A wedding is only one day in the lifetime of your marriage. But this one day is an opportunity to honor your love, your commitment and your family in a most poignant way. For Kiana Danesh and Steven Shaffer, their wedding day meant two ceremonies, two cultures, three outfit changes by the bride, two hairdos, two dogs and one big reception with two types of dinner. And all of this was done in one day by just one couple.
Steven and Kiana met by chance in September 2011 at a tailgate before a University of Louisville football game, a game neither of them was planning on attending. They both realized they had two things in common: a love for golf and a strong dislike of Indiana University. Sparks flew at that game, and a month later they were serious.
After three years of dating, they got engaged on November 10, 2014, at Louisville’s Waterfront Park. Steven had every detail planned, all with the thought in mind that he knew Kiana would want pictures of the proposal. Steven told Kiana to get ready for a surprise event, for he was subtly guiding her to get dressed up and get a manicure. He drove her to the Louisville Waterfront right when the sun was setting. What happened next is a moment they will remember forever.
While walking down to the waterfront, Kiana spotted a photographer. She teased Steven and said “You’re so about to pop the question!” Ironically, the photographer was actually taking engagement pictures of another couple, but she did notice how nervous Steven was. Steven stopped walking suddenly, and a confused Kiana looked over to see that he was down on one knee. She can’t really remember all the beautiful words he said, but she distinctly remembers him saying, “My life is complete with you in it.” A shocked and crying Kiana said yes and looked over to a group of trees to see her aunt, uncle and sister hiding there, photographing the entire engagement. After the proposal, everyone went to Captain’s Quarters for a celebratory drink with Kiana’s best friend. After that, they went to Kiana’s father’s house, where the entire family was waiting for them. They drank Champagne and made lots of toasts. The celebration went on long into the night.
The next year on September 26, 2015, four years after they first met, the couple married at Hermitage Farm with more than 300 guests in attendance. Theirs was a special wedding for many reasons, but primarily because it honored both of their cultures: Kiana is Persian and Steven is American. They had both a traditional American ceremony, as well as a traditional Persian ceremony. Afterwards at the reception, the lengthy menu had both Persian and American favorites. They chose Hermitage Farm because of her husband’s love of horses and her desire for a Southern, but not rustic, themed wedding. Hermitage has all the genteel elegance that made it the perfect venue for them.
Her dress was of utmost importance to Kiana. When it came time to decide, she was torn between two options. One was a strapless ballgown, the other was an elegant, fitted, lace gown. She decided to buy both and wear both. She actually had three clothing changes throughout the day. First, she put on the lace gown for the “first look” experience and for the pictures taken before the wedding. Then she changed into the ballgown right before the ceremonies, surprising Steven in another ensemble. After the American and Persian ceremonies, she changed back into the lace dress and changed her hair, as well. A funny aside, Kiana definitely is a quick decision maker; she was engaged on a Monday and had her two dresses picked out by Friday, “with no regrets.”
After the first look, the bride went back inside and changed into her “ballgown” wedding dress. She was going to surprise Steven in this new dress, as he had just seen her in the other minutes before.
There were two aisles and three seating sections at this outside wedding. The first ceremony was the American one, and the bride walked down a rose petal-lined aisle with her father escorting her. Kiana and Steven shared traditional vows performed by their friend Pulac O’Kuma, who officiated both ceremonies.
After exchanging vows in the American ceremony, the bride and groom walked back up the first aisle and headed down the second aisle for the Persian ceremony, with a traditional table called the Sofreh Aghd (Sofreh for short). Instead of walking down the aisle, the couple danced down the aisle and then sat on the bench in front of the table. Every element on the table is representative of an aspect of marriage or love. Both of their families surround the couple at the table and participate in the vows.
After the ceremony, Kiana changed out of the ballgown dress and back into the lace wedding dress that she wore for the first look. She also changed her hairstyle. She says all of this only took a few minutes.
There was a cocktail hour before the reception officially began, where guests enjoyed heavy appetizers and cocktails.
Kiana picked black and gold as her color scheme for the entire wedding and reception, wanting an elegant and timeless feel. She describes it as Kentucky Gatsby, where it is Southern and elegant, not rustic. The reception was a glamorous affair, and the food was a celebration unto itself. Kiana explains, “Our dinner style was unique. It was a mix between a sit-down dinner and a buffet. We wanted a sit-down dinner, but that was very difficult having Persian and American cuisine. So we did seated rolls and salad. Then we released the tables to our L-shaped buffet with half American cuisine and half Persian cuisine. There were two buffets in opposite corners of the tent. Then we were seated again for cake.”
Venue: Hermitage Farms
Photography: Adele Reding Photography
Wedding Planner: Marcie Hancock from A Thorough Fare
Bride’s Gown: Essense wedding dresses from Rebecca’s Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaids Dresses: Mackenzie Michaels from Bridal Suite of Louisville
Hair: Michele Henderson of Hair, Nails and More in Floyd Knobs, Indiana (Bride’s sister-in-law)
Makeup: Beauty by Bethany
Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Formalwear: Groom’s tailored suit by Tom James. Groomsmen’s suits from Men’s Wearhouse
Invitations, Programs & Menu Cards: Julie Diamond
Flowers: Jill at J. Elizabeth Designs
Catering: Majid’s Restaurant (also did the bar) and Shiraz (Persian cuisine)
Music: The Company Band
Cake: Louisvillicious wedding cakes
Guest Accommodations: Transportation was provided from hotel to venue with Xtreme Transportation. Hotel was Hilton Garden Inn Northeast in Prospect, KY
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