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Betsy and Nick
It was the summer of 2006 when Betsy Killough and Nick Pepe were invited to the same BBQ party in New York City. Barely knowing anyone in the crowd, they found each other and hit it off. Six years later, on June 30, 2012, they tied the knot in the bride's hometown, in a celebration of love, life, and, of course, barbecue.
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The Welcome Gift
Guests received a grouping of thoughtful items when they arrived in Lawrence, Kansas, for the celebration: a bar of handmade goat's milk soap from a nearby farm, a weekend itinerary and letter from the couple, trail mix in a Mason jar, an invitation to the Sunday brunch, doorknob signs that read "We Partied 'Till the Cows Came Home With Nick and Betsy", and sugar cookies made by Nick’s mom in the shape of different farm animals.
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Betsy had worked with Lela Rose for nearly six years (she's the director of sales for the company), so when it came time to find her dress, she knew the first person she’d go to. “Designing together for this special day was such a pleasure," Lela said. "The appliqued lace we chose was both romantic and modern. We wanted to create a gown that felt formal enough for her church ceremony but also something that would be comfortable for the outdoor reception. She looked gorgeous and getting to share this day with Betsy and Nick was the best part of the experience for me.”
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Mother of the Bride
Betsy's mother Susan wore a charcoal Lela Rose dress, with a silk top and a silk faille skirt. It was embellished with hand embroidery at the waist and fabric-covered beads.
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The Bridal Party
Betsy's bridesmaids sported short white Lela Rose for The Dessy Group dresses, and the littlest attendant, Betsy’s niece, wore a matching linen Lela Rose dress of her own.
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Nick donned a navy blue Corneliani suit, Charles Tyrwhitt shirt, and Bruno Magli shoes. In addition to a light blue tie and a crisp white pocket square, he accessorized with an IWC Portuguese watch Betsy gave him the night prior that was engraved with the message: "Nick, today I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow." The sweet words were also embroidered on his pocket square.
The groomsmen wore complementary ensembles.
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The Ceremony Location
For this family-centric wedding, the ceremony location was a no-brainer: The church in which six generations of Betsy’s family married. "It was a really overwhelming feeling to think all of these people that mean so much to us have stood here before us," Betsy said.
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The traditional service took place inside the building, with the Tiffany windows on full display. The couple chose not to see each other until the ceremony, so when Betsy started her walk down the aisle, the emotions kicked into high gear. Another tender moment came with the exchanging of vows, particularly the recital of “in sickness and in health,” as the couple had stood by each other through the intense two years that Betsy battled cancer.
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The Reception Location
Stone Barn Farm (Betsy's uncle’s farm) provided an incredible setting for the post-ceremony celebration -- the first of it’s kind on the property. The bride grew up spending time on the farm and the pair felt it was the perfect spot for their relaxed yet chic country fete.
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Since the couple waited to see one another for the first time at the church, they posed for portraits with photographer Mary Beth Russell of epagaPhoto following the service and again at the farm.
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Quilts belonging to the bride's family were hung on a ladder and set atop hay bails surrounding the dance floor.
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Roaming the Grounds
The farm provided great views during cocktail hour.
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Seating cards were pinned to an oversize map of the USA (outlined in twine) depicting where each person had traveled from to attend the wedding. In big letters at the bottom it read "Welcome to the Heartland".
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A self-serve station of the couple's signature drink (a variation of "summer beer" made of beer, lemonade, and vodka) included wooden stir sticks bearing the pair's initials.
Servers also passed napkins to guests that read "If you're holding this napkin, you’re among our favorite people in the world. Thank you for your love and support. -- Nick and Betsy."
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The family-style meal was served alfresco in a field overlapping the vast pasture that showcased the clear Kansas summer night as the sun set. Guests dined on brisket, BBQ chicken, hay stack potatoes, Bismarck Garden corn, hot rolls, and summer harvest salad at long tables, arranged around the dance floor. The meal was created by Southern Accent Catering using local ingredients, including corn that was picked that morning from a family friend's farm.
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Two homemade barbecue sauces were offered during dinner -- a sweet option and a spicy alternative.
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The Table Names
In lieu of numbers, tables were identified by various animals that could be spotted around the farm. At each place setting, corresponding tags affixed with mini clothespins to burlap pockets holding the silverware guided guests to their seats.
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Centerpieces were kept minimal so they wouldn't detract from the natural surroundings. Jars filled with white stock flowers and roses were placed in small groupings down the tables.
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The newlyweds chose to forgo a wedding cake, and serve a few of their favorite desserts prepared by Cami's Cake Co. Apple caramel crumble and peach cobbler were served in doily-topped jars, and the strawberry shortcake bar included homemade biscuits and whipped cream. Antiques from the barn enhanced the presentation with authentic flair and dimension.
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The couple danced to Travis Tritt's "It's A Great Day to Be Alive" before the sun set. Nick first heard the song during a particularly hard day in Betsy’s chemotherapy cycle and immediately pictured himself dancing with her on their wedding day.
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The Costume Change
Betsy changed into a two-piece Lela Rose design as the evening progressed. The organza bustier and ostrich feather skirt (paired with the bride’s brown suede cowboy boots) was the perfect dancing ensemble for later in the evening.
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Photography: Mary Beth Russell of epagaFoto
Event Planning and Flowers: Red Door Event and Design
Catering: Southern Accent Catering
Day-of Paperie: Allie Statler of Announce This!
Calligraphy: Amy Birdsong Golden of Golden Ink
Dessert Table: Cami's Cake Co.
Music: Holmes Music World
Hair and Makeup: Nikki Leach-Meisenheimer for Lou & Co. Hair Studio