Intimate Kansas Park Wedding
September 8, 2014
CasualParkSpring Weddings
For this Kansas couple, paying tribute to Lawrence, the town where they fell in love, was an important part of their wedding day. The decision to work with local vendors proved to be a huge success. Antique pink peonies from Pendleton’s Country Market and three beautiful cakes from Sweetcakes Bakery were the perfect way to celebrate not only their love, but a beautiful place to live. See the rest of the lovely details in the gallery.
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From The Bride...Cooper and I met in Lawrence, Kansas in 2009. Lawrence is a quirky college town with a flourishing local music scene, great restaurants, and a lot of heart. It is a beautiful place to live, and from the beginning, Cooper and I knew we wanted to highlight the town where we met and fell in love. In keeping with our "Townie" theme, we selected historic locales to serve as the backdrop for our day. Our intimate ceremony was held at South Park, founded in 1854, and we hosted our reception the historic theater, Liberty Hall, the name of which comes from a speech by Abraham Lincoln in which he called Lawrence “the cradle of liberty."

We were lucky enough to work with about 90% local vendors. It was important to both of us that we support our local economy as much as possible, and this infusion of local goods and services made our day truly unique. From the beginning, I knew I wanted local peonies, and our florist, Pendleton's Country Market provided the beautiful antique pink peonies. My bouquet also had white hydrangea and baby's breath, and my hair piece had white tea roses and baby's breath. The bridesmaids carried pink peonies with organically-placed fern pieces. The light pink peonies added a necessary bright and springy feel to our otherwise dark and sophisticated palette of black, dark blue and gold. I wore a full-lace gown by Ivy and Aster, with an open back and covered buttons. The bridesmaids picked their own navy blue dresses. The groom wore a J. Crew suit, and his groomsmen wore a suit of their choice.

We had a small ceremony with 50 of our closest friends and immediate family in front of a fountain, surrounded by pink rose bushes. A string quartet played Gabriel Faure's "Pavane" as my father and I walked down the aisle. My oldest sister could not make it to the wedding, as she was 8 months pregnant, so we "skyped" her in to participate in the ceremony. My maid of honor's mother officiated, focusing her marriage address on the history of our town and the value of civic spirit, public spaces, and community. In keeping with this, my dear friend Jordan wrote a small piece about marriage equality:

"Kelly and Cooper also ask you to remember that the legal institution of marriage is a privilege in our society that not everyone shares. Beyond the social and economic security that the institution currently offers, marriage for many people represents a commitment to love, trust, and partnership. The desires for companionship, growth, hope, support, laughter, and a person to call home are not limited by one’s sexual orientation or gender identification. Kelly and Cooper feel so lucky as a couple to legally and publicly express their love and commitment before you today and ask that you keep all people who are fighting for the same right in your thoughts. We ask you to take a moment of silence, for these and any other thoughts and prayers you carry."

One of the most special moments of our ceremony was when my friend Molly recited an excerpt from The Little Prince, even Cooper shed a tear as she reminded us all, "The essential is invisible to the eye... you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." Finally, Cooper and I wrote our own vows. I cannot say this enough to any future bride or groom: write your own vows! It was such an honest, beautiful moment that I will always cherish.

After the ceremony, our bridal party walked the five blocks from South Park to our reception venue. As we walked down Lawrence's main strip, Massachusetts St., people whooped and cheered congratulations. This was one of my favorite parts of our wedding, and the pictures really capture the spirit of downtown Lawrence.

The tables at our reception were decorated with peony buds in mini milk jars. The tables were scattered with homemade gold and white origami cats, which served as a symbol for our party favors: a donation to our local animal shelter. We had custom-made chalkboards for the wedding program, schedule, menu and seating chart, and I made chalkboards for our cakes.

We had three cakes made by Sweetcakes Bakery. Our flavors: Dark chocolate with local raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream, Vanilla Cake with local strawberry filling and Tahitian vanilla butter cream, and Lemon Cake with fresh blueberry preserves and lemon buttercream. This local one-woman company uses eggs from her friend's chickens, organic sugar and flour, and local berries when seasonal. Fresh peony buds adorned the cakes, and I made gold marquee letters in our initials to add sparkle to the table.

For our first dance, an old bandmate performed "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons." And when the dance party started, we had a local DJ, DeeJay Maudrey Hepburn play oldies music. She worked with me at the University of Kansas radio station, KJHK.