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Leah's Derby Inspiration

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And They’re Off!: Finding Derby Inspiration…

Inspiration is easy to come by when you are planning a wedding and have internet access, but then you all know that because you are reading this blog! When I got engaged back in June, finding inspiration was not an issue at all. I was studying for the bar exam. And, when I say studying, and anyone out there who has gone through a bar exam will understand, “studying” basically means all-day, every day reading and writing essay questions and going over mind-numbing multiple choice questions. Needless to say, no one had to exactly twist my arm to look for wedding inspiration.

I did not start out wanting a “theme” for our wedding. I wanted the theme to be “wedding.” But, the more I got into it, the more I thought some sort of “theme” was necessary to pull things together. It did not have to be a full-on theme complete with Southern Belle pre-Civil War dresses and pantaloons.

But I really wanted SOMETHING to tie it together.

Ryan and I grew up, and still are, farm kids. He teaches vocational agriculture. I work for a farm organization. “Farming” is pretty much our life! I started out thinking maybe a county fair or carnival type theme. We actually first met at our state fair. And, we both love our own county fairs and still insist on going every summer. But, I did not want to have my wedding anywhere that would exactly go with the whole county fair theme. I had desperately wanted to have our wedding at a beautiful old barn. Unfortunately, it only fit 150 people which was nowhere near big enough. I contacted every possible barn type wedding venue in the state of Ohio (I think) and not a one was available for our very much inflexible date. We wanted to incorporate wheat and agricultural aspects, but we needed a way to tie it in without being completely random.

The county fair theme was not going to work unless the venue would gowith it. Our venue search had landed us in a very Southern-estate looking place. And, it’s called Grand Oaks. I mean, what does that sound like Gone with the Wind lovers? (Answer: The Wilkes’ Twelve Oaks!) Big columns in front, a huge veranda complete with gazebo, large green lawn and beautiful landscaping in back. It’s gorgeous. Since I finally had a place, I could finally think of a theme.

About this time, we got into going to horse races. My family has always loved horseracing, both my parents grew up raising horses and my dad used to train some race horses. Ryan got hooked rather quick and we made special occasions out of watching the Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races together. We also went to both thoroughbred and harness races nearby and had a ball. At one race, I jokingly asked if we could play “Call to the Post” before the wedding and it was like a light bulb went off. We both immediately thought that was our theme!  Kentucky Derby. Horse Racing. “Smart Casual.” Southern Charm and Northern Fun.

Funny enough, derby inspiration was not so easy to find for this! But then I saw this gorgeous inspiration board from Postcards and Pretties, which was JUST what I needed:

derby inspiration

Courtesy of: Postcards and Pretties Blog

I mean, how can you not love that? I hope we have little boys in seersucker. And now I’m thinking show ribbon place cards (I think I saw a DIY project for those somewhere before..hmmm…), trophy vases! Horseshoes!!

It got me excited. And of course, HATS! Hats like these were a must:

derby inspiration

Courtesy of: Hat-a-tude.com

derby inspiration

Courtesy of: Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

These are probably priced somewhere in the $400 range. I found this one on Ebay for $25. SCORE!

derby inspiration

The best part, we can still have all of our wheat accents and they will still fit! I want to use this as my boutonniere inspiration

derby inspiration

Courtesy of The Knot

Ryan is going to grow some wheat for me in his school greenhouse so we can dry it and use it as accent for our boutonnières.

One thing that may not exactly fit into my overall theme, but I must have, is this:

derby inspiration

Courtesy of The Knot

I want so much to do this. Displaying pictures of the couples who have come before us, who have made us the people we are today.  The “great loves” that were not famous, that 99.9% of the world has never heard or will ever care about, but who are a part of our history and our lives.

And, what could be easier? I am 100% sure that I can make something similar to this with a very little cost as compared to many other décor installments.

Of course, once I get the project going I will be sure to update you on what and how I completed this.

And last but not least, my save the dates, a vintage betting slip designed by my amazing and wonderful dear friend Annie:

derby inspiration save the dates

I’d love to hear any of your ideas or themes!!

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is a bride blogger who got married in 2011. You can read her wedding planning posts here.