In the Details …

We all know the story. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy buys ring. Girl says yes. Girl buys a dress, and the rest is history.

But as modern brides know all too well, that version is merely the Cliff’s Notes. Laced between the search for a one-of-a-kind showstopper dress, the quest for the most artfully delectable cake and the creation of the most romantic ambiance are the personal touches that make each wedding its own story — complete with the “happily ever after.”

For couples Lara Thompson and KC Countess and Amy Huber and Richard Moritz, the elements of family and heritage were woven throughout each blissful celebration. With the help of top Kansas City-area wedding vendors such as Karyn Brooke, AIFD, of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs; Holly Davidson of Simple Elegance; and Michael J. Nolte of Nolte’s Bridal, these couples were able to conceive and execute two dazzling weddings that were unique to their respective love stories, personalities and kinships.

Here is a nod to the modern-day fairytale and a glimpse into two weddings punctuated by romance and personal style.

Romeo and Juliet, eat your heart out.

Thompson/Countess   June 22, 2012
Ceremony: Corpus Christi Catholic Church (Lawrence, Kan.)
Reception: The Oread Hotel (Lawrence, Kan.)

For Lawrence-based bride Lara Thompson, June 22, 2012, was a picture-perfect day. Under crystal blue skies, Lara married her longtime love, KC Countess, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lawrence, Kan.

Lara, 21, who was born and raised in England, first met KC, 25, after living in the United States for only one year and fell head-over-heels for him right away. After dating for three years, KC decided to take their relationship to the next level when he proposed two years before their nuptials.

“KC took me to dinner at The Capital Grille in Kansas City,” Lara recounts. “About halfway through the meal, he excused himself and came back dressed in a suit, dropped to one knee and proposed to me in front of the whole restaurant. I was shocked!”

The couple wasted no time at all in starting to plan for their big day. And with more than half of the 140 wedding guests traveling from overseas, plenty of headway was necessary. So the couple turned to Lawrence-based wedding planner Holly Davidson of Simple Elegance to bring their wedding vision to fruition.

Lara began the planning process by dress-shopping in both New York and Chicago, only to find her dream dress right here in south Johnson County’s own Nolte’s Bridal. Adorned from the bodice to the floor with crystals and sequins, the opulent Stephen Yearick gown was just the dress for which Lara had been searching.

“It was very, very special, but very, very heavy,” says Lara.

As a result, the bride chose to change into a completely different custom-made dress for the dance portion of the reception.

Davidson enlisted the help of Karyn Brooke, AIFD, of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs in Martin City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.-based Landers Visions (for lighting). Inspired by romantic hues of lilac and amethyst paired with a bit of glitz and glamour, Brooke used three shades of lush lavender roses, lavender hydrangeas and crystal beads to create high and low centerpieces for the 15 round tables adorning the Hancock Room at The Oread Hotel in Lawrence, Kan.

“I never dreamed that Karyn would be able to make such a transformation in that room,” Lara says. “It was so elegant and sophisticated. It completely exceeded my expectations. I mean, this is Lawrence, not L.A. It was beautiful.”

Given a basic vision from Lara, Brooke was able to use her creativity and floral expertise to create a romantic ambiance for the couple, which was a great complement to the couple’s love for one another.

“Lara was one of those amazing brides who just wanted to be married,” says Brooke. “She didn’t get too caught up in the details of the wedding — she was concerned much more with the marriage. She loves this boy to no end, and they just want to be together forever.”

After walking down the aisle on the arm of her father, Neil, Lara’s dream came true as she wed KC.

“Walking my daughter down the aisle and watching all the guests take in how radiant and beautiful she looked — that was the highlight of the day for me,” recalls Neil Thompson. “It was a spectacular day filled with love and laughter.”

From the wording on the invitations right down to the five-course sit-down dinner, which included a prosciutto and melon salad, the wedding was infused with classic English culture. Perhaps most impressive were the luxurious gift baskets delivered to the hotel rooms of out-of-country guests, which included hand-painted glasses on silver trays, violet-scented mints and gum, English toffee, Champagne, deluxe mixed nuts, and white chocolate-covered pretzels adorned with custom monogrammed labels.

Following what felt to guests like an intimate family dinner and a round of heartfelt toasts to the happy couple, wedding guests enjoyed six layers of delectable wedding cake created by Kansas City-based baker Rebekah Foster and danced the night away to music provided by Holmes Music World.

