Ashley and Nathan met in physician’s assistant school in Fort Myers, Florida, his home state. When they were deciding where to begin their careers upon graduation, Ashley kept thinking that there’s no place like “My Old Kentucky Home”. Nathan proposed at The Opryland Hotel, where her parents honeymooned over 40 years ago. He played one of her favorite songs as he knelt by the waterfall in the Grand Conservatory.
The choice on a wedding venue was one of the easiest of the entire process. As a girl, Ashley came to Louisville on business meetings with her father, an architect. They would often stay in The Brown Hotel to take in the incredible architecture and ambiance.
Ashley’s father passed away a year before the wedding and their wedding date was a day before what would’ve been her parents’ 40th anniversary. The wedding held several details to honor his memory. Ashley gave the groom a lapel pin made of her father’s thumbprint, which Nathan wore. A yellow ribbon–his favorite color–was cut in half at his funeral; he was buried with half, and Ashley kept the other half. She wrapped the ribbon around her bouquet and had a yellow rose incorporated into the center. A friend painted a portrait of him wearing a tuxedo with his yellow ribbon in hand, as if he were watching the ceremony from above.
The aisle was laid with a custom runner with an ombre effect and the text of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Lush rose petals from fushia to white were scattered at the edges leading up to the altar. The bride’s twin sister, who was born with cerebral palsy, wore a white wedding dress to escort Ashley down the aisle and give her away. Their minister, a family friend, officiated the ceremony. The couple loved “Canon in D” and “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris, and couldn’t decide between the two songs for their ceremony. A composer arranged the two seamlessly together and The Louisville Strings played it for the couple. When it came time for the big kiss, Nathan swung his bride around and dipped her down, catching her by surprise.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour featuring a Kentucky theme. Bourbon barrel cocktail tables were adorned with burlap overlaps and mint julep centerpieces accented with horseshoes and candles. Guests signed a bourbon barrel head converted into a lazy susan and enjoyed miniature Kentucky Hot Browns, the hotel’s signature dish.
The reception was held inside The Crystal Ballroom. Tables were covered with ivory linens, accented with a beautiful gold overlay. The tables were set with gold chargers, pink napkins, rhinestone table numbers and votives. Beautiful, oversized centerpieces were garnished with crystals to match the ballroom’s signature chandelier. Gold containers bore a lush assortment of roses, hydrangeas, orchids and calla lilies. The head table featured five glass pillars with dramatic ombre florals.
The moment the reception band began to play, the dance floor was full and stayed busy for hours. When Ashley and Nathan retired to their honeymoon suite, the majority of guests continued the celebration at Louisville’s Fourth Street Live.
photographer|DAVID BLAIR cinematographer| DAN SHALLENBERGER, with Poetic Cinema venue/catering| THE BROWN HOTEL venue/coordinator| DEBBIE WHITELOCK wedding planner|ALICIA COLLINS, with Great Expectations invitations/programs|EMILY MISTRETTA, with Cardinal & Straw save-the-dates|MELLEN DESIGNS bridal party|DESSY bridal gown|MARTINA LIANA groom & groomsmen|VERA WANG hair/makeup| HALEY BOLIN, with Simply Makeup cakes| LADY A CAKES rings|SHEILA BAYES transportation|R&R LIMOUSINE music composition|DR. MATTHEW MCCONNELL wedding music|THE LOUISVILLE STRINGS