Tag Archives: bride


Let’s Get Planning

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-10-25-33-amBut do you really need a wedding planner? 


So, you’ve just said “yes!” Now what? Brides and grooms can become inundated with choices, from the dress and tux colors to venue seating, flower decisions and thank-you notes. Hiring a wedding planner can certainly ease the load, but is it an affordable option for the average future married couple? We talked to Jamie Lott, owner of Louisville Events4U and a wedding planner for 11 years.

EXTOL MAGAZINE: Who should hire a wedding planner?

Jamie Lott: The value lies in having a professional who won’t forget even the smallest detail of the big day. Wedding planners are all about the details – things you might miss. If you’re a detail-oriented person and you’ve got a career of your own, maybe a busy life with your fiancé, it’s much, much easier in my opinion to turn (wedding planning) over to a professional so that nothing is missed as part of your wedding planning process.

EXTOL: What are some of the most overlooked details by couples who plan their own weddings?

Lott: Transportation to and from the venue and/or the church. Things like right down to the catering. Did you plan on just feeding (guests) the cake or did you plan on feeding them another dessert? I’ve been to so many weddings where I’ve just done day-of coordinating and they ran short of cake. Little things like that, I’m there to remind you about.

EXTOL: Is there anyone who shouldn’t hire a wedding planner?

Lott: By the day of the wedding, even the control freaks, even the very OCD brides, have been very grateful that (a wedding planner) is there because she can relax and not have to worry about the details. My standard line is, “I’ve got this. Please don’t worry.” I do this almost every weekend, and if you haven’t thought of it, I will. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t need a wedding planner. I think there are some girls who think they can do it on their own, but I actually feel bad for them on their wedding day because they are so stressed trying to do it, even with their girlfriends. They should be getting ready that day. They should be with their family. They should be relaxing and sipping mimosas or whatever makes them happy versus worrying about setting up their tables and their centerpieces, and going to pick up this or going to pick up that.

EXTOL: What should you look for in a good wedding planner?

Lott: It’s all about the details. Look for the person who asks all the right questions, the person that is the best fit for you. Your personalities need to mesh. You need to make sure that you like this planner and this planner is almost a member of your family because of the length of time you’re going to be spending with this person and what this planner is going to ask of you. As you go along in this process, you need to be willing to work with this planner and trust this person.

EXTOL: How do you help set a budget with the bride and groom?

Lott: I’m very brutally honest and I ask them what they think they can spend on this wedding. If it’s a certain amount and that amount is very low, I ask them if they’re willing to do some of the work themselves, like we make part of the centerpieces ourselves and then we add florals from a florist –– anything we can do to cut costs. I’m very good about keeping them on budget. They take themselves off budget!

EXTOL: As a wedding planner, how do you handle so-called bridezillas?

Lott: In the industry, we all laugh at the shows because they pick the worst of the worst. I have been very blessed … that I have had very few “bridezillas.” Most of these girls are very grateful for the help, which is why they hired me in the first place. If they get a little tense right before their wedding, which is very common, we talk it out. … I try very hard to let them know I’m on top of this.

EXTOL: What should the wedding planner do and what should the couple take care of?

Lott: Everything, down to scheduling everything. I create timelines and itineraries, an overall day-of timeline for the ceremony and the reception so everybody’s on the same page. I make sure the DJ’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, the venue’s doing what they’re supposed to do, and if that includes catering, we’ve gone over that menu 15 times. I don’t want that bride to think about anything but enjoying her day. … I keep a bride box with me on the day of the wedding of all the “what ifs.” If this breaks, if this needs to be taped, a first-aid kit, things like that that they would never have thought to bring.


Bridezilla Be Gone


The term “bridezilla” has become almost as common as the monikers “bride-to-be” and “fiancé.” (FYI: Bridezilla refers to a bride who is extremely demanding and difficult to deal with during the wedding planning process.) 

We get it – planning a wedding is stressful. Here’s how to stop yourself from becoming the next scary creature (aka bridezilla) planning a walk down the aisle:

Eat a balanced diet and make time for exercise — every day. 

