For Carolina Martinez and Ken MacKinlay, an ordinary lunch break turned into a lifetime of love, with fate bringing this couple together. She was having her usual Caesar salad at Blue Dog Bakery, just a few doors down from Pure Tan Studio, where she works. Ken was eating lunch there with his college friends after attending the funeral of a close fraternity brother. Ken was moved by the loss of his friend and the realization of life’s brevity and unpredictable nature. He approached Carolina, struck up a conversation, and they were married 18 months later.
They were married on April 5, 2014, at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Louisville with 140 of their closest family and friends. Carolina is from Puerto Rico and Ken is from Canada, but both reside in Louisville, KY. This meant international travel for their guests, who came from all over the world to share in their special day. They joke that their families met somewhere in the middle to celebrate the marriage.
One of the highlights of the evening was a surprise orchestrated by Carolina’s uncle, famed jockey Willie Martinez. He had the bugler from Churchill Downs, Steve Buttleman, come out and play “My Old Kentucky Home” and then “The Call to the Post” to start the reception. Horses were a common theme in this wedding, from the ice sculpture to the authentic horseshoes as wedding favors. After a night of much dancing and celebrating that went off “without a hitch,” the MacKinlays felt so lucky in love.
Delicate vintage-style heels perfectly complemented the bride’s look.
After months of searching, Carolina had her dress custom-made. She wanted a long-sleeved gown that was timeless, not trendy, but also whimsical at the same time.
Carolina helps her Uncle Willie Martinez with his bow tie.
Always on the job, Willie Martinez monitors the latest horse races from his phone while getting dressed for the wedding.
Mother, grandmother and maid of honor all help Carolina get dressed. This is a beautiful shot of a magical moment in time.
Carolina looks positively ethereal here.
Covered by the protective hands of her grandmother, Carolina stands with her very special rosary given to her by her mother. It is made of pearls (her birthstone) and is meant to signify new beginnings. Carolina carries a rosary with her at all times, whether in her purse or pocket.
Her vintage headpiece, made out of Swarovski crystals and pearls, was extremely heavy. Carolina had to have additional pins placed in the headpiece and hair extensions in her hair for additional support. She did wear a veil, but tucked it within the back of her updo rather than take away from the actual headpiece.
The bride and her bouquet of hydrangeas, mums and fresh greenery.
The bridesmaids’ dresses, by Alfred Sung, are a soft pewter/platinum color. Each bridesmaid chose an evening-length style that represented them.
And … they’re off! Here you can see the full extent of her cathedral-length veil that blended in the dress’s tulle train for added drama.
Great signage by the ring bearer announces the moment everyone was waiting for.
After “I do” and once the ceremony was over, the wedding party went outside for pictures in scenic downtown Louisville while guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
A perfect sunset over downtown Louisville
Where Canada meets Puerto Rico: the wedding party
The guest tables featured centerpieces of stunning white mums and hydrangeas. Each plate had a special wedding favor.
It took months to gather enough authentic horseshoes from racetracks across the country, and just as long to get them cleaned and polished. The final product was finished with twine, baby’s breath and a small note from Ken and Carolina that read, “Hang this above your door for a life of luck and love.” Carolina’s Uncle Willie Martinez tracked down the horseshoes, and her mother rubbed her hands raw cleaning them to perfection.
The horse ice sculpture featured an “M” carved on the side.
Kentucky, Canadian and Latino beers were all represented at the bar.
Theirs was a bourbon-infused, three-tier wedding cake made by Sweet Stuff Bakery.
Ken had his very own Canadian groom’s cake, which encompassed all things Canada. He loved it!
Carolina’s Uncle “Chillie” Willie Martinez surprised the guests towards the end of the cocktail hour with an introduction of Steve Buttleman, the bugler for the Kentucky Derby. He played “My Old Kentucky Home,” while guests snapped photos and videos and relished the fact that they were experiencing a truly-Louisville wedding. Steve then proceeded to welcome guests to the reception by playing “The Call to the Post.”
Ending the night, so lucky in love
Got wedding fever? Check out more beautiful nuptials in some of our other SB markets today:
Atlanta: Vineyard Vows: A Wedding In Highlands, NC
Nashville: Game Changer: Brian Miller and Megan Bonds Get Married
Memphis: A Southern Wedding With a Gatsby Appeal