Gwendolyn & Matthew's WeddingMay 18, 2019
Ceremony & Reception: Keene Place
Matthew & Gwendolyn wanted a small, intimate wedding with an outdoor ceremony and indoor dinner – and found the perfect space in the historic Keene Place mansion.
"We couldn't have been happier, and Keeneland couldn't have made it easier."
- Gwendolyn, Bride
The couple worked alongside the Keeneland Hospitality staff, lead by Executive Chef Marc Therrien, to develop a menu that wowed their guests. The hors d’oeuvres consisted of a lobster salad, forest mushroom purse, seared crab cake, and Chef Marc Therrien’s famous smoked deviled eggs. The plated dinner featured a pear & local goat cheese salad for the first course, grass-fed beef tenderloin, pan seared barramundi, country ale brined free range chicken, and a meyer lemon risotto for the second course.
In addition to a traditional wedding cake produced by local favorite Martine's Pastries, the Keeneland pastry team developed an extensive dessert offering, as well as a coffee & hot tea station. Desserts consisted of miniature French pastries, cherry tartlets, key lime tartlets, small chocolate chip cookies, cream puffs, and tea cookies. Sugar swizzle sticks, chocolate sticks, candied lemon, orange peel, soy milk, and creamer were offered to complement the coffee & tea.
“Keeneland's culinary team made everything in-house (literally – within the kitchen at Keene Place, so the food couldn't have been fresher), and Chef Marc did such a terrific job with each of the menu options that even some of our self-described pickiest guests raved about the meal.”
The Bride's Comments
Tell us your love story.
"Early on when we first started dating, we bonded over our love of historic houses. Matthew is trained as a preservationist, and Lexington's beautiful old homes really charmed me when I first considered moving here. Some of our earliest dates were spent walking in historic neighborhoods, admiring the homes, with Matthew pointing out the architectural details and teaching me about what defines each style. On one of those dates, as much as I loved the houses and was trying to retain what he was teaching me, I kept getting distracted by thoughts of wanting to kiss him. Thankfully, he must've been distracted, too, because he spontaneously grabbed me to kiss me, and shortly after, he held my hand for the first time, and we finished our walk hand in hand. That date remains one of my favorites."
Tell us about your favorite details you incorporated into your wedding.
"Matthew was adamant he wanted to wait until he saw me walk down the aisle and not do a first look. This decision ended up making the ceremony all the more special. I was so overcome with emotion that I cried as I was walking down the aisle, before I got to see him. In fact, I had my mother (who was walking me), pause for a moment so I could wipe my tears. As soon as Matthew came and met me, though, I broke out in the biggest smile. Seeing him was all I needed, and having him greet me, kiss me on the cheek, tell me how gorgeous I looked, and then walk me down the final steps were perfect. I now love the picture that first captured that smile because it beautifully captures how I feel about him."
What led you to choose Keeneland?
"When it came to choosing a wedding venue, we really wanted to get married at a historic home. We wanted an intimate wedding (just closest family and friends), to have an outdoor ceremony in the spring (with a back-up in case of rain option), to make it personal, and to spend the time connecting with our loved ones over really great food and drink. Keene Place fit our wish list perfectly. The home is beautifully restored (and as a bonus, Matthew works with some of the people who restored it!), the shady back lawn overlooking the stone wall was an idyllic setting for the ceremony, the patio made for a lovely space for a first dance and our cocktail hour, the lovely grounds and house made for a variety of beautiful settings for photos, and the dining room was the ideal size for a nice sit-down dinner for our guests where we could comfortably linger and catch up, especially since most of them came from out of town. We couldn't have been happier, and Keeneland couldn't have made it easier."
What was your favorite part about the day?
"The ceremony was our favorite part of the day, both because it was the moment we got married and because it was so personal. Our mothers each walked us down the aisle, my father (who is a judge) officiated, our siblings and his son stood next to us, and every word said was scripted just for us. My father spoke at length about each of us and why we're such a good match, including why Matthew's sweet son is evidence of what a good father he is – and thus what a good husband he'll be. We wrote our vows together beforehand, and before we read them, we each read aloud a letter about why we love the other person so much. We hadn't exchanged the letters beforehand, so hearing them for the first time at the ceremony made our already bursting hearts fill with even more love."