Most brides-to-be are overwhelmed with fitting into their dress that they may be starving themselves into a crazed state of mind. Our bodies need food, so eat the right kinds to keep your mind and body in good working order. A balanced meal plan fuels your body and gives you energy.

Exercise is a great form of stress reduction, especially activities that incorporate mindfulness, such as yoga. Make time for exercise and think of it as a little much-needed “me time” instead of another thing on your to-do list.

Check yourself and check-in with others. 

Phone a friend, message your mom or schedule an appointment with your therapist. Find someone to talk to during this exciting time in your life. Having a person to vent to will help you avoid being overwhelmed by emotions.

Elsa and Anna had the right idea with their iconic song lyrics from the Disney movie “Frozen.” Make your mantra “Let it go, let it go” when it comes to things you cannot control. The weather, nope, out of your hands; the color of the floral centerpieces, yes, that you can control. However, if they end up being two shades lighter than your favorite lavender, again, let it go.

Post-wedding blues are a possibility. 

Many brides report an emotional letdown days or weeks after their wedding. It took months, maybe even years, to plan and the day went by so quickly. Some of the signs to watch for in yourself or a loved one are boredom, sadness, lethargy, loneliness and isolation. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, know that it’s normal. Try these tips to turn the blues into wedded bliss:

• Talk with your new spouse about your favorite memories from the wedding.

• Invite your friends over to share photos and stories from your honeymoon.

• Write thank you notes to those who really stepped up to help you even when you didn’t think you needed it.

If the feelings start affecting your life, talk to a professional. Norton Women’s Mental Health Services can help. For more information, visit NortonHealthcare.com or call 502.629.1234.

This article was written by Jennifer Evans, M.D., system vice president of Women’s Services, Norton Healthcare. Dr. Evans has more than 25 years of medical and surgical experience in obstetrics and gynecology. 


5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You To Know

5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You To Know



MAKE A BUDGET. The only thing you’ll have the day after your wedding are the photos. So remember to prioritize your budget. If you want great photos, you may want to cut the gelato bar and ice sculpture and pay a little more for a photographer with the experience to capture your special day.

TIME. Make sure you make time on your wedding day for photos. As a photographer, I love to get creative and I want to capture that “perfect” image you will cherish for a lifetime. This can best be accomplished by creating a timeline for how the day will flow and trying to stick to it as best you can. If there are certain people that you want to ensure you have your photo taken with, make a list and give it to your photographer at the start of the day. Don’t be afraid to tell your photographer what you want. That’s what we’re here for.

screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-3-40-21-pmADAPT. Every wedding is different. There are many aspects that can affect your photographs. Ceremony location, time of day and time of year (think sunset time) can all affect the look and feel of your photos. To capture better photos, your photographer should bring multiple light sources, including battery-powered studio strobes and speedlites, for quick movement between locations. Ask your photographer if he or she has those.

SMILE. This one is simple: Be happy on your wedding day. Nothing will sour your photos more than you stressing out before, during and after your big day than having a frown. This is your big day. Enjoy it.



screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-3-40-33-pmBE PATIENT IN POST-PRODUCTION. The wedding day may last for 8 to 12 hours (sometimes longer), but that is only part of what it takes to capture a wedding and deliver the final product. Long after the cake is cut and the guests return home is when most of a photographer’s work begins. A good one will immediately gather all the memory cards and download them to various locations. Data loss is a huge problem, ensure your photographer has a plan to take multiple precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen to clients. Also, moving through each of the images will take a number of days. Be patient. Every image we take during a wedding is edited, and this takes time. Then, when the client decides which photos to have printed and which to put in the album, a good photographer will put additional work into perfecting each image. Again, be patient.




Love Lessons: Lucia Applegate



Married for almost 30 years to Billy “Juice” Applegate, who died 9.17.2002 of an abdominal aneurysm.


Bill was just fun to be with and thoughtful as a husband, father and friend. He always woke up in a good mood. I once asked him why and he said, “Why not?”

We each had children from our previous marriages, but we had a plan that we agreed on that they were always welcome, any of them. And we meant it and followed through with it. I was very lucky because Bill was great with kids.

