By Bridgette Lipman
|Photo by BG Photography, Morgan Berry Gould|
Bridgette Lipman and James Morris married in October of last year at 6:30 in the evening in a ceremony with around 150 guests. Read about some of the details they worked into the wedding to make it perfect for them.
Bride’s Favorite Memory: Everything leading up to the walk down the aisle was so chaotic. It was full of music and hairspray, makeup, and rushing around. My dad drove me about 200 yards from the country club to the green where we were married and in that short distance, it was just the two of us. All of the noise and the hustle and bustle of the day ceased and all you could hear was the motor, but we could see all of the guests, my mom, and James waiting for us. It was like watching the moment as an outsider, and I was able to take in just how perfect everything was.
Advice to Others: I had three very good friends who weren’t in the wedding to be my designated day-of organizers. We met for drinks a few weeks before the wedding and went over centerpieces, timing, what everything should look like, and where it should go. The day of, they were at the venue with us and when things went wrong, they knew exactly what the issue was and were able to resolve it without me even knowing there was a problem. It was amazing being able to enjoy getting ready without having to interact with vendors and give instructions all day. They handled everything! I would definitely recommend finding a good friend, whom you trust, to be your point-person for the day of activities.
Best Planning Tip: Be as organized as possible. I had a lot of trouble with turnover at some of our vendors, so as soon as I would feel comfortable with someone, I would have to explain the day all over again to someone else. Luckily I had saved conversations with each person I met, had lots of pictures, and had amazing help from my mom, sister, and friends to keep everything on track.
Best Money Saving Tip: A lot of people assume that having something custom made means spending more money on it. James and I both love when something has a special story behind it and when there is an actual person you get to work with. We had a lot of things custom made or ordered for our wedding, and the items usually came in under or right at the same price as a similar item from a store, with the added bonus of being able to work with someone on your vision!
Location of Ceremony: Hurstbourne Country Club
Why it worked: We wanted somewhere with a lot of history and charm. We love old homes and our Kentucky roots, and Hurstbourne has all of that in one place, along with a beautiful outdoor ceremony site. Instead of a traditional unity ceremony, James and I had a tree-planting ceremony. Several years ago we planted acorns at his family’s farm, so for the wedding we dug up one of the resulting trees and used dirt from both of our hometowns to pot it. It was very special to be able to be outside, on such a perfect day, with a physical testament to how long we had been together. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect.
We also had pews brought in for ceremony seating. This made such a difference for me. The pews fit the site so well, and gave the outdoors a more magical and formal feel.
Location of Reception: Hurstbourne Country Club
Why it worked: We were able to have everything all in one place. This worked perfectly for us because we didn’t want our out-of-town guests having to navigate their way around multiple places. Hurstbourne is so beautiful and big, though, each “event” within the day felt different! The girls had brunch and got ready in the peacock ladies dressing room, the guys got ready in the men’s locker room and had access to a separate bar while they waited, the ceremony was on a green, cocktail hour took place in the sitting room and garden, and the reception was in the huge banquet rooms.
I would have changed: Everything was recently renovated. We booked our wedding at HCC without even knowing what it would look like afterwards! This made me anxious, but we were overwhelmingly pleased with the changes and the place looks incredible.
Photographer: BG Photography, Morgan Berry Gould
Favorite Photo: It’s impossible to pick just one, but if I had to, there is a photo that Morgan took during our “first look” where James and I are just standing next to each other, smiling. The wind is blowing my hair and veil behind me and we are both just beaming at each other. I feel like this photo captures exactly how I felt in that moment, and every time I see it I feel the exact same way all over again.
