kara + brian // Hotel @ the Lafayette

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If ever there was a wedding day that would make you fall in love with love, it would have to be this one. Kara and Brian are the sweetest people alive, and their love for each other is so genuine. They have the kind of connection that you just don’t see every day, and I know it seems cliche to say this, but it was honestly a privilege  to be there and witness it first hand. I’ll just be super candid for a minute here, and tell you that it isn’t always easy for Ben and I to work together. We disagree on things sometimes (like all couples do I’m sure), and sometimes if we’re having an extra tough week in our own marriage, working at a wedding together and hearing people speak the most heartfelt words of commitment (often through tears) is enough to make us forget whatever it was we were mad about in the first place. After all, ten years ago, it was us up there saying those same words with no idea what life had in store for us or even what it meant to be married; but, we were eager to take on whatever it would be TOGETHER. I can distinctly remember Kara and Brian’s wedding day as one of those days where we started out giving each other the stink eye, and ended the day not able to even remember why we were mad at each other in the first place. That’s what happens when you spend time around a love as beautiful as Kara and Brian’s – it’s contagious – and it reminds everyone it touches of what’s truly important in life.

K + B were kind enough to share some of their favorite wedding day memories, thoughts, and feelings, and I’m so glad they did!  The photos do a great job of expressing how much love was surrounding these two all day long, but reading their words really takes the whole thing to the next level. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did!!

Kara: “I found my dress on NYE 2015… less than 9 months before the big day! My mother and I had been to a dozen appointments and while there was so many that I loved, I couldn’t decide on ‘the one’. When we arrived at Victoria’s Bridal Shoppe the assistant recognized me from a previous appointment and began pulling dresses. I saw it hanging out in the open; someone must have just tried it on. It was the first one I tried and within minutes I said YES! My Mom, anticipating this would be another long appointment, came running from the other side of the store! She couldn’t believe I said yes so quickly!

Brian: “Ben came over to the house that morning to take a few photos before heading down to the Ellicott Square. I remember feeling incredibly awkward as I despise being the center of attention (it was at that moment I realized I needed to get over that real quick!), but Ben was awesome. He was snapping away, joking to just do what he says, these pictures aren’t for you.

Brian: “I don’t exactly fit the GQ mold; Kara often jokes that I’m ‘dangerously low maintenance’. I buy the cheapest watches I can find because they’re just going to smashed, scratched, or otherwise destroyed. Regardless, my wife’s gift to me on our wedding day was a beautiful watch to make sure all the I’s were dotted & T’s crossed; my new favorite watch.

Brian: “Once we got everybody downtown I remember hiding in the corner of the building waiting for the girls to arrive, so that I didn’t accidentally catch a glimpse of my beautiful bride prior to our First Look. We did our First Look outside the square, during a break in the rain. It truly was magical. I was briefly paralyzed taking in my stunning bride to be.

Kara: “I was so happy we ended up doing the First Look. The morning was so crazy and even felt rushed at times. It was so nice to spend a few moments together before everything began. I will never forget the way his face lit up when he finally turned around, and how handsome he looked… and smelled! We bought new cologne and perfume just for our wedding day. To this day, when I smell it, I think back to that exact moment.

Brian: “Kara and I love our family. At the time we only hand our husky-shepherd mix Finnegan, and he NEEDED to be a part of out special day. We had him brought downtown for photos outside and the poor guy was pretty stressed out with all the commotion downtown. It was awesome that we were able to have him down there with us, if only for a few photos.

Kara: “In lieu of traditional favors, we donated to our favorite animal rescue, Joyful Rescues! We’ve rescued two dogs from there. On our wedding day our pup, Finnegan, was able to share in the day with us and take a few pictures with us before our ceremony. There was construction going on in the street while we were getting our pictures taken. He was so scared of the jack hammer going off in the background!