We never stayed mad long. We respected each other’s religions; I’m Catholic and he was Methodist. When it came to money, we shared the good and bad. We didn’t have lots and would be careful, but we were open about it with each other.

We weren’t perfect but we loved each other. We were with or talked to each other on the phone every day. I always knew where he was. He was a really good friend.

Being married to Bill was easy. I miss him every day. –Lucia Applegate


Love Lessons: Wendy Dant Chesser & Mike Chesser


SO, WHAT’S MARRIAGE REALLY LIKE? We asked Wendy Dant Chesser & Mike Chesser (pictured with their daughter Joslyn, 9.5)  

Married for 10 years; divorced for 6 years

As told to Angie Fenton | Photos By Tony Bennett

Mike Chesser: We met through mutual friends but didn’t go out for over a year. When we did, we saw “Something About Mary.”

Wendy Dant Chesser: There were times when we were the only ones laughing. That movie was hysterical (she laughs when Mike says “hysterical” at the same time).

Three hundred sixty-three days later, we were married. Mike was an event planner, so he handled most of the wedding details while Wendy managed the budget.

Wendy: I think we were – and we still are – there’s a compatibility in our personalities.

Mike: When you meet someone, I won’t go so far as to say it’s love at first sight, but you automatically connect with that person. That’s what it was. We knew each other. We met and had a great group of friends but didn’t go out for well over a year. It wasn’t until Wendy called my office asking for someone else and I thought, “Well, I know that person,” jumped on the phone and said hello because I hadn’t seen her in a while.

Wendy: Neither of us had ever been married before, and we were a little older.

Mike: We were just right.

After trying for several years to have a biological child, Wendy and Mike adopted their daughter, whom they met at her birth. “I’m now 9 and a half,” Joslyn said, tucking into the pancakes in front of her. 

Despite the joy, a few years later, Mike and Wendy eventually opted to divorce. 

Wendy: The breakdown of communication had gotten far enough. I don’t know that we saw a path back.

MIKE: Communication was our biggest issue.

Wendy: Which is ironic now because we communicate better than we ever have. We’re still family.

Mike: I’m always going to love her. Always. She is the best friend who never went away. It comes from the deep connection from the beginning.

In fact, Mike and Wendy dissolved their marriage by asking a friend to sign the papers (they didn’t use a lawyer and only needed a witness). Today, they are known for taking their daughter on shared experiences and trips together, and bewildering people with their incredibly-amicable relationship. 

Wendy: There’s a lot of people who still don’t know we’re not together, which makes it tough on our respective dating lives (Wendy and Mike laugh). … After we divorced, our first family photos were me, Mike, Joslyn, Joslyn’s birth mother and the dog. … The 10 years of marriage were not the easiest years of our life: We relocated to a different state, had job changes, couldn’t get pregnant, our house burned down four days before Joslyn was born.

Mike: But, with age and maturity comes a better knowledge and understanding. When you go through these type of life-changing situations and do a little bit of reflection and look back. That’s when you gain clarity and understanding. You don’t know what you don’t know. Until it hits you and you go, “I get it. I see it.” Right, wrong and differently, you move forward.

Wendy: If you choose to bring a child into this world with this partner –like we did through adoption – think about all of the scenarios and commit yourself to focusing on the child. It makes everything else easier. Marriage is one thing, but in our society today, marriage is not always a lifelong commitment but raising a child is.

Mike: Communicate. Continue to try and a communicate. Don’t wall yourself off because the communication starts to break down. This often comes with age, maturity and, in some cases, counseling. … That communication side is critical.

Wendy: Our marriage may have failed, but we’re the best at it!





Emily Grantz & John Goldman

To Be Married 12.30.17

Photo by Tony Bennett

We met through mutual friends.

Emily: Knowing how much my family and friends liked him and my nieces and nephews cling to him every time he is around, I knew I had someone pretty special.

John: It wasn’t just a single moment but over time I knew she was the one I wanted to marry.

The ceremony will be at Holy Family Church and the reception is at The Calumet Club. We are both excited for the big day to get here. Looking forward to celebrating and being around all of our friends and loved ones.



