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Christine Bemis and Cameron Hardin met on a cruise ship back in 2014 — Christine was on her way from Long Beach, California, to Mexico. Cameron was onboard with family, celebrating his aunt and uncle’s 25th wedding anniversary. The young couple’s brief vacation flirtation turned into a casual, long-distance relationship as Christine headed home to California and Cameron returned to Kentucky.

The duo eventually lost touch, seemingly moving on with their lives. “Then he moved out to California to start working for his family company,” Christine says. “Suddenly, he was in my area … I called him up, and that’s how we actually started dating.”

bride and groom first look

On September 8, 2021, Christine and Cameron tied the knot at The Clerestory at Greyline in Lexington, Kentucky.

That was in 2017. About three years later, on February 25, 2020, Christine was faced with her final exam to receive her architect license. “Cameron had set up a surprise dinner, assuming I would pass it,” she recalls with a laugh, adding that she was astonished to learn he had set up a big celebration with all their friends. “At the end of the dinner, he stood up to make a toast,” she says, “then he got down on one knee and proposed. It was really sweet. I was surprised twice.”

Like so many other couples, the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to their wedding plans, but once the two were ready to tie the knot, they enlisted the help of Christy Burton at Christina Burton Events to be their day-of coordinator. “I wish we could have hired her to do the whole thing,” Christine says. “She was amazing and handled the day really well.”

groom behind bourbon bar

To prepare for the big day — and use as a home base throughout the weekend — the bridal parties rented two separate Airbnbs. The groom’s party enjoyed the amenities at The Bourbon House, complete with billiards and, of course, a bourbon bar.

groomsmen around pool table

The groom’s party relaxes ahead of the festivities, pool sticks and bourbon in hand.

“I really loved my dress,” Christine exclaims. “I still love my dress. It’s by Anais Anette; it’s the Dakota dress. I actually purchased something else … and then called the dress shop to change it back the next day. I was really in love with it as soon as I’d tried it on, but I was afraid it would be uncomfortable.”

bride getting ready with mother

You’ll see the bride’s Anais Anette dress undergo subtle changes throughout the day. At one point, she removes her arms from the draped sleeves, quickly transforming the gown into a strapless number. Later, she attaches spaghetti straps for optimum comfort on the dance floor!

embellished bridal veil

The bride’s veil, which she wore for the ceremony, lends a touch of embellishment to an otherwise simple design.

bridal bouquet

The bridal party’s bouquets, by Fields in Bloom, featured an explosion of jewel-toned blooms with pops of stark white.

bride in gown

In keeping with a sense of understated elegance, the bride opted for simple accessories — gold teardrop earrings and a delicate, barely-there gold chain.

Christine had her seamstress add spaghetti straps to the off-the-shoulder piece to make the dress work. This allowed her to be comfortable throughout the celebration, from the moment she and Cameron exchanged vows all the way to the dance floor. (SB Tip: Convertible wedding dresses with adjustable or removable elements are proving to be incredibly popular in 2022!)

The celebration was held at The Clerestory in Lexington. Housed in a former bus depot and inspired by the original architecture of the building, it is an industrial-style venue. Christine opted to incorporate moody jewel tones via her flowers and bridesmaids’ dresses.

industrial wedding venue set up for ceremony

The Clerestory has a modern-industrial feel and ample windows, which flooded the space with natural light and later provided a vibrant sunset view.

florals on wedding ceremony arch

Jewel-toned florals with plenty of greenery — including fragrant eucalyptus — lined the aisle and graced the metallic ceremony arch.

wedding reception table setting with taper candles

We love these minimalistic place settings, complete with gold metallic flatware, white taper candles, and bud vases topped off with deep red florals.

Before guests arrived for the ceremony, the bride and groom stole an intimate moment for themselves. “We wrote our own vows and did them privately when we did the first look,” she says, “then we did traditional vows during the ceremony in front of everybody.”

bride and groom first look

Before guests arrived for the ceremony, Christine and Cam enjoyed a first look and shared their handwritten vows privately.

bridal party

In keeping with the jewel-tone motif, the bridal party wore various dress styles in rich hues, complemented by their colorful bouquets.

ceremony

After sharing their original, handwritten vows privately, the pair exchanged more traditional vows in front of a crowd of close friends and family.

