Kelly and Ben decided to marry in the most intimate location possible — a place where they would raise their kids, grow old together, and make endless memories — their gorgeous new home that sits on four beautiful acres of land. Needless to say, their wedding day was absolutely perfect. A gorgeous farmhouse, vintage furniture, tented reception, charcoal gray bridesmaid dresses, and vibrant flowers, were just a few of the stunning details to set the tone for their big day. Lucky for us, we were able to get a glimpse into their country chic wedding through the gorgeous photography by Emily Steffen. Keep reading to see all of their photos along with Kelly’s story from how her and Ben met, to the wedding planning advice she thinks you should know!
Q. How did you and Ben meet?
A. Ben and I grew up together going to the same church and the same school. Since we are a few years apart, we both knew of each other, but we never really spoke. In April 2012, my mom had mentioned to me that Ben was back in town and he was a “single bachelor.” If anyone knows my mom she loves to play match-maker! I was bartending at our local Country Club for a going away party and Ben had shown up. He had such a long beard and long shaggy hair that I barley recognized him! My mom eventually got a hold of him and started telling him all about me and worst of all, that I was very single! We spoke for a little bit throughout the night, but it didn’t amount to anything.
Fast forward to a month later and I was again bartending that night when Ben came in with his older brother, Sam, and sister-in-law, Stacy. He looked completely different from the last time I saw him! He had a nice short haircut and a short beard. I was instantly attracted! We played a few bar games (I took quite a bit of his money!), I flirted a little and we began to talk. When Ben had stepped out for a couple of minutes, Sam started to grill me on my relationship status and if I would consider going on a date with Ben. In an effort to get Ben and I together, Sam and Stacy left him at the bar for me to bring home! I started closing the bar and Ben asked me if I’d like to go out on a date sometime. I was a little surprised, but I said yes!
We ended up going on a date a few weeks later. We had finished our meal, but we sat and talked for another 4 hours! I could tell that night he was something special. We were never apart again after that day!
Q. How did Ben pop the question?
A. Ben and I got engaged on New Years Eve 2012! I had just gotten home from work and as I was walking from my car to the front door, Ben was standing outside waiting to greet me. He grabbed me by the hand and brought me over to an area of lighted candles. I couldn't tell at the time, but he had stomped out a heart and the words "Will You?" in the snow, and illuminated it with candles! He got down on one knew and proposed with his Grandma Anita's ring! I felt so many emotions at that moment — shocked, excited, happy, joy and so much love! Of course, I said YES! It was a perfect way to start out the new year — being engaged to my soul mate and love of my life!
Q. Tell us about your venue space.
A. Ben and I both grew up in the small town of Neillsville, Wisconsin. We recently bought an old farm house together out in the country and we are in the process of renovating it! Ben and I really wanted to have our ceremony and reception at places that meant something to us. We saw it fitting to get married at the church we both grew up attending and have our reception at our new home.
Q. Tell us about your wedding day.
A. Our wedding day was absolutely perfect! We had beautiful weather and not a cloud in the sky! The bridesmaids got ready at the beautiful Tuft's Mansion, while the boys hung out at our home! We decided to do a first look so we could have a few moments together before the rush of the day (and get a few of the pictures done!) The wedding took place at the United Church of Christ and the reception was held under a large tent at our home. This home is where we will spend our days raising our children and growing old together, so we wanted to share our forever home with all of our friends and family! The house sits on four beautiful acres of land and is surrounded by corn stalks and a creek that flows by at the edge of the property. We rented a large tent to hold the reception in and everything was decorated in shades of grey, lavender, and yellow.
The theme of the wedding was country-vintage, shabby chic! Each of the tables were decorated with white table linens, lavender napkins, vintage plates, doilies and mercury vases filled with blooming flowers. We had vintage chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and various seating areas for guests to sit during the cocktail hour. When guests arrived, they parked their vehicles in the back field and were brought in on a hay wagon that was attached to a tractor! We ate a delicious meal, listened to hilarious and embarrassing speeches, and danced the night away! After the sunset, the wedding party set off Chinese lanterns into the night sky! It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!
Q. What was your favorite moment from the wedding and why?
A. Our wedding day was filled with so many special moments that it's hard to choose just one. I'd have to say dancing our first dance to "Faithfully" was one of my absolute favorite moments. This was the first song that we had ever danced to together just days after our first date. We knew that this was the song that we wanted to dance to on our wedding day. It was just a surreal feeling to see things come full circle and be able to share in that moment with our family and friends.
Q. Why did you choose Kennedy Blue charcoal bridesmaid dresses for your girls?
A. When looking for my bridesmaid dresses, I wanted something different, something that would stand out. The moment I saw the Kennedy Blue Spencer dress, I just knew that was the one I wanted my bridesmaids to wear! There was nothing that came close to that dress! I fell in love with the sweetheart bodice (as it matched my wedding dress!), the one-shoulder neckline, the gathered knee length skirt, AND it came in my wedding color: charcoal! I also loved that the Spencer dress looked absolutely stunning on each of my bridesmaids, despite their differing figures! Each of my ‘maids raved at how comfortable they were while in the dress! It is one that they will be able to wear time and time again!
8. What advice would you give to other brides?
A. There is so much advice that I could give! Here are just few things to remember when planning your big day:
1) Splurge on your photographer and videographer! You will be so wrapped up in the day, that there will be some things you will miss! The photographer and videographer will be there to capture those moments and you'll be able to relive your day time and time again.
2) Hire a wedding planner! The biggest piece of advice I have for brides and grooms that are planning a wedding is to hire a wedding planner so that you can enjoy your wedding day. Your coordinator allows you to take in all of the details and actually spend time with your guests and family. I didn't have to stress about directing my vendors or setting up decorations the night before. My wedding planner took care of all that and I got to enjoy every moment!
2) Do a first look! This is one thing that Ben and I did and I'm so glad that we did! Our photographer and videographer found a secluded area, away from all the madness that was going on that morning; we got a moment to see each other for the first time. It allowed us to take a deep breath, let the moment sink in, feel all the emotion we were about to feel all day.
3) Try not to stress out! Remember why you are getting married, and try to truly make it be an event about (and for) the both of you. Have faith in your vendors and photographer, and trust that they will do their job well! And once it's happening, just go with it! This is the day that you have been waiting for so enjoy it!
4) Accept that you can't please absolutely everyone! You cannot make everyone happy, and trying to accommodate others will just make the whole process more daunting. This is your day; make it about you. It really is the only day that you will get that chance!
5) Be a team throughout the entire process. No matter how well-intentioned, friends and family will undoubtedly lend advice, opinions, and even objections to your decisions. It's easy for you two to become divided. But in the end, this is a celebration of your love and future together, and so every choice should be yours alone. Keep your focus on what matters most, forget what you think you should or shouldn't do, and go with your heart! This really helped us with our planning process!
6) Relax and don't sweat the small stuff! Plan ahead, don’t procrastinate, don’t sweat the little things, only do things that you can afford, try not to do anything wedding related two weeks before the wedding, enjoy your big day, and don’t forget to steal a couple private moments just as husband and wife throughout your wedding day. Things will be stressful as you plan, and things will go wrong on your wedding day, but don’t forget the big picture and why you got married!
Photography by: Emily Steffen
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Taking Your Measurements
For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn't be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor.
**Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it's not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.
Bust size: Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).
Waist size: While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button.
Hip size: Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.
Choosing your correct size
Compare these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5" (size 12), your waist measures 31" (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5" (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body. Ordering anything smaller than a size 12 would not fit in the bust area. Please note: Our bridal gown size chart is different than the bridesmaids sizing and is listed below.