Elise + Elijah's Summer Wedding Reception at Newport Aquarium
A summer wedding with all the coziness of a fall day. Rose gold, copper, bronze, blush and saffron made for an absolutely stunning palette. Shimmer and lace added glamour to this beautiful northern Kentucky celebration. Elise + Elijah exchanged vows in the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington and celebrated with family and friends at Newport Aquarium.
We love the symbolism Elijah incorporated into his proposal - standing on the bridge with the past, present and future all converging. Photos by Amanda Donaho Photography.
Which best describes you?
Casual or Formal - Somewhere in the middle, but closer to formal
Vintage or Modern - Vintage mixed with modern
Chocolate or Vanilla - Chocolate for days... but vanilla will always have its place
Roses or Peonies - Roses
Pie or Cake - CAKE... all the cake
Lipstick or Gloss - Lipstick of course! My mom always used to tell me, in true Southern form. "Put your lipstick on.. you'll feel better"
Diamonds or Pearls - Diamonds. But pearls are necessary Rustic or Urban - Urban, with a smidge of rustic to shake it up
Fern or Succulent - Succulent
How did you and Elijah meet? What was your first impression of him? What was his first impression of you?
We aren't ashamed of it... in fact, we embrace and enjoy the looks on the faces of friends, family, and new acquaintances when we reveal to them that our great love story began on the infamous dating app, Tinder. It was meant to be, almost like a tale from a story book (if that story book had been written by Millennials): I open my tinder app to find Elijah looking studly in his Cubs T-Shirt proudly holding up his impressive catch from a deep sea fishing excursion, Ray Bans and plaid Cargo shorts adorned. Elijah opens his to find me smiling widely toasting a transparent party cub of my favorite bourbon to a dangly gold 2014 New Years decoration. Then it happened: the fateful swipe to the right from both of us producing bolded letters exclaiming, "It's A Match!". Elijah, utilizing his charm and wit, began the conversation by commenting on Eleanor Roosevelt quote I had displayed in my "About Me" section of my (and what is always a) short Tinder profile: "Eleanor Roosevelt, probably the greatest and most active First Lady in US History...Nice Quote"
Tell us about the proposal.
April 16, 2016, during a visit, Elijah told me he had plans to celebrate the beautiful spring day with one of our favorite Cincy activities; a walk across the Purple People Bridge for a late lunch and brews at the Newport Hofbrauhaus beer garden. After you finally make it through the hell that is winter in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, or any of the Midwest, you definitely feel the need to celebrate a gorgeous spring day filled with hope that you've finally made it out of the bitter cold, snow-covered, gloomy tunnel.
As we arrive at the middle of the bridge, me chatting endlessly about Lord knows what, he stops me and proclaims that this is the perfect spot to place our lock. We agree on a location of the railing, securely place it, and give each other a smile. As is tradition, we then count to three and launch the keys into the river. Giddy from the gesture, I give him a hug and suggest we continue on to complete the afternoon with beers at the Hofbrauhaus. Then it happens...
"No, actually this spot is quite perfect" he says. As I agree that "yes!, the lock looks great in the middle of the bridge", he continues... "This spot is perfect for us." He points to the left end of the bridge (we are facing west on the river). "On the left is Kentucky, the state where you were born and raised. The people, towns, and experiences that made you into who you are today." He turns to face the river. "Straight down the river is Mount Vernon, my hometown and the state, family, and friends who made me the person I am today." He then, turns to his right. "And on the right is Cincinnati, the city where we will start our life together. Our future." At this point I finally understand what's going on, and as I start to cry he pulls the most perfect ring I can ever imagine out of his pocket and gets down on one knee, and asks me if I will marry him.
Through a tearful and shaky voice, I of course say Yes and pull him up with a huge hug. Some people walking by on the bridge yell their congratulations and we may have gotten some applause, but I really only remember a feeling of pure happiness and ultimate joy.
Of course us being us, the perfection of the moment is short-lived. I insist we take a picture of the moment with the Cincy skyline the background. As I remove my sunglasses, Elijah says. "Oh, you may want to leave those on. The mascara didn't survive the proposal."
His honesty is always refreshing...
How did you decide on your venue? Why was it the perfect choice?
One of the most important aspects of our relationship is our faith. After a couple dates, Elijah began attending mass with me on Sundays, and this tradition coupled with our faith soon because the foundation of our relationship. We knew we wanted to have a traditional Catholic wedding and dedicated ourselves to complete all pre cana courses, attend two "Engaged Encounter Weekends", and had many meetings/counseling sessions with our priest, Father Mike Williams. Because I was still somewhat new to the Cincinnati area and Elijah was living in Indianapolis, we hadn't yet selected a "home parish". I started looking for Catholic churches that could accommodate us, and as soon as I stepped foot in the Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption in Covington, KY, I knew it was where I wanted us to take our vows. The Cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful with its intricate famous stained-glass windows and impressive stone architecture. It also incorporated my favorite symbol as an essential element of design: the fleur-de-lis All of my family members and close friends understand the importance of this symbol to me so it really added to the sentimental nature of the ceremony.
As you read in our first date and proposal story, we have a strong goofy/fun-loving side. Because we were having a very traditional, sacred ceremony, we decided to have some fun with the reception. Newport Aquarium was the PERFECT venue to host our many out of town guests. Guests enjoyed cocktails and dinner in the actual aquarium with a backdrop of sharks and exotic deep sea fish. They could spend time socializing and enjoying the aquariums attractions, including the "petting pools", jelly fish room, and famous Shark Bridge.