During the cocktail hour that followed, the couple’s 180 guests enjoyed a selection of drinks with passed trays of lumpia, a type of fried Filipino spring roll. “We’re both half Filipino,” Christine explains. To ensure guests had ample time to enjoy the space and each other, the outdoor cocktail area was filled with classic games like Jenga, Connect 4, high-stakes checkers, and cornhole.

lumpia appetizer

During the cocktail hour, guests nibbled on lumpia — fried Filipino spring rolls — a nod to Christine and Cam’s shared Filipino heritage.

checkers

Play at your own risk. The loser takes a shot!

The reception dinner featured scallops, brisket, chicken, green beans, and potatoes, and the couple’s cake was a three-tier chocolate confection with vanilla buttercream icing. The stunning cake layered with ribbons of white icing was embellished with fresh flowers to match the rest of the decor.

wedding cake with red flowers

Their delicious three-tier wedding cake was embellished with deep red florals and greenery to match the bride’s bouquet.

After dinner, Christine moved to “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars with her new father-in-law. Then, Cameron and his mom swayed to “Never Too Far” by Dianne Reeves. The couple then shared their first dance to “Best Part” by H.E.R.

Music was a pivotal element of their celebration, featuring a DJ and a live band. “We had a crazy big band with a horn section and four vocalists,” Christine says of the reception. “They were so amazing; they absolutely made the party.”

bride and groom first dance

The bride and groom’s first dance! The bride swapped her understated earrings for a more party-appropriate pair for the reception. She also slipped her arms out of her draped sleeves and added custom spaghetti straps to her gown — the perfect marriage of style and function.

wedding band

A huge live band with multiple vocalists and instrumentalists made for an energetic evening of music and dancing.

wedding reception dance floor

With live music in the background, the bride and groom danced the night away with family and friends.

While the ceremony details and raucous reception were important, the pair paid particular attention to quality time with family and friends throughout the weekend. Christine shares that renting a couple of Airbnbs was an essential aspect of their wedding weekend that helped to tie everything and everyone together.

“We had a lot of people travel in from California,” she explains. “I’m from California; he has a ton of family in California, and we also have friends living elsewhere in the U.S.” The couple utilized the rentals not just to accommodate their numerous out-of-town guests but also to serve as party spaces throughout the weekend. “They were like home bases,” Christine says. “One for the bridal party; one for the groomsmen. The groomsmen’s house, in particular, was the after-party house.”

In fact, if Christine could offer other brides a piece of advice for wedding planning, arranging those extra spaces and opportunities for family and friends to enjoy each other is a must. Their guests returned to these “home bases” again and again throughout the festivities. “It made it fun,” she says. “We got to enjoy our guests over a weekend instead of trying to pack it all into a day.”

groom and groomsman in dj booth

It will surprise no one to hear that The Bourbon House played host to the after-party!

Christine also advises future brides to remember to make time with their fiancé to talk about topics other than wedding planning. “I don’t mean to exclude them or take it all on yourself,” she says. “There will still be plenty of planning with them. There is just so much wedding stuff to talk about and so many decisions to make that it can be all-encompassing, and it can really overshadow that ‘being engaged’ high.”

“Try to carve out a date night every other week,” says Christine, “something where neither of you talks about the wedding, and you can just enjoy being engaged and happy at this point in your lives.”

Thank you so much, Christine and Cameron, for recreating this special day for us. And thanks to Sur La Lune Photography for the gorgeous photos.

RESOURCES

Venue: Clerestory
Photographer: Sur La Lune Photography
Videographer: Slye Films
Wedding Gown: Anais Anette, purchased at Love and Lace Bridal Salon
Wedding Party Attire:  BHLDN, Revelry, and Generation Tux
Hair & Makeup: Georgi at Hair Bar and Emma Nelson at Emma Nelson Beauty
Invitations, Programs, and Menu Cards: Shutterfly
Flowers: Fields in Bloom
Entertainment: 2nd Wind Band
Cake: Sam’s Club
Wedding Coordinator: Christy Burton at Christina Burton Events

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