It was at the University of Kentucky where two Kentuckians fell in love during a 24-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. Wildcats Katie McCrary and Noel David Ekman were undergraduates raising money for the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology and Oncology Clinic when they were paired as partners on the morale committee. Fast forward to 2019, and the two are married at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens on a perfect July night.
Katie, of Winchester, now a student at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, always dreamed of an outside wedding for herself and Noel, of Louisville, a key account manager at Frito Lay. “I loved the idea of getting married in a garden,” she says. “Also, I think, there’s a certain magic about it.” The couple really wanted a venue in which they could have both the ceremony and reception so their guests didn’t have to travel. When they visited Yew Dell in Crestwood, it was perfect. “I wanted our ceremony to feel intimate and intentional and carry a really peaceful atmosphere,” she says. “Yew Dell is unique in the aspect that your guests can roam around and explore the gorgeous blooms and greenery. It was the perfect space to make all of our dreams come true.”
The couple was content with the beautiful venue on its own, so they didn’t require a lot of extra decor for the ceremony or reception. Katie suggests future brides take her advice when it comes to decorations. “Block out all the noise and focus on you all,” she says. “It’s so easy to get wrapped up in it all with social media, Pinterest, etc. “You can start to feel the pressure of needing extra unnecessary things that really aren’t ‘you’ or that honestly just aren’t needed. Try and step back and decide what you two really want out of your day, whether it’s how you want people to feel when they are there or how you want it to look. Whatever it is, make it ‘you’!”
For the ceremony, the couple’s florist and wedding coordinator from White Cat Weddings helped Katie dream up an idea of a focal point for the couple to stand in front of during their vows. “She created a gorgeous floral hoop for us to stand in front of, and then it was taken down to the reception for us to continue to enjoy after,” she says. The bride wore her mother’s wedding band on the day of the wedding. “My parents’ marriage is one that we look to as an example filled with love and friendship,” she says. “It was so special wearing it as I entered into our own covenant.”
For the reception, the couple had differing sizes of centerpieces on each table. The differences in height added diversity to the pavilion area, Katie says. The poles in the pavilion were wrapped with greenery to make the space cozier and continue the garden theme. An area that had comfortable furniture for the guests to utilize during the reception was also added for grandparents and other guests to have a place to take a break from the dance floor. “Ultimately, our decor was focused on making it more intimate and very much ‘us’,” she says.
The band Louisville Crashers was one of the couple’s favorite parts of the night. “Our band was absolutely phenomenal,” she says. “The Crashers made our reception so much fun and an environment everyone could enjoy.” The band included the bride and groom on stage for a cowbell banging competition, insisting it was a good way for them to learn how to fight with each other as a married couple. “Everyone got a huge kick out of it and lots of videos have surfaced since,” she says. “Honestly, it was so much fun and a memory we won’t forget. They gave us the drumsticks as a keepsake, and we received a cowbell for Christmas from my parents!”
The couple says they wouldn’t change a thing about their day, saying it was a “surreal” feeling when they looked around and saw how many people they love came together to celebrate their marriage. “Every single person there was someone who championed us in our relationship over the years, and it was so special having every single one of them there with us,” Katie says.
“Our ceremony was truly everything we could’ve dreamed of and more. All we wanted was an extremely personal ceremony that showed both of our hearts, and it was exactly that. We wanted our day to be full of peace and completely stress -free. Just a day of celebration, and it was that and so much more. The night was spent dancing with our most favorite people in the world. It truly was the most glorious, joyful day feeling so loved!”
Photographer: Shining Light Photography
Videographer: Summit Stone Creations
Ceremony Venue: Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
Reception Venue: Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
Catering: Mayan Cafe
Cake: Family friend
Wedding Planner: White Cat Weddings
Flowers: White Cat Weddings
Rentals and/or Décor: Southern Classic Rentals, Rental Depot, All Occasions
Bridal Gown: Made with Love Bridal
Bridal Party Attire: Anthropologie, Lulus, Azazie
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Groom- Bonobos, Party- Mens Warehouse
Hair and Makeup:
Hair- Hayley Gleason from Chachas in Lexington, Make up- Nikki Miner Makeup
Stationery/Calligraphy: Shine Wedding Invitations
Band: Louisville Crashers