In reading through the details Kelly and Richard sent our way, one word that stood out to me over and over was “hope:” their hopes for beautiful weather (they even jumped their venue’s fence after hours to bury a bottle of bourbon!) and their hopes for a beautiful garden ceremony space (they booked Yew Dell after only seeing it in the dead of winter), but mostly, their hopes for a beautiful wedding day that was about more than just them, and a truly beautiful marriage. For most of us, the wedding planning process involves compromises along the way, but one thing I think we should never compromise on is the hope for a beautiful future, together. Kelly and Richard are such a sweet example of that!
Big hugs to Nina + Wes for these photos!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on a blind date! I was living with four of my best friends, and one night, my friend’s fiancé told me they had the perfect guy for me. A little reluctant and very apprehensive, I went with it, so he texted Richard. Apparently, in his text, he said to Richard “Whenever you’re ready, I’ve found your wife.” Who knew he was right! After Richard and I both agreed to this blind date, it took two months for the date to actually happen. I tried to cancel at least half a dozen times–luckily, my roommate wouldn’t let me. Eventually, the four of us went bowling and to dinner one Saturday night, and the rest is history!
I was so nervous to go dress shopping–I had heard horror stories about how stressful it was. My experience was the absolute opposite! I loved trying on wedding dresses–you feel like a princess for a day. I didn’t know what I wanted in a dress, so we searched high and low and tried on dozens. My options were all over the place. After looking all over Louisville (my hometown) and in numerous stores in Cincinnati, my mom and I finally decided to go to Twirl in Lexington, where I live now. I tried on two dresses before trying on the most beautiful Tara Keely gown. I knew it was my dress! It was sweet and delicate, but so lovely. We had our seamstress add sleeves with extra lace we ordered.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did do a first look. I knew I was going to be too nervous to go the whole day without seeing him until the ceremony! We decided that it was our wedding day and we wanted to enjoy one another. We wanted time before the ceremony to pray for the day and our marriage, and calm the nerves before saying our vows. We wanted to soak up the joy of the day as much as we could together. It was the best decision we could have made!
We had the bridal party walk down the aisle to “Jesus We Love You” by Bethel Music. Once they were down the aisle, my dad and I walked down to an excerpt from “Come to Me” from Bethel’s Without Words album. We chose these songs because we wanted the focus of our day to be about the beauty of the Lord bringing us together and inviting us into this covenant with him.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The day Richard proposed, we got on our knees along with our families and prayed for our marriage and our future. We knew that though weddings are beautiful and exciting celebrations, we didn’t want the one day to be our main focus. With every decision, we asked the question “Is this going to bring glory and attention to the covenant we are making with the Lord?” At the end of the day, it is the marriage we were celebrating, not the wedding. Throughout our engagement, we met up with with an amazing couple full of wisdom for marriage counseling. We also read Timothy Kellers book, “The Meaning of Marriage.”
My heart has always been bent toward the beauty of nature, especially the loveliness of flowers. As soon as Richard proposed, we knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, and my heart was set on a celebration among the trees or in a garden. As it turns out, I was blessed with both! Richard proposed in November, so we were venue hunting in the dead of winter. We found Yew Dell in December, and did a walk-through with frost on the ground and barren trees. Though we had pictures from the website to reference, it took a pretty strong imagination to picture the garden in full bloom. We booked Yew Dell on faith, hoping and praying it would be as beautiful as we imagined. When we visited the gardens about a month before the wedding, I cried. It was a wonderland! I knew our venue was going to be the enchanted garden nestled in the woodland that I had dreamed of since I was a little girl.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our florist outdid herself. Our head table was a work of art. We decided to use five beautiful farm tables to make one giant head table for our 20 bridesmaids and groomsmen, plus their guests. Our florist had a lush garland running the length of the table, all 30 feet of it! Our menus, beautifully designed by a friend, were resting on top of the golden chargers, tucked inside a napkin with sprigs of greenery resting on top. It made such a statement when you walked into the reception tent.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Several months before our wedding, Richard and I decided to get dance lessons for our first dance. We didn’t want anything special–just enough so we could do more than the middle school shuffle on the dance floor. To be honest, I wasn’t even excited to do the first dance! As it turns out, our dance instructor taught us the basic rumba and then threw in a variety of spins and twirls. Though I was hesitant at the beginning, our first dance was one of our favorite moments of the day. There is no better way to feel like a princess than to have your prince spin you around the dance floor in a lovely gown!
