A Memorable US Navy-Air Force Wedding in Cleveland
Not even a school rivalry could keep these two from falling in love. Kat (a US Naval Academy grad) and Josh (a US Air Force Academy grad) met while they were both stationed in South Carolina. A couple years later, the military life moved them to Florida. From there they planned their out-of-state summer wedding in Kat's native Ohio.
Kat + Josh
Kat and Josh met in Charleston, SC in the early summer of 2015. At the time, Kat was an instructor at Joint Base Charleston. And Josh was an instructor pilot at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC. They spent the first year and a half of their relationship living almost 2 hours away from each other. After that came 6 months of living 3 time zones apart as Josh was temporarily stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV. Nonetheless, they made the most of the time they got to spend together! In 2017, they moved down to the Florida panhandle.
They got engaged in 2018 mere weeks before Hurricane Michael slammed into Panama City, FL. As they cleaned up from the hurricane, they also set about planning their US Navy-Air Force themed wedding. This meant it was time for Kat to reach out to her friend and Edith Élan designer, Lourdes, for a custom-designed wedding dress!
Her Custom-Designed Wedding Dress
The wedding dress "search" for Kat started with a visit to Lourdes. The two got to talking about what she wanted in a dress. "Since I wanted to be able to dance a lot, we decided to go with a skirt that had some volume, without being poofy," says Kat. For the custom-designed wedding dress, Lourdes took the shape and volume of the Eloise skirt. Kat also knew she wanted a sleeveless look, and they both agreed that a V neck was the most flattering on her. So, Lourdes borrowed the bodice of Bibi, and made some modifications. This gave Kat "a lovely V neck and a low back [that] let [her] have a summer-y look while still being somewhat modest."
From there, Lourdes took measurements and set about working on the dress. However, with their busy work schedules, there would only be time for one weekend of fittings before the wedding. So, Lourdes had to be sure that the dress would fit almost to perfection when that day came.
After several months, it was time for the fitting weekend. Up until that point, Kat had only seen sketches of the dress. So, what did she think when she saw it for the first time? "It was even more incredible than I thought it would be!... I absolutely love my wedding gown! I am so glad I was able to work with such a talented designer with such great taste!... This dress is the most beautiful item of clothing I have ever worn," says Kat.
The two of them then set about looking at the shoe options Kat had brought with her. With a pair of sparkling Badgley Mischka Rouge pumps picked, it was time for Kat to try on her dress for the first time. And like Cinderella's slipper, it was a perfect fit! One final idea Lourdes had was to add a touch of sparkle to the dress to pull the bridal look together. While Kat wasn't sure at first, she "LOVED the Swarovski buttons down the back of the dress... They were so sparkly and made the dress stand out in an elegant and tasteful way!" Besides that, the dress only needed a hem and a bustle, and it would be ready to go home with Kat by Sunday night. A few weeks later, it would be on the road to Ohio.
A Wonderful and Memorable Wedding Day
Kat, an avid runner, started her wedding day with an early morning run around downtown Cleveland. From there she went and got ready with her bridesmaids at her childhood home in the suburbs. Meanwhile, Josh and his groomsmen got ready at the hotel.
They had previously decided to wait for the walk down the church aisle to see each other for the first time. That decision made for Kat's favorite moment of the day! Josh looked dapper in his Air Force service dress uniform. Kat looked radiant in her custom wedding dress! She accessorized with a pearl bracelet and tanzanite necklace from her mom. She then added simple gold drop earrings, a crystal hair pin set, and a plain edge veil. It was a simple, elegant, and clean bridal style. Pinned to her bridal bouquet's ribbon was a small pendant with a photo of her late father. Even though he wasn't physically there to walk her down the aisle, he was still by her side on such an important day!
After the Catholic church ceremony, the wedding party got ready for pictures before heading back to the hotel for cocktail hour. But not before the customary military sword arch! Now, usually at the end of the sword arch, it's only one spouse getting tapped on the bum with a sword to welcome them into the military life. In this case, since they were both joining rival branches, they both got a tap! (Much to Josh's surprise!)
Cocktail hour and dinner went off without a hitch! But then it was time to party! The groomsmen removed their service dress jackets as the DJ got the music going. For the next several hours, there was not a moment where no one was dancing. Well, that is, except for a handful of times.
One pause came in the form of a Navy/Air Force military wedding "tradition" so to speak. Kat was asked to sit on a chair in the middle of the dance floor. She was then surrounded by the groom, all the groomsmen, and all the military guests. The music started and they began to serenade her with their rendition of "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" a la Top Gun. Another pause in the dancing came when it was time for the newlyweds to cut their cake. And of course, they couldn't use a plain cake cutter. No. Kat brought out the big guns: a sword!
The dancing continued on into the night finishing out a day filled with love, family, friends, and wonderful memories.
Kat's Final Wedding Advice
"While not everyone can work one-on-one with a designer, find a dress vendor that will work with you to find a dress that fits your wants and needs: you don't have to say yes to a dress just because it is on the rack that day, and dresses can always be customized! Also, given that your wedding day is long and full movement, keep quality of work and materials in mind!"
We couldn't have said it better ourselves!
The Wedding Details:
Photographer: Kristen B. via Lily and Lime
Church: St. Noel Church (Willoughby Hills, OH)
Reception: Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center
Hair: Trilogy Spa at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown
Flowers & Decor: Willows and Sage Flowers & Events
Cake: Cleveland Vegan (with flowers by Willow & Sage)
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