Stacey Poindexter & Samantha Smith 

To Be Married 6.9.18

Courtesy Photo

We met in 2005 at the Green Tree Mall where we worked together at American Eagle. From day one, I (Stacey) knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this woman. It just took me a while to grow up. We are getting married at 300 Spring in Jeffersonville. We are so excited. It’s been a long time coming.



Sydney Haag & Jason Barresi 

To Be Married 6.23.18

Photo by Danny Alexander

We met in February 2015 when Jason tattooed a very sentimental family tattoo on my thigh. I searched for a very long time for a great artist to do it, and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. Not only did he produce amazing work, we had a really strong connection as soon as we met. I lived in Indianapolis and he lived in Louisville, so I continued to drive down to get more tattoos by him and our connection grew.

Jason: I knew that Sydney was the one when I began to see my quality of life improve. Not only was I becoming a better brother and a better uncle, but I was becoming a better man for myself and for her. She is my best friend, my confidant and my strength. She helps me overcome any obstacle.

Sydney: After just a few months of dating, it was undeniable. I moved back to Louisville in January 2016, and I couldn’t get enough of him. We spent almost every day together. He made me want to be the best person I could be and supported me in everything I did. Still to this day he encourages me to reach for the stars and accomplish my dreams. Seeing him progress in his career as a tattoo artist has been an incedible experience and has taught me to be humble, passionate and tenacious in everything I do in life. We are a team. We are equal, we strengthen each others weaknesses and help each other grow as individuals and as partners.

We are getting married at the Mellwood Arts Center in Louisville. Tattooing is such a big part of not only Jason’s life, but it has become a part of mine as well. We were inspired by the idea of having our wedding concept based around the idea of traditional tattoo colors and art. We want to bring a part of us and what we love to the wedding, such as, tattoos, coffee, popsicles, bluegrass music, dancing, and most importantly, lots of friends and family.



Montgomery Farms in Scottsburg has turned a 150-year-old farm and barn into a wedding site in the middle of nature. Sunsets are preferred. Rainbows cost extra. 



Photo by Janie Mahoney Photography and Design

Imagine a 10-year-old girl and boy who first met in the pumpkin patch at Montgomery Farms playing hide and seek in the corn maze. And now, 12 years later, they’re getting married on the grounds of the same Scottsburg farm. 

The pumpkin patch and the corn maze are gone now. So are the hayride, the straw jump and the bonfires. But the 40-acre farm with the 150-year-old cattle barn has been turned into one of the most popular wedding venues in Southern Indiana. And, said Mandi Bieda, one of the owners, it’s true that some of her clients first met at the farm.

In 1999, when she and her brother, Dallas Robert Montgomery, first turned the old working farm into what’s called “agri-entertainment” – the hayrides, pumpkins, farm store, etc. – they were getting 20,000 to 30,000 people coming out on fall weekends.


Photo by Janie Mahoney Photography and Design

“People looked around our great landscape and asked if it would ever be possible to hold a wedding here,” said Mandi. “It turned out, my brother and I thought it was a great idea, too.” So, apparently, did everyone else. The minute Mandi and Dallas Robert decided to turn the farm into a wedding venue, the phone started ringing.

By the way, Dallas Robert gets the full moniker treatment because he’s the third generation of Dallas Montgomerys. Grandfather Dallas Donald Montgomery bought the land 70 years ago as a full working farm. But while his sons, Dallas Earl Montgomery and Gary Montgomery, worked the farm, they eventually went off to get engineering degrees and pursue their own professions.

Mandi and Dallas Robert grew up on the farm, at one point running a little sweet corn stand across the street. It was they who had turned the property into a weekend attraction, starting in 1999, and it was they who had decided to close it down.

“Having a play farm is such a weather-dependent business,” she said. “It’s awesome when it doesn’t rain, but when it rains six weekends out of seven, it’s not a lot of fun.”

So, the two-story barn was modernized, although it’s still authentic with bales of hay, whiskey barrels and old furniture all around. “Brides like rustic, but not completely rustic,” said Mandi. “They want their comforts, too.”