Tell us all about the proposal! Apparently, I am a difficult girl to surprise. Richard knew the element of surprise was important to me, so he made me believe it wasn’t going to happen until March at the earliest. The day after Thanksgiving, my parents told everyone they wanted to get a family picture for that year’s Christmas card. Later that afternoon, as the girls were getting ready (taking longer than usual, as girls do), Richard and the guys decided to run out for some Black Friday shopping. While the guys were gone, my mom suggested I take my sister and sister-in-law to one of my favorite gardens in Louisville (a location we had thought about as a wedding venue someday). The three of us arrived, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a stuffed bear to my left. I assumed a family had a Thanksgiving event there the day before and some child had left their stuffed toy, but as we got closer, I saw a note propped up against the bear with my name on it. I looked up and saw that Richard had strung twinkle lights among the trees in the loveliest part of the garden, and he stood waiting for me at the end of the path. It was simply magical.
When did y’all get married? July 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 260
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own. Richard is a pastor, so speaking in front of people is his forte–I, on the other hand, am not a public speaker. I knew I was going to be nervous enough repeating the vows after our minister. I didn’t think I would be able to say my own vows on top of it!
Describe your wedding flowers. Our florist made the most beautiful bouquets for us! She made lush full bouquets of ranunculus and garden roses and used a single garden rose for Richard’s boutonniere. My mom had gardenias on her wedding day, and every time she smells them, she said it brings her right back. I knew I wanted a distinctly fragrant flower, so even 30 years down the road, the scent would bring me back to our fairy tale day.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? A few weeks into our engagement, we learned about the burying the bourbon tradition! So, on June 18, Richard and I, along with my family, hopped in the car to discreetly bury the goods on Yew Dell’s property. Unfortunately, that day was dreary and rainy, and Yew Dell was closing their gates as we arrived. I was satisfied with burying the bourbon right outside the gate on the perimeter of their property, but Richard wanted it to be closer to our venue site! We drove around to the rear of the property, hopped the fence, and buried the bourbon adjacent to both the reception location and the ceremony location. We had full sunshine on our wedding day!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Know that the day is a celebration of the lifelong commitment you are making to one another. It brought Richard and I such peace to rest in the knowledge that the day was about more than just ourselves. It was about our promise to one another and our promise to the Lord. Your attitude and focus and make or break the day for you. So it was 95 degrees outside and humid? We had the privilege of starting our marriage joyfully overcoming the circumstances of our surroundings. So the ceremony music didn’t start out correctly? The sweet imperfection of the ceremony let our friends and family rest at ease. So there was a fly in the communion cup? Richard and I got a little extra protein! Your attitude and focus sets the mood for the rest of your guests. Just remember, regardless, at the end of the day you will be married. Isn’t that more important than who gets chicken or beef?
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? That is a great question! We don’t know. Richard and I feel settled in Lexington for now, but we both have a heart for missions and for serving. I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up in another country within the next several years. Or perhaps we will stay in Lexington, Kentucky and expand our family here! We are both dreamers, so in our heads, we have about a hundred dreams for where our future could go, but who knows where the Lord will take us next! In the meantime, we are basking in the joy of living life with the other at our side. We are making sweet memories sharing our home together and fellowshipping with friends.
Photographer: Nina and Wes Photography / Videographer: Summit Stone Creations / Planner: Devanny Kuhn of Essential Details / Venue: Yew Dell Gardens / Florist: Country Squire Florist / Cake Baker: Merts Cakes / Caterer: Masterson’s Catering / Rentals: Essential Details / DJ: Complete Weddings + Events / Invitations: Julie Diamond Calligraphy and Invitations / Program and Menu: Melody Thoburn / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Bridal Salon: Twirl Boutique/a> / Hair Stylist: Hayley Gleason/ Makeup Artist: Ashley Meadows Makeup Artistry / Menswear: J. Crew
Twirl Boutique is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful wedding! We loved this day!
Goodness gracious I love this precious bride! Helping her find her dress was such a joy and to her in it on her wedding day is so sweet. Thanks for the sharing their gorgeous wedding & their beautiful love.
What a stunning location! Those lines of trees…wow.