Special Choices: Morgan did our engagement photos and was with us all day on our wedding. Having her around so much made it easier to be ourselves in front of her. She was everything you want in a photographer and would let us know what worked and what didn’t, and she was able to get the best pictures of us without looking posed. She has some incredible candid photos, too. She was my right-hand gal that day, fixing my veil, my hair, and even taking off my garter when I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Dress: Wtoo, Silvia gown
Why it worked: I wanted something elegant and timeless. I’m not much for lace or beading, and it is surprisingly hard to find many dresses without either. The Silvia gown was exactly what I wanted in terms of shape, material, and fit. It was a heavier material, but it flowed beautifully. The one thing I knew I had to have, though, was buttons all the way down the back, so I had them made from my grandmother’s wedding dress and they matched perfectly.
Veil: I had my heart set on a cathedral length veil and loved the look of horsehair trim, but it was impossible to find what I was looking for in stores and online. I was able to meet with Kate from The Hat Girls and describe what I was looking for down to the width of the trim. She immediately saw my vision, drew something up, and custom made the veil.
Bridesmaids Dresses: Alfred Sung
Why it worked: The girls were all able to pick a neckline they were most comfortable with. There were many styles to choose from but all in the same shade, material, and length, which made everything cohesive. I wanted them all to feel like themselves, so everyone wore their hair how they wanted and whatever types of pearls they felt coordinated the best, and they all looked so elegant. I got each of them a different vintage fur wrap as a bridesmaid gift, and this added to their individual looks. I love that I can look back at our pictures and see each of their different personalities shining through.
Tuxes: Groom’s — Brooks Brothers
Why it worked: One of the most special parts of planning a wedding as a bride is getting to try on different dresses, twirl on a pedestal, and get a little extra special attention. I wanted James to have a similar experience, so we went to Brooks Brothers and worked with Jackie. She measured him, had him try a few different styles, and had the suit tailored just for him. He got to get a little taste of that part of the process.
We asked the guys to wear any black suit they already had and had their ties specially handmade in Scotland out of the same material as the bridesmaids’ dresses, but in a tartan fabric, pulling in all the colors of the wedding.
Video: WeVideo — online editing tool
Why it worked: Instead of a traditional toast, my bridesmaid, Erin, had all of our friends record a short video and combined it into one big toast. We were able to watch it from the comfort of our own home, and it saved everyone the anxiety and embarrassment of a live speech (no ugly crying in front of everyone you know). Plus, we can keep it forever! We didn’t have a professional videographer, either, so after the wedding I collected all of the snippets of video (and Snapchats) our friends had managed to record, and edited and compiled them using WeVideo. The end result is a 20-minute video of all of the important parts of the wedding: getting ready, the ceremony, lots of dance floor craziness, mixed with the beautiful and touching spoken words of our closest friends.
I would have changed: While we definitely saved thousands on a professional video this can get tricky. Sometimes guests videoing can get in the way of your photographers. Luckily, all of our friends were cautious and stayed out of the way.
Food: Hurstbourne Country Club
Why it worked: Hurstbourne was able to work with us on special requests, like a “midnight snack” of chicken and waffles passed around the dance floor! All of the food was incredible and there was plenty of it.
Cake: Adrienne and Company
Special choices: I had kind of a crazy request when I met with Adrienne for the first time. I wanted the intricate pattern of the historic ceiling in the ballroom mirrored on the cake. I knew it was something that only we would realize, but that ceiling is so enchanting I wanted to repeat it. Without hesitation Adrienne agreed and absolutely delivered. It turned out more beautiful than even I could have imagined and tasted amazing, to boot.
Why it worked: I was able to bring in my own vessels for the centerpieces and print pictures off of Pinterest to show what I was looking for. The day before the wedding Oberer’s actually called and said they wanted to show me some of the flowers before they finished them because they had some different colors in. The coordinator wanted to make some creative suggestions and I am so glad she did! The notes they had stated that I wanted pinks and reds, but she had some darker purples and pinks added in and texted me pictures. Her choices were spot on, and the flowers turned out perfectly. I really appreciated her reaching out to say, “Hey, these look great, but I think we can do better.”