A slideshow of favorite photos from Elijah and my childhood was displayed on the many screens throughout the aquarium as well. When it was time for the party to start, staff escorted guests up to the Riverside events room where a full wall of windows allowed for a backdrop of the the gorgeous Cincinnati skyline and Ohio River. We hired an amazing live band (Airwave) and danced the night away. The two venues made for an unexpected and exciting experience for our guests, many of whom traveled MANY hours to be there.
Tell us about finding your dress.
I was set on finding my dress in one weekend since my mom lived five and a half hours away, and both of my maid of honors were out of town guests as well. We booked several appointments in the Reading Bridal District and started early on a Saturday. I had envisioned a very unique gown with glitz and intricate beading. I probably tried on 30 gowns. Finally at Lace Couture, one of the stylists there suggested I slip on something a bit more simple. And as soon as I walked out of the dressing room, we all knew it was the one. It was a form-fitting, designer gown with a cathedral length train, and lace appliqué detailing. We paired with a cathedral length veil (longer than my train) with lace finishing the bottom of the single mesh layer. Simple, yet unique elegance. Exactly what I needed.
How was your personal style reflected in your wedding day?
I would describe my personal style as "unique elegance". I had always dreamed of having a Fall wedding, but it was necessary for us to have our wedding in June because of timing for Elijah's job (he teaches and had the summer off) and for coordinating his move to Cincinnati and finding a new school for the upcoming Fall. Therefore, I wanted to have as much of a Fall vibe as possible in the heart of the summer.
I wanted to incorporate old Hollywood elegance, with a modern twist. I decided on a palette of mixed metallic finishes: coppers, rose golds, golds, bronze, etc. We also went heavy on textures. My bridesmaids' warm rose gold floor-length sequin dresses juxtaposed beautify against the more simple elegance of my gown with a bodice of beautifully placed lace appliqué and cathedral length train.
My florist, Susan Foy, The Wedding Designer, not only executed my vision perfectly in flower choice and carefully planned table settings, but was thrilled to have the challenge of creating a totally unique look. The invitations custom created by Kristen at Poeme, absolutely created the elegant, yet fun experience for our guests from the moment they received the lustrous copper envelope in their mailboxes. Many of them even posted the complete invite with all contents to social media or wrote extra notes on the RSVP card about how gorgeous the invites were and how excited they were to make the trip.
What was your favorite detail?
Being a marketer and designer, I pay very close attention to all details. We wanted to ensure each element was special or meaningful and truly represented our personalities and relationship. We are both huge music fans, so we carefully selected songs for every aspect of the ceremony as well as songs the band played at the reception: from the song our grandparents and parents were seated to "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban, to the communion song "The Servant Song" , and even to the selection chose to do our "Dollar Dance" "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" Whitney Houston.
All reading and prayers were carefully chosen to ensure they were meaningful and applicable to our relationship. Furthermore, metallic textural details juxtaposed with simplicity and lace were worked into nearly everything. The groomsmen and dads wore a copper tie clip with their initials and the date engraved. The cake was ivory with lace appliqué details, but popped with metallic broaches and a copper E & E topper. The guests received bronze skeleton key bottle openers as their "gift". Even the programs for the ceremony were backed with copper.
Describe your wedding day. Is there a particular moment that remains in your memory most vividly?
I could write a book on the wedding day in entirety (obviously), so I will focus on a couple aspects in particular. My mother and I planned the day ourselves without professional help. Needless to say the couple days leading up to the big day and the wedding day itself was hectic and of course, a bit stressful. Elijah and I chose not to see each other until I walked down the aisle. And I can remember that as my Dad took my arm (he was so calm and collected) and began walking me down the aisle, I looked up to see Elijah smiling the biggest smile at me with subtle tears in his eyes. Instantly all the anxiety and stress was wiped away and I experienced the most amazing feeling of pure bliss and excitement. I will never forget that look he gave me and will think about it fondly for the rest of my life.
Another favorite moment was our first dance. We decided to do something a bit different and have our First Dance start the party. I am a Ballroom dancer (and teacher in the past), so the dance was super important to me. And therefore, Elijah made it also very important to him. We decided to dance to Jack Johnson's "I Got You", and start the party with an interpretation of Walk The Moon's "Shut Up and Dance With Me". I choreographed both dances and we had practiced for literally six months beforehand. By the time the moment arrived, Elijah had it muscle memorized and we nailed it! It was the most perfect first dance this ballroom dancer diva could have asked for, complete with him swooping me off me feet and spinning me around for a grand finale moment : )
All the best to Elise + Elijah as they begin their life together. Thank you so much for sharing your wedding day with us! We wish you all the happiness in the world.
Elise’s Dress: Lace Couture, Atelier Pronovias | Flowers: Susan Foy, The Wedding Designer | Event and Wedding Planner: My Mother, the amazing Susie Fenwick, my good friend, Stephanie Saxton acted as impromptu Day Of Coordinator | Cake: A Spoon Fulla Sugar | Ceremony Venue: Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption, Covington, KY | Reception Venue: Newport Aquarium | Photography: Amanda Donaho Photography