Haley and Jerry both hold Wisconsin dear to their hearts, so when it came time to choose a venue, Door County’s The American Club proved to be a natural one. Haley’s stunning Naeem Khan gown provided inspiration for the design of the day in its intricate floral applique and glam vibes. The celebration included a garden ceremony and candlelit ballroom reception filled to the brim with white florals in all shapes and sizes. Classic details shine throughout the day and Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay capture it all in their signature photography style.
What made the wedding special and unique?
Jerry and I are both from Kansas City and have lived there most of our lives, so one would think it would make sense to get married in our hometown. However, from the very beginning of our wedding planning we knew we wanted to do something different. We had tossed around many different ideas– Southern California, somewhere in the Caribbean, and Napa to name a few, and were pretty undecided about it until my dad actually suggested The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. Once he suggested it we knew it would be the perfect place for our big day. Wisconsin holds a special place in both of our hearts— my family has had a second home in Door County, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan for over 20 years, where my parents currently reside half the year. Having spent every summer of my life up there, Wisconsin is truly my second home. Born and raised a Green Bay Packers fan, it was pure fate that Jerry and his family were also diehard Packer’s fans. A match made in “cheesehead” heaven! We spent many weekends of our courtship up in Green Bay and Door County, making Wisconsin a special place for us, and a perfect wedding destination.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
Having gotten engaged on Christmas Eve surrounded by family and friends, my mom and I knew we had to begin the dress search quickly so that everything would be ready in 8 months time. Little did we know how incredibly easy my dress search would be! She and I went to Nolte’s Bridal in Leawood, Kansas just a few weeks after Jerry and I got engaged. At our appointment the owner, Michael Nolte, had pulled out several dresses from various designers. Not having any idea what kind of dress I wanted, I let him surprise me with some selections, and surprise me he did! When he brought out the stunning long-sleeved Naeem Khan “Palma” ball gown dress that was nothing short of a masterpiece, I was instantly intrigued. I was excited to try it on, but was unsure of the sleeves and all of the intricate florals sewn throughout, not knowing if it was what I had envisioned for my wedding day. Once I had it on, my mom and I were both speechless. We had never seen anything more beautiful or unique. Nolte said that one of the signs he notices when a bride has found her dress is that she won’t stop touching it and moving in it, and I could not keep my hands off it! After twirling around and looking at every possible angle in this dress, I went ahead and tried on four more gorgeous gowns, each very different from the other but each having elements that I loved. After going over some pros and cons of each dress, I tried on the Palma gown once more, and we knew— this was THE dress. By the time I had the veil on I think all three of us were in tears. I could not have been more happy with my decision, and I still think about my wedding dress all the time. Who knew I would choose the very first dress I ever tried on!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
The most personal “touch” of the wedding was the fact that it took place in Wisconsin, a special place to both Jerry and me. From the rehearsal dinner and welcome party at the Irish Barn at Whistling Straights Golf Course overlooking fairway and dunes atop cliffs over Lake Michigan, we knew our guests would be in a location like many of them had never seen before. Immediate family and wedding party spent the weekend in the historic and pristine Riverbend club, right down the road from all of our guests at The American Club, where from check-in to check-out guests are treated with first-class service by a staff who goes above and beyond. Having been a guest at The American Club several times previously, I wanted our friends and family to be able to experience the old fashioned charm that you feel from the moment you pull up the large circle driveway. My favorite part of being at The American Club is that it makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, and we hoped that would create a unique and different experience for our guests.
When guests arrived we had gift bags waiting in their rooms containing some mementos from the weekend, all with Wisconsin-themed touches. For the rooms, we created our own version of “Do Not Disturb” signs for guests to hang on their doors that we designed in Kansas City at stationery store RSVP in Prairie Village, where we had all of our printed materials for the wedding made. Throughout the weekend we encouraged our guests to “Drink Wisconsinably”!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
There was hardly a part of the day that was not memorable. We had the most beautiful weather all day long, making for amazing pictures and the perfect temperature for the outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour. From start to finish the day went on without a hitch, and there was such a great calm, excited, happy energy the entire time. One of my favorite parts of the day, aside from saying our vows at the altar, was finally revealing my wedding dress to my sisters, brother, and my dad. My mom and I had been the only ones to see it, a tradition that my younger sister is now carrying on for her upcoming wedding, and we had been waiting anxiously to finally show them all the dress of my dreams. When I walked down the stairs and had a private “first look” with my immediate family, before seeing my bridesmaids, friends, and even my groom, we were all in tears. I will never forget the looks on all of their faces, especially my dad’s. It was such a sweet, special, and private moment before the whirlwind of the wedding day festivities began. Another moment we enjoyed so much was the ‘first look’ between Jerry and I, and taking all of our pictures on the grounds of Riverbend. You can see in the photos how beautiful the scenery was, how happy we were, and how comfortable our amazing photographers made us feel.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Jerry and I have known each other for over ten years now, having met in Kansas City during high school, however we never spent much time together during those years. After graduating, I went to Miami of Ohio for college, while Jerry went to St. Louis University to play baseball. Following college, I moved to Chicago with many of my friends, and Jerry moved back to Kansas City. At the time, we had many mutual friends living in Chicago, most being from Kansas City, and Jerry would occasionally come in town to visit those friends. We crossed paths a couple of times and were able to reconnect as friends before we decided to start dating long distance in the fall of 2014. While I was finishing grad school at Northwestern, and Jerry was working in Kansas City, we dated almost one year, racking up many airline miles and road trips to see each other. Many of our weekends were spent driving from Chicago to Green Bay to catch Packer games, one of our favorite activities in the fall. When grad school finally ended, I decided it was time to move back home to KC. It was the best decision I ever made, and five months later we were engaged!
Photography: Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay // Floral/Catering/Rentals: Provided by Venue The American Club // Printed materials: RSVP (store in Prairie Village, KS) // Venue: The American Club // Dress: Designer: Naeem Khan // Store: Nolte’s Bridal in Leawood, Kansas // Hair & MUA: Ashley Renee Tribble // Band: Michael Walters Orchestra // Videographer: One Fine Day Productions