Real Wedding

Every possible care went into planning her wedding, and Laina Riffe couldn’t have been happier.

On Aug. 20, the Broken Arrow native said, “I do,” to her fiancé, Thomas Kennedy, at First Baptist Church in downtown Tulsa. They met in 2004 as coworkers at a Tulsa car rental company. Later, Kennedy moved to Washington, D.C., but the distance between the two friends grew shorter when they reconnected through email a few years later. Friendship turned to romance after Kennedy invited Riffe to a charity event.

Guests arrived at Southern Hills Country Club for a reception as glamorous as it was grand.

“I’m just a girly-girl at heart,” Riffe says of the elegant pink hues prevalent throughout the club’s banquet hall. Light splashed across the ceiling and onto the dance floor, an idea put into action by Riffe’s wedding planner, Talmadge Powell.

Every consideration had been made before this day – from the choice table centerpieces made of rosy, lush carnations to the foods served to the 275 guests.

Who knew that Oklahoma-style comfort foods such as fried chicken, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese would make such an appealing complement to the chic décor, decidedly upscale and bold? It was just the modern twist Riffe asked for on this occasion, and her organizers willingly obliged.

From the long, glass-top table created just for the event and placed in the center of the banquet room to the bundled orchid stems heavy with bright blossoms set atop, Riffe’s and Kennedy’s reception was given custom-made detail in every way.

Guests from out of town, not used to the 100-plus degree late summers in Oklahoma, celebrated in comfort, tended to by the Southern Hills staff.

“Their service blew me away,” Riffe says. “They took care of everything, and nothing was impossible.”

Her favorite moments: The father-daughter dance; the pink confetti raining over the bride, groom and their guests on the dance floor; and a special surprise for the groom. Guests held sparklers in their hands as the couple exited the reception en route to the Maldives for the honeymoon.

“I think he was surprised,” she says.