Classic Fort Mitchell Wedding

Katy and Matt’s New Year’s Eve Wedding

From the bride: Thinking back on our New Year's Eve wedding fills me with the most nostalgic excitement! As any bride in the early stages of wedding planning knows, the moment you are engaged there are a million people with suggestions, opinions and ideas (many of which are entirely helpful, some of which are just a little too overwhelming). This is the situation I found myself in. I flipped through countless images of beautiful weddings, each with it’s own distinct style: bohemian, themed, floral afternoon luncheons, minimalistic, etc., and I loved something about each style. It didn't take long for me to realize, however, that so much of what made the weddings appear so perfect was that the bride and groom were true to their personalities. I gave myself some time to reflect on what our style was as a couple, what little things identified us.

Our favorite song is Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." I used this song as my inspiration going forward and built my vision around a modern take on a Frank Sinatra affair. There would be groomsmen in dapper, crisp black tuxedos and bridesmaids in curve hugging Calvin Klein gowns with white faux fur shawls and glitzy jewelry. We built our song selection around big bands and the bold, jazzy sounds of Nat King Cole, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye (with modern hints of people like Michael Buble and Beyonce). Given that our wedding was on New Year's Eve, the dress code of the night lent itself naturally to a more formal attire which, in my opinion, added to the opulence of the night and the swanky feel of celebration. A downtown setting was extremely alluring to Matt and I and we felt it would also add to the sophisticated atmosphere we were trying to build. Matt's parents happened to be members of The Metropolitan Club (located in the Covington Rivercenter) and as I toured this venue with my mom we both knew it would be the ideal place to celebrate the first moments of married life. The Metropolitan Club offers panoramic views of downtown Cincinnati, the perfect back drop as guests danced, toasted and laughed. At midnight confetti drifted through the air, guests popped their personal bottles of LaMarca champagne, Auld Lange Syne rang out and I had my first midnight kiss as a wife - all while fireworks filled the Cincinnati skyline and the eyes of guests through the city-sweeping views of the club.

My centerpieces were among my most treasured details of the evening. Half of the tables were dressed with white pillar candles on glass tiered stands surrounded by white rose petals. The other tables were filled with the most amazingly dramatic glass vases that were overflowing with greenery and white hydrangeas. These large centerpieces lent themselves to a very romantic look, however, my florist was able to keep costs relatively inexpensive by using more greenery and adoring them with a scattering of hydrangeas which appeared to be more flowers than were actually there. Also, instead of filling the vases she built the arrangements in a clear dish and was able to balance them on top of the vase. It was impossible to tell that the vase was not actually filled and allowed us to cut down dramatically on the amount of flowers we had to purchase in order to dress the vases.

A friend of ours, Sarah Wolfer, owns a local bakery (Simply Sarah) and made our cake for us. Matt eats a gluten free diet so it was important for us to have a gluten free cake for him and other guests who have gluten sensitivities. Initially, I found myself leaning away from cupcakes, but eventually decided to serve cupcakes and traditional cake. Cupcakes were kept in the back and formally brought to each persons seat along with an offering of coffee or tea after the cake was cut. In an attempt to remain very detail oriented, cupcake liners added a formal touch to the more contemporary cupcake. This small and easy touch was absolutely amazing, the cupcakes looked so fancy dressed in the brown crisp wrap. Matt proposed to me at Woodford Reserve Distillery outside of Lexington, KY. Sarah suggested that one flavor we offer, as an ode to that part of our story, could be bourbon and we also served a vanilla with lemon raspberry icing and a champagne flavored cake.

I was one lucky bride who had two dresses! This truly was out of total luck! I bought my first dress after going to simply "look at some different styles" on a day out with my mom. I had tried on about 5 different dresses - each of which I liked but none of which was totally and unabashedly "me." I wanted a dress that was timeless and classic. After agreeing to take a break for that day my mom noticed a dress in the corner and with just a moment's glance I knew that I was absolutely smitten with the hidden gem she had found. The dress was made by Birnbaum & Bullock and was a silk dream. It had a rather modern open back that was softened by a row of delicate bows. The dress had a bib-style fitted front that gave way to a full and feminine ball gown. When I tried the dress on, it felt like someone had made a dress for me that had everything I wanted - even when I didn't know exactly what it was that I was looking for. I describe this dress as very J. Crew meets Kate Spade. It was modern yet classic, feminine yet strong and crisp, fitted and yet filled with movement.

I had such a wonderful experience finding my dream dress that I told my mom I wanted to return to the store to buy my shoes. As I was browsing all kinds of satin covered heels, I noticed a few more dresses hanging in the boutique on a sale rack. I actually (through sheer luck) won another dress. It was a mermaid cut with a cascade of sparkle and a sweetheart neckline. It was sexy and shiny and an overall very fun dress that I wore for the reception.

A few of my favorite moments from the night (because who can honestly pick just one?)

Saying my vows and feeling the wonderful enormity of what I was committing to and what Matt was promising me. I don't think anyone can begin to imagine how beautiful it is when the person you love vows to walk through life with you and you know without a question of a doubt that they are saying each word with the utmost sincerity.

I surprised my mom with a mother-daughter dance after the traditional first dances. Growing up my mom and I used to dance around the living room to Aretha Franklin's anthem "Natural Woman." As a little girl I never quite realized the beauty of the lyrics but as I grew older I found this song to be a vow of love between my mom and myself. She was totally sensitivities by this but the moment she heard Aretha singing to us, it was like her and I came full circle as we spun around in circles together once again. It was one of the moments that will hold in my heart as much as in memory. (Not to mention it was awesome to hear a choir of all the females gathered around belting some Aretha Franklin!)

Taking a moment to be a fly on the wall at my own reception. It was awesome to step back even if just for a second and watch all of our friends and family laughing and enjoying the night we had agonized over for the past year. It was so worth it to see that there was a buzzing atmosphere, alive with happiness and excitement. So many people who meant so much to us gathered in one spot, drinking, eating and being together. I loved that my photographer encouraged us to have a few minutes of alone time allowing me to take a little mental snap shot of my guests smiles.

Guests loved that the wedding was in the same building as the block of hotel rooms that we reserved. Not only did this allow for safety after a few glasses of champagne but it also was nice given that the wedding was in the winter. Guests did not have to worry about much driving in what could be icy conditions since our ceremony and reception were very close and nearly all booked hotel rooms in the same building as the reception.

I could go on and on about so many parts of my own wedding but the fact that a wedding is a time to celebrate the love of marriage is truly the most fundamentally important thing. A bottomless budget does not make a wedding fun, memorable or beautiful. A couple that is truly in love, devoted to each other and committed to sustaining the sincerity of their vows is what makes a wedding romantic and beautiful. If you have love it will show and your wedding will set the stage for a beautiful marriage.

Photography: Amanda Donaho Photography | Location: Fort Mitchel | Venue: Ceremony-Blessed Sacrament; Reception-Metropolitan Club | Videography: Anderson Cinema | Florals: Wyoming Florist | Cake: Simply Sarah | Music: Party Pleasers | Hair: Molly Messer | Makeup: Cinci Makeup

Katelyn Daugherty