When Andrew Pope and his fiancée, Kelsey, began planning their wedding, they knew it would be a relatively large affair because Kelsey is from a small town in Ohio where everyone knows everyone. So, when it comes to celebrations, everyone gets invited. Their guest list was around 170, and half of the guests made the 2.5-hour drive for the nuptials on June 11, 2022.
Although Kelsey and Andrew were eager to share this special occasion with their family and friends, including 10 bridesmaids and eight groomsmen, the couple also knew they wanted to steal away a few private moments throughout the day.
Before the ceremony, the couple didn’t do a full “first look” because they wanted to experience that “wow” factor when Kelsey walked down the aisle. Instead, they opted to do a “first touch.” The two stood back-to-back without seeing each other, holding hands as they read the heartfelt letters they had written to the other.
“I made it into the third sentence of the first paragraph before I started getting teary-eyed,” Andrew says.
Not only was the moment personal, but the emotional release helped quell both their nerves once the ceremony started.
“When I saw her coming down the aisle, I didn’t cry,” Andrew says. “I was nothing but smiles.”
The other nice thing about the letter exchange was that it enabled the pair to share their true feelings since they would exchange traditional Catholic vows during the ceremony.
“We considered these letters our vows to each other,” Kelsey says. “In them, we declared our love and promises to each other.”
Because it wasn’t part of the actual ceremony, the couple could concentrate solely on what they were saying.
“When you’re up there reciting the traditional vows from the deacon, it becomes a blur, so it was nice to have that moment just for us,” Andrew says. “Plus, we could hear each other clearly. When you’re focused on speaking into a microphone, you’re not thinking about the meaning behind the words.”
The ceremony was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Afterward, the couple and their wedding party hopped on the party bus to take pictures at various locations around Cincinnati, including Ault Park, P&G Gardens, Smale Riverfront Park and Mt. Lookout Tavern, where the pair first met.
“It was fun because we did bridal party pictures, and then the bridal party went back to the bus to drink and listen to music while Andrew and I got shots of just the two of us,” Kelsey says.
Following photos, the reception kicked off at the Madison Event Center in Covington. The uplighting at the reception incorporated the color of the bridesmaid dresses, which was a light shade of sky blue. The linens were white, and each table had fresh flowers that included eucalyptus greenery, ivory roses, light pink roses, and blue hydrangeas.
After the newlyweds made their entrance, they went straight into their first dance. They chose to do things in a different order than most couples because they wanted the first dance to be a focal point. After the dance, they cut the cake, speeches were given, and everyone ate.
Once Kelsey and Andrew finished their meal, they went around to all the tables to greet guests, thank them for coming, and give them gum and a blue and white heart-shaped seed paper to honor the “love in bloom” theme. They also had a picture taken at each table.
The couple used The Guest, a photo-sharing app in which the bride and groom create a QR code. Any guest who used it shared their photos automatically. Not only does the bride and groom not have to hunt down people to ask them to share their pictures, but it also enables the couple to see the wedding and reception from someone else’s perspective.
“We went straight into our honeymoon and were able to look at 1,000 guest pictures,” Kelsey says. “It was really fun to look through them all.”
Andrew thinks of their wedding day as perfect. “Not just a perfect day, weather-wise, but a perfect day, in general. My cheeks were sore by the end of the night from all the smiling!”
Kelsey wholeheartedly agrees. “The entire day was awesome!”
Bride’s and Bridesmaids’ Dresses ~ Fabulous Bridal
Cake ~ Scott Buchanan
Ceremony ~ Immaculate Heart of Mary
DJ ~ DJ Mike and Elite Sounds
Flowers ~ Flower Man
Hair ~ Alexis Rigby
Makeup ~ Joy and Company, Joy Rentz
Party Bus ~ Savannah Nite
Photography ~ The Meisbergers
Reception ~ The Madison Event Center
Tuxedos ~ Folchi’s Tuxedos and Menswear