Shelley & Jake’s Roses-and-Hats-filled Kentucky Derby-inspired Wedding
Happy Monday everyone! We’re starting off the week with a glorious backyard celebration inspired by the Kentucky Derby! Nope, no horses were around but what does everyone wear to a derby? Big hats! Sports-loving twosome Shelley and Jake asked everyone to wear hats to their Derby-esque wedding which made for a fun photogenic motif. Roses were also everywhere, from Shelley’s bouquet to the centerpieces at the reception which was decorated with sweet, vintage-y elements. The wedding took place at Shelley’s uncle’s house which sits on Little Lake Conway and because everything was mostly DIY, they were able to keep the total cost under $10,000!
We have Chad Pilster of Pilster Photography to thank for this delightful feature. Please enjoy the beautiful photos!
Love how the programs are printed on fans!
Before we go further, let’s meet the adorable bride and groom first. Here’s Shelley with the story:
I was born here in Orlando but my family is originally from Virginia. My husband and I met in February of 2010 through a mutual friend we became fast friends and starting dating in March of 2010. Jake proposed on New Smyrna Beach here in Florida on September 1st 2010, We were married April 30, 2011. Both of us had been through rough times when it came to previous relationships and we were both amazed at how easily love came between the two of us. I would get comments from my girlfriends who would laugh telling me I had met my soulmate that he was just like me. He was and is everything I was looking and praying for.
Loving everything so far? Shelley’s back to tell us how their fun Kentucky Derby theme came about. (From this point on, I will let her take over so she can tell you all about their wedding in her own words!)
I have to be honest with you when all of this started we were planning a large country club wedding with deposits down etc. it quickly started to get out of hand. We wanted our wedding to reflect who we are as a couple which I feel is down to earth, fun loving, easy going and we both love our families. My Mom and I were constantly arguing over aspects of the Country Club Wedding. You know the works — budget, what I would walk down the aisle to, wedding dress I could go on for days. We didn’t want anything but love when it came to planning and on the day of our wedding so from there our little Kentucky Derby back yard wedding was born.
Jake and I both love sports. His family is from the midwest and mine is from the south. Flipping through an US magazine one night I looked up at Jake and said “What about a Kentucky Derby-esque Wedding? With the big hats and tons of roses.” He was instantly in. I called all of our vendors who by the way were more than accommodating and changed the date, and theme entirely. My Uncle lives on a lake here in Orlando, Our wedding was held in his backyard. We rented a tent for our reception and were married in front of the lake. It was done on a budget — everything was completed for under 10,000 dollars.
Our first date was a concert and Jake and I love a band called Mae. My brother in law (also the Best Man) plays the guitar and one of Jake’s groomsmen plays the violin so I had several sneaky phone calls to Chicago (which is where Jake is from) and the three of us surprised him during the ceremony and played one of our favorite Mae songs. It was beautiful they did such a great job!
I fell in love with a dress that was designed by Watters and of course I didn’t have room in my budget for a designer dress so my mom found a seamstress and we copied the general look of the dress!
I purchased large sun hats from Target and took the banding off (very carefully) and then went to Hobby Lobby for supplies to make my Bridesmaids hats. I gave them the hats along with simple pearl necklaces that I purchased from Claires as a thank you gift.
We used my great grandmothers antique tea cups and vases to place roses in and shopped around at good will and other thrift stores for old antique vases for centerpieces. My florist found plastic Mint Julep cups for additional vases which fit our theme perfectly!
Usually deposits are non refundable and they are but I was lucky enough to have put our original deposit down at a local country club here which caters. They took our deposit and used it towards our catering. To save money we did heavy hors d’oeuvres and a buffet style reception.
We saved money by asking my mom’s boss who I have known since 1989 who is a local attorney here to perform the ceremony and my mother has a friend who bakes and decorates cakes as a hobby — both were amazing and FREE! We called our cake The Run of the Roses it was topped with cascading fresh red and pink roses and an M for our new last name.
Since the wedding was held at my uncle’s house we were able to purchase our own alcohol for the reception and we featured a signature drink that was you guessed it a Mint Julep.
I have a friend who I grew up with that runs her own little event planning business. She is wonderful and gave several tips and ideas and of course she’s a great friend and coordinated the entire day for a very inexpensive rate. We couldn’t have done it without her.
Thank you so much Chad for sending your gorgeous images my way, and congratulations Shelley & Jake! Here’s wishing you guys a blissful married life!
Photographer: Pilster Photography
Caterer + Event Venue: Historic Dubsdread Ballroom and Catering
Floral Designer: Flowers by Lesley
DJ: A-List Dj Entertainment
Equipment Rentals: Sunshine Rentals
Makeup Artist: About Face Design Team
Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Men’s Warehouse
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Officiant: Bruce Blackwell
Wedding Coordinator: Nikki Biallas
Other: Ella Marks
Pre Ceremony Location: Sheraton
Image submission via Two Bright Lights
Tags: backyard weddings, budget, DIY weddings, garden weddings, non-traditional weddings, outdoor weddings