Four weeks … just four quick weeks to plan this intimate Cincinnati wedding at Ault Park. Can you imagine? Sent to us by April at Bluebird Photography, this wedding epitomizes the bride who knows just what she wants, and wastes no time setting it into motion. As you’ll read in Jennifer and John’s romantic story, they couldn’t have been happier the way the day turned out. A day surrounded by their dearest. Lots of the details about this day are delightful, but one of the best? Each of the ladies attending this small, but oh-so-special celebration received a hand-crafted necklace from the bride’s sister! Now that’s unique. Enjoy the full gallery here!
From April at Bluebird Photography … Jennifer & John booked me about a month out from the wedding! It was a small, intimate wedding of about 30 guests at a local park. She created the most beautiful table … one long table for all of her guests. The details were just gorgeous!! She took phrases and music from french songs, printed them on paper and curled them to place in vases. The small cake served as the centerpiece while the rest of the table was decorated with gorgeous, black candle holders… just lovely!
From Jennifer … It was pretty instant between John and me. He lived in Columbus and I lived in Cincinnati, so we had our first date in Dayton the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We somehow managed to have a three hour dinner. I think we just kept ordering more food so we could make it last. I remember laughing a lot, and I remember being mesmerized by his smile. On our way out of the restaurant, I took his hand, and it just felt right. He called me on his way home from dinner, and we talked the whole way home. I was falling for him so I introduced him to my two year old son. When they became best buds by the end of the day, I knew he was the one.
The three of us spent Christmas together, and I knew I wanted to spend every Christmas with him. On Valentine’s Day, he took me to New York, took me to a jeweler, and told me to pick one out! We had planned on going away and getting married somewhere just the two of us. We are both so close to our families, though, that in the end I decided I wanted to have them there. There were so many people who were so happy for us, and I wanted to celebrate the moment with them. When all of the vendors and location I wanted were available on the same day, we went for it! I had four weeks to plan the wedding! Because I was planning on a very short time frame, there was no messing around. I got the best vendors, told them what I wanted, and trusted them to do it. And they did!
My sister, Heather Kramb, has done event design for many galas. She and I used to own a French antique store together in Lebanon called Maddie Lisee. We are both total junkies for everything French and old and beautiful. When John and I decided to get married at Ault Park, a French Country style for our wedding was a no-brainer for me. It’s a look that I have loved for ten years, not just the latest trend or style. I used my all-time favorite colors: aqua, ivory, black, and silver. The event design was a collaboration between the floral designer, Dennis Buttelwerth, my sister, and I. You could say the look was a marriage of the finest materials we could find and handmade details. Dennis brought in the most beautiful pleated silk aqua linens from Washington, DC, and I made table runners from vintage French toile fabric. He had gorgeous, huge silver candelabras and my sister found rococo candlesticks to use between them. Dennis lined the table with beautiful ivory hydrangeas and roses in silver bowls and julep cups. He also used lavender and dusty miller, which I would have never thought of but loved. My sister had antique french sheet music in her closet that I wrapped around votives. She came up with a design element that was both inexpensive and beautiful, too, with the cylinders. We filled cylinders with pearls at the bottom, then I filled it with curled up pieces of parchment paper. I used the lyrics to “La Vie en Rose.” (Yes, my sister has things like antique french sheet music in her closet. You should see her basement!)
With his vast experience and creativity, Dennis came up with an unusual and beautiful way to have the ceremony. He draped the overlook at Ault Park with garlands and white flowers. It was simple but elegant and didn’t look like a “stage.” With such a small guest count of 36 and no bridal party, he suggested doing away with the center aisle. Instead, we put all of the chairs together. John walked out of one room at Ault Park, and my son and I walked out of the other end, and we met in the middle in front of our guests.
The first time I ever saw the Ault Park Pavilion was shortly after I started law school, about eight years before our wedding. For our wedding, I wanted something elegant but comfortable. I have been to weddings that were so elegant everyone forgot to have a good time. We wanted our wedding to be a celebration. We wanted our guests to relax and enjoy themselves. Having it outdoors seemed perfect for us. Because we had such a small group, we were able to seat everyone at one long table under the arches and have a candlelit dinner with our closest friends and family.
I bought all of my wedding day attire at La Jeune Mariee in Worthington, Ohio. It’s a bridal salon owned by sisters Lyndsay and Stacey. They were amazing! The service they gave me was unbelievable. After visiting larger bridal salons where all I heard was “that dress takes six months,” Stacey and Lyndsay didn’t hesitate and made it happen for me. I fell in love with a dress by Lea-Ann Belter. Stacey called the rep from the company and managed to get me into a made-to-measure couture gown in weeks! It literally came in days before my wedding, but it was perfect! My shoes were Benjamin Adams and dyed a french blue. I found the most gorgeous tear-drop earrings. Bridal jewelry seems like an extravagant expense on top of so many other expenses, but it’s the only thing from my wedding day that I can still wear when I go out!
The one thing John asked for in our wedding was to keep it very small. He was absolutely right! Coming from a big Irish family, I didn’t know how to do small. It was wonderful, though. Everyone at our wedding knew everybody else. There were no “how do you know the bride and groom?” moments with our guests. It was a really great joining of our families. My mom and John’s mom held hands and cried together during the ceremony.
My sister has a successful jewelry company where she takes vintage jewelry, breaks it down, and makes it into something new. Her pieces are gorgeous! I didn’t want to do the same old favors. I wanted something the guests would actually use but would remind them of our day. Heather made a unique necklace for each of the ladies in attendance with antique chandelier crystals and a variety of french charms. Each was one of a kind and different. The men each received an LED light keychain. She then put them in organza bag, attached a tag stamped with a fleur de lys and wrote the guest’s name on it. It also doubled as a place card holder.
My favorite memory from our wedding was saying our vows. It felt so right to say our vows to each other, at that moment in that place. When I think back to our wedding, what I remember most was how right it felt to become John’s wife. The funniest thing happened, though, when we were standing in front of the preacher and realized we had left the rings in my purse inside one of the rooms at Ault Park. I signaled my friend Lauren. God love her, she went back in, found them, and gave them to my son to bring up to us. I’ll never forget a smiling three year old in his suit walking up to us, handing us the rings, and saying “Here you go!”
I had a “dream team” of vendors. Because I had such a short time to plan, I got the best vendors and trusted them to do what they do best. The most amazing thing about each of them, though, was their ability to step outside the box and make my dream wedding happen in four weeks!
Vendor credits Photographer: Bluebird Photography / Wedding Gown Designer: Lea-Ann Belter from La Jeune Mariee / Earrings by Haute Bride, San Francisco / Floral Designer: Dennis Buttelwerth / Event Designer and Planner: Heather Kramb and Dennis Buttelwerth / Invitation Designer: Fun Invitations / Cake The Bonbonerie
Lea-Ann Belter is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.