MAY 11, 2019.
Book your calendars, y’all – we’ve got ourselves a date!
Please join me in a celebratory wine toast as I give you the Diets (hehe) on the venue for #DietersSayIDo. Many of my readers know the extent of what a crazy ride this NFL lifestyle has been. Gehrig signed a Future-Reserves deal with the Chiefs and we’re praying that he’s on the receiving end of Patrick Mahomes’ touchdowns next season (eeeek!) If you’ve kept up with us, you also know that we’ve officially lived in Kansas City for 7 months now (and believe it or not, that’s the longest length of time we’ve lived in 1 city in the past 2 years!)
Yep – you read that right. After getting engaged (in Tennessee, while living in Alabama) my mind was swirling with excitement about where we’d exchange vows. Between the two of us, we’ve lived in a LOT of places throughout our lives. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Cleveland, Ohio and Gehr was busy breaking state records on a football field in South Bend, Indiana. He moved to Texas, I moved to Bowling Green, then he moved there too – and that’s where we fell in love! After graduating, we moved to Alabama so he could play his last college season, then we were off to Orlando for training. Fast forward through this summer (THANK YOU JESUS) & here we are – happier than ever in our home in Overland Park, Kansas.
7 different states, thousands of different venue possibilities. We have memories in all of these places – where our lives unfolded, where our futures were laid out and built upon. Hours after screaming “OH MY GOD HOLY FRICK IS THIS HAPPENING ARE YOU PROPOSING ARE YOU SERIOUS WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON HERE ON THIS DAY ARE YOU ON YOUR KNEE IS THAT A RING HOLY SH*T GEHR YES I’LL MARRY YOU AJSKLFDJOIE!” to my ~fiancé~ I had my wedding planner ordered and our Knot account created. I was searching venues on our way home from the engagement site –
Butterfly Garden – Birmingham, AL
Seaside Escape – Emerald Isle, NC
A Classic Mansion – South Bend, IN
Modern Greenhouse – Kansas City, MO
SO MANY POSSIBILITIES, Y’ALL.
Aside from a beautiful ceremony seating arrangement, a dream Hayley Paige wedding gown and a mod little food truck greeting guests as they enter cocktail hour, what truly matters on your wedding day isn’t so much the venue, but the guests that fill it. Knowing that, we chose my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio so that all of our family members would be able to attend our big day.
As a journalist, I got my big break with Today’s Bride Magazine out of Akron, Ohio. I spent years fawning over venues like the old arcade downtown and Gervasi Vineyard, combing through the best photographers and caterers in the area. Gehrig and I are your typical bulldog-parenting, outdoors-obsessed, football-loving couple. Our style isn’t really rustic barn, but it’s not exactly ritzy downtown hotel either. I knew I had my work cutout for me since I had dreamed becoming a Dieter in a southern-style, dog-friendly, peony-covered plantation with a secret garden ceremony and a classic indoor reception space. Well y’all – the wedding gods blessed me. After months of research, I stumbled upon this beaut:
THE MANSION AT MANAKIKI
Our dream venue! This stunning, old mansion is on a golf course in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. My mom, sister, nephews and I took a ride out to visit and as soon as we piled into the entryway, I was immediately speechless. The charming foyer, antique fireplaces, elegant chandeliers offset by wood floors and a gray and white color scheme that just so happened to match my wedding day palette. The ballroom features a gorgeous space for dancing the night away, dining and celebrating a lifelong promise. The double doors on the left side open up to a beautiful tented patio decked out in string lights that hang like stars. Behind the back wall, an entryway is carved into the brick to reveal the beautiful hidden bar area! I could literally see my dreams coming true: our marble cake sitting in the back left corner, my dad and I dancing in the middle of the room, G tossing the garter-clad football to his groomsmen – this was it. Patty, my wonderful day-of coordinator, showed us to the ceremony spot just a short walk away. It’s an outdoor site sectioned off by trees and flowers with a gorgeous white pergola standing tall. I knew just like I knew when I met G, when I tried on my wedding dress, and at that exact moment.
This past weekend, G & I were able to visit our families in the mid-west and he got to tour the venue. We secured our date and couldn’t be happier to be wed at the mansion at Manakiki. After months of being engaged but focusing on football, it’s almost surreal that planning is now underway! I have SO much to share and hope y’all stick around for the ride as we move towards the big day.
One decision down, a million to go.