I’d suggest just going through a professional agency.

OLD CAR: 1950s Cadillac

One of my step-dads best friends generously offered to let us take some photos and use his 1950s Cadillac during our wedding day.  We were so thankful because it was gorgeous and these nighttime photos ended up being some of our favorites! 

LODGING: Capital Plaza Hotel + Shuttle

We arranged for a room block at the Capital Plaza Hotel in downtown Frankfort because the rooms were affordable and it was less than a mile away from our venue.  But the main reason was because they offered shuttle service to and from our venue all night.  This was SO handy!  We were even able to drop our stuff there early in the day and take the shuttle over to the venue so we did not have cars there.  

The staff at the hotel was super friendly and accommodating too!  

 

  rehearsal dinner venue  

REHEARSAL DINNER: Woodford Reserve Distillery

Ethan’s parents chose Woodford Reserve Distillery for the rehearsal dinner and it turned to be the perfect spot.  We had such a lovely and celebratory evening with our family and friends.  We tasted bourbon, had a delicious meal and heard toasts from our loved ones.  We couldn’t have asked for a better kick off!

ps–these few unedited iPhone snaps are all the documentation I have of the evening.  I do regret that.  I suggest having a plan for a family member or friend to take some photos on a professional camera if you can.  That way, even if you haven’t hired a photographer for the evening you will still have some photos to remember it by! Ours was SUCH a good evening and we had more photo evidence of it! 

 

  bride’s rehearsal dinner outfit  

DRESS:  Halston Heritage Ruched V-Neck Long Sleeve Gown

I know it has become common for the bride to wear white to the rehearsal dinner but I really wanted to find a chic black dress.  I fell in love with the simplicity of this one when I saw it.  The jersey material made it SO comfortable to wear and the ruching design made the figure forming dress flattering.  I also liked that it had sleeves since we had a November wedding.  I decided to hem the dress to right above my ankles to make it a little less formal and show off my shoes.  FYI, this exact dress does come in white so if you are looking for a white dress this can be an option too!  Wearing xs.

SHOES: Stuart Weitzman Chicster Off White Pump

I really wanted a solid white pump and when I decided to wear black for the rehearsal dinner I felt like that was the perfect excuse to buy them!  Turns out, they are the most comfortable pair of pumps that I have ever worn!  I have been able to wear them several times since that night too.  I am VERY tempted to buy them in black or nude just to have in my closet.  I am THAT obsessed with them.  I really like the heel shape and width too. They run true to size.  I got a 7.5.

COAT: Fur Coat from Ethan’s Great Aunt

Ethan’s mom was generous enough to let me borrow a fur coat she had.  It belonged to Ethan’s Great Aunt and was perfect for the occasion.  I LOVED the color and style–mid length and dark brown.  So classic and chic.  It was so special too because it has her initials stitched on the inside! 

EARRINGS: INC Shaky Drop Earrings in Silver

I went with these fun crystal earrings in silver for the rehearsal.  I loved the way they looked with my two other diamond stud earrings in my second and third holes and they were super light weight.

Shout out to my sister who also surprised me wedding week with a new pair of white gold and diamond stud earrings for my third hole.  I had gotten it pierced recently and was just able to change the earring that week.  She knew I needed something good quality to wear as the hole continued to heel and went above and beyond with gifting me something new!  I haven’t taken them out since!  They are classic and I will always her remember giving me them before the wedding.

 

  groom’s rehearsal dinner outfit  

PANTS: Calvin Klein Slim Fit Solid Dress Pants

We bought these black trousers for Ethan on a whim and they ended up being such a nice fit (after his mom hemmed them) so he ended up wearing them to the rehearsal.  

SHIRT: Trim Fit Solid Dress Shirt

Ethan has a great custom white button down shirt from Stuart Mercer but he was planning to wear that the next day for the wedding so we ordered this one to try for the rehearsal.  The reviews were really good so I thought it was worth a shot.  It ended up being such a good buy and fit Ethan better than a shirt off the rack ever has.  

JACKET: My Pappyo’s Camelhair Blazer

Ethan had one of my Pappyo’s old jackets but it was not a good fit at all.  He tool it to the tailor he has been using for years (if you are local, he uses KC Tailoring) and they were able to work magic on it!  It ended up looking great and I am glad he was able to wear something that meant so much to us on such a special night.  He also wore his grandfathers watch.

 

  wedding day timeline  

Our photographer helped us come up with our wedding day timeline.  You can read more about that process HERE.

The week before the wedding I added a bunch of detail to her timeline, printed a bunch of copies for everyone and put them in plastic sleeves.  Our exact timeline is below for you all to see and use as an example to work off of it you would like.  I did remove the names and phone numbers, ha!   

I can’t think of anything else to add at this time but if you all still have any questions I will be more than happy to add other details to this.  Just drop me a message or email if you have a request! xx

 

 

 

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