Kara: “I really hate being the center of attention, and waiting for the ceremony to begin was incredibly nerve wracking for me. I remember pacing in the Conference Room with my MOH Kayla, and in walked Brian for backup. He placed my hand on his heart which was beating just as fast and mine was. He told me that we were in this together, and I just had to keep my eyes on him and the rest of the room would fall away. He pulled this beautiful diamond necklace out of his pocket… a gift he was initially waiting to give his ‘wife’ after the ceremony was over. I hurriedly took off the one I was wearing, and made the swap shortly before the ceremony began! And Brian was right- standing up on that staircase with him, I barely noticed anyone at all.

Kara: “The Ellicott Square Building is not only a beautiful venue, but one very important to me filled with decades of Hannon history. My Grandfather managed the Building in the 60’s, and my Dad has worked there since he’s been 18 years old. I have fond memories of playing on the staircases as a child with my brother and playing hockey in that lobby- we’d use the staircases as nets! Most wedding ceremonies that are conducted here are actually performed on the opposite staircase so the bridal party can line up in the long entry way behind the opposite stair case that empties out onto the street. It was important for my Dad and I to walk out of his office together, and so I insisted we do it the other way.

Kara: “When my Mom was pregnant with me, one of the first people she told was her brother, my Uncle Jimmy. His response to her was, ‘and she will be a girl, and we will name her Lavender Rose.’ These flowers have always been special to me- knowing this, Brian tracked down a dozen of them off of a delivery truck our first Valentine’s Day together in 2008… nearly a decade later, hues of lavender roses made up most of our wedding flowers. Having no children of his own, Uncle Jimmy and I developed a special bond through the years, and so I chose to have him walk with us down the aisle. I learned recently, after he had passed away, that he told our cousin Kathie that it was one of the best days of his life, as he got to ‘walk Lavender Rose down the aisle.‘”

Brian: “As for the ceremony itself, it was like something out of a movie. Everything was beautiful & perfect, not a complaint to be had. Watching my bride walk down the aisle, and embracing her father before walking up the stairs together to exchange our vows is the most vivid & powerful memory I have from that day. I will truly cherish that for all time.

Kara: “It rained so hard that day. POURED. It began right as I was getting into the limo, and kept raining well into the night. Both the Ellicott Square and the Hotel Lafayette are very old buildings, with very old roofs! There were buckets spaced out both venues to collect the rain- and it didn’t bother me at all.

Kara: “Our first dance song was, ‘When you Got a Good Thing’ by Lady Antebellum. We loved the message it gave and have felt this way since it came out in 2010. Brian and I used to drive and listen to music together when we were first dating, and this song has always given us those warm and fuzzy feelings :)

Kara: “My Aunt Beth had her friend’s daughter created our Candy Table for us! We love bulk candy. We were so impressed with the detail and how everything had matched our colors and theme – Beth even used some of my Mimi’s glass dishes to make it extra special.

Kara: “My Dad and I have always bonded over country music, and ‘My Little Girl’ by Tim McGraw has always been a song we would dance to whenever it came on. I am in all ways a Daddy’s Girl- this song and their lyrics couldn’t be more perfect for us.

Kara: “Wedding planning can be so overwhelming. You want to check all the boxes while making choices that will best represent you as a couple. The day is a beautiful magical blur- so focus on the parts that are important to you when planning… ceremony, vows, music, favors, etc. You won’t regret spending the extra time (or money) on those details, and leave the rest to the professionals!

Jenn and Ben were incredible to work with. You’d be surprised at the vendors that are less than helpful and/or enthusiastic about their work and your big day! Jenn helped us find additional vendors in the early stages and always offered her support and encouragement whenever I needed it. Ben kept the guys laughing and on task on the big day!

How adorable was Kara’s First Look with her dad?! Click here to see more special Ayres Father/Daughter First Look moments!

Wedding Vendors Include:

Ceremony: Ellicott Square Building
Reception: Hotel @ the Lafayette
Hair and Make-up: Lox Salon
Dress Shop: Victoria’s Bridal Shoppe
Dress Designer: Eddy K
Bridesmaid Dresses: Victoria’s Bridal Shoppe
Groom’s Look: Tuxedo Junction
Stationary: Hoopla House Creative
Cake: Ohlson’s Bakery
Florist: Jane Ricotta
DJ: The Hitmen