Erica and Grant were both attending college at USI the year they met, but they had not crossed paths until one night when they were out with friends at Ri Ra Irish Pub. Erica’s best friend introduced them that evening, and they spent the rest of the night talking and laughing. They were having such a great time that they didn’t realize hours had gone by and it was time to close the restaurant. They exchanged numbers and continued conversations in the months to come.

They started dating at a friend’s wedding in 2013. Per Erica, “Weddings always have a way of making you reflect on your own feelings towards someone, and it was then that we decided that our feelings towards each other were too strong to just be friends. We went through so much together in the next couple of years – from celebrations, traveling, losing people we loved, and starting our careers after college — all of which made us grow closer together. Then on May 16, 2015, Grant and I were on our way to Myrtle Beach and stopped in Gatlinburg, TN, for the day. We had visited Gatlinburg, TN, once before together and didn’t have a chance to hike to one of the waterfalls, so we decided we would do that when we stopped that day. Little did I know he had much more planned than just visiting the waterfall. Once we arrived at the waterfall, we started taking pictures, and he asked me to join him in a photo. As I got close, he got down on his knee and proposed. I was so surprised and of course said, ‘yes!'”

Erica goes on to share, “Our family is everything to us, and we both come from big ones, so it was important that we found venues that could accommodate around 300+ family and friends to allow us to celebrate our special day with everyone we loved. We did not have a home church at the time, but it was important that we had our ceremony in one. Luckily we discovered St. Lucas Church. Pastor Lynn and his staff welcomed us with open arms and worked with us to make sure our wedding ceremony was everything we had dreamed. For the reception, we chose the Discovery Lodge because it not only could accommodate everyone, but it was also just a naturally beautiful spot.”

She continues, “While our family and friends being together to celebrate with us is what made the day the most special, our vendors were phenomenal and brought our vision to life. Finding the best photographers is what we prioritized most. We both agreed that when the day was over (and it goes by so fast) the one thing we would really have to look back on were our wedding pictures, so it was extremely important that we found experienced and talented photographers to capture our special day. Jesse and Gena were all of that and more! As a first time bride who had only been in one wedding as an adult, I had no idea how to plan out the day. Jesse and Gena worked with us to help develop a timeline, and it really made the day run smoothly. They were so much fun to work with, and our pictures turned out better than we could have ever imagined. They managed to capture every detail, and as we went through the pictures we felt we were able to see the day from every person’s perspective. We are so thankful to have those photos now to look back on. My aunt and uncle also surprised us with a wedding videographer (Alexander Francis Films) who created a nice video of our special day. It was such a special gift and is another way we can relive the day.”

Erica goes on to share, “When it came to choosing a wedding gown I knew I wanted something simple yet elegant. The first place I visited was Ella Park Bridal in Newburgh. They made the entire dress shopping experience so special, and I ended up finding the perfect dress that day. It took me longer to find dresses for my bridesmaids. I wanted something that everyone would feel comfortable in and matched our wedding colors. I actually stumbled across a dress that I loved online and was thrilled when I found out that House of White in Newburgh carried that designer. They, too, were wonderful to work with.”

For the menswear, Erica told us, “For Grant and the groomsmen, we decided to get their suits at Paul’s Menswear in Evansville. The price to purchase a suit was not much more than renting a tux/suit at other places, and they could not only keep the suits to wear for future events (which most have worn many times since), but they were also tailored to fit each person.”

She goes on to add, “When it came to wedding décor, we chose light pinks, gold and white (the bridesmaids wore light pink dresses with gold earrings and the groomsmen wore navy suits with a pink tie and pocket square). I loved how the colors looked together and thought it was perfect for summer. A friend of mine provided a floral backdrop and helped us decorate the head tables, and our DJ (All About You DJ) provided pink lighting. For flowers, we had a family friend, Emily Eastham (Eastham Flower Farm) design our table centerpieces and bouquets. We chose flowers that were in season and were various shades of pink and white. They turned out incredible. My bouquet was one of my favorite details of the day because it included pictures of my grandparents who are no longer with us and incorporated my grandmother’s pearl necklace. It was a way for me to honor them and carry them with me that day.”

In terms of dining, Erica told us, “Food was another important aspect of the day. We had our wedding rehearsal dinner at Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse in Evansville. They had the perfect room to host our wedding party and the food was delicious. For our wedding reception, we ordered popcorn from Pappy & Grammy’s Popcorn in Evansville (Grant and I love popcorn) and purchased other snacks for guests to have when they arrived at our reception. The Bauerhaus catered our wedding dinner – they were also wonderful to work with and allowed us to customize our menu with some of our favorite foods. Our wedding cake and cupcakes were made by the incredible ladies at The Pacetre, who not only made delicious cake/cupcakes, but also delivered, set up the cupcake/cake display, and took down and boxed up the cupcakes towards the end of the night. We hired St. Phillips Inn for our bartending needs.”

Other details:

According to Erica, “The bridesmaids and I spent the morning of the wedding getting our hair and makeup done at Studio 5021 where Shalee Reeves did my hair and Amber from Bliss Salon did my makeup. The salon allowed us to set up a little breakfast station, so we were able to enjoy breakfast and mimosas as we were getting ready. We hired SUV Limousine to take us from the ceremony to different spots around town to get photos and then finally to the reception. We of course had to stop by Ri Ra where Grant and I first met to get a picture on the way. A photo booth was not in the budget, so instead we spent months creating a photo backdrop to use for a selfie-station. We purchased our own fun accessories and selfie sticks for people to take pictures with. In the selfie-station area we had a sign displaying our wedding hashtag that our guests could use to post on Instagram. Instead of a guestbook at the reception, we had our guests sign a matboard that we later framed with our wedding picture inside. We now have it hanging in our home. I love stopping to read the well wishes and seeing all of the people that cared enough to come out and celebrate our special day. Krista Stocke from Ambassador Travel helped us plan and book our honeymoon to Jamaica. We were actually lucky enough to win a Delta Vacation package at one of the wedding expos in Evansville that helped us pay for our trip.”


PHOTOGRAPHER: Jesse and Gena Photography

CHURCH: St. Lucas Church (Pastor Lynn)

RECEPTION: The Discovery Lodge

VIDEOGRAPHER: Alexander Francis Films


WEDDING SHOES: David’s Bridal


MENSWEAR: Paul’s Menswear

HAIR: Shalee Reeves, Studio 5021

MAKEUP: Amber from Bliss Salon

FLOWERS: Emily Eastham (Eastham Flower Farm)

REHEARSAL DINNER: Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse

POPCORN: Pappy & Grammy’s Popcorn

CATERER: Bauerhaus Catering


BARTENDING: St. Phillips Inn


DJ & LIGHTING: All About You DJ


TRAVEL AGENT: Krista Stocke, Ambassador Travel