no place like home: a South Bend-inspired wedding at The Brick
Karlee and Kerry Renz first met back in February of 2008, during Karlee’s sophomore year at Saint Mary’s College and Kerry’s senior year at Notre Dame, when their paths crossed at an off-campus get-together at the house of a mutual friend. By the end of the night they had exchanged phone numbers, and the rest is history. Following graduation they both moved to Morristown, New Jersey where Kerry is from, but it was a trip back to South Bend in the fall of 2013 that set their journey toward “I do” in motion…
It was the weekend of the Notre Dame vs. Michigan State game and Karlee’s parents, who live on Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Michigan, had invited Kerry and his parents to join their family for a Friday afternoon barbecue at their home. As evening approached, Karlee saw that Kerry had wandered down toward the water’s edge and she went to join him, completely unsuspecting that he was about to pop the question. Both of their families were able to watch the proposal from the deck just a few dozen yards away—far enough to be out of earshot, but close enough to snap some priceless photos for them.
Since Karlee and Kerry lived in New Jersey, they had to do most of the planning for their South Bend wedding remotely. Luckily, having a wedding coordinator from Merry Me Events as well as a mom and twin sister who lived in town put Karlee’s mind at ease. “I knew I was in good hands with Merry Me helping to coordinate everything,” she says. A little modern technology came in handy too: Karlee joined her mom and sister via FaceTime for the initial vendor meetings, and she was able to use her Pinterest boards to share her vision and ideas with her wedding coordinator as well.
Merry Me also designed and created all of the floral arrangements, using white roses and hydrangea to create a classic all-white bridal bouquet for Karlee. The bridesmaids’ bouquets added a cheerful pop of color with green hydrangea, blue thistle, yellow craspedia, blue bachelor buttons, green trick, succulents, and orange pincushion protea. They used predominantly white blooms for the reception centerpieces, creating a mix of high and low arrangements featuring hydrangea, Ecuadorian roses, oriental lilies, dendrobium orchids and mini calla lilies accented with hanging crystals and lots of candles.
Karlee chose a strapless, fit-and-flare Justin Alexander gown with lots of lace and just a touch of sparkly beaded and sequined detail. She found the dress at I Do, I Do boutique in Morristown after visiting a few other salons. “I am not much of a shopper and though wedding dress shopping was definitely exciting, I was happy to have found the dress quickly!” she says. She fell in love with the silhouette, the low cut back, and especially the long train that would trail behind her as she walked down the aisle.
Not long after the proposal, Karlee was home visiting again and went to check out a few reception venues with her mom. She knew she wanted a casual, fun, and unique space to balance out the formality of a traditional church ceremony. Their second stop was The Brick in South Bend, and Karlee knew right then that they could call off the search. “We loved everything about it, from the concrete floors to the exposed brick and ductwork. It was the perfect blank canvas that we could make our own,” Karlee says.
The colors & DÉCOR
Blue is Karlee’s favorite color, so she chose a short one-shoulder cerulean blue dress for her bridesmaids, while Kerry knew that he wanted his groomsmen in gray suits rather than formal tuxedos. They incorporated the blue and gray color scheme into the table linens while keeping almost everything else very clean and unfussy. “I found myself pinning elegant yet simple all-white floral arrangements accented with candles and crystals,” says Karlee. They amped up the drama with sparkly crystal accents and sequined linens on the cake table and king’s table. The focal point of the room was a dazzling crystal-draped chandelier, a romantic complement to The Brick’s industrial-chic atmosphere.
what we love
Though Karlee and Kerry now call New Jersey home, South Bend is clearly a special place for the couple. Kerry’s dad and two brothers are fellow Notre Dame alums and Karlee has been a lifelong ND fan herself, so the Guglielmino Athletics Complex on campus was a perfect spot for their rehearsal dinner—and they got plenty of bridal party photos on both the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses the next day. Their wedding hashtag, #Smarried71815, is a reference to the nickname Karlee and her college friends liked to use for their beloved alma mater, “Smary’s.” The wedding favors were a mix of South Bend Chocolate Co. chocolates and New Jersey salt water taffy, complete with a sticker they designed themselves reading “The Sweet of South Bend + The Salt of New Jersey.”
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