The bride was raised in Chicago and now lives in Alaska, and the groom grew up in Alaska from the time he was a young boy. So, when it came time to choose a wedding venue, they naturally chose to have their wedding in Louisville, Kentucky at Hermitage Farm. Seems logical, right?

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess and Ryan Frenchik

Allow the bride to explain: “My father grew up in Louisville, and some family members from his side are still living there or close by. We used to make trips from Chicago to Louisville fairly often when I was growing up to visit my grandma and extended family. As I got older, the trips became fewer and further between. So, when my parents suggested it as a location, there was definitely some nostalgia and many fond memories of the city. It just seemed like the perfect place. Louisville is such a fun city, and the surrounding area is just so beautiful. Two nights before the wedding, we had dinner at a restaurant we used to visit almost yearly but I hadn’t been back since I was a teenager. It was such a special feeling to be back there. Aside from extended family and the select few family friends, most of the guests were from out of town. Ryan, however, had never visited Louisville until we went to look at venues. But he was thrilled with the location choice the second we got there.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s get the backstory …

Tess Hayden moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in 2011 after graduating from college at Washington and Lee University. She was there to do graduate studies at Alaska Pacific University when she met Ryan Frenchik. Ryan had lived in Anchorage since he was 4 years old, the son of a military father who was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. They met only five months after Tess moved there in 2011 and began dating in February 2012.

Their engagement two years later in 2014 was a perfectly set scene. Tess tells us, “Ryan and my roommate had planned this great scavenger hunt all throughout the city. To my knowledge, we were just getting all of our friends together for a fun day. The last challenge was to take a selfie with your partner at one of the mountains that overlooks Anchorage. When my roommate and I got up there, all of our friends were already there so I was really bummed because I thought we had finished last. Then I saw Ryan’s parents pull up, followed by my parents who were visiting from Chicago. I turned around and looked at Ryan and then he dropped to his knee. It was amazing to have so many of our friends there and incredibly touching that my parents were able to share that moment with us, as well.”

When planning their wedding and considering the guest list, they knew they wanted their family and friends to be there but Alaska is expensive and not that simple to access. They thought about Chicago but when her parents suggested they look at Louisville, they gave it some consideration, and a subsequent trip to the city with her parents and Ryan sealed the deal. Tess’s father is involved in the thoroughbred industry and Tess grew up going to the racetrack and having horses all around. The Hermitage was a great way to tie in this part of her life. Plus, Tess says, “The minute we drove up to Hermitage Farm, we knew it was something special. The history and beauty of the farm is truly hard to match.”

The Alaskan couple was married — Kentucky style — at Hermitage Farm on July 11, 2015, in front of 145 guests. They brought Alaskan touches to Kentucky, though, using freshly caught Alaskan salmon they personally brought down and beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company. Other than that, the menu consisted of all local ingredients — with Wiltshire Pantry at the helm.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

This sign placed in front of the main house at the Hermitage showed all the important venues in their lives. Anchorage, Alaska, is where they live. Anchorage, Kentucky, is where Louisville people assumed they meant. Cook Islands is where they went on their honeymoon.

The Wedding Party

The ladies spent most of the morning and afternoon getting ready for the big day at the Hermitage main house. They lounged and ate food while getting their hair and makeup done at a leisurely pace. The maids of honor spent some time writing their speeches — literally a couple hours before the ceremony. It was a relaxing day for everyone. The groomsmen rented a bed and breakfast nearby and came to the Hermitage in the afternoon to finish getting dressed.

Tess and her bridesmaids had dresses from BHLDN, the bridal arm of Anthropologie. After trying on several dresses, Tess fell in love with her final selection. “I tried on a fair amount of dresses before I finally experienced the feeling of trying on the perfect one. The dress was perfect for me and perfect for our venue,” she said. It had an illusion neckline, a floral lace-covered bodice and a tulle skirt. She bought the jeweled belt and floral comb for her hair at BHLDN, as well. Because the wedding and the reception were going to be on the grassy land of Hermitage Farm, wearing a heel would not be ideal. Tess thought about a wedge shoe but opted for a comfortable flat instead.

Tess did not follow the typical “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition. Instead, she wore a beautiful diamond bracelet that belonged to her grandmother, which was passed down to her mother when her grandmother passed away. Tess decided to wear it for the ceremony and that her mother would wear it for the reception. Tess tells us that they both cried when she put it on her wrist.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Invitations, as well as Tess’s grandmother’s bracelet that she wore during the ceremony. She gave it to her mother to wear for the reception.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The bride’s wedding dress was from BHLDN in Chicago, the wedding dress arm of Anthropologie. It had a floral lace bodice with an illusion neckline and a tulle skirt. Tess added the jeweled belt.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess opted for a simple floral comb instead of a traditional veil.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess is completely ready with her hair and makeup, in a moment of laughter while getting ready.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess and her mother share a laugh right before getting dressed.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Bridesmaids and mother tend to Tess, getting her dressed and fussing over every detail.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Dressed and ready to go, Tess gives a twirl to show the full regalia of her beautiful dress. The ceremony was outside on the grass, and the dress flowed perfectly as she walked down the aisle.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The bridesmaids and Tess in a moment of levity. Bridesmaids dresses are also from BHLDN.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Groom and groomsmen posed and ready, taking only a couple of hours to get ready, compared to the bride and bridesmaids’ entire morning and afternoon of pampering.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The obligatory groomsmen shot at the Stud Barn at The Hermitage.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

This is one of the most creative wedding party shots, ever.

