Real Weddings

Leah and Chris: Stilwell, Kansas

Love bloomed between Leah and Chris during a college Bible study, but when the couple moved to different cities after graduation, they were forced to date long-distance. "It was hard," Leah recalls, until Chris proposed on a weekend visit as the couple dined at the Crown Center Plaza. "I was so excited I shrieked 'yes' before he could get the whole question out. Apparently he had a whole quote rehearsed. Whoops!"

Just three months later, the couple—a marketing coordinator and an NFL player, respectively—wed in a backyard celebration, taking advantage of Stilwell, Kansas' picture-perfect July weather.

With fewer than 60 guests in attendance, a family member's lake house was the perfect venue for Leah and Chris' intimate celebration. "Their house is so beautiful," the bride gushes, listing the home's lush landscaping as a major boon to her simple decor scheme.

Moments before the bride was ready to walk down the aisle, her young nephew snuck into the room, "walked up to me and said, 'Aunt Leah, you look beautiful,'" the bride recalls.

The bride's Emily Hart Bridal gown featured a rhinestone detail that wrapped around her waist. Leah describes its short train as a "tail." Her Emily Hart Bridal veil was embellished with a beaded floral detail.

Her shoes—by designer Antonio Melani—were bold, with a circular beaded pattern covering the tops of her feet.

Leah envisioned a white wedding, where everything looked "fresh and crisp," she says, with just the slightest hint of green. Her bouquet reflected that aesthetic, with its white roses and peonies and green mums.

Chris wore an Astor & Black suit, which he paired with a sage green tie and white rose boutonniere.

A winding stone path, landscaped with wispy greens and manicured shrubs, led the ring bearer down to the deck where the couple would host their outdoor ceremony.

A flower girl dropped red rose petals on the path, just moments before the bride walked down it to meet her groom. Of the home and its outdoor space, the bride says, "it's the most perfect place for a small, intimate wedding."

A pastor read passages from 1 Corinthians and Ecclesiastes during the couple's wedding ceremony, which took place overlooking the lake.

The bride made each of the centerpieces for her long, white reception tables herself, filling cylinder vases with white and green blooms and tying each arrangement with a crystal "H," the couple's married-name monogram.

Guests noshed on Chilean sea bass and champagne chicken served alongside a candied-pecan mixed greens salad, dumpling potatoes and roasted vegetables.

With a diamond pattern and pearl detailing, the couple's four-tier wedding cake was simple and classic—the perfect addition to Leah and Chris' "crisp" wedding theme. Each lemon cake layer was filled with raspberry preserves.

White lanterns strung above the dance floor created a "wonderful ambiance during the night," Leah says. Chris' only wedding assignment? Picking the DJ, the bride says.

—Jillian Kramer

Ceremony Venue: Family residence || Reception Venue: Family residence || Bride's Wedding Dress: Emily Hart Bridal || Bride's Veil: Emily Hart Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Antonio Melani || Bride's Accessories: Dillard's || Bride's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groom's Tux: Astor & Black || Groom's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groomsmen Attire: Astor & Black || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Steinmart || Flower Girl Dress: Nordstrom || Florist: Sidelines Custom Floral Designs, Inc. || Caterer: Nick and Jake's || Rentals: All Seasons Event Rental || Photography: Sharayamauck Photography

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