Kaitlyn and Justin's Cliffside Gorge Wedding

From the bride: Planning our wedding was one of the most stressful things we've done (as I'm sure is the case for many!). We were planning this super important day while I (Kaitlyn) was also working on my dissertation, finishing my PhD, and applying for jobs at universities, and Justin (groom) was managing my rollercoaster of emotions AND a full-time job at a nearby university. The stress and anxiety continued through the morning of the wedding--but it all washed away (at least for me) as I walked down the aisle. I've read articles and blogs and talked to married people about this, and they all told me the same thing--that it would be worth it--but that's not something I was able to fully trust or comprehend until it happened. I truly believe that I felt this wave of relief and pure joy because our wedding was, down to the very last detail, a representation of us and our relationship.

While we were not sold on a formal wedding, we knew that our families would be devastated if we just went to the county clerk and had a picnic in the park with a White Castle Crave Case like my grandparents did. So, we made it as "us" as possible. We found our venue and were immediately sold. It would allow us to meet two of our non-negotiables: a setting in the mountains that also provided on-site lodging for our wedding party (for the whole weekend!) and surrounding cabins for our guests. Our ceremony was outside, set against the most beautiful backdrop. We had the aisle lined with tree stumps and loose stems in wine bottles that I collected over the course of a year. Justin's dad presided over the ceremony--we wanted someone who knew and loved us, from the beginning, to officiate. It was short and to the point, with our favorite songs and poems weaving together our vows. However, I think the best part was when my shoe got stuck in the wooden slats the second I reached the altar. Justin had to reach down and yank my foot out of the wood, causing ourselves and our guests to erupt in laughter, breaking the nerves I knew we both had. But, the reception was, far and away, the most representative of us. The room was decorated with strings upon strings of fairy lights (Justin's idea!) and more glass bottles than I ever knew possible to collect, with bright and varied loose stems. The tables were covered in simple white cloths with lace runners, and adorned with my grandma's collection of Fenton blue glass. Each table had something of hers, complemented by more bottles, flowers, and Justin's favorite--dinosaur table numbers. Justin asked very little of the wedding, but one thing he wanted were dinosaurs, so I gave him dinosaurs! Something else he asked was that dancing not be the "centerpiece" of our reception--neither of us are particularly adept dancers! Instead, we had games of all sorts throughout the room and on the patio--jenga, corn hole, beer pong, board games, etc. Of course there was dancing--to a playlist carefully crafted by Justin himself--but we didn't feel the pressure we had witnessed at other weddings. Another "non-negotiable" was a delicious and comforting yet low-key buffet and an open bar. We had bison sliders, shrimp tacos, macaroni and cheese, and caprese salad, complemented by various beer, wine, and whisky (of course!). We finished it off with a serve-yourself-pie bar for the guests and a decadent cheesecake for us (we are NOT cake people), topped with Justin's grandma's cake topper.

Justin is from Kentucky, and it's incredibly near and dear to his heart, so our final non-negotiable was that all of our vendors were local. As you will notice in the vendor credits, we kept everything local. All in all, I can't imagine a wedding that would capture our vibe more perfectly.

Photography: We Choose the Moon Photography | Location: Campton | Venue: Cliffview Resort | Florals: Bellaire Blooms | Wedding Planner: Brandan Gravitt, The Bride’s Assistant | Caterer: Napa Prime | Cake: Missy’s Pies | Hair + Makeup: Mollie Monthe-Radden of Hair by Momorad | Bride’s Attire: Designer: WTOO by Watters from I Do a Bridal Boutique | Groom’s Attire: Joseph Abboud, Men’s Wearhouse | Credits: Veil: I Do a Bridal Boutique; Alterations: Juan and Marvin Chan, International Tailors; Shoes: Vince Camuto; Bridal Hanger: BHLDN

Katelyn Daugherty