How We Met
Whitley and I met thanks to a late-night recommendation from my brother-in-law. The next night we found ourselves driving the gravel roads around Lincoln, NE, where we both attended college. We have very similar interests, and could carry on a conversation like we had known each other all our lives. After graduating college, Whitley took a job working for my parents on their cow/calf operation. Once I graduated college, we got engaged, and I moved back to my parents’ operation as well.
Whitley is a simple man. He wears a plaid shirt and Wrangler jeans every day. He knows a lot more about cattle than he does about diamond rings. So when he went to buy a ring, he decided to ask his family for help. Through their western store, his mom, dad and sister custom designed and created my engagement ring, and subsequently our wedding bands.
Whitley knew I didn’t want to know anything about the proposal ahead. His family has an Easter tradition of “Sunrise Services” where they sit on top of a hill in the pasture, drink coffee, listen to country music and watch the sunrise. Since we “happened” to have horses with us, Whitley saddled them up so the two of us could ride out to the hill together. As we watched the sun come up, he patiently waited for the right time to get down on one knee. In the midst of shock and awe, the only words I could muster were, “I suppose…” I will never live that down. After a helpful nudge from his aunt, I was able to come up with “Yes!” We have generally been morning people, but I never thought we’d be engaged before 7:00 am.
Our Wedding Day
Like many other couples in the era of COVID, we were faced with the reality that the big wedding we had been planning was now going to include only a few family members and close friends. There were a lot of special people missing on our big day, including my dad’s family from Michigan; however, despite all the challenges and changes, we ultimately couldn’t have asked for a better wedding day.
Our “first look” was on the same hill where we got engaged, and our wedding ceremony was in the pasture below. We got married in front of a hitching post, surrounded by turkeys gobbling in the tree grove and a thunderstorm rolling in overhead. The most memorable part of our wedding was when Whitley surprised me in the middle of the ceremony by pulling out his guitar and singing “Long Line of Love” by Michael Martin Murphey.
Our good friends have teams of draft horses, and they gave guests rides to the pasture for the ceremony, where they sat on vintage pews that came from a church near where Whitley grew up. The ring bearers and flower girl also arrived at the ceremony via mini horse-drawn wagon.
As the skies let loose and rain started pouring down, the bridal party rode from the wedding to the reception in a stock trailer driven by Whitley’s uncle, who operates a trucking business. Before we got to the reception, we stopped at the local bar, the Wagon Wheel, where I’ve worked for a while. When we asked for shots for the group, I got told to “pour them yourself!” So I hopped behind the bar in my wedding dress and started pouring shots.
Our wedding was truly a family affair! It included a lot of special touches, handmade items or repurposed antique finds, courtesy of our family and friends. Whitley’s mom, a former florist, made all the floral arrangements, and his family sang and played music during the ceremony and reception. My family transformed their working shop into a reception venue, where family friends poured drinks and served steaks straight from the fire.
We are abundantly grateful for the many hours of behind the scenes work our family and friends put in to make our wedding the special day it was. Even though it wasn’t the wedding we though we were going to have, it truly turned out better than we could have imagined.
Couple – Whitley & Kodi McBride
Wedding Photographer – Haley Ann Photography
Venue – Family Residences
Florals – Lori McBride (Mother of the Groom)
Dress – Bridle Isle, Loomis, NE
Bridesmaids’ Skirts – Designed by the Bride, then custom made locally
Groom/Groomsmen/Ushers’ Apparel – Ranch-Land Western Store, Ainsworth, NE (Owned by the McBride Family). Jackets: Circle S, Shirts: Ariat, Jeans: Wrangler.
Groom’s Hat – Resistol (A gift to the groom from Ranch-Land’s Resistol sales rep, Craig Anderson)
Custom Leather Belt – Ranch-Land Western Store, Ainsworth, NE
Tan – Utopia Spa & Health Studio
Hair – Serendipity Salon; Studio B Salon, Spa, Tanning
Makeup – LimeLife by Alcone, Amy Hughes
Cake – Deb Slevin; Cheesecake – Jenae’s Sweet Treats
Horse Teams – Cedar Creek Ranch, Ericson, NE
Décor – We are blessed with an abundance of talented family members, and had a “made from scratch” wedding.