Virginia & CJ - A bluegrass-inspired wedding

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Here at Kentucky Bride, we love when weddings draw from the elements that make our state unique. So, when we saw KFC buckets, horse shoes and bourbon, we knew that this real Kentucky wedding would be a hit in the bluegrass. Here is the story of Virginia & CJ:

From the bride: 

Since most of our guests were from outside of Kentucky (I think that we had about 25 states represented), we wanted to show our guests the best that Kentucky had to offer. Our rehearsal dinner was at the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery, and our reception was held in a converted tobacco barn nestled between some o the most impressive horse farms in the state. Our ceremony was in the heart of 19th century downtown Lexington. Spreading out our venues did force our guests to drive over half of Central Kentucky, but it also gave them a built-in tour of our state.

To tie Kentucky elements into our wedding, we welcomed our guests with KFC buckets filled with Kentucky goodies (or what you might find in a Kentucky backroads fillin' station), including Ale 8 One, a Moonpie, Koozies (a Southern staple) and a mixed CD of Kentucky-themed songs ("Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Kentucky Rain," and "Coal Miner's Daughter," to name a few). At the reception, we served a good ole'-fashioned Kentucky country meal, including fried chicken, country ham biscuits, cheese grits, green beans and corn bread. Our guests signed a panoramic photo book of Kentucky scenery, which we used as our guestbook, and we served Kentucky Ale (beer) and Kentucky-made wine. To keep our guests' drinks cold, we handed out koozies that read "Heaven Must be a Kentucky Kind of Place," a quote attributed to none other than Daniel Boone.

The bride's cake was a Kentucky "Stack Cake." Red velvet, six layers and "naked!" In Kentucky and Appalachian tradition, when families of the bride did not have extra resources to spend on weddings and most weddings were held in the bride's home, guests would each bring a layer of cake to the wedding. The bride would use icing to stack the donated layers - creating a "stack cake." The more layers the bride cobbled together, the more popular the bride and groom were said to be. This red velvet cake was a more polished take on the Stack Cake tradition (and the topper was the same one used by my grandparents in their wedding in 1949). The groom's cake was a spin on a bottle of Maker's Mark (CJ's favorite).

Because I was raised on a horse farm, we also tried to tie in a running horseshoe motif. Our invitation included a horseshoe logo designed by CJ and myself, we gave our guests genuine thoroughbred racehorse horseshoes (tied with pretty satin ribbon for ease in hanging over their doors), CJ's boutonniere contained a vintage horseshoes tie pin, and I gave each bridesmaid a vintage horseshoe brooch, which was pinned to their bouquets for luck. For our church decor, my parents made wreaths of horseshoes (welded together) and we tied horseshoes to the pews to decorate the aisle.

CJ and I rented a vintage white Bentley for our "getaway" car. The company called us during our wedding rehearsal to tell us that the car had broken down! Luckily, the company improvised, and our getaway car was a gorgeous (Dartmouth) green Cadillac! One of my favorite moments was driving from our ceremony to the reception - alone with my new husband on Kentucky country roads (with champagne service, of course). Another favorite moment was our first dance. We took swing dance lessons at Arthur Murray and danced outside, under Chinese lanterns, "in the moonlight," to the Thin Lizzy song, "dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in its Spotlight)." Our fancy footwork gained us lots of cheers! (My father-daughter dance to "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" was a close second). One last favorite: Our priest, knowing how important our state is to both of us, sang a verse from "My Old Kentucky Home," during our ceremony. It brought the crowd to tears.

Virginia and CJ's Wedding Team

Photographer: Adam Padgett Weddings Flowers: E. Stephen Hein Florist Day-Of Coordinator: Misty Roberts Ceremony: St. Paul Catholic Church Reception: Talon Winery Invitations: Designed by bride and groom Shoes: Mina Dress/veil: Allure/Ruth's Bridal Caterer and cakes: Thelma's Gourmet Goodies Car: Gold Shield Transportation Rentals: Bryant's Rent-All Band: Custom Made Bluegrass Hair: Voce Tuxedo: Brooks Brothers (via eBay), KC's Tailoring Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm Garter: Florrie Mitton Groomsmen Tux Rental: Jos. A. Bank Pre-Ceremony Photo Shoot: The Hunt-Morgan House Rehearsal Dinner: Woodford Reserve Distillery Dance Lessons: Arthur Murray

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