Real Couple // A Tented Garden Wedding in Louisville, KY: Elle + Suzy

We met six years ago through mutual friends while I (Elle) was visiting my sister in L.A.. Between Suzy battling food poisoning and my already being half asleep with my PJ's on, it's safe to say that neither of us expected to meet our future life partners that night when Suzy walked into the room. It took no time at all before we were able to find everything and anything to talk about.

Our whimsical crushes on one another could have easily fizzled once I returned home to Kentucky; however, after numerous visits to see one another back and forth across the country, it was pretty clear that our “crushes” were much more than what we had thought. Our mutual adoration, curiosity, and yearning for one another only grew stronger with distance and time. 

Over the course of our partnership, we have thrived off of our pursuit of finding a balance between adventure and relaxation. We have made our home in four different cities, adopted our Mini Australian Shepherd, Diggity, and have traveled to nine different countries with countless adventures in the U.S. as well.

Suzy is the driver of all things travel while I am known for scouting out the the best restaurants in any city. We most look forward to family hikes with our dog, cooking dinners together, trying new restaurants, or simply snuggling on the couch for a good new movie (we love thrillers!). Some of our favorite memories are from our travels together: snowshoeing under the stars in Colorado, glacier ice climbing and whitewater rafting in Alaska, horseback riding and skeet shooting in Idaho, hiking through the flooded Narrows in Utah, swimming with sea lions in Australia, paragliding in Switzerland, visiting with monkeys in Japan, and so much more.

Ever since the beginning of our relationship, Suzy has been notorious for planning surprises on a grand scale. In the past these surprises have included an 18-hour road trip to Ketchum, Idaho, a Christmas gift including tickets to Paris for New Years Eve, and pulling up to a skydiving hanger for my birthday. All of which I was kept in the dark until arriving at the final destination(!).

While walking along the lava rocks at Poipu beach in Kauai, HI, Suzy directed my attention to the sunset, and began one of the best surprises thus far: she got down on one knee and proposed with the most thoughtful and loving words. We spent the rest of our island vacation celebrating what was to come.

A close family friend generously offered their property in Louisville to us for our wedding. We were taken aback when driving up to and touring the beautiful grounds, which includes an immaculate rose garden, hedge maze, and garden fountains. We knew that it would be the perfect place to have our friends and family join us for the special day.

I found my perfect wedding dress through Couture Closet in La Grange, KY—it was the second dress that I tried on and I immediately knew that it was “the one” by the way in which the plunge neck and back line were accentuated with beaded leaves cascading down the torso—perfectly complimenting the garden wedding we were planning. I wore my mother’s diamond necklace and earrings.

Suzy had her tuxedo custom made by British Custom Tailors in Louisville, KY. She designed her tux to be classic and simple with dark midnight blue and a black satin shawl collar. Her vest and bowtie were designed with a dark blue paisley print to show a bit more personality for the second half of the night’s dancing celebrations. Suzy’s cufflinks and watch belonged to her father who passed away one year prior to our wedding. It was very special and important to us to make sure that Suzy’s father’s presence was felt during our wedding day.

The flowers were designed to be a natural complement to the already beautifully manicured gardens featured on the property. My late grandfather’s handkerchief wrapped my bouquet, keeping him close to my heart.

Suzy and I wrote our ceremony and vows to be original and inclusive of the love and support from our family and friends. In lieu of a typical ring bearer and flower girl, we enlisted our two grandmothers to line the aisle with rose petals and had a close friend carry our rings down in a handmade box that another friend had made.

We incorporated a modern rendition of the Jewish tradition, “Seven Blessings,” by rewriting them to be reflective of seven core values that we strive to maintain in our partnership and now marriage. We had seven close individuals deliver the blessings during the ceremony.

Suzy and I wrote our vows together prior to the big day. We stood hand in hand as thunder cracked above us and rain began to sprinkle down. We have both said that it could have been a torrential downpour or even a blizzard and we still wouldn’t have moved. Suzy and I—and our guests—were so caught up in the magic of the moment.

As the guests proceeded from the ceremony to the gardens for cocktail hour, they were met with the music from a classical guitarist. Trays of hors d'oeuvres and glasses of wine were passed around to get the celebration started. Unfortunately, cocktail hour was cut short due to a large thunderstorm that swept through the area, pushing guests to continue their conversations in the reception tent around the back of the historical house. They say that rain on your wedding day is a lucky omen, right?

We wanted to make sure that our guests were given every opportunity to truly enjoy themselves and revel in the love and celebration uninhibited by worries, or even hunger. We knew that finding the best vendors would mean the difference between our vision of the day coming to light or not. Everything from our catering selections, LYFT promo code for our guests' transportation, DJ, florist, photographer, bakers, and day-of coordinators, were designed to be a reflection of our love for one another and our closest friends and family. 

We were introduced as newlyweds along with our bridal parties by dancing down to the tent to “Timber” by KE$HA—one of our favorite party songs.

After dinner, Suzy and I embraced for our first dance to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontage. I proceeded to the father-daughter dance and Suzy joined hands with her mother to songs that served as a tribute to her father’s presence. The dance floor stayed packed for the rest of the evening as the DJ who had traveled from Chicago played song after song that shed light on our love for a good dance party. Throughout the night guests enjoyed signature drinks of our favorites, wine pairings, craft beers, and bourbon from the family’s distillery (Rabbit Hole).

In lieu of favors for our guests, Suzy and I opted to make donations to organizations that were meaningful to us: World Wildlife Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Guests did not depart empty handed though: trays full of chocolate truffles were up for grabs upon their leaving. We departed through an aisle of sparklers, cueing the spark and celebrations for our life together as newlyweds.

Words by Elle, one of the brides, as told to Amber Marlow. Photos by Sarah Katherine Davis.

 Garden wedding louisville kentucky portrait shot elle and suzy
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky suzy reading card
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky bridesmaids adjusting elle's dress train
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle holding bouquet
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky suzy in chair under portrait of flowers
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky set table with candles and leaf table runner
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky brides' grandmothers dropping flower petals
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky suzy's first look at elle walking up aisle
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky garden with stone banisters and statue
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky garden ceremony under large tree
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky brides and bridesmaids
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle holding suzy from behind, couple laughing
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle and suzy holding hands in corner of garden
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky wedding party table laughing
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle and suzy holding hands under tree, candid of couple laughing
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky kiss under garden's stone arch
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle and suzy cutting cake
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky brides on dance floor with guests
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle dancing with guests
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky elle dancing with bridesmaids
 Garden wedding louisville kentucky brides leaving under sparklers held by guests

VENDORS

Wedding photographer | Sarah Katherine Davis

Videographer | White Owl

Wedding Coordinator | Alicia Sarantis at Weekend Wedding Warriors

DJ | DJ Akib

Florist | Jamie Fairman

Caterer | Farm to Fork

Elle's dress vendor | Couture Closet

Suzy's tuxedo | British Custom Tailors


 sarah katherine davis wedding photographer louisville kentucky

SARAH KATHERINE DAVIS

I'm a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been photographing weddings for the past ten years—it's my jam. I love getting to tell the stories of the amazing people I work with. A few of my favorite things include: exploring new places, using house plants to slowly turn my home into a jungle, spending time in the sun, good (and bad) coffee, date nights with my wonderful & supportive spouse, and developing film in my free time.