Anna & Ben- A Louisville Wedding

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From the Bride:  Ben and I met in July 2009, while serving overseas in Africa. Although we had never met we both had been feeling called to get outside of our “comfort zones” and serve in Kenya. Ben was there for a three-month internship with Life in Abundance International, along with a team of four other college students. They traveled throughout the country, but our lives didn’t cross paths until they ventured to a small city near Lake Victoria.

I was traveling with a large group of 20 people from my church in Louisville. My group went with the specific mission of conducting surveys and determining the needs of those living in the Nyalenda slum in the city of Kisumu, while also sharing with them the love of Christ. Well, it just so happened that Ben’s team was serving in the same place that week and were scheduled to help us with our project! We developed a friendship that week and then talked via email for the weeks prior to Ben’s return home. I believe seeing someone completely removed of their natural surroundings helps you see the true heart of that person. Needless to say, we both liked what we saw. After dating a year, we got engaged and continue to believe God brought us together from the start.

[When it comes to the proposal] Ben surprised the heck out of me! He had a friend from L.I.A. send me an email that asked if I would help plan a going-away party for one of their workers. I replied “maybe," but Ben said, “We have to go!” Of course, I had no clue what was about to happen. It was Monday night, November 22, 2010, and Ben asked me to go to dinner with him. We enjoyed a delicious meal at Corbett’s in Louisville and afterward, he drove us to the place where our so-called party planning was to take place.

No one was there! I was a little scared at first. We went around to the back patio, around a huge pool, and proceeded to enter a large gazebo. It was gorgeous inside … Christmas lights strung all around the edge of the ceiling, candles lit everywhere, and a beautiful fire blazing in the fireplace. I still had no idea! I thought we were interrupting someone else’s special night. And then, I saw the pictures! Framed pictures of Ben and I during our time in Kenya. And then, I knew! In utter amazement and shock, I turned and he was on one knee!

Our wedding planning process was an absolute blast! I love to plan things so there was no delay! The first step was a dress. I tried on many-a-white-wedding-gown before finding “the one.” I found it at Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique and actually made a few changes to it in order to make it my own. The truth is, I had picked out the bridesmaid dresses first, from J.Crew. I just knew they were what I wanted, and the girls could wear them AGAIN (and have)!

We decided on the venue in December and decided to set the date for October 8, 2011. Hurstbourne Country Club in Louisville was the site for our outdoor wedding and their renovated mansion was where we held the reception.  I interviewed several florists but ended up going with Country Squire, and I could not have been happier with their expert floral design!

Cake tasting was pleasing to the taste buds. My mama, Vicki, maid of honor/sister, Erin, and I actually did that on our own. Ben has never been much of cake guy and my family was happy to oblige. The cake was stunning and tasted as good as it looked. It included strawberry with cream cheese filling, lemon with blackberry, and traditional French vanilla flavors. Megan McCarthy, our baker from Megan's Cute Cakes, catered to any request we threw at her, and seeing as I am celiac we had a big request for one of the layers. No gluten!

Our photographer, Jules Wiegand, is a dear friend.  The way she can capture moments is truly a gift. We took her out to the country for our engagement shoot, the spring before our wedding. The pre-civil war estate and horse farm, Undalata, was breathtaking on its own but add Jules to the mix and it comes to life. From the four board fences to the estate staircase, every scene provided a unique photograph.

Our wedding day was like a dream! I have yet to wake up since then and experience a more picture perfect and utterly beautiful day. The sky was royal blue and the leaves were starting to change. The bridal party and I set up shop in the ladies lounge at Hurstbourne. We had a panoramic view of the grounds and were able to watch the ceremony site come to life (thanks to my in-laws), with white wooden chairs, mums, ferns, and a family heirloom table, which held the lanterns for our unity candles. Ben and I chose to have a “first sight” prior to the ceremony. I knew this would help calm our anxiousness and give us a chance to really talk before walking down the aisle. I am so happy we did. It was a sweet, intimate moment that we will always cherish.

The old church ruins made the perfect backdrop for our nuptials. We had friends play piano and guitar and sing some old hymns as the ceremony was beginning. I walked down the aisle with my mom and dad on either side of me. It was important for me to share that extra special moment with both of them and show them how much their love and support meant to me. My handsome groom awaited me and we shared our own personalized vows with each other.

The reception was an amazing celebration with our dearest friends and family. Ben opted for a candy buffet instead of cake, and I had spent many hours gathering each piece for the tablescape. There was dancing, singing, and even an impromptu “magic carpet ride,” where Ben, his fellow Sigma Chi brothers and I performed “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. After the reception, we headed to 21C for a night, and then had our honeymoon in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  As time has quickly past, we have grown to know and love each other more with each new day. Our hopes for the future of our marriage would be to continue growing individually and together, and to always put the other person’s needs first. We know that being “in love” fades over time and that the commitment we made to each other is our most important relationship on earth. The first time we met came about because of the passion in our hearts to serve and I don’t think we will ever stop loving being able to serve together. Who knows, one day we might even travel back to Africa!

Anna & Ben's Wedding Team

Photographer: Jules Wiegand Photography

Venue: Hurstborne Country Club

Floral Designer: Country Squire Florist

Dress: Rebecca's Wedding Boutique

Bridesmaids Dresses: J. Crew

Cake Designer: Megan's Cute Cakes

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If you can't get enough of this cute couple, Anna and Ben's Engagement Session can be found by clicking here.