It began when Sam Bruffey and Anthony Glickhouse first glimpsed the Taft Museum of Art. They were immediately captivated by its yesteryear charm and organic elegance. Who could blame them? Built in 1820, the Taft is a National Historic Landmark and a cultural gem of downtown Cincinnati. The decision was easy: Both ceremony and reception would be held in the iconic garden. From there, the wedding details blossomed beautifully.
“There was a floral theme, but that wasn’t the original idea,” Sam recalls. “I didn’t really want a big theme. I didn’t want it to seem matchy-matchy.” So, like nature itself, their wedding’s breathtaking beauty shined in its subtleties.
Sam’s bridesmaids donned floral-patterned J. Crew dresses hued in smoky grays and amethysts. “We really played off that pattern to spark the wedding’s design,” says Kevin Ford of Ford-Ellington Wedding Design in Ft. Thomas. Attendants’ bouquets blushed with shades of peach and soft corals, accented with delicate tints of lavender. Ford’s concept for Sam’s bouquet—a burgeoning blend of champagne- and ivory-colored roses kissed with soft lavender touches, like her bridesmaids’—was inspired by the fanciful flow of Sam’s dress, a Monique Lhuillier from Bridal and Formal.
The romantic floral movement didn’t end there: dangling airily on the branches of the centerpieces were Dendrobium Panda orchid blossoms strung on silver wires, swaying ethereally over guests’ tables. “There was an essence of ‘floppy’ in everything we did,”
Ford describes. “It was very natural and organic, as if [the decor] was from the garden itself.”
Piece by piece, the details—many of which Sam credits to her mother’s creative genius—seamlessly fell together to form an idyllic garden wedding. Yet Sam’s journey to the altar held some unique pressures: Her family is in the wedding invitation business. Sam’s mom, Ann Schwartz, has owned The Paper Place in West Chester for 16 years, and Sam has worked there for the past four years.
“I was nervous the whole time and kept saying [the invitations] had to be amazing,” Sam says. Needless to say, the pressure paid off. A calligrapher scrolled the wording; then each custom-made invitation was individually letterpressed. The back of the invitation was imprinted with a textured floral pattern, designed specially for Sam by one of the graphic designers at The Paper Place.
Wedding planner Elisa MacKenzie of Elegant Events by Elisa points out that the spectacular je-ne-sais-quoi element of Sam and Anthony’s floral wedding was achieved not only through the tangible details, but also through the warm personality of the couple. “When I think about their wedding, ‘graciousness’ is the word that comes to mind,” MacKenzie says. “The whole wedding was filled with all kinds of cool little touches for other people.”
For starters, late-night sliders and fries were served after guests had worked up an appetite on the dance floor, and a “cookie bar” provided a casual, self-serve station for guests to graze. Out-of-town attendees were showered with personal goodies in their hotel gift boxes, including Sam’s mom’s homemade brownies, Anthony’s mom’s special Chex mix, and a dog bone “from our dog, Roo, to all the other dogs,” Sam explains. To honor family members who had passed, both Sam and Anthony carried small lockets holding their respective grandparents’ photos; Sam’s woven onto her bouquet, Anthony’s tucked behind his boutonnière.
Anthony adds that creating an interfaith ceremony laced with Jewish traditions was a balancing act. “It was not overly religious, so it wasn’t exclusive of people who weren’t Jewish. The rabbi even went out of his way to explain what the traditions were.”
Even the wedding-day weather, which was unseasonably damp and chilly for early October, presented an opportunity to dote on their guests: Pashminas monogrammed with “S+A” were distributed. A note on each whimsically read: “To have and to hold, but in case you get cold…”
Amid the myriad moments and mementos that made Sam and Anthony’s big day a terrific success, one element stood out the most: “There was a lot of love in the room,” Sam sums up. And beautiful things grow from roots of love.
Photography by Leppert Photography • View the Photo Gallery
Ceremony and Reception: Taft Museum of Art, downtown
Wedding Planner: Elisa MacKenzie, Elegant Events by Elisa
Photograph: Laura Leppart, Leppart Photography
Flowers: Kevin Ford, Ford-Ellington Wedding Design
Wedding Gown: Bridal and Formal
Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew
Invitations: The Paper Place