To complete the issue, The Voice-Tribune’s Lauren DePaso and Lee Vish spent hours in the hot sun helping photographer Josh Merideth of Bella Grace Studios shoot at locations all around the city.
“We knew that when brainstorming about The Voice’s bridal issue, we had to come up with something really unique,” DePaso said. “Unique to us meant straying away from typical bride/groom poses – Lee came up with the theme ‘What Marries Us to Our City’ and the mascot idea soon followed.”
The shoot featured photos of models from Heyman Talent, who were dressed in designer gowns from Couture Closet, Bridal Suite of Louisville and Bridal Warehouse.
Thanks to inspiration from ESPN and the Louisville Zoo’s new ad campaign involving zoo mascots, Vish thought a photo shoot with some of Louisville’s best-known characters would be a great addition to the wedding issue. And lucky for him, he got to wear some of the costumes – while standing out in the 90-degree heat.
“Dressing up like a mascot was new to me,” Vish said. “I had to dress up as 3 (mascots): the Bellarmine Knight, Tundra the Louisville Zoo polar bear, and the Early Times Mint Julep cup. It was fun but hot!”
Covered head to toe in fur, Vish had quite an interesting experience during the photo shoot at the Louisville Zoo, which by the way, was held on a 98-degree afternoon.
“I was not allowed to remove my ‘head’ or speak,” Vish said. “Children were punching me and tugging on me. I have a new respect for mascots. Additionally, the brown bears thought I was real, and I was unsure how strong the glass was at the zoo.”
Though a stampede of children and hungry bears staring through glass can be quite intimidating, Vish took one for the team and helped the photographer, Josh Merideth, capture stunning photos at the zoo.
DePaso also had her fair share of challenges, lugging around what seemed to her like a 50-pound wedding dress on the day of the photo shoot at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. All the hard work paid off, though, once DePaso came face to face with one of her local sports heroes: University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.
“Being a UofL fan, I’d have to say standing on the 50-yard line with the Cardinal Bird himself, then walking inside the training facility to cool off and running into Charlie Strong was all surreal,” DePaso said.
As for Vish, one of the highlights of the experience came from the photo shoot of UK’s mascot. “As a UofL fan, (my favorite moment was) watching the Wildcat lay down in Main Street,” Lee joked. “Too far?”
But in all seriousness, Vish said the best thing about the photo shoot was watching it all come together with an enormous help from the community. “We did not get one ‘no,’ ” Vish said. “All of our asks were granted from borrowing the mascots, getting dresses, models, hair and makeup (by J. Michael’s Salon), to flowers from Colonial Designs. This showed we picked the right theme. Everyone loves their city.”
Scroll down to see all the bridal photos.
Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs (Mascot: Churchill Charlie)
Louisville Slugger Field (Mascot: Buddy the Bat)
Louisville Zoo (Mascot: Tundra, the polar bear)
Fund for the Arts on Main Street (Mascot: Mayor Farnsley)
WHAS11 (Mascot: Fisbie)
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (Mascot: the Cardinal Bird)
University of Kentucky Office on Main Street (Mascot: Wildcat)
Early Times/Brown-Forman (Mascot: Mint Julep Man “Earl ‘E’ Times”)
21c Museum Hotel (Mascot: penguin)
Fox 41 Studio (Mascot: Snow Fox)
Louisville Lightning at Mockingbird Valley Arena (Mascot: the Shock Squad)
Bellarmine University campus (the Bellarmine Knight)
Papa John’s International Headquarters (Mascot: Papa John’s Slice)
Wedding Dress Boutiques
We asked, you answered.
What “marries” you to your city? Readers told us why they love and are committed to the city of Louisville.