What you would have changed: The coordinator who was working with me from the beginning retired one month ahead of our wedding. The new coordinator had some pictures and notes to go on, but she didn’t feel things were cohesive between the two. I wish I had been able to work with the new wedding coordinator (who is still there) the entire time. She was able to look at the pictures I had sent and knew how to make them a reality.
Special choices: James and I have incredibly talented friends, so in lieu of traditional gifts we encouraged everyone to make us something or only give something that would remind us of them. At the very end of the night our good friend, David Hobbs, gifted us with an amazing rendition of a Johnny Cash song. Dean and the band played backup and everyone sang and danced their hearts out. This is one of James’ favorite memories from the wedding.
Why it worked: When people talk to us about our wedding, the one thing they always bring up is how incredible the music was. Dean played live for our ceremony and cocktail hour and had the full band join us for the reception. Everyone was blown away by their talent, and our dance floor was packed! One of my favorite memories by far is of spinning around the dance floor and seeing so many people enjoying themselves. We absolutely credit Dean and the band for making our wedding as much fun as it was.
What I would have changed: Dean and I had devised a plan to get everyone on the dance floor through some sort of “snowball” dance. However, as soon as he started playing our guests just flocked to the music. We didn’t even need to encourage everyone to dance because they all beat us to it.
Special Choices: We bought several pounds of bourbon balls from Rebecca Ruth, straight from the factory in Frankfort. We stuck little flags in them and used them as escort cards.
Makeup/Hair: hair — Divine Dottie’s Salon; makeup — Joanne Wolf
Why it worked: I wanted to go with a vintage hairstyle, and Paula at Divine Dotti’s came highly recommended. She was able to capture everything I wanted, and it looked great all day. Joanne also came highly recommended, and I loved working with her.
Invitations: Etsy — BDesigns Paper
Why it worked: I had such a hard time finding something I liked online, so again, I went the custom route. I worked with Beth Cote at BDesigns to come up with a horseshoe monogram that we repeated throughout the wedding (in a floral arrangement, on the cake, on stationery, etc.). We even had little wax seals made with the design. Everything came together wonderfully and I was so glad I had someone to help me through the process.
Rehearsal Dinner: Kentucky Peerless Distillery & Morris Deli
Why it worked: A lot of our friends and family live out of town, so we wanted to incorporate as much of the Kentucky feel as we could. Having the rehearsal dinner at Peerless was great! Everyone got a tour of a real distillery without having to leave the city. It was so relaxed and had such a fun vibe. Plus, they have several vintage trucks throughout, which was part of the theme of the whole weekend. After the dinner, we joined more out-of-town guests for a welcome happy hour right next door at Over the Nine.
Special: Painter: Helen Merrick
We had a painter come to our wedding. I was walking through a gallery one day and noticed Helen Merrick’s artwork and was already in love with the idea of having a painting done. She was so open to the idea, and the end result is stunning. It is so special to us already and we have something that we can pass on for generations.
Special: Welcome bags
I wanted our out-of-towners to get an idea of why James and I love Louisville so much. We filled welcome bags with little bottles of bourbon, honey from the Morris family farm, the Urban Bourbon Trail passport, a handwritten note, and a few other things. I reached out to Louisville’s tourism department, and they stocked me with magazines, koozies, etc. This was something that had a big impact but cost very little.
Our Honeymoon: Costa Rica
Planner: Platinum Travel
Advice: We gave ourselves a day between the wedding and leaving for our honeymoon, and I would recommend that to everyone getting married. We were able to see off all of our guests at a brunch, then spent the rest of the day in our home, eating pizza and leftover cake my mom boxed up for us. It was so nice to reflect on the weekend and be able to spend some time together before jetting off on our adventure.
Staying in Costa Rica was like walking through paradise. We were so comfortable at Nayara, and it felt like we were the only ones there. We can’t wait to go back.
Length of Planning Time: 2 years