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    Louisville Bride

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    From jewelry to hosting to post-wedding staycations, we chatted with several local wedding experts to get their thoughts on these trends. Read our full discussions below, or click the links to jump to specific sections.






    Rachel Keens 
    fine jewelry and timepieces consultant at Merkley Kendrick Jewelers (138 Chenoweth Lane)

    What’s a popular style you’ve seen lately?

    “Round stones have traditionally been the most popular, but right now I get asked for a lot more ovals and cushion cuts. I recommend a classic engagement ring and not a trendy ring that’s going to cost you thousands of dollars. We also have an antiques and vintage jewelry collection. People are really starting to appreciate the craftsmanship of older times, and the styles are unique. Sapphires and rubies are other stones that I’ve seen brides gravitate toward as engagement rings to pair with bands. Previously, matching the ring and the band was the trend, which I don’t love. I like people to be able to try on different styles, so that you can see what you like and see what goes best with your ring.”

    What about grooms’ bands?

    “We base it off the width, whether it’s rounded or flat, the color and the finish. People are mixing metals and grooms can get what style band works for them. We’ve also sold pocket watches and Rolexes as gifts for grooms.”

    Do brides ever come in before the engagement?

    “I’ve had brides sent in before engagement and we’ll select their top five styles. I’ve had couples come in together and he’ll take notes and come back to pick something. And we have guys who come in with a picture and it’s like, OK, let’s do it. If you want a specific color, stone or some engraving, we can get that for you.”


    Nancy Peterson 
    owner at Edenside Gallery (1422 Bardstown Road)

    What’s a popular style engagement ring you sell?

    “A lot of our antique rings are Art Deco, which is around 100 years old. Most of our ring styles are antique or vintage. We don’t sell many sets because antique rings don’t have bands with them. Back then, engagement rings were right-hand rings and people got married with a simple gold band on their left hand.”

    Do you have any tips on merging traditional style with individual style?

    “There are folks that don’t want a diamond, for sure. Some want colored stones and some just want a wedding band. Some people will do an antique band with stone details — say they’re engaged and it can still serve as the wedding band. We have rose-cut, which is a diamond but has fewer facets and sparkles less. Some gals are low-key and don’t want a bunch of sparkle. We also carry conflict-free rings because that’s very important to people. Bands can be really small but can hold detail. Alex Sepkus is a designer we carry that has platinum-wrapped bezel details with a bunch of little diamonds.

    “It’s rare, but we sell semi-mounts where brides can bring in their own diamonds to be put in. It’s usually from their grandmother or someone in the family. We also have different pearl styles and some simple dainty jewelry, like earrings and necklaces. We carry many different antique lockets. I love the idea of brides putting pictures of their elders in lockets for photos.”



    Sarah Dabbagh went to seven weddings in 2018, and she has already committed to several this year. Here’s her advice for being a great guest. And, because she’s picked up a thing or two, some advice for throwing a memorable wedding.

    What makes a wedding a good time?

    “As a guest, I like breaking the awkward tension and getting out there on the dance floor. I’ve had brides come up and thank me for dancing. Dancing is a big deal to them because they want all of their guests to feel welcome. A good DJ will know the music that everyone can dance to. I go out there and dance even if I look stupid, because people will join in anyway. It’s a party.”  

    How do you choose your wedding styling?

    “As a plus-one, I’ll ask for a picture of the invitation and see if attire is listed. But a midi-length dress is the perfect cut when you don’t know. If it’s outdoors, I’ll do a wedge or cute sandal, but if it’s dressy, I’ll do a pump. I’ve noticed sandal baskets at the entrance of reception areas. If you have it in your budget, those little things can make a big difference.”

    How do you prefer gifting?

    “When I don’t know them personally, I use the registry. I like to do a few small things but make it personal and cohesive. Recently, I got a couple a ‘night in’ set. I did a pizza cutter and stuff they can use to cook together. It was something not too expensive but thoughtful. One thing I really like is the honeymoon funds that people can create. You can purchase something for them to do while on their honeymoon, which I think is just as thoughtful. Different options give your guests a range of gift ideas.”  

