Shayla Delilah Menville and Chris Ring married earlier this year in a wedding held at Morehead, Kentucky for 125 guests. “Our wedding was meant to be carefree and fun. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money but also wanted it to be elegant. We achieved that with the help of talented and generous friends.”

Bride’s Favorite Memory: Exchanging vows. My husband had some apprehension about speaking in public, but it was such a genuine moment for us where everything and everyone faded into the background. We wrote our own vows and sharing what we love and how we will love each other defined the day.

Advice to Others: Try to keep perspective. It is so easy to get lost in all the to-do lists, but this event is only happening to celebrate your marriage to the person you love. There were nights I woke up thinking about what needed to be done and if it was enough. Planning the wedding definitely takes away from some of the excitement so it is important to remember the reason for the day.

One Thing You Would Have Done Differently: While I have hundreds of pictures that were beautifully done- I wish that I would have had more group photos with people and that I could have spent more time with my family and friends.

Best Planning Tip: Keep it simple. Pick elements that are important and cut out all the fuss. No one will remember if you have chair covers.

Best Money Saving Tip: Bulk order and design your own flowers. I’m a DIY bride and we made most of our decorations. We were also very blessed with talented and thoughtful friends that contributed to our wedding.

Photos by Alex R. Hall

Location of Ceremony: First Baptist Church of Morehead 

Why it Worked: It is our home church and is stunning. Dee Beebighauser was the church hostess for our wedding and helped us in so many ways.

Location of Reception: Button Auditorium, campus of Morehead State University I work at Morehead State University and grew up on the campus. I’ve performed on the stage in Button Auditorium. This building holds a very sentimental place in my heart and it is a beautiful, historic building.

Photographer: Alex R. Hall

Favorite Photo: Chris and I are animal lovers and there is no animal we love more than Maggie. This image is so special to us because this is where our family is beginning.

Special Choices: Alex and I have been friends for 12 years. I trusted him completely for the most important day of our lives. He and his now wife, Sarah worked with us to not only capture the entire day but to incorporate our Golden Retriever into some photos.

I Would Have Changed:
I would have added more group photos but fortunately, we had a photo booth to capture some of those moments.

Dress: Jade by Pronovias from Something New, Borrowed, and Blue
I had tried on 70 dresses when I walked into this bridal store, exhausted. They were attentive even though I had no appointment and treated me as if I were the most important person in the store. Jami actually laid down on the floor with me as I nearly hyperventilated because I thought I wouldn’t find a dress. My vision was sleeves and all lace but I was convinced to try on the dress that I immediately knew was mine. It looked nothing like what I had envisioned. It was also perfect because I had no interest in waiting over six months for my dress. My gown fit me perfectly and the only alteration that was needed was bustling to be put in. A former theatre professor, Denise Watkins made those changes and I’m incredibly thankful for her careful consideration.

Bridesmaids Dresses: JJ’s House
I had bridesmaids in different places, and this was a convenient way for them to all get their dresses. It also had an option to send in measurements which we all thought would be great. The color was beautiful and matched our palette perfectly.

I would have changed: All of the dresses needed alterations, even the ones that had specific measurements sent in. It was frustrating for my bridesmaids.

Tuxes: Joseph A. Banks We didn’t want tuxes because our event was more relaxed than that. The suits were much easier to deal with than the bridesmaid dresses. We also ordered the ties from They were fabulous bow ties and a plaid one for the groom.

Video: Spencer Bolt
Spencer is a friend of ours that took our wedding day very seriously. We wanted a home video feel and gave him a list of people to interview. He set up multiple cameras for the ceremony and captured all of our reception. We are very excited about the finished product!

Cake: Artsy Tartsy 
Special Choices: Our wedding cake was strawberry with buttercream icing. We had two options of cupcakes for guests, thin mint with chocolate ganache filling and strawberry cheesecake with cheesecake filling.

Why it Worked: I didn’t want to cut our wedding cake for other people. The cupcakes gave individuals an opportunity to chose their flavor and the colors matched our peach and green garden theme. Not only were they beautiful but they were delicious and reasonably priced. We love shopping locally and Artsy Tartsy is right on Main Street in Morehead.

My bouquet, which I arranged myself was wrapped in a piece of a quilt that my great-grandmother made. It was my something old and was beautifully sentimental. 

Flowers: Fifty Flowers
It was very important to me to have an abundance of flowers and to share those flowers with people. We ordered peach and white roses, daisies, el aleli flowers, greenery, and baby’s breath. My bridesmaids and I were able to put together our bouquets and boutonnieres as well as design the look for the reception center pieces. The center pieces were different sized jars and bottles with flowers and greenery in them. We also tied love song lyrics to several of the jars and at the end of the night encouraged everyone to take them home with them.

What You Would Have Changed: We had an incident where we would not be receiving all of the el aleli flowers but they could ship us a similar color. When the similar color arrived it was lilac which is not anything like the peach color I had picked out. I had a moment of bridal panic but my now husband called the company and got it fixed. This mistake turned into the greatest blessing because the day after our wedding we took all of the extra flowers to a nursing home in Morehead. The residents congratulated us on our marriage and it was such a wonderful part of our wedding story.

Music: Ceremony- Genny Jenkins, pianist Reception-Benji Bryant, DJ

Special choices: Processional: Once Upon a Dream, Sleeping Beauty
Bridal March: Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream by F. Mendelssohn
Recessional: All You Need Is Love, The Beatles

Why it worked: My whole life I have loved the way the piano sounds. I knew I wanted our ceremony music to be romantic, a little eclectic, and just piano. Genny played perfectly and we received so many compliments on the music choice.

Reception: Benji Bryant is a mentor and friend. He kept the party going all night and was reassuring during the planning process. We are so thankful he was a part of our day!

Décor: We wanted to make the inside feel like a garden. Friends collected wine and beer bottles and jars of all shapes and sizes. We painted them coral, white, and a soft pink. We also used faux greenery and garland on the tables and throughout the ceremony and reception spaces. Our favors were wild seed packets that affectionately said “Let Love Grow, Shayla and Chris. April 29, 2017.” I even made the cupcake trays! My Maid of Honor, Karmin Adams made signs out of cupboard doors and we did all the calligraphy ourselves. My bridesmaid, Clair Jones made ribbon and table garlands. We also had a friend, Beckie Balenovich, create beautiful paper flowers. We also used shutter doors taken out of our home we are renovating. It was simple, elegant, and really tied together the concept of an indoor garden party. We also used peach and green uplighting in certain sections of the room and had a wall of silk with white lights behind it. It illuminated the room and gave it a very romantic feel.

Planner: the Bride
Planning your own wedding is cost effective and allows you to know what is getting done and how it is getting accomplished. I, fortunately, had a wedding hostess at the church, Dee Beebighauser that kept things running smoothly and a day of coordinator, Kala Cookendorfer-Chaffin that did everything from bringing me food at my hair appointment to putting boutonnieres on the groomsmen.

I Would Have Changed: In hindsight, I would have loved to have had someone taking care of all the details and reviewing the budget.

Photo by Shayla Ring

Rings: The Castle 
Why it Worked: We knew exactly what we wanted and were able to order it through a company that guarantees our rings for life.

Makeup: Katie Fannin

Hair: Salon and Day Spa
Lisa Litton Katie was a student that I coached in Speech and Debate and Rowan County Senior High School. She just finished cosmetology school and did an amazing job on my makeup. It lasted from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It was so special to have her with me on my wedding day. Lisa owns Salon and Day Spa in Morehead and I’ve seen her work on several people and other brides. My hair is very long and she spent an hour and a half curling it all. The curls stayed all day and into the next day.

Send Off: We had a sparkler send off. We had originally planned to have Chinese lanterns but with somewhat dry conditions at the time and our wedding being in the center of the Daniel Boone National Forest, we made a game-time decision to switch it up. We are so happy with the results and pictures!

Special Moments: My brother and I are very close. He escorted me down the aisle and I was very excited to do a first look with him. Later we danced to Journey, me with my air guitar and him with a microphone that was turned off. I am blessed to have a Godfather and Godmother that raised my brother and me alongside their children. My grandmother is my best friend. We were able to have a quiet moment before the ceremony where she put my veil into place.

Length of Planning Time: Six months
Budget: $6,000.