Thirty days before he would marry the love of his life, Alex Pelley was involved in a serious car accident that left him with a fractured skull, internal injuries and nerve damage.
Despite all of that, just days before the wedding, 20 pounds thinner and very weak, Alex met his bride Cortney Ketchum in Tulsa to exchange vows, finding the strength to stand through the ceremony, have his first dance and take part in all of the precious rites of passages that are true to wedding tradition.
“He was amazing. He is amazing. God is so good,” Cortney says.
Having met through mutual friends in Dallas, Cortney, of Tulsa, and Alex, of Sherman, Tex., have a love story that could grace the silver screen, and their elegant, New Year’s Eve-themed wedding reception at the historic Mayo Hotel was worthy of any Hollywood romance.
With a proposal that took place on the top of a ski mountain in Vail, Colo., amidst a backdrop of breathtaking views, their engagement was the picture-perfect kick-off to what would blossom into a wedding that will have their guests talking and reminiscing for years to come.
“I had always wanted to be married on New Year’s Eve, but I never thought it would happen since Saturdays on Dec. 31st are only every seven years,” Cortney explains.
“Fortunately for us, the next New Year’s Eve after our engagement was a Saturday, and my childhood church, Kirk of the Hills, agreed to let us marry on that day. So my dream of a New Year’s Eve wedding got to become a reality.”
No fairy tale wedding is complete without a princess dress, and that is exactly what Cortney wore when she walked the aisle of her childhood church.
Complete with a matching cathedral length veil embellished with thousands of Swarvoski crystals, the exquisite details of her customized Carolina Herrera ball gown became the inspiration for the lavish seven-layer wedding cake that would grace the party to come.
After a heartfelt ceremony, Cortney and Alex exited the church to a horse drawn carriage, while guests released balloons lit with LED lights into the sky.
Chosen for its class factor and historic ambiance, the Mayo Hotel was ideal for a New Year’s Eve wedding, and their 377 guests were in for quite a treat when they arrived by bus from the church.
For their reception, no detail was spared in setting the mood for an evening of celebration on the highest of levels in the Mayo ballroom.
Elaborate flower arrangements boasting a ruby, mustard, royal purple and emerald green palate towered over the tables, and the room was decked to the nines with New Year’s Eve inspired props and decorations, complete with gold confetti, mirrored décor and sparkle and flash (or “bling” as Cortney recalls) dripping down from the ceiling.
The couple, who love to entertain, took great care with unique details, ensuring that their guests were catered to in style, from the eclectic 16-piece live band and posh, upscale décor, to the fully stocked bar and impressive variety of food that included shrimp, quail, lamb, sushi, carving stations and both Italian and Mexican cuisine.
The band played from 9 p.m. and didn’t let up until 1 a.m., but the party continued on until 3 a.m. when guests were taken to the Mayo Penthouse for hand rolled cigars on the balcony and a spread of breakfast snacks.
And of course, what better way to toast the end of such a celebration than wedding favors of monogrammed champagne bottles and jars of black-eyed peas?