Grace and JP were set up by mutual friends when JP moved from North Carolina back to Lexington, Kentucky. They shared their first date in September 2019 and clearly clicked. The couple found themselves soon planning a wedding for 50 guests the following year.
The couple envisioned an intimate wedding weekend near their Kentucky home. The couple decided on a rehearsal dinner in downtown Lexington at Dudley’s on Short, followed by a ceremony and reception at Castle & Key Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky on October 10, 2020. “The two locations married so well together,” Grace says, “We wanted something intimate and organic that reflected both of our personalities.” The couple was drawn to the distillery’s industrial feel and appreciated the carefully architected gardens and landscaping. The fact that Grace and JP love their gin so much was a plus, too!
The couple faced some challenges planning their wedding during the pandemic. “This was something we chose to do because we were ready to get married, even if that meant a smaller wedding with limitations,” Grace says, “Having to work with the venues to make our events COVID compliant was trickier than we originally thought.”
Luckily, they had planner Lacy Geary on their side to help them plan their wedding with guest experience as a top priority. They found it difficult to pair their guest list down to just 50 people but invited their closest friends and family to their rehearsal dinner and wedding. They incorporated elements that represented the couple’s style, their faith, and a local flair within the design.
Read on to see the monochromatic color palette and design elements captured behind the lens of photographer Shining Light Photography.
The couple’s invitation suite, menu, and other paper products were designed by their planner, Lacy Geary with Paper Birch Designs. They featured a custom monogram of a “B” for the couple’s last name, a neutral color palette, and delicate detailing with a hidden key as a nod to the wedding venue, Castle & Key Distillery.
Grace and JP’s rehearsal dinner took place at Dudley’s on Short, a fine dining restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky. The restaurant’s rooftop terrace was designed by landscape architect Jon Corloftis, who also designed the grounds of the couple’s wedding venue. Grace wore a satin Parker Black jumpsuit with a cowl neckline paired with statement earrings and a feather clutch. JP went with a navy suit paired with a gingham patterned shirt.
It’s a style of dress I would want to wear regardless. It made me feel comfortable and beautiful.
Grace spotted a Daalarna Couture gown on Instagram and although she had just three months until her wedding day, she decided to try it on anyway. “It felt like a second skin,” she says. “It’s a style of dress I would want to wear regardless. It made me feel comfortable and beautiful.” The gown featured a crochet lace bodice and a delicate lace overlay. She finished her look with Kate Whitcomb ivory ballet flats, earrings from SHASHI, and a raw edge veil from the bridal salon she purchased her dress from, Relix Bridal. Grace held a bouquet of soft white, blush, and taupe florals.
JP wore a custom navy suit and dress shirt from Stuart Mercer Gentleman’s Shoppe paired with a belt and shoes from Allen Edmonds. He also wore a personalized tie bar and cufflinks that were a gift from Grace.
Grace’s younger sister, the maid of honor, and her older sister, the matron of honor, wore champagne floor length dresses and held miniature versions of the bridal bouquet. JP’s brothers were his groomsmen and wore navy suits for a cohesive look with the groom.
The couple’s ceremony took place in the venue’s “Sunken Garden,” where the altar was decorated with foliage and flowers in the couple’s monochromatic neutral color scheme. Sheer fabric was draped on the back of wooden chairs for the ceremony and lush flower arrangements looked as if they were growing from the ground. The couple honored JP’s late father by reserving a seat for him. “On the seat was an embroidered handkerchief for his mom with a tag that read, ‘In Loving Memory of John Paul Blevins,’” Grace says.
JP and the wedding party walked down the aisle to Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Grace’s dad walked her down the aisle to Sleeping At Last’s “Turning Page”.
Grace and JP exchanged traditional vows during their ceremony, which was officiated by a pastor. Once pronounced husband and wife, the couple recessed down the aisle to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.”
Immediately following the ceremony, Grace and JP explored the venue’s grounds with their photographer for some portraits.
The morning of the wedding, Grace and JP had to decide whether or not to set up a tent in case of rain. They decided not to risk a bad weather situation, so the planning team went ahead with the tent. “It was a clear tent and ended up making our ceremony and cocktail hour location so dreamy,” the bride says, “Even better, it didn’t rain!”
At cocktail hour, high top tables were covered in pale pink linens. A wooden sign, featuring the pair’s custom monogram, welcomed guests. Family and friends enjoyed passed appetizers and two signature drinks: the Castle & Key Gimlet and the Castle & Key French 75. Guests found their table assignments for dinner on a wooden sign that was decorated with an organic arrangement of ivory and taupe flowers.
The wedding reception was held in the venue’s Springhouse location, where water runs through the center of the space. “One of the unique aspects of the Springhouse is that the central water element is in the shape of a key which is where the distillery got part of its name,” Grace says. The dinner tables had velvet linens and ivory linen runners that featured a custom monogram.
The place settings included white china, gold flatware, blush linen napkins, textured ivory menus, and gold metal name cards with guest’s name engraved in white. Floral centerpieces showcased soft buttery neutral tones with textured elements and draping greenery.
Grace and JP made their grand entrance and shared a first dance to “Take The World” by JOHNNYSWIM, performed by live musicians. Grace and JP weren’t able to have a traditional reception with a large band and a dance floor, so they hired a party bus to pick them and their friends up after the reception. “We had coolers with drinks and friends DJ with an aux cord,” Grace says, “It was one of the most memorable parts of the night!” The couple’s biggest recommendation to couples planning their wedding is to hire a planner. “Lacy helped us plan every detail of the weekend and made it so easy,” Grace says, “She took time to really get to know JP and I and make the process so personal.”