“Louisville is the definition of the USA. We are the epitome of ‘the melting pot.’ People from all walks of life are here.” – Torrence Williams
“The people.” – Tim Valentino
“I’ve been everywhere. Nothing compares to the hospitality of this city. I agree with Timothy, it’s the people.” – Bobbe Crouch
“My wife and I moved away when we were first married and lived in Florida, Virginia and Georgia as I worked my way up to an executive chef position. We always heard that everyone always comes back to Louisville and that held true for us. There is no place like home and I agree it is definitely the people.” – Travis Hall
“Our family is in Louisville except our oldest son who lives in Manhattan. Leonard and I were both born here, and all our friends who we have known all these years. Love the people.” – Mary Lou Meyer
“Interesting neighborhoods, unique attitude culturally, history and natural beauty.” – Lisa Meredith
“I consider my city a ‘secret garden’” – Amanda Jo Rhymers
“The warmth of my friends and family. I no longer live in Louisville but will always return. Something changes when you cross that bridge.” – Kellie Waterhouse
“My daughter and Churchill Downs!” – Christopher McKay
“Hospitality is the first thing that comes to mind – I have traveled to many cities and am obviously biased, but Louisville is just, for the most part, a friendly city.” – Steve Adams
“The blues and brews, sights and nights.” – Tony Clements
“OMG! It has to be the excitement of The Kentucky Derby. Nothing like Derby Week! ‘Southern Belles’ getting their Derby Hats. All the hustle and bustle leading up to ‘The Greatest 2 Minutes in Sports.’ I could never live anywhere else!!!!” – Jo-an Tomlin Mc Dowell
“The food.” – Krista Snider
“The Indian Burial grounds that prevent anyone whom is born here from ever really leaving.” – Stacy Thomas
“Fun and easy going folks like you!” – Christina Baldon
“As an employee of a non-profit and regular community volunteer it has to be our spirit of giving back. Can’t imagine a city with a bigger heart than Louisville!” – Lisa Herzberg Echsner
“Friends and family.” – Marie Davis
“Business.” – William Shelby Simpson
“A divine assignment with perks like friends like you, my sweet mamma, lots of opportunities to make a difference in the world, church, and I just love my hometown! I am not moving unless I hear God in an audible voice!!!” – Amy Lou Streible
“Family, friends, and lots of activities are all here. Plus, there is such a variety of cultures and people, its always interesting to see the diversity that exists together here.” – Charlotte Cunningham
“The beautiful countryside & nature.” – Wendy Smith Petruska
Who are your favorite mascots? From the Cardinal Bird to the Wildcat to Buddy the Bat, readers named some of their favorite characters in sports, entertainment and TV commercials.
“I admire that mascot for St. Joseph. It’s a hawk I think and he is required to flap his wings throughout the entire game. Now that guy is EARNING his scholarship.” – William K Willhoite
“Fireman Joe of the NY Jets.” – Phillip Jackson
“Easy choice! The Phillie Fanatic!” – Daniel Farish
“I didn’t go to WKU, but Big Red is always a favorite. He looks like he should be related to Grimace (from McDonalds).” – Aaron Miller
“What Daniel said.” – Gerry Harrah
“Alas, no mascots in Muay Thai…” – Scottie Sawade
“Grimace!!! The purple thing the rolls with Ronald Mcdonald.” – Shane Clark
“The Cardinal Bird! Go Cards!” – Wendell Young
“Like benny the bull from chicago bulls lol” – Patrick Grubbs
“If from KY, the EKU Colonel is pretty classic…” – Alex White
“Zooperstars!” – Jen Thelen Pitts
“Bronco” – Sarah Moon Holly
“I used to be the Cardinal Bird mascot at U of L – before it was mean!…so of course…the BIRD is my fav!” – Beth Mattingly Denham
“When talking mascots it would just be fundamentally wrong if we didn’t mention a true icon and my personal hero ‘Trojan Man’! – Mike Baber
“OSU Brutus the Buckeye!!!!!” – Helen Overfield
“Craig would be a good Mascot everybody Loves him.” – Jo-an Tomlin Mc Dowell
“The Cardinal Bird of course!!!!” – Julie A Spencer
“I’m a vegetarian, but I love the Eat More Chik’n Cow from Chik-fil-a.” – Angela Stallings Hagan
“Has anyone from the UofL biology department noticed that birds don’t have teeth?” – Brian Heil
“I LOVE My CARDS, the Bird has my vote, 2nd place is Buddy” – Phyllis Reed Johnson
“Mr. Redlegs… Cincinnati reds!!!” – Marla Fisher
“Kool-aid man!” – June Kelley-Roy
“Am completely enamored by the Waterfront’s Catfish Louie. A giant fish with whiskers & sassy uniform? FABULOUS!” – WAMZ radio DJ Mel Fisher.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).