Kentucky Winery Wedding

If you're like me and got married in the pre-Pinterest age, you probably wish you had it back then. Just think of all those awesome projects you could do!

In reality though, so many of those projects are super stressful, and if I were getting married again, I'd probably take on way too many things and then get frustrated or disappointed when I couldn't do ALL THE THINGS!

I had a small wedding at Chrisman Mill Winery in Nicholasville back in October 2007. Other Lexington-area wineries that have weddings are Talon Winery in Lexington, Equus Run in Midway, and Acres of Land in Richmond. At the time, Jean Farris was offering weddings but I don't think they do them anymore.


To push the fall theme, we used oranges and browns as primary colors to compliment the turning colors of the leaves. Part of the appeal of having an outdoor wedding was the colors and decorations that Mother nature provided. This meant we could use fewer flowers and save some money. Instead of fresh cut flowers along the grass aisle or under the gazebo, we opted for large potted mums, which were really inexpensive and in-season. Some of our guests took them home and planted them, which was awesome because they didn't go to waste.


Since we had a small wedding (less than 80 people), that meant I could do some things like make some of the favors. To continue the wine theme, I wanted to give away wine glasses, but with a personal touch. I found someone on the local message board for The Knot (great resource) who had extra wine glasses left over from her wedding. I purchased all that I needed for about half the price if I would have gone to a restaurant supply shop, and she was happy to get them off her hands.


I bought beads and wire to make wine stem wraps, and my friends and I made all the bead strands in one night. We added a printed tag to the stem wrap that was a note of thanks for attending. That was probably the most DIY project I did, and it was enough for me!


We kept things simple but added some Kentucky flair and personal touches. My husband's aunt made our cake, which we decorated with live flowers. The guestbook was a photo book of our engagement photos that people signed over. It's now a permanent fixture on our coffee table. We had Lexington's famous Spalding's Donuts as our grooms cake. For the ring bearer that was too young to walk, we had our bridesmaid pull him in my old Radio Flyer wagon down the aisle. The day before the wedding, we took some of our bridal party and guests out to Keeneland. We loved that our wine was local from the winery, and we had beer from Kentucky Ale (I worked for Alltech at the time - owners of Kentucky Ale.) 

Caught in the act of donut eating prior to the ceremony.
All of these things made the wedding more special than anywhere I might have relied solely on Pinterest project suggestions and becoming overwhelmed about not having things perfect enough. 

Some considerations when looking at having a Kentucky winery wedding:
  • Most wineries have restrictions on serving alcohol, so if you're determined to have bourbon or other spirits at your wedding, check the restrictions of the venue before booking.
  • Check that the area is handicap accessible if you have elderly or disabled guests. To get to the area for our ceremony, there was a large hill with steps. We rented a golf cart and had an enthusiastic usher drive those who wanted up and down the hill. 
  • Have a backup plan. All outdoor weddings are a gamble. Make sure to have a backup plan in case of rain or cold. This means having tents with walls and heaters (or fans in spring or summer) on standby. We had our wedding and reception outdoors, and the threat of inclement weather was probably the most stressful thing about the entire wedding (thankfully it was perfect.)
  • Guest safety: Many wineries are located in the countryside where narrow back roads have to be taken. Consider your guests and their alcohol consumption and plan for ways to get them home from your reception safely. We had designated drivers that stayed until the end of the event to drive people home if that was needed. You could also hire a car service to handle this.
What did you do for your Kentucky-themed wedding?

Emmie's 20 Things

Several weeks ago, the HerKentucky contributors each listed their favorite things about Kentucky. I am the turtle in the group, but figure this post is better late than never! There are so many things I love.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Awesome people
  2. Lexington Athletic Club
  3. The pedestrian-friendly Bardstown Road in Louisville
  4. Missy's pies: Served at Lexington-based Ramsey's (not the Louisville Ramsi's) and also available out of their small Ashland Ave. store, these pies are amazing and there are dozens of flavors
  5. Columbia Steakhouse Nighthawk: if you like steak, you must try this
  6. Keeneland: Spring meet is during my birthday and fall meet is during my favorite time of the year
  7. Woodland Art Fair in Lexington
  8. Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park
  9. Graeters ice cream: yes, they're Cincinnati based, but they're coming back to Lexington soon. Raspberry Chocolate Chip is ridiculous
  10. Bluegrass Tavern: nothing fancy about this bar, but it's near Cheapside and I've had great memories there
  11. US60: The drive from Versailles Road to I-64. Gorgeous horse farms lining the drive.
  12. Coffee Times: Lexington coffee house I've gone to for over 12 years
  13. Bourbon
  14. Kentucky basketball
  15. Brunch at Winchell's
  16. The Legacy Trail
  17. Lexington Farmers Market on Saturdays when it's outside
  18. Chrisman Mill Winery - where I got married
  19. Lexington Corn Maze at Kelley Farms
  20. (and 21.) Ramsey's (Lexington) and Ramsi's (Louisville). 

In Photos: Chrisman Mill Winery

There are lots of wineries around Kentucky, which shocks those who aren't really familiar with the area. Did you know that America's first commercial winery was started in Jessamine County, Kentucky in 1798?

For sentimental reasons (I got married there), Chrisman Mill Winery is one of my favorites. It's just outside Lexington and produces some pretty good wine. My favorite is Ensemble. They also have AMAZING food. If you're ever around town during their Tuscan Dinners, you must go (and take me with you).






 For a quick history behind Kentucky wine, check out this video: