Whew! I don’t think y’all are ready for this wedding! Karen and Mark’s wedding day is not only drop dead gorgeous, but it’s SO full of intentional choices (and surprises). We could really go on and on about how sweet this day was, but we’ll let the bride tell you herself! Grab some tissues, and start scrolling!
How did you meet?
“We met working for the local PBS station at Western Kentucky University. We were working on the ESPN broadcast of the college basketball game. Mark was technical directing and I was an instant replay operator. About three years later, he would propose to me in that same basketball arena.”
When did you know you were falling in love?
“We both say that this was a happy accident. We never meant to fall in love. But when two lives fit together so perfectly, it just happens and then years later you realize you never want it any other way. Mark will say it was when I bought a Captain America hoodie the first couple of months we started dating (I had no interest in Marvel back than and Mark LOVED Captain America. So it was clearly something I did because I was interested in him and his interests.) But for me, I just kind of fell into it. We supported each other through the best and worst times in life with no obligation, we just cared for each other. He brought out the child in me when everything else was telling me to grow up, how could you not love that?”
What is your favorite quality in your husband?
“I think for both of us, it is the fact that we complement each others interests and find ways to be interested in things the other really loves. Whether we are working on decorating and organizing our house, traveling, playing Nintendo games, or going on a 3 hour long hike to catch Pokemon, we always find ways to enjoy our time together and embrace our nerdy quirks. Especially Disney!”
Did you have a specific theme or design inspiration for your big day?
“We both work in television, I’m a producer and he is an editor. So the theme the whole time was just whatever would be the most visually appealing for photos (and man did Danielle Evans knock it out of the park!!) I wanted lush, fresh greens, and a timeless romantic look that encompassed our personalities. The most important thing to me was that it felt both masculine and feminine. I never wanted people to look and think ‘This is Karen’s Wedding.’ I wanted them to think that this was Karen and Mark’s wedding because it so well captured what we both love. It was a marriage of two people, but also a marriage of design. Plus, I just kept thinking ‘What would I want on our walls forever’ and really walked away with what I think was just a breathtaking fairytale.”
How about your dress and accessories?
“My dress I found on accident, but couldn’t be more in love with. After some frustration dress shopping, I needed a fresh start and decided to go on my own to David’s Bridal. That’s when I found my dress. It didn’t have the the off the shoulder draping, but we grabbed a veil and faked it. I FaceTimed by dad in the middle of a David’s Bridal crying and we both said yes to the dress. I had to bring my own material to create the straps for the dress, so eventually they were made from some draping chiffon from my aunt’s wedding just several months earlier. It was the Disney Princess dress I never knew I needed. I absolutely loved wearing it and the tulle skirt just made you want to twirl. I felt so confident and beautiful in that dress and could even feel myself walking taller in it. I never thought I could love wearing a dress so much.”
“That same aunt actually made my veil for me too. Weddings are tough if you don’t have the traditional relationship with your mom, but I was and am lucky enough to be surrounded by the special men and women in my life that made it even more special. Like my bridesmaid Kylah, who I’ve always referred to as my big sister, bought my wedding shoes. My hair piece was a dream. I always got a tiara every year for my birthday when I was young, but that hair piece was like something out of a fairytale. The pearl earrings I wore were a pair my dad gave me when I was 16 and I constantly wear. They’re one of my favorite pieces of jewelry and it just made sense to have on this special day.”
What about Mark’s attire?
“Mark really wanted to wear a tux, but have the vibe that he and his guys were in a folksy, bluegrass band. So we went with the aged grey tuxes with a clean look of white and black with brown shoes. To continue that masculine feel, we thought a succulent for his boutonniere would be better than a flower and really add to that folksy vibe. OH! He also wore Legend of Zelda socks. Mark is the kind of guy who loves adding a touch of personality to his look and it only felt right that he had a touch of Nintendo with him on the special day.”
Did you incorporate any traditions?
“With this wedding, we decided to have a classic look, but then create our own traditions. That morning, my dad and I had a special father daughter breakfast, just the two of us before the festivities started. When we started dating my dad made the joke ‘I’ll trade her to you for a 6-pack no trade backs’; this is a funny joke because my Dad and I are really close after some of the life events we have dealt with. So the fact he said that meant he really liked Mark and trusted him. So at that breakfast Mark left my dad an 8-pack of beer and a really sweet card. I wrote one too, but I just love the memory of my dad reading Mark’s letter and getting the beer. It’s a tradition I wish more had.”
“Also, if guests wanted to request a song, they had to make a donation to the American Diabetes Association. It didn’t matter how much or how little, but just something. My dad is Type 1 diabetic, so this is a cause that is important to me. At our wedding we had a total of six Type One diabetics including my cousins, dad, uncle and one of our amazing groomsmen. To be able to raise $200 towards this cause in just song requests meant the world to me.”
“Finally, this wasn’t a tradition, but during the wedding planning process I always teased Mark that I would show up to the first look dressed as Left Shark. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. BUT I did borrow Left Shark costumes from work and had two of our amazing groomsmen dress up and crash the dance floor. It was a hilarious homage to this fun inside joke and really pulled people to the dance floor.”
What was the most memorable moment?
“The whole event was so memorable and the personal touches we added really made it special. However, the most memorable moment was when Mark surprised me with his Mario Kart Love Song serenade. If you know Mark and I, you know I am extroverted and he is introverted. But when Mark makes a romantic gesture, he goes BIG!
My bridesmaid/coordinator grabbed me from talking to guests and pulled me over to a chair in front of all our groomsmen and my lovely groom with mic in hand. Mark gave the cue and the groomsmen whipped out Luigi hats and Mark put on a Mario hat and Mark sang a perfectly practiced Mario Kart Love Song. It was honestly the most special part of the wedding and made it a perfect and memorable night. This is such a Mark thing, he does grand gestures when you least expect it and it is such a treat to experience. I was so excited he was able to share this with me and all of our guests.”
What was your first dance song, and why did you choose it?
“So our first song was supposed to be ‘Africa’ by Toto. Hands down, that was it for two of the three years we were planning it. Then Maroon 5 released the song ‘Girls Like You’ and Mark insisted that was our first dance song. I couldn’t even argue with him. Still one of my favorite memories is him picking it because it just made me feel so special. It really fit us. But with a song that great, we had to get dance lessons.”
Tell us about your grand exit!
“We had to do a sparkler grand exit. We are such lovers of Disney that we added subtle touches guests might not have even noticed. So having a sparkler exit was another way to bring the Disney World magic to our night. Having the guests hold up the sparklers and being able to run through them felt like the perfect ending to the night and I can’t say enough, just how magical it felt. We were lucky enough to have the most beautiful night ever, so it just made it even better!”
Congrats Karen & Mark! Your day was absolutely wonderful!
Featured in the Summer/Fall 2019 Tennessee Weddings by The Pink Bride Magazine
Location, Catering, Transportation, & Rehearsal Dinner · Ramble Creek Vineyard and Events
Photographer · Danielle Evans Photography
Wedding Planning · On the Dot Events
Cake · Ramble Creek Cakes
Florist · LB Floral
Bridal Shop · David’s Bridal
Tuxedos/Suits · Regal Tuxedo
DJ · Team B Mobile Entertainment
Hair · Salon Visage
Makeup · Southern Belle Beauty
Accommodations · Comfort Inn and Suites Athens