Traditional style and historic venues laid the foundation for this Ohio wedding, but the décor and color palette ensured it was special, too.
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Madison Hartley and Kyle Kent started out as friends as undergrads in Ohio. Kyle was working on a giant painting and Madison went over to help him with it since she was working towards her degree in painting at the time. They spent all night on the piece and started hanging out regularly after that. After a few years together they woke up one morning, looked at each other, and decided they were ready to take the next step. "There was no epic backdrop or hidden camera man," Kyle says of the non-proposal proposal. "It was authentic and simple—a characteristic of our relationship."
Less than a year later, on June 11, 2017, they ventured back to Ohio and did things their way once more, with a contemporary approach to the classic wedding. Madison, who is a florist at her company Hart, and Kyle, an energy efficiency consultant, chose a historic chapel for their ceremony and an old bank for the reception, but then took what Madison calls "funky liberties" with the décor and color palette—adding a vivid blue to the mix of otherwise muted tones. "These days, traditional is seen as an alternative, but I loved playing with that idea throughout the day," Madison says.
The intimate celebration, with just 95 guests, began at Fairchild Chapel in Oberlin, Ohio, and then everyone went to Ariel Pearl Center in Cleveland for the cocktail hour and reception. And all throughout the celebration, there were quirky touches and sweet details to make it a day that was all Madison and Kyle's own.
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A DIY Invitation
Kyle hand-stamped each invitation on Japanese Kitakata paper with a floral design he had illustrated and then the pieces were folded up (Madison is an Origami fan) and mailed to guests.
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Madison was surprised how drawn she was to elegant and classic dresses. After trying on several more bohemian silhouettes, she realized she wanted something more structured. She found a used Carolina Herrera wedding dress made of luxurious silk-faille that she tweaked by making the neckline off-the-shoulder.
Kyle knew he'd wear a black tuxedo from the start. He chose a Marc Jacobs number and paired it with a classic white tuxedo shirt with hidden buttons by David Donahue, a slim bow tie from The Tie Bar, and Clarks shoes.
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On the back of the gown, origami-style detailing with raw edges made a statement.
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A Bold Bouquet
Madison loved being her own client as both the floral designer for the event and the bride at the heart of it. Following her instincts and creating something unconventional and at times humorous allowed her to play with people's expectations of beauty. She used organic garden roses from Grace Rose Farm in shades of burnt red and mauve as well as blue bachelor buttons, smoke bush, and dried leaves from the Caribbean that had been painted blue.
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The two flower girls (the bride's nieces) donned classic white cotton pinafore-style dresses made by Madison's mom. Their timeless ensembles were rounded out with flower crowns made of dried blue hydrangea that Madison brought home from a trip to China where she taught a flower class.
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Madison and her father, Ken, walked down the aisle to "Yellow" by Coldplay.
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One of Madison's oldest friends officiated the ceremony, which took place in Fairchild Chapel. The bride and groom exchanged traditional vows as well as personalized ones they'd penned themselves. "I loved our vows," Kyle says of his favorite part of the day. "It was an intimate yet public declaration of how our normally-private relationship is meaningful."
Once proclaimed husband and wife, they recessed to a mash-up of Joni Mitchell's "All I Want" and George Harrison's "If Not For You" played by friends on the guitar and mandolin. "I love weddings in small chapels," Madison says. "The high ceilings and apse at the altar exaggerated the intimacy of just three people standing inside with a small audience."
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A Champagne tower was always going to be part of the day because Madison loves the tradition of abundance, joy, and spontaneity, and how it gave a subtle nod to the European architecture and décor of the church and reception venue. Once the bubbly was poured, cocktail hour was officially under way, and guests enjoyed their drinks with hors d'oeuvres.
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The Reception Room
With a previous life as a bank, Ariel Pearl Center's ballroom was large and stately. To make it more intimate, Madison made six large urn arrangements and placed them on pedestals along the perimeter of the room. The décor was large and impactful but still resonated with the space.
"We used the floral to create contrast with large plumes of smoke bush in groups with painted blue tsunami leaves for contrast and intrigue," Madison explains of the alien-like arrangements juxtaposed in the traditional space.
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On the tables, centerpieces made from the same flowers as the bride's bouquet were displayed along with brass bud vases and simple votives. Madison hand-carved table numbers into pipestone—a soft rock that matched the day's color palette.
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During the reception, the couple's mutual best friend (who knew the bride and groom individually before they knew each other) gave a heartfelt toast. Madison and Kyle are both the youngest of four children and their brothers nearest to them in age also spoke.
The couple also shared a first dance to "Lost in the Dream" by War on Drugs. "This is a beautifully understated ballad about love and its permanence," Madison says. A few Alan Jackson songs from the 90s that always have Madison remembering the drives to her Grandma's house for Sunday dinner were also played.
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Flowers and blue-painted tropical foliage also dressed up a mantel in the adjoining sitting room. Madison and her team of freelance florists created all of the arrangements the day before the wedding. "I am so lucky to have contacts in every country I land, so it was pure joy to have these ladies join me for the most special flowers of my life," she says of the team she put together to help out.
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All Together Now
Madison's favorite part of the day was arriving at the reception and seeing everyone together enjoying the company of one another.
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The Wedding Cake
"I secretly love decorating wedding cakes," Madison reveals. "It's always such a fun experiment with simplification." She wanted her own wedding cake to have a spray of blue bachelor buttons and otherwise stay quite simple.
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Photography, Maureen M. Evans
Catering and Cake, A Taste of Excellence Catering
Flowers and styling, Hart
Bride's gown, Carolina Herrera
Hair and Makeup, Meg B
Groom's suit, Marc Jacobs