Is it weird to have a wedding bucket list? While I obviously have no control over where and when my friends and family members get married, I have all my fingers crossed that someday, I’ll get to be a guest at a New Year’s Eve wedding. The sparkle and excitement of NYE is fun enough as it is, but add a joyful bride and groom and a rockin’ reception to the mix? Seriously…it doesn’t get better. While we’ve featured plenty of glam, black-tie NYE weddings over the years, I love that Kathryn and Chad took a different approach, incorporating gorgeous colors, Florida-inspired blooms, and incredible painted details into their day (all with the help of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Ashton Events). Their details were the perfect way to blend their festive wedding date with their sentimental at-home venue, and we’re so glad The Ganeys were on hand to capture all the loveliness!
P.S. I have written hundreds of real wedding posts over the years, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen an interview filled out by the groom! Thanks for sharing, Chad!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Despite our many mutual friends and the fact that we grew up in neighboring towns in rural Central Florida, Kathryn and I first met in Washington, DC. I had been working in DC as a lawyer for about a year when Kathryn moved up to begin a new job at the Department of Justice. A mutual friend invited us to–of all things–an election party, which is where Kathryn and I met for the first time. Our mutual friend told me about Kathryn ahead of time, so I was naturally very excited to meet her, and struck up a conversation with her as soon as I got to the party. Kathryn was not so informed. “I had no idea he was a set-up,” she would always say. “I just thought he was really friendly.” Although our mutual friend thought we would get along, she had no clue we grew up 30 minutes away from each other, nor did she know we would hit it off so well. We spent the next few hours talking and laughing as we reminisced about all the quirks of our tiny hometowns. The whole night was great, except for one tragic mistake: I didn’t get her number! I told myself that the next time I saw her, I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. My next chance came in January, when we saw each other at a meeting for lawyers. Although she didn’t recognize me at first (ouch), she remembered as soon as I told her where I was from. Our first date was a couple of days later, near the end of January, and in December of that year, we got engaged after 11 months of dating.
I didn’t have a ton of preferences for the wedding, but I knew I wanted the first time I saw Kathryn to be as she was walking down the aisle. And it was worth the wait! Nothing will ever beat that moment when time stopped as the church doors swung open and Kathryn walked in. There was an audible gasp in the audience as every person in the room entertained the same thought: this is the most beautiful bride.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Between our afternoon ceremony and evening reception, Kathryn and I were able to go back to the house we were renting and watch the sun set over the lake. It was the perfect break and a truly special time for Kathryn and me to slow down and appreciate the beauty of that day. It also allowed us to recharge so we could dance the night away and ring in the New Year!
Our initial reception venue cancelled about a month before our wedding. With so little time to find another venue, we decided to host the reception in Kathryn’s parents’ backyard. Although it was not our first choice, our team of wedding designers made it absolutely perfect. It was better than we ever could have imagined, and because it was at Kathryn’s parents’ house, we got to be more creative with the lighting, decorations, and furniture than we would have been able to be at another venue. Now, every time we visit Kathryn’s parents, we look at the backyard and remember how great our wedding day was.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved a lot of money by cutting the sit-down dinner and doing BBQ and taco stations instead. Also, for decor, we decorated Kathryn’s parents’ backyard with original oil paintings done by Kathryn’s aunt. We had dozens of our favorite oil paintings hanging from trees throughout the yard.
Our Southern heritage informs everything we do. From our classic bourbon and tea signature cocktail to the BBQ and grit cakes we served at the reception, to a special area of the wedding venue dedicated to smoking cigars, we tried to give all of our wedding guests a taste of the South.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many things that we loved, but my favorite was the champagne toast at midnight. We served a delicious sparking rosé via a classic champagne tower waterfall. The toast was great because everyone was crowded onto the dance floor as we wrapped our arms around each other and sang “Auld Lang Syne.”
Tell us all about the proposal! We were traveling down to Florida for Christmas. We were set to fly into Tampa, but I changed our tickets and surprised Kat with a layover for a few days in Asheville. As we were driving into Asheville, I took her to a beautiful outdoor chapel known as “Pretty Place” at the top of a mountain. I had a photographer at the back of the chapel waiting for us, so we were able to capture the entire moment. The best part was that Kathryn had no clue it was coming.
When did y’all get married? December 31, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? Kathryn and I are both Catholic, so we used the traditional marriage vows from the Catholic Church. Our ceremony was sacred and reverent, and the music was absolutely beautiful. The organist and soloist played “O Magnum Mysterium” by Lauridsen, a piece that has special significance to me. But my favorite part of the ceremony was how light and jovial it was. The hallmark came when the celebrant, a sweet old retired priest, called me Clyde instead of Chad. Everyone was dying laughing, including me.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My favorite reading was from John 17, where Jesus prays that the disciples will be one as He and the Father are one. This verse served as the inspiration for the engraving inside Kathryn’s wedding band: One Forever.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Kathryn’s father is a musician and music teacher. I also have a background in classical music, so picking the wedding music was a great opportunity for us to come together over our shared love of classical music and select pieces that we both like. We ended up going with beautiful selections by Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Kathryn and I took marriage preparation classes at the local parish in DC, where we were both living as we planned our wedding.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Although we really want to get back to Florida in the next few years, Kathryn and I are excited about our new life together in DC. I predict lots of long walks, late-night ice cream runs, and bike rides in our future.
Photographer: The Ganeys | Planner and Florist: Ashton Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Catholic Church | Wedding Cake: J’aime Cakes | Dessert Baker: Katara Confectionery | Caterer: 4 Rivers Smokehouse | DJ: Corey Barron via Grant Hemond and Associates | Bride’s Gown: “Destiny” by Romona Keveza | Hair and Makeup: Kaitlin Lang | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Groom’s Tuxedo: Custom by Tom James Company | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Chairs, Dance Floor, and Rentals: A Chair Affair | Tent and Lighting: Premier Party | Hair and Makeup: A Cherished Bride
Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!