The modernization included replacing a gravel floor with concrete and building an adjoining, matching wood-frame building with a bridal suite with its own restroom, groom’s suite, other restrooms and a kitchen prep area. There’s also a covered connection between the new building and the barn for when the weather is iffy. (Mandi doesn’t use the word “rain.” It’s considered superstitious in the events business. She calls it “Plan B.”)

But the barn is not the only possible wedding venue. The 40 acres are full of possibilities. People can get married in a clearing in the woods, on the great lawn, near the pond or at other spots on the property that catch their fancy. “We’re completely open to anyone’s preferences,” Mandi said. “But the great lawn is our most popular outdoor venue. It’s a beautiful backdrop.”


Photo by Photography and Design by Lauren

And, of course, “Plan B” is always moving back into the barn. “But we’ll wait until the last minute before we revert to Plan B,” she said. “Brides know what they want, and we want to be able to give it to them.”

For barn weddings, the ceremony is held in the large, peaked-roof, beamed-ceiling loft. After the ceremony, while guests are eating downstairs, the loft is turned into a festive, sparkling party and dancing site.

“The downstairs of the barn is pretty,” said Mandi, “but the loft is breathtaking.”

The barn can hold 300 guests comfortably, but other options can handle more. “We can seat more people on the lawn, and we can add tents on the lawn. We’ll work with anybody’s needs and preferences.”


Photo by Photography and Design by Lauren

The farm’s wedding season runs from the beginning of April to the first weekend of November. “Because we wanted to keep the barn as authentic as possible, it isn’t air-conditioned or heated. We’re eventually going to add an all-weather venue so we can accommodate people all year round.”
Accommodating people is the root of this family’s business. “We know that we do this every weekend, but for most brides this is a first-time, one-time event,” said Mandi, “and we want to offer a no-surprises experience. We handle every detail. We don’t want them to have to think about anything but having a great wedding.”


1122 Radio Tower Road





Julia Danzl & Josh Williams 2.17.17

Photography by Joseph Abell 

We met many years ago when I was in high school and Josh was a retreat leader for the Providence retreat program. We lost touch over the years and met again at a retreat retirement dinner for the long-time program leader. Our first date was the next week and we never looked back.

Our first date was the best one I’ve ever had; I had never felt so comfortable with someone. We spent the whole evening laughing. I remember thinking if it’s always this easy, I could really love this relationship. I hate to be as cliché to say I knew from our first date, but I did. I think at our age and experiences (although he’s a tad older) you know what you want, and when you finally find it, you want to spend as much time as you can with them.

Our engagement day was full of surprises. It was his birthday weekend, and I was throwing a surprise birthday party at our house for him. Unbeknownst to me, he was also planning on our engagement that day. My parents have some property in the knobs with a lake, so he suggested we take our two dogs for a walk in the afternoon and he proposed to me there. We had the birthday dinner and decided to move the party to The Exchange for some after dinner drinks, and he had arranged a few of our friends to surprise me with the engagement. My sister Megan joked that she had too many surprises to keep track of that night and was trying not to accidentally let one slip.

We had a wedding planner in Florida who thankfully did most of the planning for our February wedding. Our travel agent, Lisa with Beach Bum Vacations, was so helpful in planning the logistics. Angie Burke helped us put together our flower arrangements to send to FL, and Johann Pedolzky with Slab made the wooden centerpiece bases. Our wedding day couldn’t have been more perfect. We spent the week in FL with friends and family, and had a pretty laid back day spent at the beach before the wedding. We couldn’t have had better weather, and spent the evening celebrating with friends and family. Our reception in May at my parent’s house in Floyds Knobs couldn’t have been done without our family.

One of my favorite memories is photo bombing Josh’s groomsmen photos. Our photographer, Joseph Abell, was such a good sport about it. I love scuba diving and love sharks. So, I told Joseph I had two really great ideas: first, I had a shark suit I bought online and wanted to sneak in some pictures; and second, I wanted a giant shark Photoshopped into one of our pictures. He made it happen, and they turned out great. I will never forget Josh’s face! We also got 100 percent biodegradable lanterns that we lit at the end of the night that was an unforgettable view.