But for Lara and KC, the beauty of the day did not lie in the details alone, but in the love that surrounded them from family and friends.

“We were so appreciative of our guests, especially my grandparents and aunties and uncles, who traveled across the world to celebrate with us,” says Lara.

And what a celebration it was.

“It was truly perfect and beyond my expectations,” says Lara with a smile. “We often joke with my dad and ask him if we can do it again next year. I don’t think he thinks that is as funny as we do.”

photos: Paul Versluis


Huber/Moritz   Oct. 6, 2012
Ceremony: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Catholic Church (Kansas City, Mo.)
Reception: Westin Crown Plaza (Kansas City, Mo.)

Amy Huber’s autumn wedding to Overland Park-based entrepreneur Richard Moritz, 29, was as vibrant with personal touches and sentiment as it was with rich hues of peacock blue and whimsical shades of pink, coral and blush.

The couple, who met through a mutual friend on a ski trip and dated for more than five years, was surrounded by family and friends, new and old, when they exchanged vows in a traditional Catholic ceremony.

Amy, a 28-year-old Leawood native, spent the afternoon of Oct. 6 primping and celebrating with her closest girlfriends at the Westin Crown Plaza in downtown Kansas City, Mo., before heading to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Catholic Church to meet her groom, whom she did not see pre-ceremony. Adorned in a custom Stephen Yearick gown in blush silk satin, Amy carried a bouquet of white calla lilies, hydrangeas, stephanotis and gardenias created by Karyn Brooke, AIFD, of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs in Martin City, Kan.

“Coming into the church, I was so nervous and emotional,” Amy recalls. “Looking around and seeing all the people in the pews looking at me, I was flooded with all kinds of feelings, but finally I remembered to look up at the altar and I locked eyes with Rich. It helped me to relax and from then on, the day was about us and us only. It was just perfect.”

Making the moment even more perfect was a gift from Amy’s future mother-in-law that she had presented to her as she was getting ready in her bridal suite — a blue topaz ring from the groom’s late grandmother that constituted her “something old.” Amy carried the ring with her down the aisle at the base of her bridal bouquet. Upon reaching the candlelit altar, the couple was wed near the window dedicated to the bride’s paternal great-great-great-grandfather at 6:30 in the evening.

Amy and Richard spent nearly a year planning their lavish nuptials after he proposed to her in a surprise romantic dinner at home.

“I don’t remember a thing he said,” says Amy with a laugh.

But what she does remember is her reply — “Of course!”

The couple started planning the wedding right away and enlisted the help of wedding coordinator Michael Nolte.

“I really had no idea what I wanted when I started planning,” says Amy. “I even asked Mike if it was better to have a bride who knows exactly what she wants or one like me who doesn’t have a clue. I was overwhelmed.”

Choosing the style and color of the bridesmaid dresses served as a jumping-off point for the bride, who then chose her own dress from Nolte’s Bridal.

“I knew I wanted a stunning train because we were having a Catholic ceremony and people were going to be seeing the back of my dress for a long period of time,” says Amy. “We ended up ‘Frankensteining’ a custom dress, using the bodice from one and the train from another. It was just what I had envisioned.”

Once the dresses were chosen, the style of the wedding evolved into an elegant, sophisticated and whimsical soiree punctuated by Brooke’s custom floral designs, which included pomanders of white hydrangeas secured with large tassels which adorned the pews, floral wreaths in the church vestibule and breathtaking centerpieces of white hydrangeas, pink and coral garden roses and orchids atop peacock blue silk rose petal linens on all of the reception hall tables.

Prior to the sit-down dinner, which included a surf-and-turn entrée of filet with peppercorn sauce and shrimp, guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizers by the waterfall at the Westin Crown Plaza’s upper mezzanine. Upon entering the candlelit ballroom, draped in white velvet and illuminated with peacock blue and coral lighting by Landers Visions of Kansas City, Mo., guests were greeted by a six-tier white chocolate wedding cake with a raspberry ganache center created by Cheri Elder, which was displayed on a double-layer glass table filled with garden roses and green amaranthus.

As yet another personal touch, Amy used her grandmother’s cake knife to cut the cake before dancing the night away with her beloved guests to music from Atlantic Express.

“I didn’t want the night to end,” says Amy. “I spent the entire honeymoon recounting the details of the wedding. It was a flawless, fun day. It was exactly what we wanted.”

photos: Isaac Alongi