Love Comes Full Circle

Photos by Samantha Rashea Photography.

By Kristie Hicks Crenshaw

Olivia Naber & Taylor Stethen

June 3, 2017

A romance nearly six years in the making was beautifully celebrated on the elegant grounds of Hermitage Farm in Oldham County on June 3, 2017. Olivia Naber and Taylor Stethen exchanged wedding vows amidst 380 guests from all over the country, as close friends and family stood by their side. It was sweet, it was fun, and it was nearly as perfect as a day can be for two people in love. The fact that Olivia’s first job was as a horse groom at Hermitage with her sister Julia ten years ago made it a full-circle moment for the bride and an obvious choice of venue, with its sweeping horse farm views and picturesque Southern setting. Her parents’ farm sits across from Hermitage Farm, so it all felt very much like home to the blushing bride.

When talking to the couple about each other there is an immediate sense of genuine love, joy and purpose at having found one another. They both seem equally amazed by their wonderful life and the families that have supported them. The energy is undeniable.

The couple first met at a fraternity party in the fall of 2011. It was Olivia’s first Greek social event as a student attending the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering. She didn’t know who to talk to. Her girlfriend looked around and said,”Talk to him,” motioning to one handsome Taylor Stethen standing across the room. They quickly hit it off and soon became an item. The two shared a desire for knowledge, a strong work ethic and supportive families, one from Kentucky and the other from Indiana.

As long as they had been together, the proposal was, oddly enough, a surprise. It was December 20, 2015, and the couple went for a casual and crisp walk before dinner. “We were walking on the Big Four Bridge from Louisville, across the water to Indiana. I was rambling on and said something about it being almost five years and no ring. He said, ‘Let me stop you right there,’ and got down on one knee. I was shaking. He was so close to the edge, I thought he was going to drop the ring in the river. I can’t even remember what he said…,” the excitement of the event is still palpable in Olivia’s voice. He did not drop the ring in the river, and she did say, ‘yes.’ They continued to walk, hand-in-hand, across the bridge where Taylor had arranged for both of their families to be waiting on the other side for a celebration dinner at The Bristol. The happy couple was toasted amidst a loving family and gorgeous views of the Louisville skyline, the city where they met. The Walking Bridge will forever be known as the link bringing the two families together.

The front porch of the main house at Hermitage served as the altar, with Father Terry Bradshaw officiating the ceremony. The bridal party numbered twelve in all, dressed in an array of sky blue, ivory and beige. The sister of the bride, Julia Naber, was maid-of-honor and Austin Stethen, the brother of the groom, stood as best man. Pumpkin, the bride’s miniature horse of ten years stood close by in a garland of flowers.The bride carried a bouquet of roses and ranunculus as stargazer lilies, pink peonies, roses and ranunculus adorned the bridal party. Flowers filled the tent and lined the tables as well, all from the creative talents of Josh‘Ross Schrimsher. Luckily every beautiful detail was captured by videographer Tory Portale and each element of the day flowed together seamlessly thanks to the efforts of their day-of wedding planner Victoria Staton.

The bride wore a gown by Spanish designer Pronovias in ivory lace and dark beige. It featured a Chantilly lace underlay, guipure lace overlay, and was a fit and flare silhouette with a cathedral train. It incorporated shoulders with lace and illusion as well as a back with buttons, lace and illusion. She found her dream gown at Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique and it was simply ethereal.

Taylor recalls his “first look” moment with Olivia: “On the wedding day, there were a couple moments that really hit me. When I first saw her…she looked like an angel, all in white…it was an emotional moment for me. I hid it well, though,” a smile in his voice. “Seeing everything, all of our efforts…an engineering degree, medical school, all of the months of planning…come together with all of these people that came to see us get married. There were at least 200 people on the dance floor dancing to music from The Louisville Crashers, having fun. It was a great day.”

A particularly emotional moment for Olivia was seeing her parents dance to “Free” by the Zac Brown Band. “I was dancing with Taylor and I saw my parents and then my grandparents and it was just a really beautiful moment with my family.” Her grandmother had suffered a stroke and was unable to dance, so her mother danced with her paternal grandfather. Family was a central theme throughout every step of the relationship and the wedding day was no different.

Of course, all of these tender moments were expertly captured by photographer Sam Cox while a photo booth, provided by Marty Goldsmith, gave guests an opportunity to be silly, sweet and absolutely hilarious on their own terms, giving the bride and groom a visual guestbook and plenty of reasons to smile about the day and the people in it.

Guests enjoyed The Jake Groves band during the cocktail hour and were “called to the post” for the reception by the Churchill Downs bugler where they dined family-style on Southern favorites from Gracious Plenty Catering, all under beautifully-lit air-conditioned tents from Bluegrass Rental on the side yard of the home.

The cake was a three-tiered confection by Pam Dietz with Lady A Cakes. Each tier had a signature cake: lemon with lemon puree, strawberry with strawberry puree and vanilla with raspberry puree, all beneath a delicious buttercream icing. Additional delights of cupcakes, cheesecakes, macaroons and bourbon balls fed the sweet tooth of family and friends. Comfy Cow ice cream was at the ready outside the tent to cool off young and old alike.

Olivia recalls, “There were a lot of life events happening at once. He’s starting a residency, I’m transitioning from living with my parents and seeing them every day to happily living with Taylor. It was a nice, big, sweet wedding and I was absolutely giddy.” The day was serious and ceremonial at times, but laced with joy in all of it. “It was reverent and we acknowledged these big changes, but how could I not be giddy on that day?”

The couple honeymooned in the Mayan Riviera at the El Dorado, an all-inclusive resort, where they finally caught a reprieve from the demands of the multiple responsibilities they had juggled for so many years. The couple now resides in Cincinnati while Taylor completes his residency and Olivia furthers her profession in engineering. Still many life changes lie ahead for the young couple. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they come full circle once again and make a return to the Derby City?

“Ultimately, that’s what we both want—to lay down roots in Louisville. Taylor may do an extra year in a fellowship, but that’s the eventual goal,” Olivia confirms. No doubt, when that day arrives, Louisville will welcome them home with open arms. VT