Mahmoud “Allam” Ahmed & Carrie Foster Ahmed 2.4.17

ahmed7 ahmed6
Photography by April Martin and various friends

I was working at a restaurant and decided to stay after work one night for a cocktail or two. He was at the bar, not-so-discreetly eyeing me down. A bit later, after some liquid courage, I asked him to join me outside with my friends for some drinks. We talked about all kinds of things and my friends just seemed to disappear despite the fact they were still present. We were wrapped up in each other immediately.

I fell in love quickly, but truth be told, he had just recently found himself single. So, we took it pretty slow at first. There was never a specific moment. It was an eventual realization that we didn’t want to be apart. It was definitely more of a gradual build-up of mutual adoration.
ahmed2Our wedding was at The Loft in New Albany. It was a fusion of Old Hollywood glamour and Ancient Egypt that we called “Luxorius: The Starlett and her Pharoh.” It was dripping with rhinestones and
pearls, bathed in candlelight and accented with silver, gold, blush and black. Everyone was instructed to wear formal attire or a crazy costume. Absolutely no casual clothing was allowed. I think everyone should make their weddings

interactive like this because people had so much fun dressing up. They really felt a part of it, and it made it a super special event for everyone. Egyptian touches were sprinkled about to include my husband’s heritaahmed3ge, and they were all a surprise for him. We had a henna artist, a bellydancer, a pyramid cake and some fun props for the photobooth with the hashtag #blingtut.





When Jacquelyn Koerber first met Alex McClure, it was love at first sight – for him. So much so that the then 23-year-old concluded the 30-year-old woman he’d just met was his perfect match, got down on one knee and proposed.

“I, of course, laughed him off and said, ‘You’re insane!’” says Koerber, who had just recently moved back to Kentuckiana from New York City, where she had been living for the past seven years. Koerber had been out with her cousin, and McClure ended up in their circle of friends when they first met in 2013.
“The more we talked, the more we realized we alex2had in common,” Koerber says. “I lived in New York for seven years. He actually went to school in upstate New York. As the night progressed and the drinks flowed, I guess you could say, Alex came to the conclusion that I was his dream girl and actually got down on one knee and proposed to me.”

Says McClure: “I knew the first night that we met. … My first proposal was promptly rejected, but it’s something we still laugh about to this day.”

Koerber brushed it off that evening, and they didn’t meet again for another six months. “I went out with my cousin again and ran into him, and of course he was so embarrassed,” she says. “He was like ‘I never thought I’d see you again!’ and I was kind of OK with that because I was so embarrassed.’”

As Koerber spent more time with her cousin while making new friends in town, she became close with McClure, although nothing romantic blossomed between them.

“In the interim, I found out that my dad (Michael Koerber) got stage four cancer and was sick,” Koerber recalls. “Having found that out, I didn’t tell anyone. Not my best friends, not even other family members because I think to say it out loud meant it was real. But I found myself telling Alex about it – this random guy that I was semi good friends with – and I started confiding in him everything that was going on with my father, the deepest personal life stuff.

“Through that, our friendship continued to grow and I realized what an important person he’d become in my life. We just got really close, and we ended up going out on a date. He, of course, had asked me out many times between that moment and then, but I wasn’t ready to date.

“I had a friend tell me, ‘Here you have this guy that has been so good to you and been such a good friend to you. You’re an idiot if you don’t go out with him! It kind of woke me up, and and I was like, ‘yeah, you’re right.’”

Despite a seven-year age difference, McClure and Koerber dated seriously for two-and-a-half years. Koerber, whose name is synonymous with fine jewelry – her family owns and operates Koerber’s Fine Jewelry in New Albany – had heard “about a million proposal stories” but said she truly wasn’t prepared for the day McClure popped the question himself, for real this time.

alex3The pair had been decorating their first joint Christmas tree in November 2015 with ornaments given to them by both families. Says Koerber: “I got distracted with something, and he pointed and said, ‘What’s this one here?’

“I turned around and said ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ I looked at it, and it said, ‘You for the rest of my life,’ and it had a ring tied to it. And then he got down on one knee, and I pretty much blacked out at alex4alex5that point. I don’t remember anything else!”