    What’s the most significant part of ceremony?

    “One hundred percent: the vows. When you watch people do their vows, you can feel their energy. The vows don’t necessarily have to be personalized, because in those moments when you hear what they’re vowing to each other, you’re brought to tears.”

    What was the most memorable wedding you’ve been to this year?

    “There was a wind advisory, so the whole wedding was hanging on a backup plan and we still felt taken care of, even with what went wrong. The wedding was outdoors at Hermitage Farm and the tent almost collapsed. After the ceremony outdoors, we all had to go inside the small mansion, which couldn’t hold all the guests, but that made it more intimate. The bride was worried because people were leaving early. I told her, ‘The people that stayed are the ones you would’ve found out on the dance floor anyway.’ It was a beautiful wedding and everything that had gone wrong came together.”

    What’s your favorite feature or decor at weddings?

    “I like the centerpieces and floral arrangements. But I’ve been to weddings with lounge areas and photography walls. The wall is filled with gorgeous flowers or the couple’s names. It’s always beautiful to see the space come together.”

    Any other advice?

    “When guests know what’s going on, it helps the flow of things. If you have it in your budget, I’d suggest doing a cocktail hour while the transition is happening. People love to drink and mingle.”



    A guide to your post-wedding staycation, right here in Louisville.

    Weddings can be expensive and exhausting, and your honeymoon is the time to unwind together. But you don’t have to go far. We picked four places to stay in Louisville that can make you feel like you’re a world away — whether you’re taking an elopement to the next level, winding down from a 300-guest wedding reception or saving for your anniversary by taking a honeymoon gap year. Take a break from your home life and be a newlywed tourist.

    Inn at Woodhaven
    (401 S. Hubbards Lane)

    Enjoy deep soaking tubs, endless floral walls, antique tea sets and a three-course breakfast at this quaint bed-and-breakfast in St. Matthews. Built in 1853, this space has an Old World charm that feels like a French château. The Inn at Woodhaven offers romantic room package add-ons, such as teatime, a chocolate and bourbon sampler, and in-room massages. Lock yourself in your suite and experience a peaceful and quiet getaway together.

    Bed and Bike

    Bed and Bike
    (Highlands and NuLu)

    Operated by the Parkside Bikes folks, this Airbnb brand has several locations in the Highlands and NuLu. Guests are outfitted with bikes and helmets, plus a list of restaurant recommendations and things to do in the city. Each space is decorated with a mix of Mid-Century Modern pieces and hints of the Derby City, with private decks, patios and other outdoor areas. Leave the cars at home and explore the city from a new vantage point.

     21c Museum Hotel
    (700 W. Main St.)

    Sure, you’ve been to 21c, but have you ever stayed there? The 19th-century building housing this boutique hotel has rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, cocktails at the lively bar until 2 a.m., a spa, and in-room or on-location fine dining. We suggest staying in the Cyclone, a groovy 500-square-foot space that doubles as an art installation — from the artist-chosen records that you can play to the throwback vanity. Or: The rooftop apartment, with lots of natural light and a patio overlooking the city and river.

    21c Museum Hotel

    Gralehaus Bed and Beverage 
    (1001 Baxter Ave.)

    Coffee, kombucha and craft beer are all on tap at the three Gralehaus bed-and-breakfast spaces. The cafe offers breakfast and lunch options while its sister spot, Holy Grale, is on the other side of the backyard beer garden, with more craft beer and small bites. The rooms are filled with locally sourced and custom-made art, furniture and amenities, such as soaps by Peace of the Earth and books from Carmichael’s, making the place feel like Louisville’s version of a modern mountain cottage getaway.

    This originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Louisville Bride. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine & Louisville Brideclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    If you are interested in submitting your wedding to Louisville Bride, please email editor Mary Chellis Nelson at

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