The average length of a wedding engagement is 14 months, according to a study by The Knot. So Carly and Eric Sorenson’s five month rush to the altar seems quick, except that the couple had been together for nearly 12 years on their wedding day.
Carly was working at a chiropractor’s office when Eric, a regular patient, caught her attention in 2004. Carly was a senior in high school, and the 25-year-old object of her affection was decidedly not. This led to some parental disagreements, but those feelings softened over the past decade. Carly’s mother submitted her daughter and son-in-law to be featured in Ink, saying: “Fast forward 12 years later, and all is bliss.”
The couple lives in Lee’s Summit with their two dogs.
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Proposal: Carly was in Savannah, Ga., for work in May 2016. She was headed to dinner, when Eric, decked out in a suit and tie, surprised her by proposing on a lovely bridge while Carly’s work friends filmed her incredibly emotional reaction. The proposal was followed by dinner in a private wine cellar, a Savannah ghost tour, and a hotel room complete with rose petals and champagne.
Rings: Carly’s engagement ring, by designer Michael M, features a 1.56 carat princess-cut diamond. Eric’s unique wedding ring was designed by Chris Ploof and is made from a 1870s era Belgian shotgun.
Planning: When the couple was engaged in May 2016, Carly was in the middle of interviewing for a new job. Wedding planning took a backseat for a couple of months. When they picked their wedding date, they had only three months left to plan.
Theme: Carly had a very specific idea about how she wanted her wedding day to look: “I wanted the vibe to be very romantic and all about love.”
Budget: $30,000, including honeymoon and rings.
Invitations: DIY with supplies from Michaels. “They were a serious pain,” Carly says. “We used an online template, and printed them ourselves. They were a light cream color with gold accents and dots. They were very pretty, but I would choose to have a print shop do them professionally (if I could do it again).”
Inspiration: Carly had always dreamed of a destination wedding, but she chose to stay close to KC so all of her family could attend. She tried to get the destination feel without getting on a plane.
“I love the beach,” she says. “It’s my happy place … (but) when we toured The Elms, it felt like a destination outside of the city. It was quiet and serene and was perfect for us.”
Dress code: Cocktail
Location: The ceremony took place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
The dress: A Mori Lee strapless mermaid gown with a sweetheart neckline
Officiant: Rev. Mark Willis from Merriam Christian Church
Wedding party: The couple kept it simple, just best man and man of honor: the groom’s cousin and the bride’s brother, respectively. The best man’s daughters served as flower girls, and the newlyweds’ Yorkie was the ring bearer.
Biggest crybaby: “Me!” Carly says, “I was so stressed out!”
Flowers: Dark purple and pink florals with gold accents for décor, while the bride’s bouquet was cream and white with diamond and lace accents.
Vows: “We wrote our own and we cried the whole time reading them,” Carly says.
Party favors: Individual boxes of chocolate truffles
Number of guests: 110
Location: Across the street from the church in the Grand Ballroom at the Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Mo.
Details: “Although I would have loved to do everything Pinterest offered, I just didn’t have time,” Carly says. “It was important to me to have tons of candles and gold accents. I got most of our wedding decor for the head table and the favor table at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.”
Handmade: Much of the décor was handmade, and the couple placed a hand-signed note at each guest’s plate. A friend of the couple made a box for a bottle of wine, melding two different types of wood and carving an S on the top for Sorenson.
Wedding cake: Classic Cakes in Lee’s Summit designed a cake inspired by the bride’s gown. The four-tier cake featured four different flavors.
Food: Chicken, beef or salmon with veggies and au gratin potatoes, catered by the Elms
Booze: Carly was emphatic about this question: “Lots of it!” she says “Full open bar and obviously our favorite Boulevard beer. Kegs of Tank 7 and Bud Light plus four kinds of red and white wine.”
Song that got the party started: The Sorenson’s entered their reception to “Forever,” by Chris Brown
DJ: Andrew Waters from Jukeboxx Media
First dance: Eric chose “Look at You Girl,” by Chris Ledoux
Processional: A string duet from Crescendo Trio played “Canon in D” and the traditional wedding march.
Father/daughter dance: “I Loved Her First,” by Heartland
Before and after
Bachelorette party: Carly and her girls celebrated on the Barley Bus winery tour, where they shared homemade penis-shaped cookies with all of the tour guests (even total strangers). Eric joined the women for dinner on Southwest Boulevard, and then the engaged couple took a solo trip to a strip club.
Bachelor party: The groom and his friends ate at Minsky’s, went go-carting, and ended the night at No Other Pub. They also enjoyed breast-shaped cookies, baked by the same friend that provided X-rated treats for Carly’s party.
Bridal shower: Family friends threw Carly a shower at the Vilivore in Independence.
Rehearsal dinner: Private room at the Ventana Gourmet Grill in Excelsior Springs
Honeymoon: Two weeks before the Sorenson wedding, Hurricane Matthew flooded the original honeymoon destination of Exuma, Bahamas. The travel agents at Love to Travel were able to rebook the couple at Sandals LaSource Grenada. “It was double the travel time, but awesome and so beautiful,” Carly says.
“Because I was planning our wedding in such a short time, choosing the right vendors was vital and they were all great!” Carly says.
Day of planning and coordinating: Christina Pryor at The Elms Hotel and Spa
Catering: The Elms
Make up: Marietta Fulk of Bold Beauty Hair and Makeup
Photography: Matt McNeal of Jukeboxx Photography
Florist: Licata’s Flowers and Accessories
Videographer: Tiffany Sykes of Jukeboxx Media
Ceremony music: Crescendo Trio
DJ: Andrew Waters of Jukeboxx Media
Travel agent: Dave and Kim Cook of Love to Travel
Cake: Classic Cakes
Advice from the couple
Finding vendors: Do your research, weigh your options, and read reviews!
Delegate: Put people to work for you, like your wedding party and parents. Give them small tasks or projects that they can handle for you so you can stick to the major decisions. And incorporate your fiance’s help. You both should be involved in the planning process.
What you’d do differently: With the little time I had to plan, I’d go back and pay the extra cost to cut out some of the DIY projects, like invitations and favor boxes. Otherwise, nothing. It was a perfect day that I wouldn’t change a thing about.