“The second proposal went a lot better,” McClure says. “I wanted to do something understated but meaningful, so I attached the ring to a special ornament as we were putting up our first full Christmas tree together. Unfortunately, Jacquelyn wasn’t wearing her glasses, so it took a bit of prompting to get her to notice it. When she finally spotted it, I dropped to one knee and proposed. From there we went to a surprise dinner with our parents at our favorite restaurant, Wiltshire on Market (in Louisville).”

Saying “yes” was an easy decision for Koerber.

“We were the best of friends,” she says. “We had gone through so much with each other. We’d just found out that my dad was sick when we started dating, so we went through the whole process of him fighting cancer (and) my parents moving to New York City to get the best treatment. I took over their business and ran it. There were so many changes. My father passed away in February 2015. To have someone be by your side during the darkest points of my life – relationships are easy when things are going great. He had been through my side during the hardest point, and never left my side. We just had such a strong connection.

“And I knew he was the one from the beginning. He comes from a wonderful family and I saw how he treats his mom. He comes from a similar background – his parents are both still married and they have a good marriage. My parents were so close and had a great marriage. There were no questions.”

And out of the darkness came light.

Wedding planning for their 300 guests took about 11 months. McClure and Koerber tied the knot on Oct. 8, 2016.

As someone in the wedding industry, Koerber tried to use as many local businesses as possible. “Since I’m a local business. That was important to me,” she says. “Any time I didn’t, like my photographer, it was just because I waited too long!”

Rather than a more traditional wedding venue, the couple chose to get married at the childhood farm of Koerber’s best friend, Chrissy Costello, in Starlight.

She designing the perfect event with the help of Nance’s Events, helmed by Brian Nance, who co-own’s Nance’s Florist with his father.

“My dad grew up right down the road, and also St. John’s Church is right down the road, and that’s where he’s buried,” Koerber says. “You could actually see the church where he’s buried from the location of the wedding. And Chrissy’s stepfather, Jerry Finn, he married us. He’s the same person who spoke at my father’s funeral. It was very much a family event.”

Koerber reserved a spot in the front row for her late father during the ceremony and reception, and she even had their invitations addressed from both of her parents, who were married for 39 years when her father passed. “The lady who did my invitations said, ‘I will be happy to do this, but I just wanted to let you know this is kind of a faux pas,’” Koerber recalls. “My father is just as much a part of this wedding as my mom is. … His name should be on the invitation.”

Rather than offering guests a traditional, tiered wedding cake, Koerber asked her aunts to bake their famous desserts. “Anytime you go to a Koerber family event – my dad was one of 12 kids, grew up on a farm and there’s now over 40 people – everybody brings their famous dish. I wanted my wedding to have that family feeling because it is a family event. … I had carrot cakes and apple pies and all kinds of different desserts, and I had labels made with who made it. …

“I’m not a (traditional) cake eater, anyway. I don’t even like cake. Why would I pay all this money for cake? I would much rather eat a piece of my aunt’s carrot cake or a fudge brownie. I got so many compliments for doing that because who doesn’t want a slice of homemade pie?”

Koerber and McClure also displayed wedding dresses from Koerber’s family, including those from her grandmothers and great-grandmothers. But her own mother’s dress wasn’t among them.

Instead, Koerber cut the gown short and wore it the night of her rehearsal dinner.

McClure’s favorite part of their wedding? “Being surrounded by all of the people we care about most as we celebrated our special day,” he says. “We both have family and friends from all over the country, so to be able to have them all in the same place at once was an incredible experience.”

After honeymooning in Hawaii, McClure and Koerber have settled into their new life quite happily. She still works for the family jewelry business, and McClure is an automotive engineer and plant manager at a prototype shop.

“Married life is really good,” Koerber says.

In fact, she adds, “We are expecting our first baby due Jan. 6. We found out that we’re having a boy. I’m continuing to honor my dad. We’re naming him William Michael” after McClure’s given name and Koerber’s dad.

“I’m really excited, with just a hint of nerves and anxiousness,” McClure admits. “We can’t wait to meet little Mikey.”