Tess picked periwinkle as her main color of the wedding. It has been a favorite since she was a little girl and she liked the way it paired with gray. Blooms did her flowers and she wanted to keep things simple. According to Tess, since “the ceremony and reception all took place in this beautiful outdoor space, we really didn’t feel like we needed many flowers. We tried to stick to more greenery, with pops of color here and there.” They used thistle, white roses, periwinkle hydrangeas and greenery throughout their floral arrangements.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Bridemaids’ bouquets from Blooms were kept simple, with thistle, roses and greenery.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Groomsmens’ boutonnieres by Blooms were also simple, with just thistle and greenery.

The Ceremony

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15,  2015 — in a heat probably not experienced in Alaska — the bride and groom said their “I Do’s” in front of 145 guests, the majority of whom were from out of town. They got treated to the full Kentucky experience being on a beautiful farm in the summer.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess’s mother made all of the signs at the wedding, including this entrance sign at the ceremony. She used reclaimed wood to make the frame and easel for this one.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess’s father is grinning from ear to ear in every picture and this one of him walking his daughter down the aisle is no exception. That smile is electric!

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The bride and groom come together to start the ceremony.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The couple share a laugh during the ceremony.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

A serious moment of reflection during the ceremony, hand in hand.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Ryan, you may now kiss the bride!

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

This couple exudes pure joy!

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Proud Daddy is grinning ear to ear!

The Reception

It’s hard planning a wedding when you live out of town, especially when you are not familiar with the venue. Sheryl Thompson from Essential Details helped coordinate all the details from here in Louisville. Tess’s mother was a huge part of the planning as well, making all the ceremony programs, menu cards, escort cards, table name cards and many hand-painted signs throughout the ceremony and reception area. All of those items added a special touch to the day.

There was a cocktail reception before dinner while the bride and groom finished taking photographs. During this time, guests were greeted with blackberry mint juleps and enjoyed appetizers of mini Hot Browns with applewood smoked bacon, candied beet chips with goat cheese mousse, buttermilk fried chicken on mini pecan rye waffle with spiced maple syrup and bourbon BBQ shrimp skewers.

The reception was family style, with long tables for guests to gather and break bread. A scrumptious dinner from Wiltshire Pantry set the tone for the evening of great Kentucky fare. Wiltshire knew how important it was to the couple to keep waste minima, so there was no plastic at the wedding and all-local ingredients were used for the meal. The menu featured fresh Alaskan salmon that Tess and Ryan personally caught and transported. A charcuterie plate with fresh lavash and artisanal cheeses followed. A salad from Grateful Greens was next, followed by the entree of Stone Cross Farm ribs, Weisenberger grits and quinoa-stuffed Roma tomatoes. Derby cake from Mert’s Cakes was for dessert, and a late night snack of Hi-Five Doughnuts came later in the evening. The guests were definitely treated to some wonderful Kentucky food!

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess’s mother made the sign held by the Hermitage Farm’s lawn jockey.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Bourbon barrels and hydrangea arrangements are ready for the guests, who were greeted with blackberry mint juleps and passed appetizers: mini Hot Browns with applewood smoked bacon, candied beet chips with goat cheese mousse, buttermilk fried chicken on mini pecan rye waffle with spiced maple syrup, and bourbon BBQ shrimp skewers.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The bourbon barrel centerpieces were comprised of hydrangeas and greenery, continuing the periwinkle theme.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Who’s that little girl in the picture? Take one guess.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess’s mother created these dinner place cards — tied with twine — by hand.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The bride’s and groom’s seats at the family table were designated with horseshoes and hand-painted signs.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Table names were the couple’s favorite places in Alaska: Russian River, Chugach State Park and Hatcher Pass — and each sign featured an explanation of why they liked it.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

An intimate family style table set for a wonderful meal.

hermitage wedding 2015 tess hayden adam brennan (29)

Welcome to the reception, Mr. and Mrs. Frenchik!

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Tess and Ryan arrive at the reception.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Proud Daddy toasts the table.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

The bride and groom enjoy a delicious meal by Wiltshire Pantry.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

A classic Derby cake by Mert’s Cakes was thoroughly enjoyed by all of the guests.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Flipflops for the guests gave everyone NO excuse to not dance to the great band.

Hermitage wedding

Tess and her father danced to “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. Ryan and his mother danced to this as well.

Hermitage Wedding

The bride and groom danced to a beautiful, slow version of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Ryan ends the first dance with a twirl, showing off that beautiful dress.

A Kentucky Wedding at Hermitage Farm

Walking through sparklers and smiles on their way to their new life as husband and wife. Cheers to the beautiful couple!

RESOURCES

Venue: Hermitage Farm
Photography: Adam Brennan Photography
Bride’s gown: BHLDN
Bridesmaids dresses: BHLDN
Hair & makeup: Alysha Spalding | New Albany, IN | (502) 718-2462
Groom’s & groomsmen’s formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Groomsmen’s bowties: Beau Ties
Invitations: Lydia Evans, Letterpress By Lydia | Libertyville, IL | (847) 312-1105
Calligraphy: Cathy Sale | Anderson, SC
Programs & menu cards: Mother of the Bride, Louise Hayden
Flowers: Kati Esser at Blooms by Essential Details
Day of coordinator/decor & lighting: Sheryl Thompson at Essential Details
Catering: Wiltshire Pantry
Music: Ceremony/cocktails — Fresh Cut Grass Bluegrass Band | Louisville, KY | (502) 210-1647
Dancing: Endless Summer Band
Cake: Mert’s Cakes
Late night snack: Hi-Five Doughnut Truck

********************

Download the free SB App so that you can stay informed on happenings and events around town, as well as the best local shops and restaurants. Lots of valuable information right at your fingertips!