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Elizabeth & Ryan Parsley


Photos by: Rachel D Photography

Elizabeth Deye and Ryan Parsley met during college; they bonded over their love of the great outdoors, their shared group of friends, and all things rustic. Years later, they began dating and married this past February. Below, Elizabeth shares their love story and the sentimental and traditional touches the two incorporated into their wedding ceremony.

How did you meet?

“Ryan and I met when I was in college in 2012 through his cousin Aubrey, who is a good friend of mine. We spent many weekends around each other at the lake, but it wasn’t until Aubrey began dating Ryan’s friend Colby that we really started to get to know each other. We started dating in August of 2020 after spending a weekend at the lake with Ryan’s family and friends.”

Tell us about the proposal, or the moment you decided marriage was the next step.

“The proposal took place on my birthday on the walking bridge in Louisville. Ryan told me we had plans to celebrate my birthday, and were going to take a walk on the bridge. When we got to the end of the bridge, Ryan completely surprised me with a proposal in front of all of our family and friends including my little sister, Emma, who came all the way from Portland, Oregon. After the proposal and photos were taken, we proceeded to The Parlour in Jeffersonville to celebrate our engagement with everyone.”

Where and when was your wedding?

“Our wedding was at St. Agnes Catholic Church on February 3, 2024. We chose St. Agnes because it is where Ryan went to grade school and we both became Godparents to his nieces at the church. The church itself is beautiful and we thought it was the perfect place to begin our lives together.”

“Our reception was at the Gheens Foundation Lodge at the Parklands. The big windows overlooking the creek and surrounding gardens captured mine and Ryan’s elegant and outdoorsy personalities perfectly. We wanted a cozy and personal feel to our wedding that allowed us to be present with our guests. The Gheens offered the perfect balance of a rustic yet elegant venue that truly reflected who we are as a couple.”

Who were your vendors?

“The Mayan Cafe (Louisville, East Market Street) catered our wedding. Ryan and I knew we wanted some kind of tacos at our wedding and after eating at the restaurant, we knew they were the perfect fit. We loved the idea of being able to go back to the restaurant to eat on our anniversary to have a taste of our wedding food. The staff at Mayan was absolutely wonderful to work with and truly handled everything. RK, who is in charge of catering for Mayan Cafe, helped coordinate with other vendors as well to make for a seamless planning process. They definitely went above and beyond to make our wedding day special.”

“Our wedding cake was a three-tiered cookie cake made by Bakedbymb. Mary Beth Clark, owner of Bakedbymb, is a friend’s sister who is local. Ryan and I attended a wedding where Mary Beth had made a similar cookie cake and after tasting it, we knew it was what we wanted. Mary Beth also made several additional cakes to serve to the guests at the wedding.”

“Our photographer, Rachel Ballard, lives in Berea, Kentucky. I saw photos of a wedding Rachel shot and loved the light and natural look of her photos. Rachel took our engagement photos in Lexington at Keeneland and the Arboretum. Ryan and I are both not big on having our photos taken, but Rachel’s bubbly personality brought fun and comfort to our photo sessions. Rachel was able to capture our personalities in our photos, which we will forever cherish.”

“My mom’s friend Amy is the owner of Louisville’s Susan’s Florist, who created all the florals for our wedding. Susan’s went above and beyond in designing our floral arrangements to perfectly represent Ryan and I as a couple. I am a big fan of plants, and wanted a natural green look for our flowers. Amy added Bells of Ireland and Veronica to my bouquet to give it the natural feel, as well as turkey feathers. Ryan enjoys hunting, and we wanted to add a little something to tie that into our wedding. We used bourbon bottles for our centerpieces to add a touch of Kentucky, as well as to represent Ryan’s favorite drink.”

“My wedding dress was from Rebecca’s Bridal Boutique. My brother-in law’s sister, Kaitlyn Fink, who is also a close family friend, works at Rebecca’s and was able to assist me in picking out my dress.”

“My sister Sarah was our wedding planner. Sarah is the Director of Patron Experience and Events at Keeneland, so she has a lot of experience. It was very special to have my sister be able to help plan our wedding and allowed us to really add some personal touches.” Where did you honeymoon, and/or plan to honeymoon?

“The day after our wedding, we flew to Florida and stayed at the SunSeeker Resort in Port Charlotte, Florida for a few days. Ryan’s parents have a house in Port Charlotte so we were familiar with the area and were able to visit some of our favorite local spots. We also plan to travel to Key West this summer.”

Did you incorporate any family legacy, honorary memories or significant heirloom pieces into the event?

“Ryan’s grandfather, John Ryan, gifted his wedding ring to Ryan, his only grandson. His grandmother, Anita Ryan’s father (Christian) was a jeweler and made the ring for John 62 years ago.”

“I wore my mother, Gail Deye’s sapphire tennis bracelet and a necklace, both gifts from my dad. This was my ‘something blue and something borrowed.’”

“As a small gift, I gave my Dad, Tony Deye, a tie to wear for our wedding with a special touch. At the bottom of the tie was a picture of my Dad and I and the note “forever your Bitty Bee.” Bitty Bee was a nickname my dad gave me when I was about three years old, and has called me ever since.”

“The last little personal touch was a token given to my niece Norah as a flower girl gift. On Norah’s flower girl stems was a small pendant that said “Today you’re a flower girl but one day you’ll hold the bouquet. Keep this charm as your ‘something old’”.

Tell us about any other special details you incorporated into your wedding day.

“As a surprise to Ryan and a representation of his favorite hobby, duck hunting, each member of our wedding party blew a duck call as Ryan and I entered the reception.”

I am a third grade teacher at Saint Mary Academy, and truly love my job. I couldn’t invite my whole class to our wedding, but wanted to find a way to incorporate my students into our day. My students answered different questions about love and marriage, and answered them on cards for our table numbers. It worked out perfectly as this year I have 24 students, and we had 24 tables at our wedding, so each student was represented. Their responses were honest and sweet in addition to providing some laughs.”


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