An Enchanted Evening
Rich in elegance and laced in entertainment, Lawrence couple Jennifer and Andrew Hollenbach's wedding is one to be remembered.
Guests gathered in the front driveway of Tom and Ann Raney’s Lawrence, Kansas, estate as a horse-drawn carriage appeared in the distance, bringing the bride, their daughter, Jennifer, to the ceremony. And so began one of 2015’s most unique and beautiful weddings.
Equal parts matrimonial fanfare, soiree and theatrical production, the wedding of Jennifer Raney and Andrew Hollenbach is one that guests are undoubtedly still talking about a year later.
Jennifer, an environmental scientist, met Andrew Hollenbach, a geologist, online thanks to shared interests. The two hit it off quickly, and it wasn’t long before Andrew was picking out rings and planning the perfect way to pop the question.
In the end, Andrew planned a special date day for Jennifer, making sure she would be available despite their busy work schedules. The pair had breakfast at their favorite spot, got a couples massage, went to dinner and then went to Clinton Lake, where Andrew asked Jennifer to be his wife on Sanders Mound overlooking the water at sunset.
“As we began walking up to the spot overlooking the lake, I was nervous, because I knew it was coming,” Jennifer says. “I expected it, but I was still totally blown away by his thoughtfulness.”
But what Jennifer didn’t expect was the surprise engagement party that Andrew had also planned at Six Mile Chophouse, the spot of their first date, immediately after the proposal.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
As the couple began planning their big day with the help of Jennifer’s mom and her wedding planner, Miranda Ritter, they were careful to integrate elements personal to them. For instance, because they both love the outdoors, they knew they wanted to have both their ceremony and reception outside and incorporate elements of nature into the decor.
Although Jennifer chose black and gold with a bit of glitz and glamour as her wedding colors (a nod to her New Orleans collegiate experience), organic elements showed up throughout the evening in everything from the groom’s cake to the centerpieces to the gorgeous arbor (which Andrew handcrafted) under which the couple said their traditional vows.
The couple, who got engaged in 2014, exchanged vows in an outdoor ceremony in the backyard of the Raney estate on Sept. 19, 2015.
Immediately following, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in the Raney home’s great room, where they sampled food and beverages from different regions of the world such as Germany, Italy, Asia and Mexico while studying the “living statues” of Kansas City’s own Quixotic, an eclectic circus and entertainment performance group that uses contortion and aerial silk performances to enchant audiences.
The bride says she has never liked being the center of attention. Even the horse-drawn carriage upon which she arrived was not her own doing — it was a surprise (albeit a welcome one) planned by her mother and wedding planner.
Jennifer’s main focus on her wedding day was not on the dress, nor the cake, nor the photography, but rather on making sure her guests had a good time and remained entertained throughout the evening, which is precisely why when her wedding planner, Miranda Ritter of Belle Journee, suggested enlisting Quixotic, Jennifer jumped at the chance.
“I wanted to enjoy my day and be entertained as much as everyone else,” Jennifer says. “Having a focal point was a great way to unify the guests by allowing them to share an amazing performance experience. It also took the pressure off Andrew and me to entertain everyone.”
In fact, when Jennifer and Andrew began planning their wedding, they kept coming back to one theme.
“We wanted a classy, elegant evening under the stars where people could party their socks off,” Jennifer says. “We wanted to create a timeless dinner party atmosphere, but with the twist of a little formal enchantment.”
That’s where Quixotic came in. Performing at four different times throughout the evening, the performance group wowed wedding guests with their contortion work during the dinner portion of the evening and their aerial silk acrobatics throughout the reception.
“When Jennifer came to me, she knew she wanted an outdoor wedding, and her choosing to have both the ceremony and the reception at her parents’ home gave us the flexibility to call the shots and really make the impossible possible,” Ritter says. “She knew she wanted to create a dinner party with a palatable element of entertainment. Quixotic was the perfect fit.”
Following the cocktail hour, close to 200 guests were escorted into a 50-by-100 tent lit with crystal chandeliers in the front of the Raney estate for dinner. A duet of filet and chicken was served atop tables adorned in glistening black sequined tablecloths topped with black candelabras, Manzanita trees dripping in strands of crystal and tufts of white hydrangeas and roses.
After both the maid of honor and the best man gave heartfelt toasts, an evening of dancing ensued and lasted into the wee hours of the morning.
“Everyone just kept dancing, and we kept paying the DJ to play another hour,” Jennifer laughs. “I don’t know how many hours extra he stayed, but we had a fantastic time!”
Even Andrew’s grandmother, who is in her mid-90s, got in on the action, she recalls.
“Everyone always told me their weddings were such a blur,” Jennifer says. “I am so thankful to say our wedding day is not a blur to me at all. There were so many moments that stick out and were so meaningful. I remember all the beautiful details. The whole day was a culmination of love and joy, and I am so grateful.”
Photography | Jerry Wang Photography
Florist | Stems Event Flowers
Ceremony venue | Back patio of Raney Bauerbrook Estate
Reception venue | All Seasons Event Rental – Tented reception at Raney Bauerbrook Estate
Wedding planner | Miranda Ritter of Belle Journee
DJ/Entertainment | ReMIX DJs
Catering | Brancato’s Catering
Cake | Polka Dotte Baked Goods – Emily Beecher, email@example.com
Dress designer | Allure Bridals
Dress salon | Gorgeous Gowns by Paulette
Bridesmaids dresses | Shirley’s Dress
Groom and groomsmen attire | Tip Top Tux
Bridal party makeup | Dash Salon & Day Spa
Bridal party hair | Lada Salon & Spa
Officiant | Matthew Young